I Like To Smell My Boat!
As dumb as you may think I am right now, I bet you by the end of the story you will realize you feel the same way. now, maybe I am just an odd duck, but since I was 16 racing around in old Road Runners, Souped up VW’s, Mach 1, all sorts of Mustangs and Camaro’s,
Firebird, Road Runner, Corvair’s, and yes even a 1955 Studebaker. I learned how to tell what was wrong with the car by smell. Transmission fluid leaking has a different smell than sweet antifreeze and oil burning. Even where its burning. Exhaust manifold smells from leaking valve cover gaskets are different than exhaust in the pipe and so on. Heck you can tell if an engine is running rich or lean by smell.
So while out on my boats, my nose is in full gear. Sniffing away, and because of the air flow design, you defiantly get a wif every now and then. The smell I am always on high alert is fuel smells. I have been able to tell that one of the fuel lines needed a bit of a tighten. Or that I have over filled the oil. So next time you are out on your classic boat, take a sniff while running, it wont look strange, tell them all the cool kids are doing it.
Blowby and mahogany. A beautiful smell.
What happened to “seduction”?
The story is being worked on. Sorry , it published for a minute.
When my aunt Donna was a kid, she would run around the Wise Boat Works while my Grandpa would work. When I brought Cherup to Fl from Minnesota from the auction, she was there to meet me and my brother. The first thing she said after walking around the boat was that it smelled like the boat works.
“I smell wires burning” has always been my least favorite.
Yeah, thats a smell you never forget. Good point.
Agree. Nothing should smell like its burning on a boat, or a house or a car.
Only the sweet smell of leaves burning in fall.
Except if you parked your car on top of them and the exhaust system set them off. It is amazing how quick that can go from “hey whats that smell?” to “holly crap that is a big fireball!”
Get that smell at altitude, in the clouds…
Love the Port Huron to Mackinaw flag, blanket, jump suit ???? Love the old history. What is it?
Those are flags that would hang in a yacht club. I have about 6 of them from around the Huron area I think. They are part of another story in the works.
My number one favorite smell is the one I get to enjoy when my old cruiser’s been closed up on a warm day. It hits me as soon as I open the cabin door. Can’t really describe it, but it’s just heavenly! I wish it could be bottled. Woody Boater Cologne?
Can’t get that on a glass boat.
That is why I use bacon grease instead of motor oil. The smell is amazing!
See! It’s genus ideas like this that make it all worth while writing this stuff
Woodyboater Public Service Announcement
A working unclogged nose is a good thing to have and to use to sniff with especially in the bilge before you start your boat! Just Saying!!!!!
There are a lot of smells on a boat. Of course who does not love the smell of varnish fresh or old. With an old outboard you can tell what kind of oil your running from the smell. One of my favorite smells is on an evening boat ride smelling what different people are grilling for dinner. Loved the reference to Mach I and souped up VWs. I had a souped up VW, and still have a 69 Mach I. Lets all keep our nose to the wind and keep smelling good smells !
Your nose is much better than mine. Where can I get nostril aids that match my hearing aids?
These smells could be made into scented candles and cologne just in time for the Holidays….
“Smoked Applewood and Plug Wires”
“Burnt Gaskets and Ginger”
“Fresh Linen and Fuel Lines”
“Baked Pan Oil and Mango Peach”
Holiday Musk of 2017: WD40
*Available in 100ml and quarts
When I was a teenager, my dad told me to be careful not to let the fumes get to me. Car fumes, perfumes, etc., etc……. Sound advice. Now as I’m bumping 70, the fumes that give me the most pleasure are the ones emanating from under the cover when I lift it off the old Barbour. A quick cure for the blues for me.
Damn Matt we had some of the same rides back in the day…and you admitted to a Corvair…..talk about smells, not only could the exhaust from the manifold heater kill you….it stank of leaking oil (the Pep Boys 2 reclaimed gals or 2 bucks) so I stuffed soiled gym socks into the air outlet.. Glad Ralph Nadir didn’t have a Chris Craft!
and I had a 56 Stude too!……get in a wreck with a Studebaker truck and you win. 2 tons of ugly out of control.
John in Va.
HAHA! Yes the Corvair was the king of smells. I had several, including a Spyder which was insane, and fun but always had some issue. As a buddy used to say, its good its leaking oil, that way you know it still has some in it.
I answered an ad for a 1962 18′ Holiday and arrived at the boat to inspect it. The boat was fully covered and the owner was standing next to me. I lifted the side of the cover and half stuck my head in and I instantly said, it smells like a Chris-Craft! The owner instantly responded……YA, MOLD and MILDEW!!
Mid 60’s Chevy engine always had that reassuring oil burning smell sneaking past the stem seals when knee boarding or skiing behind them. Also engine temp could be seen and smelled by the steam you were making.
I was at a combo car boat show this past summer and there were two guys there with a former race car. They would fire it up several times a day to the sounds of clapping hands and a lot of yells from happy fans. But I noticed the smell and after the crowd was gone I said to the two guys “methanol and nitro”. They looked at each other and smiled and nodded their heads. Can’t miss that smell as well as my were burning…
I did some modelmaking work for a silversmith whose workshop was above Tough’s boatyard in Twickenham, London. But as we approached it for the first time I saw a row of OLD cruisers, so I threw myself over the gunnels and took in a long sniff. “Agh!!!, bilge”, said I. The silversmith actually jumped back a step, he was so horrified. Unimaginative fool! Tough’s was the boatyard that commissioned all the Dunkirk Little Ships that rescued the troops from the beaches in WW2. This was some special bilge!
High octane race gas or nitromethane, tire smoke, hot race cars, 100LL avgas. The best mechanical smell memories for me.
We have a local candle maker that is creating a Sandusky Bay scented candle. It isn’t out yet. But should be soon.
I can tell each of my boats by their scent, blindfolded. It’s funny how each one is that distinct.
My favorite scent among them is hands down the one of this boat: Scotch. The combination of the vinyl, flooring, mahogany, paint, and big 427 is pure sweetness.
Sometimes it even smells like Scotch but that’s only after 5:00.
And if your boat has a head on it there are going to be smells you’re familiar with but probably want to avoid, just sayin’