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Surviving Winter with your Boat

How do you, or more to the point, your boat, survive the winter?

Well the best way is to take it out of the water, take off all the rigging, fill the cooling system with antifreeze, put new oil in the engine and gearbox, wrap the entire vessel in clingfilm and put it in a shed somewhere. Preferably in the middle of the Sahara, or Arizona. And donít under any circumstances let it get anywhere near any water.
Even then there will be something wrong with it when you get her out. The button on the Morse control will have stuck. The battery will be flat (of course). Youíll have lost the key. A valve in the bilge pump will have stuck (due to lack of use no doubt). Oh, thereís all sorts of things that may have gone wrong.
NOT using a boat causes a lot of problems.
The answer is to keep her in commission. Mine lives on her mooring. She did when I lived on her so why not now? I can go out and run the engine every couple of days, pump the bilges, run the cabin heater, check for any loose ropes, and even go for little trip if thereís still time!

But there are some things I do do.

Take the sails off.

At best they are responsible for a lot of windage and at worst they can escape from their covers and get blown to bits.
There is a down side to this. If youíve taken her out for a little spin and the engine stops youíre a bit stuck without sails, so I bend on an old mizzen, and lash it down tight, and have a hank-on jib handy. I also keep a small, no.3, jib to hand and that can be set flying on the storm jib halyard which only goes up to the spreaders. At least now I can heave to while the engine gets sorted out. Or even sail home with a bit of luck.

The running rigging.

I tie all the halyards together, attach a piece of line to the knot and run it up the mast. The fall ends are still there but you can twist them together and wrap them round a stay. Of course if theyíre inside the mast then thatís even better. Which ever, it stops all the chafe and reduces the windage.

Sea Cocks.

Close them Ė all of them. Especially the toilet. I know a boat which sank because of a siphoning loo. (Yes, I really do. It happened).

And thatís it really. Secure every thing of course, but then you do that anyway donít you. Donít you?

Itís certainly best to have a full fuel tank and I use ĎDri-Fuelí as well. Thereís never any water in the separator now.
Off the subject but relevant to fuel additives, put a cupful of engine oil in the tanks when you fill up. I got this tip from a gentleman who repairs injector pumps and he said heís been getting more problems with them since low sulphur diesel was introduced. It used to lubricate the pump. Oil in the fuel solves it.

The Mooring.

Ah, thatís another article.

Please see my website

About the Author: Bio.

I have been involved with boats at some level since childhood and got my fisrt boat when I was 45. When I was 53 I bought a 32ft Macwester ketch and lived on her on the west coast of Scotland for seven years before getting a cottage ashore. I spend the winters building small boats, doing repair and maintenance work and making laminated wooden tillers. Summers are for sailing!
Please see my website

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