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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: To pull or not to pull....

Very location dependent, obviously. My experience is central Chesapeake.

* Snow load. Generally boats bear heavy snow better in the water, unless there is a very carefully constructed cover. However, you need to be certain your cockpit drains stay clear and that no anticipated load can cause water to siphon back into the engine (the boat may be pressed down several inches. Specifically for multihulls (huge decks and no iron keel to set on) the water is far more gentle.
* Minimum temperatures. Actually, a boat in the water seldom goes far below freezing. Though it is still smart to winterize all systems, the temperatures are moderated by the water.
* Burst rudders. Can't freeze in the water.
* Damp. In my experience, with any reasonable humidity management system, this is not a problem. Early spring is worst, when the water is cold but the air warm. Boats on the hard actually see far greater temperature swings.
* Power. I can keep a boat in the water plugged in, but not on the hard.
* Sinking. About like during the summer. At least in any climate where year around sailing is possible (no thick ice) the through hulls won't freeze, and it is not difficult to winterize them anyhow.
* Wind. If a boat is secured for named storms and squalls, winter is not worse. Chafe gear, of course.
* Ice. If you are in a marina where drifting ice is possible, haul. There is no good protection.
* Equipment reliability. Boats that see some off season use have fewer problems since everything (engines, batteries, electronics, hinges, valves, pumps, fuel systems) gets exercise and lubrication. Try parking your car for 8 months.
* Projects. There are VERY few projects that are helped by being hauled. Heck, I can't climb the mast on the hard. The dock is cooler than the yard. I can actually operate all of the systems under full load. Can you run your AC on the hard? Most cannot.
* Biannual hauling. Even with the best paint you will haul ever 2 years. Most projects can be scheduled. But even for this I haul in the summer, since working with paint and adhesives in the Spring is aggravating.

I've done both (early in my boat ownership I followed the crowd) and been MUCH happier in the water. It isn't about the money, not if they would haul and store for free. I'd need paid for lost use.
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by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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