Do I nee to winterize? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-07-2007
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Do I nee to winterize?

I am relatively new to sailing and have just purchased my first sailboat. I live in the southern coastal portion of North Carolina (Wilmington to be exact). The winters here are pretty mild. It rarely gets below 25 degrees F and gets below freezing maybe 15 days of the year. I would like to sail my boat year round as many days in winter are in the 60's.

The question is: Should I do anything to winterize my boat?

What can you guys recommend?

Thanks for the input.
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Old 03-07-2007
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T34C has a spectacular aura about T34C has a spectacular aura about T34C has a spectacular aura about
Since it is 68 deg. today and with a low tonight of 44, i'd say you're probably fine for this winter.
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Old 03-07-2007
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I'm sure others will chime in here, but if water will freeze on your boat, then yes, you probably should. Do you have a head and a sink? Is the engine inboard or outboard?
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My boat has a head, galley, holding tank, water tank and an inboard Yanmar Diesel.
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Old 03-07-2007
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If you winterize the engine, you can't run it...without winterizing it again... so if you're going to be using the boat a lot... then don't winterize it...keep an eye on it though.
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Old 03-07-2007
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Math...I assume you are more concerned about next winter than this one as you shouldn't have any problems there now that warmer weather is beginning to roll in.
Assuming your boat will be at a dock with available electricity...You can simply use a thermostatically controlled space heater down below. Make sure you get a good safe one with anti-tip features and protected heating elements. The main concern is the water lines freezing and busting so you will want to keep the cabin temp above freezing and close all through hulls when you are off the boat. You shouldn't have to worry about the engine since the salt water there is not gonna freeze but close that through hull too. In the event of an extended cold snap with temps in the 20's or below...you either need to be checking on the boat regularly or dump some anti-freeze in the water and head systems. (The pink non-toxic stuff). No one here on the outerbanks has needed to do so yet THIS season...but every year is different and as long as you are close to the boat you can just make that decision as you feel the need.
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Old 03-07-2007
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I wouldn't.
What you want to watch out for are those days where it is consistently below 20 degrees, that's where things really start to freeze. Coupled with high winds seems to be the final straw. If you have shore power available, you can utilize a light bulb to keep things from freezing. A hundred watt bulb, placed low in your engine compartment will put out quite a bit of heat. the same in the head. The lower the item is in the boat, the quicker it will freeze as the cold air settles there. If your boat is drafty, it will allow that cold external air in and thence settle in the bottom freezing things. Button her up. If the water around the boat is not icing up you'll have no problem with thru-hull lines freezing. The way those will freeze is through the ingress of cold outside air from above. To make the light bulb even more effective, you can drape a blanket over the item to be kept warm-this will contain the heat where you want it.

Be advised that, if your boat is older and you have gel coat deficiencies, that water will enter these and weather sufficient to freeze mud puddles will cause these on deck areas to freeze. When that water freezes it will expand, further damaging your gel coat and possibly (probably) the glas underneath it.
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Old 03-07-2007
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Sailormann will become famous soon enough
If your boat is going to be subjected to freeze/thaw cycles and if you want to sail a seaworthy boat, you have two options:

a) Ensure that the temperature of your boat never gets to the freezing point which is almost impossible unless you have four or five heaters in there all the time - from the forepeak to the lazarette.

b) Winterize it...and when you winterize it - Dry off the topsides and the deck and COVER IT. If you don't, water will work it's way through tiny crevices you aren't even aware of. When it freezes, it will expand. This will tear the fibres and core of your boat and weaken it. When it warms up again, the ice will return to water, and take up less space in the little pocket it has created. The next time it rains (and note we are not talking about seawater here) more water will get in there, and it will freeze again and the damage will worsen. In just a few short years your boat will turn into a big, messy problem and be worth zilch on resale.

If you leave the water inside the structure, it will start to dissolve the resins that hold your boat together, unless your boat is built of epoxy (in which case you have too much money - send me some).

But, if you dry your boat off and cover it, the water that is in there will dry out somewhat over the season, and no more will get in until you uncover it in warmer weather again.

This is not a "could happen in a really badly built boat" scenario. This WILL happen to your boat if you don't take care of it.

This is in addition to fogging your engine, blowing out all your hoses, unhooking your batteries and emptying all of your tanks completely.

Every few years, you should take off the deck fittings, allow the holes to dry out and examine the core to ensure that it is not rotting.
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Old 03-08-2007
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Umm... one quick question... do you liveaboard your boat?? if not...then leaving heaters aboard it is generally a really bad idea... lots of boats get destroyed by "safe" heaters that didn't turn out to be so safe.
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Sailormann....no one does that stuff down here! I got about 60 boats here at the docks and not one has winterized anything that I'm aware of. Different if you are land storing. There are lots of boating opportunities here in the winter....didn't have our first below 32 degree night till mid January. May have had one or two days where it stayed below 32 since then but even then, the sun heats up inside the boat.
True enough a bit north of here but unless things get unusually cold ( and that WOULD be an inconvenient truth!).... we can get away with being a bit more casual here as long as we are close to our boats and can winterize quickly if needed.
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