Winter-izing a ship - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-29-2010 Thread Starter
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Winter-izing a ship

I have sailed in the Gulf of Mexico, Philippines, and SoCal my whole life. I have never had to worry about the issues of cold weather. My friend moved himself and his ship to Seattle and is flying me out to go sail this winter up the Canadian coast a bit ad maybe up to Alaska. At first I was thrilled, but then started thinking of how stinking cold I will be (I am a boardshorts, flip-flops and t-shirt dude). He is as well. That said, he has asked me to get some advice on cold weather sailing, or at least what can be done to winter-ize the boat. I am not sure if that is even the right word so please correct me.
So far this is what I do have as far as personal:
Winter sailing clothes (jackets, pants)

Big list I know.
I do know he has a natural fuel heater onboard. That is it.

Anyway, please advise, thanks, and if there is already a thread on this, I could not find it so please send me the link.
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-29-2010
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A few thoughts. Others will have more.

Sail Delmarva: Winter Sailing

My thoughts are for weekend sailing and short cruises on the Chesapeake.

Regarding winterizing, my primary observation is that you need to examine YOUR boat in great detail, because each has its own needs. Winter will find the one flaw you missed: a cockpit drain that freezes, a check valve in a sump pump that shouldn't be there, an internal reef that freezes because you didn't treat the line, a valve that bursts in a remote bulkheaded compartment.

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post #3 of 5 Old 10-29-2010
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Our daughter and her family live in the Canadian Rockies and spend half of each year doing outside stuff in the cold (and loving it). The new wool is under-stuff is really neat. She gave me a long sleeved wool undershirt kind of thing and it wicks any sweat, is very warm and not bulky.

This link is NOT to her store and may not even be the same brand name (I think the brand was Collosseum) but the link shows the kind item I am trying to refer to.

Smart Wool

Enjoy your trip.


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post #4 of 5 Old 10-29-2010
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"go sail this winter up the Canadian coast a bit and maybe up to Alaska"

That thought sure strikes an icicle through my heart. Other knowledgeable winter sailors will chime in, I'm sure, but I have to say, Could you have possibly found a more anti board shorts and flip flops way to sail than this?

Make sure your clothing and insulating long underwear are sythetics (or wool as mentioned) that dry quickly and provide some warmth while doing so. Patagonia's expedition weight long underwear is excellent.


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post #5 of 5 Old 10-29-2010
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Originally Posted by DubeJ View Post
.....My friend moved himself and his ship to Seattle and is flying me out to go sail this winter up the Canadian coast a bit ad maybe up to Alaska..... .
Well, you'll have no trouble finding an anchorage... won't be crowded.

I fear you're seriously underestimating the "cold" you're setting yourselves up for. Yes, you can equip yourselves for virtually arctic conditions, but generally those folks keep mostly dry.

Even above freezing can feel numbingly cold in humid, rainy conditions and you'll be guaranteed those. On top of that the north and central coast is pretty much steadily pummelled by sequential low pressure systems that provide high rainfall, gale force and worse winds on a regular basis. This is true pretty well from November through March.

As has been mentioned, hard it imagine a plan further from 'board shorts and flipflops'......

Reliable, safe cabin heat is a must.. a place/way to dry gear between travel days without creating a cold sauna below is another. Provisioning will be spotty outside of the few major centers along the way. Even fuel availability may be worse than during summer.

A boat and a boating skill set that can handle the extreme weather is yet another critical factor. Help will be relatively far away if problems are encountered.

Good luck with your plans.. it will be a memorable trip either way.. the challenge is to make it memorable for the right reasons.


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