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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When do you winterize your boat?

Do you store in water or on the hard?

What does it involve:
emptying water tanks​
emptying water hoses​
anti freeze in toilet​
topping off diesel fuel​
anti freeze in raw water circuit in engine​
oil and filter change​
covering the entire boat​
covering the cockpit area​
remove sails​
unstep rig​
removing clothing​
removing food​
removing cushions/upholstery​
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I winterize in December
Usually store in water

emptying water tanks - YES
emptying water hoses - YES
anti freeze in toilet - YES
topping off diesel fuel - YES
anti freeze in raw water circuit in engine - YES
oil and filter change - YES
covering the entire boat - usually NO
covering the cockpit area - sometimes
remove sails - usually YES
unstep rig - usually NO
removing clothing - usually YES
removing food - YES
removing cushions/upholstery - usually NO
 

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When do you winterize your boat? When the boat is in Rhode Island; October or November - it depends on when the boss says we will go to Florida. Last year I brought the boat to Florida, and therefore did not winterize at all!

Do you store in water or on the hard? On the hard

What does it involve:

  • emptying water tanks - YES
  • emptying water hoses - YES [ETA - I blow compressed air through each line and valve in my domestic water system. I then run 1-2 gallons of Propylene Glycol (PG) antifreeze into the system and through all of the valves. One of the valves is for the Vacuflush head. I run a little extra PG through this valve and into the bowl of the toilet.]
  • anti freeze in toilet - YES
  • topping off diesel fuel - YES
  • anti freeze in raw water circuit in engine - NO - I empty the strainer and hoses (with a wet vac) and remove the impeller. I also drain the heat exchanger and install a new zinc.
  • oil and filter change - YES
  • covering the entire boat - YES - see my thread on Shrink Wrap prices! I am looking to buy a canvas cover for next year.
  • covering the cockpit area - YES
  • remove sails - YES - Folded, and put in sailbags. Store in V-berth.
  • unstep rig - Only every 10 years or so. Inspect the rigging and wiring when I do.
  • removing clothing - YES
  • removing food - YES
  • removing cushions/upholstery - NO - I turn all the cushions on end, so that air can flow around them. The fiberglass headliner of my boat ensures that if there is a deck leak (and there isn't) it will not get on the cushions.
  • [ETA] This year I also removed, cleaned and retorqued the nuts on the keel bolts. I do this every other year.
 
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The answer to "when?" will depend on "where" you are. When I was in northern Ontario (Lake Superior) hauling and winterizing usually happened in late September. One can (and I did) push it into October, but by then the odds of having to shovel snow off the deck is pretty high. No fun...

When I was in southern Great Lakes I would haul and winterize in late October, or into November. Now that I'm based in Newfoundland I'm back to mid-late September.

Winterizing includes:

√ emptying water tanks
√ emptying water hoses
x and √ anti freeze in toilet (I have a composter, so just empty it is all. When I had a standard head, yes).
√ topping off diesel fuel
√ anti freeze in raw water circuit in engine
√ oil and filter change (I tend to change filter every two years)
√ covering the entire boat
x covering the cockpit area
√ remove sails (but I store them on board)
x and √ unstep rig (some years yes, some no).
√ removing clothing (because this is all the clothes I own, and I need them for winter living/travels).
√ removing food
x removing cushions/upholstery (never have)

To your list I'll add:

drain bilge
add antifreeze to bilge
open all seacocks
run some antifreeze thruhulls/seacocks.
run antifreeze through water system, including all water pumps. Drain, but leave residual AF in system
 

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We refer to each Fall and Spring, as if we were moving out of our house and then back in again. It's seriously getting old. We don't camp aboard, we live aboard, during the season. It's a second home. Our boat is fully stocked with a pantry, clothing, toiletries, multiple sheets, towels, etc, etc. It takes multiple full weekends on each end to get her ready for bed, then resurrect her from hibernation. We desperately want to take her down south for the winter, just to avoid the process. However, that wouldn't save any time, it would presumably be more enjoyable. Not everyone finds that to be true either.

She'd still need the annual maintenance tasks, like changing oil, then it's a 5ish day trip, just to get far enough south on the East Coast to avoid freezing temps. 10-14 days to really get tropical. Bermuda is actually the closest harbor above freezing for the winter (4ish days). Tougher to visit Bermuda back and forth for the winter.

There's just no easy answer. We stay in full sailing mode through the end of Sept. At some point in Oct, we begin the decommissioning process, with the goal of being out of the water the first or second week of Nov. Splash the first of April and spend the first few weeks, at the slip, just bringing her back to life. Spring goal has always been a shakedown weekend cruise by first weekend in May. No longer have a full cockpit enclosure, so that doesn't seem as likely next year. Plan to splash a couple of weeks late this Spring.
 
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I watch the weather. I live close by the town boat ramp and can see on my way home when the launch starts to get icey. Eastern Ontario, the river here froze from bank to bank this week, I winterized last week end (~November 20).

Boat is out of water, there is no in water storage here, ice is too thick, then spring flooding.
Boat is on trailer at home.
Sail removed, stored in side
Outboard is removed, stored inside
Blackwater's is empty, but its emptied after each week end, so its empty any way.
Battery stored inside.
 

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Not much to add here, except I just got the bill for shrink wrapping my 28 foot boat this year: $1100. That's about $300 more than last year, and more than $400 more than the year before. That's nuts. I've tried other solutions (on my earlier boat) before to save the bucks: I've built frames of PVC piping, and tried a frame of wood. I've used cheap and not so cheap tarps over them. None of the experiments survived a winter. And even when they were in place, they didn't do as good a job as a shrink wrapping.

Here in Connecticut, I think a winter cover is necessary. I will be getting estimates on a boom tent-style cover this spring once the mast is back up and I can measure.
 

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Not much to add here, except I just got the bill for shrink wrapping my 28 foot boat this year: $1100. That's about $300 more than last year, and more than $400 more than the year before. That's nuts. I've tried other solutions (on my earlier boat) before to save the bucks: I've built frames of PVC piping, and tried a frame of wood. I've used cheap and not so cheap tarps over them. None of the experiments survived a winter. And even when they were in place, they didn't do as good a job as a shrink wrapping.

Here in Connecticut, I think a winter cover is necessary. I will be getting estimates on a boom tent-style cover this spring once the mast is back up and I can measure.
Yikes! At that price, a custom-made canvas cover would pay for itself in a few short years.
 

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Not much to add here, except I just got the bill for shrink wrapping my 28 foot boat this year: $1100. That's about $300 more than last year, and more than $400 more than the year before. That's nuts. I've tried other solutions (on my earlier boat) before to save the bucks: I've built frames of PVC piping, and tried a frame of wood. I've used cheap and not so cheap tarps over them. None of the experiments survived a winter. And even when they were in place, they didn't do as good a job as a shrink wrapping.

Here in Connecticut, I think a winter cover is necessary. I will be getting estimates on a boom tent-style cover this spring once the mast is back up and I can measure.
Apologies for the thread drift, But:

My shrink wrap job was $1500 this year! That turned me from a happy customer, into a very suspicious one. I will not pay them for this "service" again. I have 3 companies from which I will solicit bids for a cover for my 35' boat.
 
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Apologies for the thread drift, But:

My shrink wrap job was $1500 this year! That turned me from a happy customer, into a very suspicious one. I will not pay them for this "service" again. I have 3 companies from which I will solicit bids for a cover for my 35' boat.
The shrink wrap for our 38' trawler went from $130Cdn last year to $280Cdn (thats about $20 to $40 US :) )
Sharon and I do it ourselves, it's not very difficult.
 
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The previous owner of the Cal 33-2 I had religiously did the following for winterizing (southern Lake Huron, Michigan): Unstepped the mast, removed all stays, spreaders, and halyards (using pre-made signal lines for each halyard). Of course the wind vane and anemometer spinner were also removed. At first I thought this was excessive work. My first winter with the boat, mast stored fully stepped/assembled on the boat (boat stored on the hard), and the wind vane sheet metal cracked in half requiring a new part from the instrument supplier and two trips to the top in a bosun's chair come spring. Not that the destruction of one instrument sender is reason in and of itself to drop the mast every year, but it reminded me of the harsh environment the entire installed mast and rigging was subject to over the winter. If I still owned that boat I might be dropping the mast, not sure.

My "downsized" boat is a 26' trailerable so the mast must come down. But I also completely remove all stays, spreaders, halyards, mast top instruments and wrap the mast in plastic to keep out bugs and small critters: outside storage for mast, cockpit lazaret storage for mast rigging.

Agree that batteries should be removed and stored inside (manufacturer info says to store between 32F and 80F). Also keep batteries well charged over the winter.

I use a 9 mil, nylon thread mesh reinforced, re-usable poly tarp from Harbor Freight to cover the boat. Shrink wrap is fine but I think "breathing" air holes should be incorporated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Never in Greece or Antigua, just take off the canvas and sails, run some preservative through the watermaker, say goodbye to the very nice people then catch a cab for the airport.
This is why I once thought that sailing to Antigua and leaving the boat for the winter was a super idea.... and we could fly down and do some tropical sailing all winter. However... it requires a competent crew and having the boat set up for passages... gear and so on. And of course someone to check on the boat regularly. If I were a younger man I think I would don this rather than winter store.

You do need to have contacts in the island and reliable people to work with...
 

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Flying to the Caribbean to visit the boat is just far enough from the Northeast to be hard for short visits. It's one reason we don't do it, just for winter storage. For a couple weeks, it's far less expensive and more convenient to bareboat too. Looking forward to going down to spend the entire winter aboard, once retired.

For now, we just want a place to get her out of the freezing temps and be able to reasonably do projects over a long weekend. Carolinas are most likely. Considering Bermuda.

Coincidentally, we were in Portsmouth right after the ship left that takes yachts down to St Thomas. If I was to make a habit of it, I'd seriously consider that method. Pricey compared to sailing it oneself, but not too different from a crewed delivery. Less wear and tear. Of all the people I know that tried to snowbird back and forth, after three maybe four roundtrips, they got tired of the passage.

My only worry for leaving a boat on the hard in the Caribbean is mold. I suppose one could bomb with chlorine dioxide. There are certainly plenty of folks who make a living managing boats down there, so one could leave it in the water, with the dehumidifier on and have it tended to. I'm sure, after this all adds up, it's just not worth it, unless one is actually going to use it extensively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Flying to the Caribbean to visit the boat is just far enough from the Northeast to be hard for short visits. It's one reason we don't do it, just for winter storage. For a couple weeks, it's far less expensive and more convenient to bareboat too. Looking forward to going down to spend the entire winter aboard, once retired.

For now, we just want a place to get her out of the freezing temps and be able to reasonably do projects over a long weekend. Carolinas are most likely. Considering Bermuda.

Coincidentally, we were in Portsmouth right after the ship left that takes yachts down to St Thomas. If I was to make a habit of it, I'd seriously consider that method. Pricey compared to sailing it oneself, but not too different from a crewed delivery. Less wear and tear. Of all the people I know that tried to snowbird back and forth, after three maybe four roundtrips, they got tired of the passage.

My only worry for leaving a boat on the hard in the Caribbean is mold. I suppose one could bomb with chlorine dioxide. There are certainly plenty of folks who make a living managing boats down there, so one could leave it in the water, with the dehumidifier on and have it tended to. I'm sure, after this all adds up, it's just not worth it, unless one is actually going to use it extensively.
As I am retired I have no problem going down to the Caribe for 2-3 weeks cruise or more. I would not store on the hard... I used to know people down there and I would find someone who is there to mind the boat... for a fee of course. When was down there several live-aboads made Antigua home. One worked for a marine service comp. I don't expect daily visits... but regular checking would be fine.
I've done the sail down and back maybe 12 times and with decent weather it is...just long... but not unpleasant or difficult. I've done it alone and with one other and even 3 others on board. I stop in Bermuda... two legs... one less than 5 days and one about 7 days. I've even motored the entire way from St Marten to Bermuda!
I am not interested in a bare boat charter... I prefer to sail my own boat/home.
I don't know the economics... but storing down there more spendy than in water storing up here and likely more than storing on the hard... but you get to sail in the Caribe which beats slipping on ice up here. Any vacation has to be min $3k - 6k for two... and do that 3 or 4 times.... and the winter store idea makes economic sense...
 
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