Well, here we are again, at the end of another boating season…our fourth in fact. Each year though, it gets less and less depressing putting R.E.D. to rest for the winter. We’ve developed a good system that works well for us and the routine has become a familiar part of the changing seasons.
We’ve been asked many general and some specific questions about how we prepare our lady for the ‘off’ months so I’ll try to detail the steps.
By the time we are hauled out, the mast is down, sails have been removed and checked and packed away in their sail bags. We remove all rigging…all. It may seem a bit extreme to some but it doesn’t take that much more time and it gives us a chance to check all the bits and pieces for wear. Each year we’ve found at least one bolt needing replacing and this year the genoa furling line and topping lift will need to be replaced. (Story from last year here)
Our sailing base is in fresh water so issues with rusting is not usually a huge problem but for the past two years R.E.D. has had her belly dipped in salt water for several weeks at a time so this year there was some extra polishing of the stainless rails to be done.
Once all the lines have been removed, they are taken home to be washed (past story here)
Giving the boat a thorough going over also means we can identify any needed repairs. We, or rather I, found a couple of uncharted rocks this summer and although there was minimal damage the dagger board has been removed and the dings will have to be fixed. I see it as an opportunity to learn how to fibre glass. How’s that for a positive attitude? (the year we had a minor repair done here and no, I wasn’t at the helm that time but in Captain’s defence it was during a bloody big storm)
This year ‘my’ motor was due for its 300 hour maintenance servicing so we took a short trip to the Evinrude dealer for an eTec spa appointment. That amazing little internal computer told the detailed story of the past four years.
Once back at the club, we focused on the rest. The anchor and engine wells are cleaned out, dried and run through with antifreeze as is the galley sink and head (make sure to use an alcohol-free solution. Past story here). Just in case of water infiltration we plug the holes in both the engine and anchor wells with a small cork. This year we also put a piece of screen mesh over the ballast opening to keep out any curious critters. The gas tanks are winterized with a fuel stabilizer. Inside and out we treat all electrical and other metal fittings with a silicone-based spray.
All non essentials are removed from inside : galley gear, bedding, personal items, tools (except those needed for a few final chores). We have found the Ikea rails have been a great help to hang and store post season (story here)
The two batteries are removed each year, brought home and placed on an intelligent charger.
I’ve used to use Kanberra gel pots in the bilges each year to offset any chance of mold and related odours developing but I find it pricey so this year I’m trying something different: two terra cotta diffusers and tea tree oil. The clean fresh aroma is pleasant and as we frequently visit R.E.D.during the winter months I can refil from time to time. Will see how it goes.
We are still using our PVC ‘igloo’. With the mast support extensions still installed it gives a great angle to keep snow from accumulating on the tarp, still the original from four years ago. There are a few rubbed areas which we have reinforced with red tuck tape (that’s tuck not duck – made in Canada, eh?). We tried using tarp patches last year but possibly because of the cold and damp they came off but this red sheathing housewrap tape will not budge. Past story here.
I guess to some this may seem like a lot of work. It takes us a good two days to complete but as I mentioned above it’s now a routine. We care about making sure our little chalet-on-the-water is well maintained. Our club seems to have that same mentality. Each boat is hauled out with great care and now that they are all placed for the winter months, the process of removing docks is underway.
This one last sunset image will have to keep us going for a while. We come back to visit R.E.D. from time to time to tighten the tarp lines and dust off the snow and to talk to her so she doesn’t feel too lonely. She’s in good company though surrounded by all her boat friends.
We really enjoyed having you along for another spectacular season. Our posts may not be as frequent as we hunker down for the upcoming Canadian winter but from time to time check back for updates on the ‘home’ front…