Store your Boat for the win­ter

Lay­ing your boat up for the win­ter

Campbeltown Courier - - FEATURE -

BOAT own­ers are start­ing to plan their win­ter lay up now as the 2017 sea­son is com­ing to a close. Many will be hop­ing for an In­dian sum­mer given the main boat­ing sea­son has been very wet. With yard space at a pre­mium on the west coast, it pays to book in early for your craft. If not al­ready booked, con­tact your pre­ferred yard now and work to the haul out tim­ings set by the yard. Usu­ally the yard takes care of ev­ery­thing needed and has var­i­ous rules re mast re­moval and stor­age. Some yards of­fer un­der­cover fa­cil­i­ties and these also need to be booked early since de­mand for this is high. It is also time to think about any work needed on the boat es­pe­cially if it is to be done by your cho­sen yard team. To main­tain your craft in a good, sea­wor­thy con­di­tion, a good pro­gramme of win­ter lay-up main­te­nance is es­sen­tial. Prepa­ra­tion at this stage will pay div­i­dends for speedy fit­ting out next spring. Some key ar­eas need to be con­sid­ered in lay­ing up your boat, some de­pend­ing on whether it is a sail or mo­tor boat – Keel, hull, top­sides, deck, cock­pit Freez­ing dam­age preven­tion In­te­rior Sails Rig­ging En­gine/Bat­ter­ies/Electrics Safety Equip­ment Many own­ers will carry out most win­ter lay up tasks them­selves so a quick ba­sic check list should be made up and worked through. A gen­eral list of equip­ment should in­clude - roll of duct tape, clean cot­ton rags, ad­justable and plumb­ing wrenches, full tool set, oil and fil­ters, pe­tro­leum jelly, boat wax, pol­ish­ing ma­chine and boat and equip­ment man­u­als. Keel/hull/top­sides/deck/cock­pit Pres­sure wash­ing the hull on lift out re­moves foul­ing and pre­pares the sur­face for new anti-foul­ing in the spring. The yard nor­mally does this on lift out. The cleaned hull can be in­spected for any dam­age and re­pairs car­ried out as re­quired de­pend­ing on weather and tem­per­a­ture con­di­tions. A first overview is of the gen­eral con­di­tion of keel/hull/top­sides/decks and fit­tings af­ter the sea­son’s wear and tear. Check keel­bolts, any play in the rud­der/cut­lass bear­ings and the prop-shaft and for any cracks in the hull and keel. A good wash down of the whole boat and a pro­tec­tive wax on the top­sides gives pro­tec­tion over the win­ter and makes fit­ting out eas­ier in spring. Thor­oughly clean cock­pit and touch up any paint or wood­work here and on deck if the weather is good. Cov­er­ing the boat is prefer­able when stored out­side but make sure cov­ers are well se­cured, al­low for ven­ti­la­tion and watch for chaf­ing at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. Some yards will shrink wrap. Equally, make sure your cra­dle, trailer or sup­port legs are se­cure and the trim of the boat is slightly bow up to make sure wa­ter won't run for­ward and pud­dle in places it shouldn't. Re­move speed trans­ducer im­pellers be­fore lift out so there will be no dam­age from hoist strops. Reg­u­lar in­spec­tion over the win­ter is im­por­tant in case cock­pit drains get blocked by leaves/de­bris and wa­ter builds up. Preven­tion of freez­ing dam­age – wa­ter sys­tems Work to pre­vent any freez­ing dam­age and the preven­tion of wa­ter dam­age is es­sen­tial. Boat man­u­als should give an idea of pipe work runs. Start­ing with ‘plumb­ing’ sys­tems – any­thing that holds or car­ries wa­ter ie pipes and tanks, pumps and strain­ers must be fully drained – pumped dry if nec­es­sary. Flush wa­ter sys­tems through with a wa­ter san­i­tizer first. Flush heads through, drain and lu­bri­cate dis­con­nect­ing hoses to al­low them to ‘breathe’. Drain down any wa­ter heaters or calori­fiers. Flush sea­cocks through to re­move salt build up and grease. Re­move the bar­rels from tra­di­tional style sea­cocks to pre­vent them seiz­ing. In­te­rior A clean up of the boat’s in­te­rior is re­ally im­por­tant for win­ter lay up. Some own­ers choose to re­move as much equip­ment as pos­si­ble and take home and store. Clear plas­tic stack boxes are good to al­low in­spec­tion of con­tents which should all be cleaned be­fore pack­ing – these can eas­ily be brought back to the boat in the spring. Berth cush­ions and soft fur­nish­ings in par­tic­u­lar are sus­cep­ti­ble to mould over the win­ter and will ben­e­fit from be­ing cleaned and stored at home. In­stalling a de-hu­mid­i­fier and heater will also keep the in­te­rior warm and dry. Wash­ing the in­te­rior thor­oughly in­clud­ing lock­ers, bilges, cook­ers and toi­lets with a weak bleach mix­ture will pre­vent mould. Al­ways ven­ti­late the boat well and do any touch up work inside when weather per­mits. Check gas sys­tems on board are up to stan­dard with a gas en­gi­neer. Now is a good time to check fire ex­tin­guish­ers and re­place as nec­es­sary in the spring. Sails These are the pow­er­house of the sail­ing craft so keep them in good con­di­tion. Check over and seek ad­vice on all as­pects of sail main­te­nance and re­pair from your lo­cal sail loft. If you need new sails this is a good time to place an or­der. Many lofts of­fer a dis­count dur­ing Septem­ber. Sail clean­ing is some­times of­fered and even stor­age. Stor­ing at home must be in a dark, warm well-ven­ti­lated area away from ro­dents. Stand­ing and Run­ning rig­ging With rig­ging and deck equip­ment un­der huge loads, it’s es­sen­tial to keep an eye on wear and re­place as re­quired. Check sheaves, swages, split-pins and spreader mounts for cor­ro­sion. Wash ev­ery­thing with fresh wa­ter. Sub­sti­tute hal­yards with mes­sen­ger lines to aid longevity. In­spect for chafe and wash and dry hal­yards/ sheets be­fore stor­ing in a dry place. With the mast down, check mast­head in­stru­men­ta­tion and mast­head blocks are run­ning freely. Re­move an­chors and chain and store on a pal­let be­low

the boat wash­ing first with fresh wa­ter to re­move salt and dirt. Ser­vice an­chor winches and check over chain links and shack­les for wear. If the weather is good this is an ideal time to paint out the an­chor locker for the spring. En­gines, Bat­ter­ies, Electrics Both in­board and out­board en­gines need to be pre­pared for win­ter with an oil change as stan­dard. New oil pre­vents in­ter­nal cor­ro­sion and pro­tects the en­gine stand­ing over the win­ter. Boat man­u­als will help in this re­gard or get the yard to do this im­por­tant work. Flush the out­board through with fresh wa­ter. Re­place fresh cool­ing wa­ter with an­tifreeze/wa­ter mix. Re­move the im­peller and plug the air and ex­haust out­let with an oil soaked rag. Fill fuel tank to pre­vent con­den­sa­tion and add a bio­cide. Change fil­ters as re­quired and bleed sys­tem for next sea­son. Change en­gine and gear­box oil and make a note of the date of change. Safety Equip­ment A com­plete over­haul of life­jack­ets, har­nesses and safety gear should be car­ried out re­plac­ing any­thing that looks sus­pect. Life­jack­ets can be stored par­tially in­flated over the win­ter. Check bot­tles for cor­ro­sion and re­place as re­quired. Kits are avail­able from chan­dlers. Flare packs should be kept in a dry area – check for out of date flares and re­place for next sea­son. The RNLI of­fers a safety check on boats and safety equip­ment. Clean and re­pair dinghy ten­ders, stor­ing par­tially in­flated. Life rafts should be re­moved and ser­viced by an au­tho­rised cen­tre. Ex­pert ad­vice on any is­sue with your boat is on hand from your lo­cal boat-yard op­er­a­tor, ser­vice en­gi­neer, chan­dler or sail-maker if there’s any­thing you’re un­sure about. These are the ex­perts so don’t hes­i­tate to ask if you need to. Once the boat is laid up safely with all main­te­nance in hand, own­ers can re­lax and en­joy plan­ning the boat­ing sea­son for 2018.

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