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Sealed with a bow (and a stern, too)

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Phil Herring, Nov 12, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Phil Herring

    Phil Herring Dethroned Admin

    Joined Mar 25, 1997
    4,395 posts, 286 likes
    US Bainbridge Island
    How do you prep your boat for winter?

    While this varies depending on your latitude, its a great opportunity for owners in the south to jab at their northern cousins... and vice-versa in the summer.

    Are you a stands-and-shrinkwrap guy, or is draining fluids and hoping for the best good enough?

    Share your winterizing process here. Then find your shovel for either snow or beach sand... depending on your latitude, of course.


  2. Ken Cross

    Ken Cross

    Joined Oct 24, 2010
    1,855 posts, 280 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Everett, WA
    That picture horrifies me. It looks like a recipe to put a boat on the bottom. Our latitude is 48 degrees and we get frost and snow on rare occasion, but all that ice? The only reason we can't sail year round is when we have ice in the marina (usually 1/4 inch for a week or so each winter.) Having said that we don't often sail in winter as it isn't as comfortable as in the warmer seasons and it's frequently raining.

    Winter prep: I removed our headsail because it's new and I don't want it to mildew. I open up inside cabinets, head, and the engine compartment and turn on a small heater to keep the temp above freezing (around 50 degrees or so) which also helps keep moisture down.

  3. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,163 posts, 159 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    I need to put some fresh water repellent on the dodger in case it rains this winter.

  4. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,566 posts, 1,264 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    My winterization process involves the equivalent of winterizing a 2 bedroom cabin with two baths, two engines, two geo-thermal heat pumps, an outside shower, a deck wash and acres of canvas. All stuffed into the space of a medium size doll-house! No problemo! not.

  5. Whatfiero1


    Joined Mar 29, 2017
    220 posts, 40 likes
    Hunter 30t
    US littlecreek
    Boats on the hard for short winter nap. Anti freeze everything water tank Gray water and holding tank and raw water side engine then splash some anti freeze into bilge and pump out just to be sure. And I'm in the lower Chesapeake but it's what I did up north so just stick with it if it works

  6. cb32863


    Joined Jun 29, 2010
    872 posts, 115 likes
    Beneteau First 235
    US Lake Minnetonka, MN
    Strip sails and gear from boat. Pull outboard and winterize, store in garage. I don't use the fresh water system on the boat as it really isn't needed being on a lake, same with the head as it is a porta-potti. If it is used its cleaned and pulled off the boat. I am storing inside this year. When I was storing outside I would tie a tarp over the boat to keep the snow and eventual ice from getting anywhere it shouldn't.

  7. BrianRobin


    Joined Dec 31, 2016
    185 posts, 60 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 351
    Ca Charlottetown
    Here's mine, approx. a month ago at the club lot, it's home now, only another 6 1/2 months until she's back in the water, (ahhh, east coast living!) Winterizing involves, flushing gallons of the pink stuff through everything, disconnecting the batteries, winter cover install, and shore power hooked to my shop for the electric heater in case I get lonesome, good side is I look out my kitchen window and it's there!

    Attached Files:

  8. LeslieTroyer


    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,990 posts, 753 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    I’ll empty the fresh water, keep a heater on low, run the dehumidifier. I’ll probably pull sails and maybe dodger to clean it.

  9. plenny7


    Joined Oct 3, 2014
    223 posts, 125 likes
    Hunter 33.5
    US & Lake City, MN
    I may have missed something, and this list is a work in progress as I learn more about what I should be doing.

    Change the oil and filter
    Final holding tank pump out, disconnect head intake, flush antifreeze from head to tank
    Drain the fresh water tank and run antifreeze through every faucet until I see pink
    Remove everything from the refrigerator, defrost, clean and dry well, prop open the door
    Clean the bilge, attach small diameter hose to suck out what I can from the false bilge through a small hole I have access to.
    Remove all bedding and toiletries
    Make sure batteries are topped off and fully charged. Disconnect.
    Fill diesel tank
    Hoist the jib and main to make sure they're dry. Remove, fold, and bag
    Remove the canvas
    Clean the cabin
    Have the marina do the haul out and pressure wash
    Run antifreeze through the engine until I see pink. Run more through.
    Stow the fenders and lines (or bring home to clean)
    Open all through hulls to let them drain.
    Look longingly at the boat, inside and out, and sigh at the thought of not sailing for 7 months
    Pay someone a lot of money to shrink wrap it.
    Argue with my wife that we should get get a custom canvas cover, which would save us money after 5 years.
    Listen to her tell me that we're not buying a canvas cover until she gets new floors in the kitchen.

    BlowMeAway, uncledom and Whatfiero1 like this.
  10. Project_Mayhem


    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    75 posts, 18 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    Last year my Starwind got treated very nicely. I initially bought a 20x12' tarp and then realized the bow and stern were left open. I then picked up a 25x18' tarp which worked perfect. The smaller tarp was placed over the unstepped mast like a boom tent. Then the larger one went over the whole boat. I found that the tarp grommets didn't line up correctly when sealing the bow and stern. I put a 2x4 at each end of the boat. Then the tarp was fastened to the 2x4 with screws and fender washers. It was like a cocoon. Tennis balls with a slit in them were placed over stancions and the mast crutch. Bungees and zip ties secured the rest of the tarp to the trailer. Getting inside during the winter was a matter undoing a few screws and a couple of bungees. I put 1-2 gallons of RV coolant in the bilge, on deck anchor locker and the sink drain. A trash bag is placed over the spare tire. Cushions are placed in plastic mattress bags and stored indoors. The tarp survived with only minor damage. This can be avoided and I can easily get many more years out of it.

    This year the boat was stored in a field. The property owner refused to let me do any "work" on site so I was stuck prepping the boat at a Walmart five miles away. It was cold and windy. My hands became stiff after about 40 minutes. To my surprise a very nice gentlemen walked up and offered to help me put the tarp on. I was very thankful.

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  11. thinwater


    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,126 posts, 458 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    North winds often blow the water out of the Chesapeake Bay, with amusing results. No problem,no going out anyway.
    (it melted within 2 weeks--the ice does not last long here.)

  12. Project_Mayhem


    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    75 posts, 18 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I've been thinking about a better way to tarp a boat for the last few weeks. Most people seem to agree that shrink wrap is the best way to go. Shrink wrap is upwards of $400 for a 25' boat. I was thinking a very similar result can be had using something along this method.

    1. Buy a tarp at least large enough for the sides to go past the rub rails
    2. Put 3+ layers of 18" plastic wrap on the hull just below the rub rail. I'm referring to the stuff used to wrap pallets, not your leftovers. This is to increase grip and protect the hull
    3. Put the tarp on the boat and put just enough string bungies at the corner to keep it from blowing away for the next 30 mins or so
    4. Use 4-6" plastic wrap to secure the tarp. Use this on the outside of the tarp, just below the rub rail. Some additional string or rope can be used here if desired
    5. Cut off or secure the loose edges of the tarp so they aren't flapping around all winter
    Comments and thoughts are encouraged

  13. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Sealed with a bow (and a stern, too).

    Phil's header is kind of what I do to cover the boat. I've settled on this method:

    4 A frames support a high ridge.
    Xmas cover frame.jpg
    A 30' X 50' plastic tarp is thrown over the frame. I run the oversized tarp down over the topsides and between each jack stand pad and the hull. Each pad is tightened and lines are run through the tarp grommets and tied.

    As for 'sealing the bow (and stern), I take a 4' piece of 2X4, hold it at the angle of the bow and stern, and roll the tarp up around it until I reach the hull. Then I take another piece of 2X, and screw it(long screws), into the first 2X, now rolled deep in the tarp. At this point, the tarp captures the hull. I leave an adjustable opening on both ends that allows some air flow but no precipitation. It sheds most snow but wet stuff can stick and require an occasional push from inside.
    Xmas covered.jpg
    This arrangement (used now, 10 years or so), allows me to leave hatches open to ventilate the boat during winter. I leave pretty much everything onboard over the winter and it all stays dry. Plus I can get a few projects done under the tarp in the early spring as it warms up nicely in the sun.
    Boat work under cover 2 (1 of 1).jpg
    Indoor is best, shrink wrap is next, a tarp is probably third. And costs are in the same alignment.

    jon hansen, 31seahorse and BrianRobin like this.
  14. 31seahorse


    Joined Aug 2, 2005
    866 posts, 140 likes
    Celebrity Class 19
    US Penn Yan, NY (Seneca Lake SP)
    The high frame that TomY is showing would probably prevent the troubles we always had with tarping our boat...…...Ice Dams! There always were spots where water collected, sagged the tarp, and then froze. since we were hours from the boat we never had the ability to monitor those puddles and icebergs often enough. With the smaller trailered boat we have now she can live in the barn and be covered lightly to protect from pigeon poop.

  15. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,728 posts, 402 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    We decided to learn to drink rum, come on south with the rest of us.

    uncledom likes this.
  16. uncledom


    Joined Jun 11, 2011
    1,058 posts, 212 likes
    Hunter 41
    US Lewes
    empty water tanks and water heater
    disconnect water pump
    pressurize water system with air and open each faucet and electric flush head
    after pump out, pour two gallons of antifreeze down each head and flush
    open thru hull and macerate the holding tank so the antifreeze flows through the macerator and thru hull
    heat up engines, aux and gen, and change oil
    remove raw water line from strainer and insert in bucket of antifreeze run each engine long enough for pink water
    blow out air conditioner raw water lines with compressed air
    one gallon of antifreeze through anchor wash down system
    remove sails and take to loft for inspection and storage
    put on custom cover (boom tent style, toe rail to boom)
    wet vac any water from the bilge
    once pulled and pressure washed, open all through hulls to drain
    install winter solar panel to keep batteries charged

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  17. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Ice dams, that is the problem in our area. Often starts as wet clinging snow. Some covers can be worse than no cover. Once a dam or pocket forms, each rain and snow storm adds weight. If you're not there to clear the tarp,
    Cover failed frame polyE3 2.jpg the force can do some damage.
    Even shrinkwrap can collect wet snow. If the frame isn't up to the weight it can easily collapse.
    Cover colapsed shrinkE22.jpg

  18. 31seahorse


    Joined Aug 2, 2005
    866 posts, 140 likes
    Celebrity Class 19
    US Penn Yan, NY (Seneca Lake SP)
    Hello TomY, You have really documented the ice problem very well. One would think that wind would flip the water off the cover, but that doesn't happen with enough regularity to keep it off. We even tried slitting the tarp at places where water collected, but that did not solve the water collection problem. (Yes, in retrospect it was not a solution that held much merit!) Your pictures show the potential damage very clearly. If the tarp doesn't rip then there will be extra strain on the life lines and the stanchions. Lots of weight there.

  19. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,078 posts, 549 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    tom, that is one beautiful cockpit

    TomY likes this.
  20. isaksp00


    Joined Apr 27, 2010
    978 posts, 71 likes
    Hunter 23
    US Lake Wallenpaupack
    Other than the cover, I put the outboard in the basement, remove the battery so I can service it, remove most of the cushions, open the lazarette covers and lift the floorboards, and remove sails. Boom stays in cabin with lines attached.

    To cover, I have gone through various iterations. This year I have a PVC frame, (hopefully) an improved design from last year. I pull lifelines from stanchions, leaving them coiled in cockpit. 4 in diam PVC drain type pipe goes over the 4 stanchions, about 4 or 5 in above top, resting on deck. 90 degree elbow at top of each lets a length of somewhat smaller (3 in?) pipe go fore-aft between the 2 stanchions on each side. I cut a "slot" at the top of each vertical pipe on the side facing the center-line of the boat that lets a 1.5 in PVC pipe rest in it. Drilled a hole fore-aft through both the 4 in and the 1.5 in pipes (at the top of the vertical) and pushed a smallish PVC tube through, sort of like a clevis pin. Secured each end with a hitch pin. These support 1.5 in "A frame" like trusses, one across the boat at each stanchion position, with a 45 degree elbow glued to form each peak, about 2 ft above the prone mast in its normal position on crutch and pulpit. A 2X4 ridge goes from the rear peak, over the front truss, and about 2 feet further. I also have a pair of 1.5 in pipes wire tied together that hangs over (and is wired to) the mast about halfway back in the cockpit, each lower end resting on the deck against the molded toe rail on the 23. So the tarps are supported by the mast at the rear, these "legs" over the cockpit, the ridge plank, and the pair of "roof trusses" at each stanchion position. The pulpit and mast support the front of the tarps. I fashioned 2X4 crutch like supports to support the mast in 3 places against the deck, and also against the bottom of each A-frame, so any snow weight doesn't crush it.

    A pair of silver Harbor Freight tarps (one large, one medium) that cost me about $60 total on sale cover it. Tied tightly to trailer at every grommet with the cheap braided synthetic line from Home Depot, the kind that has a foam-like core. I like it as it seems to last a number of seasons and is easy to pull tight using something like a truckers hitch or even just wrapped on the trailer frame. Hope it has enough angle to shed most snow, we'll see next spring.

    Attached Files:

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