The Easiest Seasonal Maintenance
Haul out preparation is basically the reverse of what we do for the launch. Ending the whole process with a good cleaning and a pressure wash. It just seems faster. Taking things from the boat is much easier than putting them in. Trying to remember the best space for them can be a different story.
Dinghy: Our dinghy, fondly referred to as POG (Pot of Gold), gets her bottom pressure washed, just like Rainbow. For some reason during the latest season’s haul out, we didn’t have the power washer with us and I just used the hose at the dock to clean. Although Michael always told me that the barnacles would be difficult to remove straight out of the water, that isn’t actually the case. I did all the scraping at that time and it was ready for storage without having to worry about additional work in the spring and leaving all the mess behind. A long handled car window ice scraper (with a brush at the end) works perfectly! I am sure that one can be found in any car in Canada! After cleaning the bottom, it is lifted upside down up onto Rainbow’s bow on dockside, where it remains for winter storage after haul out. (updated 8 Jan 2017)
Required Items for Winter Storage: First you need something to hold the boat on and then you need something to get on the boat with. When we purchased Rainbow, we invested in a folding extension ladder and attach it permanently to her for the winter with a bicycle chain lock.The folding ladder enables us to put it easily in the trunk of the car and the bicycle chain lock inhibits others from “borrowing it.” We purchased Rainbow in the winter so she was already stored on rented jack stands. The following winter we purchased our own jack stands, second hand, rather than renting them from the marina (at $50 a stand, bargain!).
Elbow Grease: I wash the galley area, inside the cupboards, the cooler and the icebox. I clean the stove and oven. I place items I won’t be taking home in an open area for the air to circulate around the item, for instance the mattress on all beds. I bring home all foam toppers as I discovered in previous years, even after securing them tightly in plastic, they do absorb moisture. I put any books that I leave on the boat in plastic and place in the wet locker, which is lined in cedar. All hardcover books come home, as this material is a perfect vehicle for mold to form. Paperbacks are less likely to have mold damage. (updated 8 Jan 2017)
Water Tanks: We drain both water tanks, and keep the faucets open. Pour 1/2 gallon plumber’s antifreeze in sinks and toilet and pump through the system leaving the toilet in the open position. I also add vegetable oil to the toilet to keep the seals lubricated over winter storage. Michael drains the water pump by disconnecting the in and out lines to avoid freezing. (updated 8 Jan 2017)
Theft Prevention: Our marina is staffed in the winter and has electronic surveillance. We only ever had one break-in on the boat over the winter, and they took away a propane heater that we attached directly to a tank. They didn’t take the tank but only the heater, although the tank was worth more. Consequently, I am careful what I leave out in view and I don’t really leave much on the boat during winter storage anyway.
Mold Prevention: This little trick doesn’t entirely prevent accumulation of mold during winter storage, but it does help a lot! You still can’t forget to do a thorough cleaning before-hand in the fall, but placing permanent bins filled with charcoal in hidden places deters close to 95% of the mold! It is amazing and really works. Purchase charcoal, not bbq briquettes, but actually a bag of charcoal. I purchased plastic shoe bins from Costco and drilled holes along the top side of the bins and in the lids. I filled three of these bins with the charcoal and used duct tape to secure each lid to a bin. I put each of these in places which are never in the way. I placed one on top of the metal water tank, one on top of the metal waste-water tank housed underneath the v-berth and the third underneath Layton’s bed where I also store canned goods. If you don’t want to have permanent charcoal in the boat, then just fill a large bucket with charcoal and place it in the mid section of the boat, while in storage, and remove it in the spring. I like the permanent aspect, as charcoal is a natural odour-eater. (updated 8 Jan 2017)
Mechanics: After 7 years I finally sat Michael down to give me his portion of haul out prep. After the boat is safely on her jackstands in the boatyard he does the following:
- Pumps out bilge
- Pours 1.5 gallons of plumber’s antifreeze in bilge. (The remaining .5 is added to sink drains and toilet).
- Disconnects the inlet hose to the water pump, which then drains the water.
- Drains water filter and store the plug.
- Drains exhaust and stores plug.
- Removes the impeller to be replaced in the spring which drains the water from the engine.
- Loosens the alternator belt.
- Replaces the engine zinc. (optional as it can be done in the spring)
- Sprays WD-40 on all electrical and mechanical components.
- Disconnects battery from engine.
- Covers engine with blanket.
- Covers blanket with plastic drop sheet. (At this point he says he gives her a kiss and says good night). (updated 8 Jan 2017)