Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yachting Winter Maintenance Schedule


Yep! It’s pay me now or pay me later time. The prime objective of the true yachtsman is staying two moves ahead of your maintenance schedule.

The most import tool on your boat is the almighty pen. Like any good pilot you have a checklist and you follow it. WHAT no checklist? Spend some time now cutting and pasting and tailor a checklist for your boat. I promise this will save you time and money.

Check your lines and cleats.
If you’re on a mooring make sure the ball shackles are clean and seized with wire. Check your splicing and thimble’s for any chafe and rust. Also check your cleats on your boat, make sure that the backing plates are tight and in place. Your biggest concern is chafe, so redo all your chafe gear. Go up your rig and inspect your bird emplacements. While your up there you might consider taking your wind instruments wand down until the racing season starts back up in four months. Spray and cap connectors with a moisture displacing lubricant. “ I lost the wind cups and mast head fly to the tune of $ 300 last winter” Consider bringing a can of silicon lube and spraying your chives and if your furling system requires lubrication, this is the time to do it. On the way back down wipe down your mast and standing rigging. If you have the time, a coat of wax on the rig is a good idea. When you’re back on deck take a long look at your mast boot. I keep two lines on my bow and two on my stern and I tie them off on separate cleats. If your one of those lucky and rich guys who have a slip make sure your crew checks for all chafe on your dock line and your chafe gear is in place. Take a look at your cleats on the dock and make sure they are secure. Inspect your electric cord for any chafe or shows sign of sparking. Nothing like plugging in a bad cord when it’s raining. The surge is stronger with the south swells rolling through so check your fenders.

Empty Lockers.
All the perishables food should be taken off the boat. Take a look at your Med kit and take home anything that will expire over the next season. Did you know that your sunscreen has an expiration date on it? Open all the lockers and drawer’s good circulation will keep mildew down along with a dehumidifier or small heater will do wonders in the battle to come in February

The Head.
It goes without saying to pump out your holding tank. Flush a couple of gallons of fresh water thought it. Disconnect the intake hose from a closed through hole. Place it in a bucket and run some bleach and fresh water thought it to keep the smell down. Place some head lubricate in the bowl and give it a couple of pumps. Check and open and leave close all the seacocks in the head area. Run the macerator pump for a second or two, just to keep it from freezing up over the winter. Run a little bleach and water through your shower sump pumps.

Freshwater Tanks.
Drain the tanks of any water and remember that the pickup is above the bottom, so you will have to open the clean out port and sponge out the tank. This is the perfect time to wipe down the inside of the tank with a little chlorine and water. In Southern California we are fortunate not to have to deal with freezing conditions. Our hot water tanks, other pumps and hoses will be fine, Should you have a water maker you will need to refer o the manual and check all the seacock. Also take note of your refrigeration and air conditioning condensers.
Interior Cushions.
I remove all my cushions and steam clean them and place them in my office in the house. I need to find a better place for them in the house somewhere? If you don’t want them taking your living space make sure your prop them up. Air circulation to all sides of the cushions is best. Take all your blankets, linens, house flags, blankets and life jackets off the boat. Prop up your cabin sole and clean the cabinet surfaces, bilge, scrub the interior and make sure to get to the ice box or refrigeration area and use bleach and water to clean them out. A good trick is to leave an open box of backing soda in the box.


Each couple of weeks you will have to make a note of your battery condition. Check your water level and make sure you keep a full charge.


Your engine manual will have a checklist. In October I have my transmission fluids and oil changed. Dave Beek at Island Marine fuel at (949) 673-1103 can complete this task with little effort on your part. I go through my spar parts and replace everything I have used this past season. Check you packing gland and coupler for any changes. I run my hand over all hoses, belts looking for chaff and inspect my motor mounts. I normally replace my raw water intake hose at this time. I spend an hour just looking at the engine for any warning signs and spot clean the bilge and engine compartment.


It’s always good to wash her down and give her a coat of wax. The best to people in town to clean and wax your boat is Brian Marshall at (949) 322-4452 or Arturo Villegas at (714) 465-7513. I take all my halyards down with lead lines and stow my halyards and all lines out of the sun. Go over all your bright work and repair any bad spots. All your covers should be padded to prevent chafe, and secured for the up coming Santa Ana winds. I recommend taking down your furling genoa
And taking down my dodger, awnings for next four months. This is a lot of work but it does keep every thing working such as zippers and rust off the stainless and keeps the birds away. Go through your winches and windless and clean and replace your extra parts.

Closing Remarks.

Being the True Yachtsman you are now two moves ahead on your maintenance schedule and one step closer to being ready for Opening Day at the yacht club next season. Keep a look out for my notes on Opening Day this coming February.

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