Winterizing the Sailboat: Last Details

I didn’t realize how many little pieces to the winterizing process there are until I started blogging about it:

  • Draining the water system
  • Winterizing the head
  • Replacing cruising “in-commission” hatches with “winter-over” hatches
  • Remove linen and pillows
  • Change engine oil
  • Disconnect batteries
  • Drain raw-water side of engine cooling system

And this year, there is the added prep for taking down the rig:

  • Remove mainsail
  • Remove headsail (done several months ago)
  • Unrig mainsheet
  • Unrig topping lift
  • Remove boom
  • Disconnect mast wires
  • Close through-deck wire conduit with duct tape

I got the rig ready to take down several days ago, removing boom, mainsail, etc.. Today I started the engine to warm the lube oil while I disconnected the mast wires and taped up the conduit hole.

I’ve detailed my mast connections before in this post. Disconnecting the wires is a simple matter of unscrewing them from the bus bar to which they are attached.

sailboat wiring
The mast end was connected via the bottom screw set.
Middle Bay Sailing
I’ve labelled the wires for ease of identification and reconnecting. BRN for brown, in this case.

I discovered something interesting as I disconnected wires. When I installed new blocks last spring, I also filled mounting holes for old blocks. This involves reaming the old hole with the drill bit to get a clean surface for the filler to adhere. I hadn’t anticipated drilling through my mast wires, which were mounted beneath one of the old mounting holes. See below:

This will mean a new piece of wire here. Not sure if I'll replace then entire length, or just splice in a piece. This is quite a compromise of the wire, though.
This will mean a new piece of wire here. Not sure if I’ll replace then entire length, or just splice in a piece. This is quite a compromise of the wire, though.

The lights still worked, but I must have lost half of the conductor of each strand. No shorts, either, so I was lucky.

Winterizing sailboat: Conduit assembly ready for unstepping.
Conduit assembly ready for unstepping.

Having the mast connections prepared, I shut down the engine and got set up to change the oil, digging out my tools and little pump for the oil. The Yanmar 2gm20f doesn’t have an oil drain plug (to my knowledge, anyway – and I felt around down there today, coming up with nothing that felt like a drain plug). So as I’ve done for the past 11 years, I used my tiny pump to drain the oil from the dipstick tube.

Here’s a photo of it:

Winterizing sailboat: pump
This is a pump use to pump lube oil into an outdrive of an inboard-outboard motor. I ran across this when I was a ski boat owner, and realized that it would work for this application too.

This is a pump used for pumping lube oil into the outdrive of an inboard-outboard motor. I ran across this when I was a ski boat owner, and realized that it would work for this application too.

This little pump costs about $11 (11 years ago, they’re probably $16 now). It squirts about an ounce with each pump, so yeah, it takes a few minutes to get the oil out of the engine with it.

I connected a longer plastic tube to it, with a piece of copper tubing for probing into the bottom of the crank case. It takes about ten minutes to pump two quarts of oil out the dip stick tube.

After the pump sucked air, I loosened the oil filter, put a sandwich baggie around it, and spun it off into the baggie. I got a little oil below the engine, but not much. Anticipating a little spillage, I placed an oil absorbent pad below the engine to catch it.

Winterizing sailboat: oil filter
Used oil filter in a zip-lock baggie.
Winterizing sailboat: spilt oil
This caught most of the oil. I had to wipe up a bit more.

After cleaning up, I replaced the hatches/hatch boards. I use the old plastic forehatch for the winter cover forward – the hardware is broken off, but I hold it in place with a shock cord. I also use the old teak and lexan drop board (it’s in two pieces now) for the winter cover up, and stow my varnished oak drop boards below.

This year, one of my goals is to build a new forehatch from oak. I built the one I currently have of teak, but there were flaws and stability problems with the decking I used. I know how to do better now, and I think the new hatch would match the rest of woodwork on deck better.

Winterizing sailboat: hatch
Here’s a photo of the old hatch I built. The decking strips are too thin, and it wasn’t originally sealed in epoxy. This allowed the decking strips to crack, and some of the joints to open up too. It’s currently weather-proof, but it’s difficult to keep looking nice because of the movement of the wood underneath the finish. I also have a better idea for mounting the plastic lens.

After all this was done, I launched the dink and tied her to the stern (my transportation back across the creek after delivery), cast off the mooring lines, and motored across the creek to the boatyard. Here’s Cay of Sea patiently waiting for her travel lift ride.

Sea of Cay (sailboat)
Sea of Cay (sailboat) in dock

Another project for this winter/spring is a dinghy refit. C Minor is looking sad again. I’ve got in mind a redesign of the thwarts this time, plus all the cosmetic work.

Time for another refit for C Minor (the dingy)
Time for another refit for C Minor (the dingy)

Okay – boating season’s over, projects begin!

Rick Bailey

Rick Bailey sails the Chesapeake Bay with his wife, Ruth, on a Watkins 27 coastal cruiser. Rick is retired and writes the "middlebaysailing" blog (http://middlebaysailing.wordpress.com).

rick-bailey has 25 posts and counting.See all posts by rick-bailey

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