I do not believe that one can compare a NY winter with a Chicago winter.
Rafe is likely to see extended periods of time with temps. well below 0F and
quite possibly stretches at -20F, generally with a couple feet (minimum) of
snow to go with it. This will be interspersed with days that get above the
freezing mark with warm sun and cause some of the accumulated snow to melt.
As the snow melts in the sunshine, the resulting water will, of course, try
to exit the boat, via the drains. Or, worst case, he will have a leaky
fitting that will allow water to seep into the bilge. Either way, the melt
water will be trapped in the boat, for the most part, because the drains
will clog with ice, since they will more than likely not be in the sun long
enough to allow the water to flow out, it will refreeze in the drain.
Eventually, if there are enough of these cycles, the cockpit floor and the
seats will becomes solid sheets of ice. It goes without saying that any
water that makes it to the bilge, will be there, as ice, for the duration. I
would expect, at the very least, to have to replace my drain hoses if I were
to leave my boat out in the open all winter and would not be surprised to
find damage to fiberglass parts where water is allowed to accumulate and
freeze. It's not the fact that the snow gets on the boat that will hurt
anything. It's the freezing/thawing that tears stuff up.
I am fortunate, in that I have a shed that I can store my boat in for the
winter months. If I had to leave her outside in the elements, I would
definitely have a tarp over her.
As far as the water systems are concerned, up here where it gets cold, we
need to empty our tanks as dry as possible and put RV (non-toxic) antifreeze
in them. Just poor it into the fresh water tank through the fill port and
then run your pump at the sink until the water starts coming out pink. Let
it run for a few seconds to ensure that your drain hose is also clear of
water that can freeze. If you have a marine head you can just dump a bowl
full in the commode and pump it through the system with the flushing pump.
You will need to open your through hull, (intake) if you have one, to allow
any water to drain out of that. You should be able to accomplish all this
pretty easily with a gallon of RV antifreeze, cost, under 3 bucks.
You will want to take your batteries out of the boat and store them, off the
floor, someplace where the temp. is less extreme. I usually set mine on a
board or a small pallet to keep them off the cement. You will want to put a
trickle charger on the batteries a couple of times over the winter to keep
them from becoming fully discharged. Your batteries will self discharge over
a period of a couple months (give or take) if you don't hook a charger to
them now and then. You could actually leave them in the boat, if you were
diligent about keeping them charged up once every couple weeks or so. A well
charged battery will not freeze, even at -40F. It's when the battery becomes
discharged, that you get into trouble. I find it easier to just take them
inside though, then if I forget to charge them for a while, it's not a
I don't think I am going to rub grease all over my trailer though. Wouldn't
a little WD 40, JB 80 or a similar product be a lot easier if you a worried
about rust protection???
Food for thought,
08 Oct 2001
inter storage answers are almost as personal as IMF verses standard main and
motor-tiller connections. I store my boat in a clearing in the woods in CT,
and find that a tarp is really needed to keep leaves, pine needles and other
stuff from collecting in the cockpit, clogging the drains and making spring
cleanup much more difficult. If you store in a boatyard, overhead trees are
unlikely and this should not be a problem. Likewise, I do not have solar
panels, so I remove my batteries for life in my basement connected to my West
Marine 3 stage charger which keeps it fully but not over charged. For my tarp,
I use a brown poly tarp (nothing in nature is the color of those blue ones) and
support it by the mast sitting on the bow pulpit and the GB ladder at the
stern. I have built a support post that mounts on the tabernacle to support the
middle of the mast. I find this provides enough rake in the tarp to keep ice
from building up on the surgace or hollows. I lace the tarp under the hull and
up the stern. I also hang 5 or 6 half full gallon jugs from the grommets on each
side to keep tension on the tarp. in 4 years of storing the R22 I have never
had a loose or torn tarp. I only use a poly tarp for two years since they do
degrade in UV. For my storage needs this is what works.
My only worry about not covering would be if the weather conditions allowed
partial thaws and refreezes, the cockpit drains could clog, allowing substantial
ice and weight to build up in the cockpit. I had this happend to a previous
boat which fortunately had a smaller cockpit. I would guess that a cockpit full
of water and ice could structually damage even the R22.
Shrink wrapping with proper ventilation is a good solution for extreme
climates. Where I am now in Burlington VT, all the boats in storage a
shrinkwrapped. I've even heard of people shrinkwrapping their liveabord boats
in the water, with access flaps so they could get in and out. Could be a good
solution for Bill, it would be like working on your boat in a cocoon.
09 Oct 2001
This will be Merry Lynn's seventh Michigan winter. My winter regime? Drop
the mast. Take the boat out of the water. Take the water out of the boat
(15 gallon tank and porta potti). Stick battery and outboard in the
basement. Stick the rudder and tiller in the cabin. Use the remaining gas
for the snow thrower.
Every two or three years I put the mast and jib furling pole on a cuppla
sawhorses, strip off the sails and have them cleaned. I also check all the
lines and stays and make note of tasks to do over the winter.
Thats about it, though. Since she seems to gather water forward in the
cockpit, I do get the bow up as high as I can, but I have never covered her
or sealed the drainage ports. Every year I tell myself that maybe this year
I will shrink wrap her. Have not done it yet, tho. I did put a layer of wax
on, last year, and I think it made that first cleaning a little easier. Hard
to tell. Maybe I will do that again this year.
S/V Merry Lynn
09 Oct 2001
Well, I put our Rhodes 22 into winter storage this week. We store the boat at the Midland
County Fairgrounds. They have a fantastically good deal on winter storage using the
fairground buildings which are normally used for the animal exhibits and merchant displays
during the Midland County Fair. For $187, I can store the boat indoors, in a secure
storage building with on-site guards, from October 1st until May 1st! With 24 hours
notice, I can get the boat out any time during the winter if we wish to take a trip down
Since I store indoors, my winter prep is pretty basic. I drain the water system and
pottapotti and then pump some potable antifreeze thru each. I leave the battery on board.
I simply give the battery a good charge disconnect it. I wash and wax the hull and clean
the interior. I make sure the tires are pumped up to specification. I change the engine
oil and lower unit oil. I make certain the carb has no residual gas in it. I remove the
spark plugs and squirt some motor oil into each spark plug hole. I make certain the sails
are dry, then I fold them up and pack them away into their sailbags. The sails are stored
on board. I put out a little D-Con on the cabin sole in case any mice find their way into
the boat. I make certain the bilge and lazzarette compartment are both dry. That's about it.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
14 Oct 2001