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Old 15-11-2010, 17:17   #1
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Winterizing

We are going to leave our sailboat in the water this year and was wondering what sage advice you folks have for winterizing.

She will be in Delaware City on the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. There is a strong tidal current through here so, although we get ice flushing through we don't get frozen in.

The dock will NOT have electricity.

The boat is a 44' custom steel cutter with a 2006 yanmar engine.

We will be at the boat periodically and hope to continue to use here off and on all winter.

Your thoughts please regarding;
protecting the engine
holding tank (Vetus flexible)
water to galley sink - foot pump, no pressure
water to head sink - pressure
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Old 15-11-2010, 18:06   #2
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I take it this is your first time - get someone to help who has some experience. This isn't complicated but screwing it up can be costly, dangerous and ruin your day.
Run antifreeze through the engine raw water intake until it comes out the exhaust, remove impeller and loosen the belt(s). Empty the holding tank and water heater tank, by-pass the latter and run pink antifreeze through the water pump (foot pump) to each faucet. Remove head intake and run antifreeze from there through the toilet to the holding tank - simply putting antifreeze in the bowl and pumping is useless. Also, always a good idea to close all seacocks after running antifreeze down them.
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Old 15-11-2010, 19:26   #3
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Figure out a way to keep a charge in your batteries...small solar panel?
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Old 16-11-2010, 05:39   #4
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Batteries are no problem, I have a wind generator.

What I was getting at was less the process for winterizing, I understand that well enough, but the need to.

I grew up on the New Jersey coast where Dad was a bayman (sounds so much more dignified than 'clam digger'.) Anyway all those guys kept their boats in the water all winter and none of them had any dock side heat. Dad's boat was raw water cooled with a marine engine. But all the other guys had car engines with fresh water cooling.

How did they get away with that?
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Old 16-11-2010, 07:32   #5
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luck?
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Old 16-11-2010, 07:58   #6
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I've come up with system that uses a minimal amount of antifreeze to winterize the fresh water system on my boat:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: Winterizing a boat with one gallon of antifreeze
I've eliminated any concerns about the engine by going to electric propulsion. But, if I were you I would make sure your engine is winterized as others have said a mistake there could be very expensive and time consuming to repair. I've seen valves that you can install on the raw water intake line that allow you to switch from raw water cooling to an antifreeze container that allow use the boat during the winter but, make it easy to flush antifreeze through once you are back at the dock. It's possible that the boats you mentioned are using just such type valves.
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Old 16-11-2010, 08:50   #7
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We left our boat in the water over last winter on the south coast, UK. Despite record cold weather, down to minus 10C and less, we had no particular problems.

Following advice of locals, we did absolutely nothing in the way of winterizing. If the boat is in the water, this keeps it warm and it has to be pretty cold before things start breaking. If you are going to be using the boat during the winter as we did, it will be a major expense and PITA to winterize and dewinterize the engine every time you go out.

Now we did keep electric heaters on inside, just in case.

I think the winterizing techniques discussed here mostly apply to boats which are out of the water.
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Old 16-11-2010, 09:38   #8
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I've kept a boat in the mid-Chesapeake for many years, and winterizing is a challenge. Yes, I have burst a few minor things, so relying on the water to keep the boat warm is not a sure bet.

I can't speak to engines; we have twin out boards and just let them drain. That has been OK.

I have burst a tee at the bottom of my water heater (a small amount of water was left by accident), so it is possible. On the other hand, it is in a small compartment in the bow and thus is colder than the rest of the boat. I have seen water bottles in the cabin freeze solid. Through hulls wont freeze, but the pipe and valves attached to them can get pretty slushy.

Each winter is different. However, without heat you are running some risk. We winterize everything in the winter, having learned on a series of boats that not to is a statistical risk.
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Old 16-11-2010, 13:27   #9
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I was going to leave boat in water over winter but water around rudder shaft has to much flow so I will pull and pack it. I was going to keep 2oo watt bulb in enginer room if I did. But, I always have ethylene glycol on fresh water side of engine.
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Old 16-11-2010, 13:54   #10
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I was going to leave boat in water over winter but water around rudder shaft has to much flow so I will pull and pack it. I was going to keep 2oo watt bulb in enginer room if I did. But, I always have ethylene glycol on fresh water side of engine.
fresh water side is not the problem, since we all have ethylene glycol there. It is a little known fact that sea water freezes and nearly the same temp as fresh. So the sea water side of your cooling system can freeze in cold weather and then you are stuffed.

Nevertheless, no one where we are based winterizes their engines if the boat stays in the water. Some heat in the cabin seems to be enough for any circumstances.
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Old 16-11-2010, 14:49   #11
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Wouldn't put complete faith in anti-freeze. I filled my potable water system including my hot water heater with it last year that was good to -50 degress. left the facets open. The hot water heater still froze and blew out the rubber seal. Was a pain to replace but at least it was just a rubber seal and not the heater. This year I added the anti-freeze and drained the system afterwards.

The engine is a throw up as to whether to drain it after running the anti-freeze though it as it also provides corrosion protection (I didn't drain the system).

PS - the only really acceptable answer to winterizing the boat; move to somewhere warm!
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Old 16-11-2010, 14:53   #12
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At work today I thougth of something that might be useful (that is itself is rather remarkable...but that's another story.)

I just finished putting in an Espar heater. They say that the low setting on the thermostat is 45F. Looking at the temperature averages for January and February I might just leave the heater run on the lowest setting, or even talk to Espar and see if I can lower it a few degrees more. I don't have to leave it on all the time, just if we get a cold snap that would drive the temp down, which could be for a week or two at a time.

The boat is pretty well insulated. I should not take too much effort to raise her temperature a few degrees above ambient. Everything below the floor boards will be kept at water temperature.

Then again, if it is just the engine compartment I have to worry about, I could just heat that. That has tons of insualtion and is really small, it would heat up in no time and the heater is already in there. Just close off the vent to the salon and open the heater output and put the thermostat in the engine compartment.

The only question would be having enough juice from the wind generator to keep the Espar going. Espar uses .13gal/hour running, or say 2 gallons a day if it ran pretty near full time, which it should not. 150 gallons of diesel in the tank.

Sound crazy????
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Old 16-11-2010, 15:15   #13
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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
At work today I thougth of something that might be useful (that is itself is rather remarkable...but that's another story.)

I just finished putting in an Espar heater. They say that the low setting on the thermostat is 45F. Looking at the temperature averages for January and February I might just leave the heater run on the lowest setting, or even talk to Espar and see if I can lower it a few degrees more. I don't have to leave it on all the time, just if we get a cold snap that would drive the temp down, which could be for a week or two at a time.

The boat is pretty well insulated. I should not take too much effort to raise her temperature a few degrees above ambient. Everything below the floor boards will be kept at water temperature.

Then again, if it is just the engine compartment I have to worry about, I could just heat that. That has tons of insualtion and is really small, it would heat up in no time and the heater is already in there. Just close off the vent to the salon and open the heater output and put the thermostat in the engine compartment.

The only question would be having enough juice from the wind generator to keep the Espar going. Espar uses .13gal/hour running, or say 2 gallons a day if it ran pretty near full time, which it should not. 150 gallons of diesel in the tank.

Sound crazy????
I have an Espar (Eberspaecher) heater. I would never leave it switched on continuously, no matter what setting the thermostat is on. The circulation pump and burner run continuously. I don't think any wind generator would keep up with it. Plus you might drain your diesel tank.

I set my Espar to come on twice a week and run for two hours each at the highest setting. I figure this will blow out the humidity and put some resdual heat into the boat.
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Old 16-11-2010, 15:17   #14
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Sound crazy????

Don't know if it is crazy. But the risk of running a heater when not on the boat just to not have to winterize sounds a little foolish (I couldn't think of a nicer way of saying it, don't take offense as none in met). Isn't the cost of the diesel going to be much more than the anti-freeze?
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Old 16-11-2010, 15:26   #15
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Don't know if it is crazy. But the risk of running a heater when not on the boat just to not have to winterize sounds a little foolish (I couldn't think of a nicer way of saying it, don't take offense as none in met). Isn't the cost of the diesel going to be much more than the anti-freeze?
Well, winterizing a boat you use every couple of weeks seems crazy to me. I don't know a single person in our area who does it.

The big Espar (ours is a 10kW) uses maximum one liter per hour, so maximum four liters per week on this regime. That's just 3 pounds 60 or maybe five bucks a week. I think I can handle that.

It's not the cost of the antifreeze; it's all the hassle. I would even be afraid of wear and tear on the hoses doing it every couple of weeks.

For continuous frost protection we use electric heaters. Unmetered electrical power is included in our berthing cost so there is no marginal cost of heating this way.
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