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Old 22-07-2013, 15:05   #1
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Winterization or how to leave her for 8 month

Hi all.
Have some general question which is need some clarification.
The time is running and now I planning the last visit to my candy in this season. This is our first season so we are still donn't know each other well.
I will leave her alone "in water" in some not so cold place with lowest recorded temperature of "-3" and average low temperature "6".
The place is good and safe but with no qualified personnel to help clear my doubts about what should I do and what isn't necessary.
I read many articles about "winterization" even here and its looks so hard for me especially in the part about engine..

First variant for me is:
- change oil and oil filters;
- ask somebody to start engine every two weeks for at least 2 hrs;
- fill fuel tank and ask to fulfill it during winter to keep the fuel level on top;
- cleanup the boat inside and outside and cover it with some tent;
- take off LPG container from the boat;
- open all doors;
- take off all pillows and sheets;
- drop some antifreeze to freshawater system and hotwater system (I have no idea how to do this O_o)

What else? Maybe something is wrong? Maybe something is not necessary? And what should I do if I will not find someone who will have a desire to start engine and check batteries (or how to be sure that he will do this and to not worry)?..

So we have a 34 sailboat with Volvo Penta diesel inboard which should wait me during next 8 month including winter what should I do for quick and painless start at May 2014?

Many thanks for your opinions, comments, advices, step-by-step instructions from your invaluable experience!


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Old 22-07-2013, 15:21   #2
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My experience with similar temperatures

(A) drain all fresh water from on board water systems , it may not be completely possible , but it will minimise ice damage

(B) close all sea cocks , drain all toilets , put a touch of antifreeze in toilets and bilge ( if you have a wet bilge )

(c) check your anti freeze in the close circuit system of the engine , engine it reads enough to provide coverage To -15 ( I presume you mean celsius) adjust strength accordingly , of suspect replace and refill

(D) with a warm engine , replace all oil and oil filters with new oil, as per spec

(e) close of engine seacock and pump anti freeze using the engines own pump ( ie feed the mixture info the seawater trap ) so as to completely fill the raw water circuit with anti freeze.

(F) top up batteries , place the charger on a digital timer and have it come on 1 a week to provide a top up , timing it prevents boiling

(G) remove sails and halyards , ( mouse them )

(H) remove soft furnishings if possible , turn up mattresses , install a dehumidifier and a fan to circulate air ( office fan) if you can't remove fabrics

(I) if you are afraid of sustained sub zero temps, then fit an electrics frost Heater in the engine bay

(j) block engine air intakes

(J) remove impeller , not a crime of you don't as the anti freeze protects it

(K) spray engine and electrics with WD40

Outside I d double up on mooring lines

I'm of two minds to cover the boat , its great if you have a durable well secured one , but if your area experiences winter storms I find they get damaged and then are worse then not there

I don't feel starting engine ever so often is much use ,increase wear , yiu loose the raw water antifreeze. Etc.

Check your insurance covers winter layup afloat

Try and arrange someone to keep an eye on mooring lines these fray and need adjusting


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Old 23-07-2013, 10:36   #3
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Re: Winterization or how to leave her for 8 month

Thanks for your step-by-step, Dave. Have some questions in connection with it so will be glad to hear you again if possible:
(C) I think that there is no antifreeze in engine as I see only yellow liquid - not pink so I think that's is just cooling liquid. Should I change it all and is it possible to go on it in summer?
(D) I need an oil extractor for this operation am I right?
(e) What is the process of antifreeze pumping to seawater trap? Should I disconnect seacock for this?
(f) Its not allowed to be connected to shore power when no one is onboard by the marina rules.. Is there some other variant for batteries? What will be if they will fully discharged? Is it too bad for their life?
(g) I have an in mast main. should I remove it or I have possibility to leave it and remove just genoa?
(j) how to do this and for which reason?
One more thanks.
Regarding the engine is it really necessary to do all this things even in this climatic zone? Would it not be enough to change oil and oil filter and change coolant to antifreeze? The boat is in salt water so I think that its freezing temperature is near -0.8 or -1.9 but temperature in the Adriatic sea where the boat is located is near +8C in most cold periods.
If I will have possibility to ask someone to regularly start the engine for how long it should be done and how often (for batteries and for diesel)?
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Old 23-07-2013, 14:32   #4
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Re: Winterization or how to leave her for 8 month


Check your insurance policy for unattended cover. Most European policies don't cover the sails or any damage they cause whilst the boat is unoccupied.
I know we all leave furling sails up as it'd be a headache removing a 150% genoa every time we walked away from the boat but for long periods be sure to check your policy.

Regarding the batteries I'd remove them and put a third second rate battery in whilst away, if you have an auto bilge pump.

When covering the intake don't stuff something inside if its a breather cone inlet as you might forget on your return and suck it against the filter.

For introducing antifreeze to the exhaust trap I use a large bucket of double strength diluted antifreeze and have the engine suck it through the impeller feed. This will also protect the raw water side of your heat exchanger. Someone else will need to advise you on the fresh water side.

Whilst there I'd also check the engine anodes. Regarding local temps I'd still want it covered for a freak cold snap otherwise you'll be clutching your buttocks from afar when watching the boats local weather forecast.
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Old 24-07-2013, 15:30   #5
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Re: Winterization or how to leave her for 8 month

I live in the NE and so winterize every year that I do not go South.. temps here go to single digits F for substantial periods and tens of thousands of boats here winterize.

1. obviously change the oil & filters
2. ensure you have engine antifreeze. Its either yellow or green.
3. close seacock and find a way to get antifreeze (the non toxic stuff noted below) through the engine.. I have a separate valve on the strainer to allow this, but you can disconnect the seacock and put the hose into a bucket.. run engine then shut it down. and REMEMBER to reconnect the hose to the (closed) seacock.
I) There is ZERO need to run the engine during winter. it only causes wear and has no benefits
II) Zero need to remove impeller or do anything else.
3. water system (easy way) : drain the water system, buy 20 gallons of antifreeze (not engine AF but the non toxic stuff for water systems)..pour it into the tank and run it through faucets.. job done.
5. definitely remove sails.. simply secure halyards. running mouse lines is overkill and is harder to prevent line slap with thin light lines.
6. If you anticipate high humidity remove soft furnishings, otherwise simply stand up mattresses, and give room for natural air flow. leave all cupboards and drawers open.
7. even if the marina allowed it, disconnect shore power.

Now, since you are in the water you need a bilge pump so you cannot disconnect the batteries so personally I would say go buy an 80W solar panel, connect it up and walk away..

IMO anything else is overkill and unnecessary
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Old 23-08-2013, 16:56   #6
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Re: Winterization or how to leave her for 8 month

Thanks all once again.
- Maybe someone can help with finding some manual about how to uninstall inmast main (I'm new one with this) as well as genoa (this is just to check myself). Should I store sails inside or should I take they with me?
- May I leave all 3 batteries onboard with solar panel (80-100) + charger installed? I think they will be upcharged as there will no load am i right with this?
- What is the better way to attache mooring lines to shore mooring ring for a long staying? And should I use some insure lines and if Yes in which way?
- What about wind vane? Last time after a long staying (last winter with previous owner) it loose wind speed data (cups are not running now) and Raymarine ST60+ saying just wind direction and no speed data. May be there is some block possibility to prevent damages as I think I will loose a direction sensor this time?
- Should I make something with speed transducer? Or leave it and just clear after winter?
- May I leave a propane tank inside (1/2 loaded) or should I empty it first?
- Should I close a dorade vents or leave it open?
- Have you some idea for dehumidifier for each cabin? Maybe something simple like carbon activated for smell prevention? Maybe some salt in bags?
Thanks and Regards,
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Old 17-09-2013, 16:14   #7
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