Winter's Folly

Do you winterize your own engine, or do you have the yard do it? I take the former approach, for three reasons. As my dad used to say, if you want to be sure a job’s done properly, do it yourself; I’ve seen some pretty sketchy work done by so-called marine professionals over the years.The second reason? It seems silly to pay someone to do a job that’s a) not very time-consuming, b) not at
Author:
Publish date:

Do you winterize your own engine, or do you have the yard do it? I take the former approach, for three reasons. As my dad used to say, if you want to be sure a job’s done properly, do it yourself; I’ve seen some pretty sketchy work done by so-called marine professionals over the years.

The second reason? It seems silly to pay someone to do a job that’s a) not very time-consuming, b) not at all difficult and c) also happens to be pretty satisfying (to me, anyway).

There’s actually a third reason; by taking the time to perform these maintenance tasks yourself, you get a chance to really look over the innards of your boat in a way that doesn’t happen during the sailing season.

You can carry winterization to illogical extremes, but when you pare it down to the bare essentials, your priorities should be engine, freshwater system and electrics. If you deal with those three before the first frost, then you can take your time with everything else.

engine.int

Engine

If possible, I’ll change the engine oil and filter before the boat is hauled. You need to run the engine for 20 minutes or so to get the oil nice and hot, and it’s hard to do that on land. If you have an oil discharge pump on your engine, I envy you. Otherwise, like me, you’ll probably use a suction pump with its pickup tube down the disptick hole. Hot oil is easy to suck up: cold oil isn’t.

I’ll place a disposable diaper under the oil filter and spin the filter off, or try to. Last year I’d screwed the filter on too tightly and had the devil’s own job getting it off. I tried three different oil filter wrenches and they all slipped. Finally, I slipped a big hose clamp over the filter and tightened the bejeezus out of it; this gave the filter wrench something to bite on. I would love to install a remote oil filter, but Yanmar wants over $400 (!) for something that would cost $60 in an auto parts store.

Once I’ve topped the engine off with new oil, I’ll remove the hose from the engine cooling water seacock and place it in a bucket of antifreeze. Then I’ll start the engine and run it for a minute or so until I see the antifreeze coming out the exhaust. A tarp under the exhaust through-hull catches the small amount of fluid that escapes. This clears the salt out of the raw-water passages and heat exchanger. I never do this job while the boat is in the water; that stuff’s no good for the environment.

Once that’s done, I’ll remove the impeller, wrap it in plastic and place it where I’ll be certain to find it in the spring. Finally, I’ll spray the engine with a protective film of WD-40 and plug the air intake and exhaust through-hull with oily rags to keep moisture and critters out.

Related

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more