Sailing Season 2013 – Officially Completed

I hauled Cay of Sea yesterday, after prepping her for winter storage as much as possible while she floated.  This included removing water from the systems that needed freeze proofing, and doing some routine engine maintenance.

Freeze-proofing:  I took a different approach this year.  Rather than using gallons upon gallons of RV/Boat antifreeze (propylene glycol), I opted for the “dewatering” method.  It does save a few dollars on chemicals.  More to the point, in the long run it’s more convenient.  For the water system I used my shop vac to pull the last bits of water out of the lines and tank – they are essentially dry now.  This cuts down on time spent flushing the system of propylene glycol next spring.  Also, simply pulling the water out will (hopefully) reduce the frequency of pump rebuilds.  I have two of them to rebuild this winter, primary (I assume) because the antifreeze chemical is hard on the soft rubber pump parts.

Using much less of this stuff this year.

Using much less of this stuff this year.

Marine Toilet:  I took a similar approach to winterizing the toilet, only I didn’t use the shop vac. Instead, I simply soaked up any remaining standing “water” in the system with many paper towels.  I also disconnected the pump and pumped all the remaining water out of it.  Then removed the two rubber valves (the joker, and the weighted flapper) from the line on the holding tank side of the pump discharge.  I stored the valves and fasteners in a zip-lock bag.  After unexpectedly having to rebuild the pump last spring, I decided to stop using any sort of cleaning chemicals in the toilet, and to disassemble the pump rather than use anti-freeze.  Both valves appeared to be in like-new condition yesterday.

Engine:  I changed oil and filter, making my characteristic mess in the process.  It just seems impossible for me to do this without spreading oil around the work place.  The process was somewhat complicated by draining the closed cooling system and replacing the old anti-freeze with fresh 5-year formulated stuff.  At one point, I started the engine to circulate coolant and new oil, and managed to leave the dip stick out of the hole, spraying oil all over that area of the engine compartment.  It cleaned up easily – but my annoyance over the omission was fairly long-lasting.

Note:  When refilling the coolant, be aware that bubbles are introduced into the system which need engine run time and some brief bleeding of the drain cocks to relieve.  So, refill the coolant tank to “full” (not the plastic overflow tank – rather, the metal pressure radiator-type tank on the engine). Replace the pressure cap, then run the engine for several minutes.  Stop the engine and tap an ounce or two from each drain cock, then carefully open the radiator-style pressure cap.  I say carefully, because just like an auto engine, if the motor runs long enough, pressure will build and an injury is possible with the release of the pressure cap.  Once the cap is off, top up the coolant level.  My engine (Yanmar 2gm20F) took nearly another quart of coolant after the initial fill.

It might be wise to change the coolant before the oil.  That way, you can combine warming up the engine for oil drain with purging air from the cooling system.  You may need to run the engine long enough after refilling the coolant to open the thermostat and access that part of the system that is closed off when the engine is cold.

The only propylene glycol I will use this year is in the raw-water side of the engine.  Now with the boat hauled, I need to drain the water-lift muffler, and pump propylene glycol into the heat exchanger.  After that’s done, I’ll disassemble the raw-water pump and store the impeller in a plastic bag.  Then she’s good for the winter.  I already replaced the drop boards and fore hatch with their winter-over covers.

Next Post:  Hydrocoat Evaluation – Second Season.

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4 comments
  1. Oh, that’s what I forgot! The toilet needs to be winterized. It didn’t and it is way too late now! We had below zero in November!! Been below freezing at night for many nights for nearly 2 months now. Nope, no climate change happening!! How could I forget the toilet! I know it must be that closed door that it hid behind, I will have to train it better LOL! I just hope I didn’t crack any of it’s parts for it would be nice to rebuild than replace. I mentioned the expensive motorized toilets with the pump built in once years ago and she thought that sounded great, I hope she forgot.
    Anyway I used the RV antifreeze due to the extent of the plumbing on the 33 plus the water heater. The longer the water lines the more likely it is that some will pool somewhere, freeze and split the line. I did have the holding tank empty. Did your 27 have overboard dump originally?? I wish to have a much larger holding tank for 20 gallons with not all of that volume useable is not enough on a boat this size. I Found that if I eliminate the overboard dump option, which cannot be used anywhere in our inland sailing area, I could at least double the tank size with a rigid tank and perhaps more with a flexible tank. Any experience with the flexible tanks???
    This was my first winter to build a “tent frame” over Prairie Schooner. I started back in September thinking I had a lot of time and could do it with my extensive supply of dimensional lumber mostly 2×4. So I measured and started cutting board in my garage only to have every one be wrong in some manner. After wasting 6-8 boards my supply was not so large. So I stopped and used time to actually plan the frame on paper. I also started doing all my cuts on the boat instead of elsewhere. The difficulty was that the mast is still stored on deck but down the port side about 3 feet off center. Makes it easy to move around up there on the starboard side and nearly impossible on the port side. The frame eventually had supports coming up from the deck to protect the shrink wrap from the starboard side rail gear and I removed all that from the port side so the rafters could come rather steeply to the deck from the ridge pole. At the stern I had to get inventive again to get the ridge high enough to allow snow and ice to slide off and yet still have the zipper door in place under the davits so I could step onto the swim platform. Now we have had our first major snow and some of the tent has worked fine but I will need to be more inventive next year for the stern “door” area. I should just do without the door given that I do not wish to work out there in sub zero temps. I will have to take pictures and post on the yahoo site, if I can figure out how with the new format.!!
    Alan C Wilson.

    • Alan, I thought you stored your boat indoors somewhere? Maybe I’m thinking of another person.

      As far as I can tell, my boat has always had a holding tank, and always had a direct discharge option too. I don’t have experience with flexible holding tanks, but I can tell you that I wouldn’t want one. They are a challenge to protect from chafe, and I’ve heard that they can become smelly through chemical penetration. I don’t know on a first hand basis, though. I would want a rigid tank. The poly tanks are incredibly good and long-lasting. You might need to add a second tank, if 20 gal isn’t enough. Mine is 13 gal, and and fits under the port settee. I’m going to rebuild my over-board pump this winter too, so if I’m ever in open water, I can pump the tank over board.

  2. The boat was stored indoors still the building owner sold the property this summer. We brought it home on Aug. 29th. It was a learning experience again and even though I still think my custom trailer building people did a great job someone of their staff saved money by using wire that was Way under spec for the size of trailer. The run from the hitch to the taillights on each side is close to 40 feet and they had used 22 gauge wire and my lights were failing. Same thing with the electric brake master cylinder which was supposed to have 8 gauge from the truck but they used 18 gauge which is why it seemed to fail. So I and a friend rewired the whole trailer and added some decorative LED lights down the side of the trailer for more marker lamps.

  3. Now I understand. Amazing omission about the trailer wiring. Hopefully, the builders were much better at the structural end than the electrical.

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