I was dozing in my chair Sunday afternoon when I realized that Cay of Sea’s late-season freeze protection was gone, now that she’s out of the water. I actually kind of bolted upright in a bit of alarm – forecast called for freezing temps that night. No longer surrounded by above-freezing water, the interior of the boat will get as cold as the exterior, which meant that I needed to finish winterization. This was at 1530, so I had about 1.5 hours of light left to get it done. Fortunately, she’s just across the creek.
Five minutes later I was climbing the ladder aboard Cay of Sea. I opened all the seacocks and drained any water standing in the lines, then pulled the raw water intake hose off the strainer assembly and stuck into a bottle of antifreeze. Before starting the engine, I climbed into the cockpit locker and drained the waterlift muffler. Just a matter of minutes before my legs cramp in this position. . . yep, there we go. Now I know I’m doing the right thing on the boat: a body part hurts. 10 more minutes of discomfort and the muffler is drained (little tiny drain hole, fiddly little screw cap on it, one-handed access – situation normal).
I started the engine and accelerated the throttle until she began to expectorate a good flow of pink antifreeze from the exhaust. That’s enough. The lowest cooling passages in the heat exchanger are filled with propylene glycol. I stopped the engine, pulled the hose out of the antifreeze. Unscrewed the basket on the raw water strainer and left the seacock open. Now the engine is freeze-safe. I also disconnect the raw water pump and pull the impeller, storing it in a plastic bag through the winter. Funny though, I always replace it with a new one. If I run into someone on the water who needs a replacement impeller for a 2gm20f Yanmar, I’ve always got spares.
While the cockpit locker was empty, I crawled in again and disconnected the batteries. On another day soon, I’ll check the electrolyte level in each cell, and put the charger on each battery until it’s fully charged.
I hand-pumped water from underneath the stuffing box and beneath the engine until there was about 3 ounces of water left in each place, then opened the garboard drain plug so the bilge won’t fill with rain water. Repopulated the cockpit locker with fenders, jerry cans, lines, etc., and closed it. Closed the hatch, dropped in the winter boards, and we’re done.
Got home at 1715 and stoked the wood-burning stove. Now the Cay of Sea is set for the winter, and I’m home – warm and cozy.