Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prepping for the season

Drying the head sail for storage below

Since arriving back in Chaguaramas we have been putting the boat back together and prepping her for the coming season.
Putting the boat back together?  Yes, we stripped her down and did several other things prior to leaving her in the water.  
Enclosure panels stored flat with towels in between each panel to protect isinglass 
Salon cushions turned up on end to prevent mildew

Dinghy stored upside down on the deck with the cover over it.
Headsail off
Dodger, Bimini, enclosure cleaned, pulled off and carefully stored below
Enclosure panels stored flat (not as easy task to find a large enough space below for this) with towels in between each panel to protect the isinglass.  
Small outboard stored in cockpit locker, large outboard locked on rail and covered.
Helm chart plotters unplugged and connections slathered with dielectric grease.
Helm mic cleaned and stored below
SSB mic off for repairs.
Solar panels removed and stored below - one was left up and plugged in for basic charging while we were gone.
Jerry jugs empty and stored below.
All surfaces below wipe down with vinegar
Fridge and freezer empty, cleaned and left open
95% of food store removed from boat.  Remaining was bagged and then stored in plastic seal tight containers.  Boric acid powder was put down in all the lockers.
Ant and roach traps put down in boat
Laundry cleaned and stored with the exception of last sheets we slept on and last work clothes
Thru hull shut with exception of engine - we keep it open in case the boat needs to be started.  It doesn't take long to ruin an impeller and wreck havoc when an engine is started in a hurry and the thru hull hasn't been opened.  
Oil changed
Salon (saloon) cushions stood up on end for air circulation
Our mattress propped up slightly with 3 grates under for air circulation *the enclosure was piled high on top of that and thus we slept in the saloon (salon) 2 night prior to departing and four nights once we returned
Pickle water maker

THINGS LEARNED - to do next time
Mold and mildew are wicked competitors 
Bag clothes, towels and sheets in space bags with dryer sheets to keep them from getting that "boat" smell
Put any books you want to safe guard in a Rubbermaid bin.  Water somehow got in through a portlight and soaked 1/2 a bookshelf.  The books molded and must be tossed.  These were mainly our knot and splicing books, a weather book or two and one of the Pardey books.  All reference books that will be missed and will in some fashion need to be replaced.  Don't be surprised if a "Buy Us A Book" button shows up on this blog somewhere.  *Floy, you warned me about books onboard.  **Willy told me she put books on a shelf in their boat and they got a leak and ruined the books.  Mark fixed the leak so she put new books on the shelf and they still had a leak.  Now she doesn't put books there.  Hum.
Bringing bamboo you found ashore back to the boat means bringing termites back as well.  D-oh!  
Bugs are part of the tropics.  Luckily ours are only microscopic ants - about 1/8 the size of tiny grease ants.  Only -ugh I despise bugs.  I sprayed all our dock lines prior to leaving but it is the rainy season so I imagine that lasted 1/2 a day.  I had roach and ant traps down but I suspect these traps seem like gigantic ant McMansions to this little buggers and thus they are intimidated to go in - in other words.....the ant traps didn't do squat to get rid of them.  On the plus side, we are not over run with these microscopic antis and I have not seen any roaches.  The 20+ cats in this boat yard and marina seem to have kept the mouse/rat population to near non-existent numbers.  
Luggage, backpacks, and bags stored should be treated with vinegar wipe down to prevent/slow mold.  
All zippers on anything should be treated before they freeze up - our portable cooler zippers are completely frozen opening and so are the side pockets on a couple of my Columbia shorts. 
Tom after 3 fuel runs - BIG savings!

RETURN - basic putting the boat back together
Polish stainless steel arch and cockpit stainless
Put up solar panels
Dodger, Bimini and enclosure treated with 303 and all zippers treated with zipper lube and then put back up
Headsail installed
All areas wiped clean with vinegar to remove light surface mold.  YES - I did this prior to leaving but mold is aggressive
Fridge and freezer started again 
Winches cleaned
Top up with diesel fuel via jerry jugs (the only way) and numerous trips to save BIG $$
Fuel polished to remove water we got in last season
Restock the boat
Polish interior fixtures
Polish the remaining stainless steel
Basically the reverse of all the things listed under Departure Items
Re-Installing the windlass
Motor wrapped in grease tape - Thanks Eric for that tip and the tape!
Remember how salt encrusted it was before?

Re-install repaired windlass
Re-stitch sacrificial on the headsail
Cockpit enclosure panel zipper
And all the other things that pop up daily

New galley handhold - no more flying chef

Install additional handhold in galley
Install new 250 solar panel
Wind generator blades
Galley seawater pump installed
Canvas projects - dodger front windshield screen, dinghy chaps
Tom and Paul off s/v Sonic Boom secure the new panel
Yeah baby!  Sun power!


  1. So sorry about the books. I hate when things getting ruined. Lots of work coming and going on a boat -- glad you-n-Tom are young and energetic!

  2. You should keep a fan running for air circulation when away from the boat. A small 12 volt fan operating from a solar panel would do wonders to mitigate the mold / mildew problem.

    1. John, we've actually got 3 solar vents of which only 1 has ever worked. We even replaced 1 with a new solar vent to have that quit soon after installation. Leaving a 12volt fan running while we are away would worry me. Is that safe? Are they built to run 24/7 by themselves?

  3. I did not know about the vinegar rubbed all over the boat helps with slowing down the mold. The things you learn reading other blogs is sometimes priceless.