To pull or not to pull?

bsangs

Old Newbie
So I'm in a marina that bubbles the water during winter, and have the option of keeping Radiance in the water, or putting her on the hard. Had been leaning heavily toward on the hard and covered, since there were a few projects I was considering, but after reading some not entirely pleasant stories, am seriously reconsidering. What are the opinions here - pro and con? Thanks.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Where's the slip? River, harbor, Chesapeake? I imagine it's a lot cheaper not to haul, if you don't need to haul. I've had a boat frozen in solid for a week or two with no damage.

But then, I'd be swayed by local horror stories you've heard....
 

bsangs

Old Newbie
Where's the slip? River, harbor, Chesapeake? I imagine it's a lot cheaper not to haul, if you don't need to haul. I've had a boat frozen in solid for a week or two with no damage.

But then, I'd be swayed by local horror stories you've heard....
Hudson River area. It’s on the Morris Canal Basin at Liberty Landing Marina. (Great marina & location.) Saltwater brackish at that point of the Hudson. Not local, and not horror, stories, but tales of animals, water, batteries, bilges, toppling from wind, incorrect winterizing, etc, etc. Whereas the folks keeping it in the water seem to deal with a lot less. So I’m definitely reconsidering. My co-captain might not be on board though…
 

Mr. Scarlett

Member III
You should be fine. Just keep up with snow removal. Especially in the cockpit.
 

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william.haas

1990 Ericson 28
Here in Chicago there is no option to stay in the water and all boats get pulled and stored at a number of boat yards in the area. I have had my boats pulled with no issue for 20 years and I have never heard any horror stories. I get a lot of work done in the late fall after our sailing season ends (October 31) and in the spring before our season begins (May 1). A while back I wrote a blog entry summarizing our winterization procedures.
 

RCsailfast

Member II
Here in Chicago there is no option to stay in the water and all boats get pulled and stored at a number of boat yards in the area. I have had my boats pulled with no issue for 20 years and I have never heard any horror stories. I get a lot of work done in the late fall after our sailing season ends (October 31) and in the spring before our season begins (May 1). A while back I wrote a blog entry summarizing our winterization procedures.
Same here. We make a list of items to repair in the off season, that are easier done out of the water on our schedule. Winterizing is a must but seems normal to all boaters as we all deal with it year in and out. Putting on a fresh coat of bottom paint gets done as the temperatures rise just before splash day.
 

Bolo

Sustaining Member
Hudson River area. It’s on the Morris Canal Basin at Liberty Landing Marina. (Great marina & location.) Saltwater brackish at that point of the Hudson. Not local, and not horror, stories, but tales of animals, water, batteries, bilges, toppling from wind, incorrect winterizing, etc, etc. Whereas the folks keeping it in the water seem to deal with a lot less. So I’m definitely reconsidering. My co-captain might not be on board though…
I keep our boat, a E32-3, on the Chesapeake near Annapolis. Haul out every other year to do the bottom. As part of the usual winterizing (engine, fresh water system, head,etc) I also add antifreeze to the bilges. The E32 has a mast/shower bilge, which almost always has some water in it from the mast (unavoidable) and a main bilge for everything else that is for the most part dry except for a mystery leak someplace. A subject for another of my recent posts. In the water the bilge never freezes, even though there is some ice in the water around the boat during the coldest months. On the hard however I’ve had the bilge freeze solid, especially the mast/shower bilge because fresh rain water fills it, gets pumped out and dilutes the antifreeze eventually enough so the water can freeze. I also visit my boat at least once a month during the winter (2 hour drive) to check on things. Once, on the hard, I found the shower/mast bilge frozen solid. It is drained by way of a diaphragm pump located in the stern near the though hull. I boiled some of the pink antifreeze on the galley stove and poured it into the bilge. About two hours later the pump, which also was frozen solid because I couldn’t heat it when I turned it on, thawed and emptied the bilge. The pump was fine and I refilled the bilge with more antifreeze. So, on the hard or in the water, you just can’t winterize the boat and not come back till spring. It needs to be looked in on during those winter months. I personally wish I could keep it in the water all the time and may start doing so, only pulling it in the fall to have the bottom done, because I think it fares better in the water. It’s a boat, it’s meant to be in the water! :).

I did find a nest once on board during winter and leaves that were clogging the scuppers. Plus I’ve shovelEd snow out the cockpit More than once. As for toppling from the wind, I think that’s rare but it’s important to inspect how the yard braces the boat. Opposing hull stands need to be chained to each other, and the ground surface needs to have a good gravel base if not asphalt or concrete. If it’s just dirt then a thick, wide ground plate needs to be under each stand so it doesn’t sink in thawing dirt. Plus never keep your head sail furled on the boat. It needs to be taken down and stored so it doesn’t come out during a big blow and pull the boat over. I‘ve left the batteries on board and generally not had a problem but next time I do store on the hard I’m going to install a big (non-flexibl) solar panel on the deck oriented to the south to keep the batteries charged. Then remove it for sailing season.
 

windblown

Member III
In Rochester, we haul out every fall and store "on the hard" from late October until late April. We've stored on jacks (which the PO used at his yard in Erie, PA) and on a cradle (our yard crew modified one that had been abandoned). We've stored with the mast up, and the mast down, but always outdoors. In our area, hauling out and storing is assumed.

We have a cover that has served well (new in 2005, to be replaced soon). During the winter, we can get some pretty high wind gusts (50+ miles/hr), and we get 100" of snow a year. For the first couple of years, we had the boat professionally winterized, but as we gained more experience, we realized that the pro was leaving out quite a few of the recommendations in the Ericson owner's manual, so we took over the tasks. We've had the boat for six years now, and winterizing has become pretty routine; we were real newbies when we started. Without the cover, the snow would accumulate, melt, and freeze, causing all kinds of anxiety, if not complications. I think the anxiety about winter weather (snow, wind, freezing) might be higher for us if the boat were in the water, uncovered. And the idea of walking an icy dock or deck in a winter storm to check on the boat or remove accumulating snow doesn't appeal to yours truly.

Some advantages to winter storage for us (under a cover): we remove all the running rigging and run cheap messenger lines, which protects expensive cordage from the winter ravages of UV (canvas and brightwork also get a six month break from the UV); we work on projects over the winter and in the spring that are easier to tackle with the boat out of the water; we freshen the bottom paint every spring, and we get a good wax/polish on the hull that is keeping that gel coat in fine condition.

We do have the advantage of being stored in the parking lot at our club, which means there is electricity available, when needed, and there are others who keep an eye out as they are working on their own boats. We do check on the boat regularly during the winter. The first year, it was a weekly check-up (I was so excited!). Now it's every month or so, unless there's some kind of weather incident.
 
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Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, new owners 7/21
Brian, We're in roughly the same weather zone as you. This past winter was the first for me actually owning a boat, but for the twenty years I've been sailing, winter haulout has been standard among the mariners I know. The few people I know who have water-stored their boats did it because it was cheaper. A boat did tip over at a yard this past spring, so that's not unheard of. But when it does, it's notable. If you keep the boat in the water, I'd think you'd still need to winterize it, remove batteries, etc., unless you heat the boat. Then you'd have to keep checking on the heater. Most people who do in-water storage still cover their boats. Even friends who have lived aboard cover their boats in winter. The greenhouse warming and extra storage was welcome. As Deborah @windblown says, boat yards can't always be counted on to do everything completely, or right. Sad, but true in our experience. Birds can get at your boat wherever it is. We were still on the hard in July and did have a raccoon climb up the ladder and into the cockpit. He spread sh*t over some of it to mark his territory. So there's that. But he didn't sneak in past the plastic covering the companionway. I haven't heard any problems that people had because they did store their boats in the water. There are equalizing risks with either, in my opinion.
 

bsangs

Old Newbie
These have been great answers. Think I'll end up keeping her in the water, albeit covered with an access door. The guarantee of having easy access to electricity for any projects is key this winter, and I don't own 500 feet of extension cord, which I'd likely need on the hard. There's also several friends that live aboard their boats year round on my dock, and they're not only generous with their time and resources, they're very conscientious, and have already told me they'll keep an eye out when I'm not around. I'll definitely pull her next spring for a bottom paint, though my cleaning diver says the paint is in great shape, and a quick wash and wax before putting her back in. Really do appreciate you all taking the time to provide such detailed answers. Another reason this forum is second-to-none.
 

CTOlsen

Member III
I kept my O34 in the lower Chesapeake for 6 years, and generally hauled for 2 months to do maint. I found that I was dealing with gel coat blisters almost seasonally- grinding and filling and re- barrier coating.
I've been in Mystic CT since 2015 and haul each fall, splash in the spring. Not a single blister to be found. If you stay in the water, be aware that our solid polyester resin hulls have a tendency to absorb water.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
When local boat yards first got into the business of blister repair, in the 80's, an old FRP boat builder told me that he believed that hulls were more prone to developing blisters when they were moved from salt water to fresh water. This is not withstanding production errors by some factories that also caused blistering later on, altho EY was not a builder with that problem.

I do know that throughout the 80's in our freshwater area there were a Lot of boats receiving epoxy bottom coverings. We filled n faired some small groups of blisters on this and our prior boats, but once repaired they did not return.

I wonder if the blister possibility makes an annual haul out seem beneficial? That chance to dry out might be a side-benefit. Maybe/perhaps.
 
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Seth

Sustaining Partner
These have been great answers. Think I'll end up keeping her in the water, albeit covered with an access door. The guarantee of having easy access to electricity for any projects is key this winter, and I don't own 500 feet of extension cord, which I'd likely need on the hard. There's also several friends that live aboard their boats year round on my dock, and they're not only generous with their time and resources, they're very conscientious, and have already told me they'll keep an eye out when I'm not around. I'll definitely pull her next spring for a bottom paint, though my cleaning diver says the paint is in great shape, and a quick wash and wax before putting her back in. Really do appreciate you all taking the time to provide such detailed answers. Another reason this forum is second-to-none.
I think the answer depends on exactly where you are and how much snow you actually get. Somewhere like Rochester means just getting to the boat to check on it could be a risky enterprise, so if you have a long snowy winter I would haul. If you stay in, I strongly support the suggestion of removing all halyards and running rigging and replacing with messenger lines for the winter. These items were never meant to be stationary in extreme cold conditions for any length of time and they will degrade VERY quickly if left in place over the winter. Good luck
 

e38 owner

Member III
I keep my boat at a mountain lake in utah. about 5900 feet of elevation. Some years I keep her in the water with a bubbler and some years i keep her on her trailer. I think overall it is easier on the boat for the in the water years. Here are a few things I consider
In the Water
My 38 has above and below the water line cockpit drains. I close and drain below the waterline drains
You need a good cover. I do not want water and weight in the cockpit
I have an engine room heater mostly for the stuffing box
Blow out all thru hulls with a vacuum

Out of the water
Good cover. Not as much of an issue because if it does collapses the boat won't sink
Same winterization as above.
Out of the water Wind is the main concern of mine. Either knocking the boat off the trailer or stands.

Generally I decide my the number of boats staying in during a particular year and whether I need to work on the bottom and condition of the bottom paint. Finally I don't like to leave her in every year for fear of blisters. Pulling the boat is bad on rudders. They need to be covered for heat and if they get any water in them the freezing cold is not good either
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
On the blister issue, I'm unaware of any reliable data. Maybe there is some.

Consider that boats are rarely hauled for the winter in many southern environments, and of the 4600 slips in Marina del Rey the number is pretty much zero. Some boats have blisters and some don't, but nobody says haul to protect the bottom. (Well, it's not really an option anyhow).

It is true that when you haul a boat, blisters appear (and are often gone the next day). So maybe people who haul annually are just more aware of their blisters than those blissfully, blisterly, afloat. :)

I personally don't think it's a decision point for dry vs. water storage.
 

Bolo

Sustaining Member
Found this photo from a “winter in the water” a few years back. Yes, that’s ice and snow on the foredeck. Double dock lines too just in case one chafes through when the dock is covered with ice and snow and getting aboard would be a little risky.

969E72A2-6924-46F6-A05B-90E86D133CB7.jpeg
 
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