Putting the Boat to Bed for the Winter

Harsh Reality!

This weekend we went through the winterization procedure on one of our boats. It’s always a bittersweet experience. Putting the boat to bed is sweet, because it’s nice to reach the end of the annual boating season and take stock of all the enjoyable moments we’ve had using our boat throughout the year. In our case, we have a sailboat that lives year-round in the waters of the Tennessee River. This year we sailed in several races, won some races, and even played Race Committee for many races. We also indulged in some sailing cruises on the river. We rafted up, camped out, watched bats stream out of the bat cave at sundown, and enjoyed some fabulous breakfasts while hanging on the hook. A highlight of the season was the day we woke up from camping to find out that our batteries were dead and we had the pleasure of sailing home and negotiating the boat into her slip under sail.

It’s also a sad and bitter moment when you start pumping antifreeze into the boat’s arteries. Winter can drag on and on. Though it’s nice to get a bit of a breather from weekend sailboat races and all the commitments of life in a sailing club, it’s hard to imagine that we won’t be sailing again for months.

There are always chores to be done to stay ahead of the boat’s natural proclivity toward deterioration. (That’s a nice way of saying to keep the boat from gradually falling apart!). While there are lots of things that could be done to spruce up our sailboat, this year we focused on replacing the speakers in the boat’s cockpit and installing a fresh set of batteries.  Music and starting power were high on our priority list! Now we’ve taken down the sails and will be shipping those off to a sailmaker for some work. We may have the boat hauled out for some fresh bottom paint.

When the freezing temperatures become a normal recurrence, we can curl up on the sofa with a sailing adventure book, like John Kretschmer’s Cape Horn to Starboard, and be happy that we’re somewhere dry and warm.  Of course, we’ll also be spending much of the winter at sleepy BoaterRated Central, where the boating season stretches across the entire year. When it comes to boats, it’s great to have options!

We hope your winterization efforts go smoothly. Keep checking back to the BoaterRated Virtual Dockside throughout the winter to read or share experiences about your local marine businesses.


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