With colder months rapidly approaching, sailors across the North and Northeast of America are trading their t-shirts for turtlenecks and asking themselves if the weather will hold up for one more weekend of sailing. No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the shortening of days forces us to accept that it is only a matter of time before sunny days and clear skies are replaced by snowstorms and ice. So, as you trade out swimsuits for snow pants and get your wardrobe ready for the season ahead, remember to give your boat the same treatment. RS boats are built to be sturdy and durable but winterizing your boat will help keep it performing at its best for years to come. To help you, we have created eight things you need to do to get your boat ready for winter, so that come spring, it will be nothing but smooth sailing.
One – Remove Sails & Lines
Take your sails and lines off the boat entirely. Inspect your sails and lines for any signs of wear or damage. This is a good opportunity to clean your sails.
Two – Roll and Store Sails
After you inspect and clean your sails, ensure they are dry and then fold and store them. It is best to store your sails in a safe, dry location, like a garage or storage locker. Make sure that wherever you store them is off the ground and away from moisture.
Three – Drop the Mast
Dropping the mast ensures that it does not get damaged during transport or storing. Snow, wind and ice can damage a mast if it is not removed and stored properly.
Four – Drain the Boat – Inside the Hull and Cockpit
This is one of the most important steps when winterizing your boat! Water in the winter is your enemy because it expands when it freezes and can do a lot of damage to your boat. Make sure you drain the hull and cockpit of your boat completely.
Five – Store Your Mast, Boom, Rudder, Daggerboard, Lines, Etc.
Like with your sails, store these items in a safe, waterproof, place off the ground.
Six – Clean & Repair
Now is the perfect time to clean your boat and get rid of any marks and bumps that developed over the summer. We recommend cleaning your boat with a simple sponge and dish soap. For those hard to tackle stains, a natural cleaner, such as Simply Green works well. Bleach can be used for spot treatments but should be diluted. Stronger cleaners run the risk of damaging or removing the gel coat and should be avoided.
Seven – Cover the Boat
Given all the work you just did to drain and clean your boat you want to keep it safe from getting wet and dirty over the winter. Covering your boat will help protect it from weather and moisture. If you don’t have a cover for your boat, you can use a tarp and bungee cords or lines to create a makeshift cover.
Eight – Start Thinking About Spring!
It may seem like spring is a lifetime away, but it will be here in a few short months. If you take care of your boat now and winterize it correctly, you will save so much time and energy come spring. So even as you enter into a state of sailing hibernation, start thinking about all the fun and excitement awaiting you!
If you’ve got any questions on how to best look after your RS, please don’t hesitate to contact the Customer Care team!