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Store boat equipment properly for the winter


Winter is coming, the boat has to be taken out and prepared and stored for the cold season. This also applies to many pieces of equipment that will thank you for careful handling in the long term.

Yes, it is tedious to have to clear everything off board at the end of the season so that it can be properly maintained and stored. But hard work not only has a price, it also pays dividends, because sails, oilskins, lines, a properly preserved outboard engine, etc., will last longer and help to save money that can be invested in other things. Of course, you can also hire professional service providers, such as B. Sailmakers who take the cloakroom off board in the autumn, check, repair if necessary and store it properly so that everything can be returned to the boat when it is launched in spring. It doesn’t get any better or more convenient, but a lot of money is required for that. Anyone who cannot or cannot afford this and who is a do-it-yourselfer will get a few useful tips from us on how to do these tasks quickly and correctly and thus get important ship accessories in shape for the coming sailing season before winter . You should consider various aspects.

  • The most important rule: Regardless of which accessories, only what is absolutely dry may be stored.
  • Inspect every piece (e.g. sail) in order to carry out maintenance or repair work, if necessary, or to consult a specialist.
  • If something needs to be preserved for storage, e.g. the outboard, take the time to do the fall work before packing it up.
  • If your ship is in the open, dismantle electronic devices for dry and professional storage at home, which also offers better protection against theft


The best friend in the wind or when it comes to moving the boat quickly in port. But it is only of use if it starts and runs smoothly. To ensure that this is also guaranteed in the coming sailing season, care must be taken when wintering. It is not much or difficult what to do. Here are the most important notes:
If there is still gasoline in the tank, add the correct proportions of preservative before running the engine in a tub filled with fresh water for 15 to 20 minutes. This ensures a thorough flush that removes the corrosive salt. This also distributes the preservative in the cooling system. Then turn off the fuel tap (or interrupt the line) and wait until the engine dies. Now take out the spark plugs and spray the preservative recommended by the manufacturer into the combustion chamber and pull the starter rope once to distribute the agent.
But it doesn’t work entirely without a workshop, because a specialist mechanic should inspect the engine and put it through its paces at least every two years.


As such, electronic devices can remain on board through the winter in moderate climates. To be on the safe side, obtain information from the manufacturer or in the instructions about the minimum permissible temperature of the environment. If you have your ship in the open, or if you fear theft, it is still advisable to dismantle electronic devices such as chart plotters, radios, GPS or multifunctional screens so that they can be kept dry and gently in a box in the basement or another safe and frost-free one Place to store. Batteries have to be on board for charging and maintenance. More on this in our guide to conserving electrics and electronics for the winter.

boat engines winter


The most important thing is complete drying before storage, regardless of whether it is foil sails or Dacron, because moisture is the worst enemy. Successful drying also means rinsing the sails thoroughly with fresh water after the last voyage, as salt crusts and crystals attract moisture. Spak and mold are the result, which not only looks modest, but also damages the fabric or the foils. Only when the cloth is completely dry can it be rolled (with laminate) or folded. Slats should be removed, or at least relaxed. At the same time, inspect the seams, windows, batten pockets and mast slides, and repair or replace them if necessary. When storing, make sure that the place is dry, not too cold and that the sails have enough space – so they are on top of the shelf.


The same applies here as for the sails: desalinate and dry them before they are loosely hung up for winter storage. Just don’t stuff it in a sack, because that brings mold and musty smell into play, which can also have a negative impact on strength.
If you want to wash your pods and traps, tuck each line individually into an old pillowcase so that it does not get tangled or knotted while washing in the machine. Delicates detergent, 30 degrees, without spinning and NO fabric softener, because it causes the fibers to swell, which then neither run through blocks nor through jams. If fittings are permanently attached to the sheet or halyard by whipping, you cannot avoid washing the line by hand in the old-fashioned way.


Here, too, drying is an absolute must before storage. Like sails, seat and bunk cushions must be removed from board and stored dry or airy in winter. Moisture ruins both covers and foam core with mold, which can also be harmful to health. Covers also have to be washed separately, which gives you the opportunity to check the upholstery cores for mold and, if necessary, treat or replace them. Washing ordinary foam cores is not recommended because it is difficult or impossible to get it dry through and through.


The same prayer for breathable sailing jackets and trousers that should be washed from time to time, not only to get rid of the muff, but above all to remove harmful salt, sweat and body fat that affects the functionality, i.e. the breathability of the fabric affect the water-repellent coating. These items of clothing are about keeping splash water away and at the same time transporting away the water vapor that is created when you sweat. The end of the sailing season is a good time to give the expensive foulies the necessary care before they can be hung in the closet well dried.

In general, sailing overalls and co. Can be washed in the washing machine, gently, cold (max. 40 ° C on the gentle cycle) and with an additional rinse afterwards. Use special care and detergents for sports and functional clothing and not normal detergents with a high proportion of soaps and fragrances. Fabric softeners, bleaches, fillers, and color lighteners are also taboo. Only fill the washing machine loosely, close the Velcro fasteners, remove the hoods and belt if possible. Follow the care instructions on the label and the manufacturer’s product information, which also applies to any re-impregnation of the fabric or the seams with products from third-party suppliers.

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