Categories: Blog, Technical

by chris


I refuse to admit defeat, with the majority of other boats around me being either hauled out for winter, winterised afloat or simply abandoned till the spring.

None of these options really work for me as I do like to grab an opportunity for a winter cruise or trip to an empty staithe to access a pub which can’t be reached in season. To this end, I semi-winterise ‘Lady’, by emptying the water system and running through some potable (non-toxic) antifreeze to protect my water pump, calorifier and taps. The excess also goes into the loo ! I can then bring bottled water for tea & coffee on day-trips.

With regard my engine, I flush through antifreeze with the engine running, having closed the seacock and opened the strainer lid, carefully pouring until it gets through to the exhaust. I find this a lot better than draining down as it provides some corrosion protection and keeps the engine ready to cruise. Last season, I popped a core plug despite having drained down, probably through residual pools of water in the block.

In previous years I’ve gone to the trouble of removing all the boat cushions to prevent mildew however this is a major performance when your car is a Fiat 500. Even having removed most of the upholstery last year, I suffered an overwhelming amount of mildew, the cleaning of which inspired me to strip and re-paint my headlining. This year I’m going to take the financial hit and try using a desiccant electric dehumidifier which drains into my sink. The model is a Meaco DD8L Junior Desiccant Dehumidifier 8 L and seems to review very well and is certainly compact for a ‘proper’ machine. It should re-start with the same settings if there’s a power cut or a bright spark pulls out my shore supply. By the nature of a desiccant wheel dehumidifier, some heat is generated which I hope will keep the cabin and thus the engine above freezing. I’ll report back on how well it did in the spring.

The usual emptying, cleaning and then leaving the door open of the fridge to prevent mould has been done and the fuel tank brimmed off with fresh fuel with the appropriate dose of fuel stabiliser/conditioner. (I use Lucas Oil Safeguard Ethanol Fuel Conditioner) to reduce condensation in the tank.

Finally, only loosely related to winterising, I’ve fitted a bird scarer. I’ve had enough of the little avian guano monsters making a horrendous and foul mess on my canopy, often featuring fish guts and other biological binding agents which make it impossible to remove. I tried draping some plastic bunting left over from the jubilee over the canopy but without wind to lift it, the effectiveness was debatable. I’ve now gone high-end with a Daddi Long Legs rotating bird spider and mounted it with bungee cords which will hopefully encourage the birdies to try crapping elsewhere !

Update on dehumidifier:

Having run the dehumidifier for a fortnight and through some freezing conditions and very wet weather, the electricity consumption has come to 19kWh

At the time of publishing, electricity is costing 27p per kWh, so running my dehumidifier and battery charger in maintenance mode is costing £2.57 per week

Given winter lasting for roughly 4 months, running a dehumidifier for under £50 for the season seems like a no-brainer given the hassle of cleaning up mildew in the spring. Even taking the cost of buying the dehumidifier over an anticipated lifespan of 4 years, that’s still well under £100 per year to keep the cabin nice and dry.

Update on Daddi Long Legs:

I may have just been lucky, but I would say IT WORKS !

I love my neighbours and must apologize for jogging on the seagulls, terns and harnsers to the boat next door. My canopy is certainly guano-free for now.