Keven Talks Sails: A Sailmaker’s Fall Haulout List

Nov 1, 2023

I’m going to let you all in on my secret fall sailboat maintenance list. This is the time to get prepared for Spring launch, and you won’t be waiting for sail repairs, delivery of new sails, new impellers or replacement anodes.

1 – Check your cradle, stands or trailer. Grease the threads on the pads, check the waterproof carpet and keel block. Wheel bearing grease, check the lights, tires. This year I got some new tires mounted and installed a month before haulout thanks to my friendly mechanic Matt.

2 – Get the sails off of the boat, inspect them, spot clean the dead spiders, and get the sails up to the loft for a new spreader patch, missing stitches, and new telltales. I got this done the week before haulout. Also making a plan for a new spinnaker next year… shhhhh!

3 – Cushions and personal gear off the boat. Remove the cushion covers and launder them so they smell nice next year and don’t spread any mildew when in storage.

4 – Check the measurements that the turnbuckles are adjusted to and confirm the stud to stud dimensions from those recorded last year. Give them a quick lube with Fluidfilm before I loosen them off.

5 – Pull messenger lines through and remove the halyards for a clean and get them ready to end to end for next year. Measure the Spinnaker Halyard and Tack Line for replacement. Order the rope.

6 – Head pump out. Change oil, transmission oil, and check the manual for required maintenance. Needed to install a new impeller, flush the engine coolant, clean the heat exchanger stack and O-rings, new engine anode. Measured up for a new stuffing box. Going back to nut style with packing, my experiment with dripless is over!

Went and purchased another oil filter and jug of oil so I have enough to change next season if necessary.

Engine service

7 – Mast down. I understand some don’t like taking their mast down, but I find something to fix every season I do it. Last season for my leather spreader boots, so I need to pattern those out for next spring. Also need a new piece of rubber hose shim for my old C&C spreaders… done.

Radar reflector didn’t survive, off to the chandlery for a new one. Windex is caput, have a spare ready for next year. Mast is on the trestles with the furling groove pointed down so no ice can freeze in it. Shrink wrap tape over the end to keep the critters out.

8 – Haulout day! The 500-tonne crane makes my boat look small. On the trailer, the pads adjust easily since they are freshly greased.

On the trailer

9 – Drain the water system and winterize. Drain the muffler and start it up to run non-tox antifreeze through, and a quick blast of fogging oil in the breather.

10 – Quick hull polish to get off the diesel smudge, fender scuffs and the grey stain below the scuppers. Wipe the interior down with your favorite cleaner and wipe up the bilge after running some non-tox antifreeze through the pumps.

And now it is time to put it in the barn for a long winters nap. Now what colour do I want for the new spinnaker?

Off to the barn

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