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Now that we’re here in Grenada, we’ve begun to give serious thought to all that will need to be done before we can leave ZTC on the hard at Grenada Marine. In some ways storing our boat on the hard here will be similar to what we did over the winter back in Canada. Obviously there are some differences though.

Our friend George wrote an excellent post on Earthling’s blog detailing the steps that he took before he stored his boat here this past season. I’ve included an edited summary below but if you visit his site, and you should, you can read all of the details and see some photos of what he did:

  • Mark the chain plates on the hull so you can tell the yard staff where to set the stands.
  • Make sure your boat is leveled and not leaning more to one side than the other.
  • Fill water tanks to full, add a capful of bleach to every 30 gallon tank.
  • Fill the fuel tank and add biocide.
  • Strap the boat down.
  • Chain the screw jacks together.
  • Put upside down cones on the straps to make it difficult for rodents to climb them.
  • Remove all the canvas: sails, bimini, and dodger, etc.
  • Put all electronics away in sealed containers or zip lock bags. If any of the electronics have batteries, remove them and put them in a sealed box.
  • Put blankets, pillows, books, and anything that can grow mold in large sealed space bags.
  • Apply a layer of oil on the vinyl cushions so they don’t crack.
  • Clean and dry the bilge.
  • Put a spoon full of vegetable oil in the head so it keeps the seals lubricated.
  • Run the inboard and outboard with fresh water for a few minutes.
  • Change the oil, fuel filter, and oil filters, etc.
  • Spray protective anti corrosion wax on the engine parts such as hose clamps, battery terminals, and anything else that can corrode.
  • Turn battery switch off, but leave the bilge pump on. Keep some kind of trickle charge so batteries are topped off!
  • Tie down the boom. Tie and secure all the halyards and lines on deck. Be sure to have no loose lines on deck!
  • Get rid of any flammables, dinghy gas, lighter fluid and so forth.
  • Close all sea cocks and cover them from below. Don’t cover the cockpit drainage!
  • Cover hatches and windows with canvas. Put aluminum foil on the windows from inside to avoid UV damage and heat inside the cabin.
  • Spray all locks with anti corrosion.
  • Pickle your watermaker if you have one.
  • Cover or apply a layer of varnish on the exterior wood trims. On the interior wood trims apply some kind of wood oil.
  • Seal places that might leak, such as stanchions, tow rail, hatches, anchor carrier, and so forth.
  • Put some kind of moisture product, humidifier in the cabin to prevent mold.
  • Do not leave any food on the boat.
  • Put rat poison in various hidden places.
  • Right before you leave the boat put a bug bomb in the cabin.

I think that’s an excellent list but I still do have some questions. For example, I’m pretty sure that any gasoline left in the carburetors will turn to varnish over time. The only way I can see around that is to remove the carbs and thoroughly clean them before storing. Any thoughts on that?

We have also been told by a friend to wipe down all headliners, etc. with a vinegar solution. Our friend Drew just shared his thoughts on mildew prevention. I guarantee ZTC will be spotless before we leave her for her “vacation.”

A few of the boats stored at Grenada Marine last season. ZTC won’t be lonely!

In unrelated news, I updated our Research page this morning, adding in a number of new cruising links. If you have some time to kill, check it out!


  1. Normally I would just use a fuel stabilizer and fog the cylinders, but that is for storage of no more then six or eight months. I assume ZTC will be on the hard longer then that, so I would run the engine to fuel starvation, pull and clean the carbs, then fog the cylinders.

    Can I ask why you leave the bilge pump on, but the battery off? Does that just allow a flip of the battery switch by the yard to ensure the bilge gets drained occasionally? Do they give you power for a trickle charger, or do you need to leave some solar going?

  2. Hey Mike,
    Living in Alberta and working the oil patch, we are always exploring the wonders of WD-40. And one of our mech’s used to preserve engine carb’s for storage by spraying it into the manifold intake while turning it over, or actually running (but not long). The WD40 will coat and protect with a thin layer. Now if we can incorporate bunge cords and duct tape……

    Also, may be harder to get where you’re at, but tack paper (sticky on one side (but able to be peeled off)) flipped upside down (sticky side up!) on counter tops will keep bugs or other undesirable critters off or out. Just tape the sheets in place with masking tape.


    • I had a large list of things that WD40 is good for. Interestingly, the one which most people use it for most often, lubricating items, is not on the list.

  3. Re: gas in the carbs – Why not just use some Stabil in your last tank of fuel then run the engine ’til she starved of fuel? Removing and cleaning the carbs is probably the surest way to prevent clogs and stale fuel issues, but starvation with a fuel stabilizers has always worked for me for outboard storage up to a year.

  4. Re. engines. I use a strong shot of Sta-Bil or the Motomaster equivalent, run the carb dry, and fog the hell out of it from both ends (down the carb throat and down the spark plug holes), turning the flywheel slowly to make sure everything’s coated.

    On our two-strokes, that’s plenty, and the smallest of those motors (a 9.9) is now 34 years old. But your engines seem to be rather more finicky than ours, and so I could certainly understand wanting to pull the carbs and flush them clean.

    Re. rodents. We’ve learned the hard way to hang lifejackets, not pile them…. one Coast guard standard horse collar is enough nest material for approximately 40 mice. That was not a good opening weekend.

  5. Here is another good list for you, from Karen of ‘Butterfly and Barnacle’ fame.


  6. A few thoughts:
    * Skip the “oil in head.” There is NO type of oil that is good for the neoprene parts in the Jabsco head. Just flush the head and all hoses with tap water and empty the holding tank. I have a PS artcle on joker valves and chemicals coming out in a month and I’ve had all kinds of chemicals in all kinds of heads for 6 months. I am SO sick of heads.
    * I would empty the water tanks and dry. I can see no good reason to fill. The bleach is not going to last that long. The water will get super funky.
    * Wax all of the windows (even if covered). Take those nice vinyl windows below, but be VERY CAREFUL to separate with cotton sheets and not to fold. Alternativly, cover and wax (special wax for vinyl).
    * Carb? Is there a drain screw? Otherwise remember there is only one filling of gas in there, so not much varnish. Overtreat with Seafoam when you come back and I’ll bet you’re fine. The folks that get it worst are those that sail about 5-10 times each year.

    And don’t worry too much. Life is short.

    • Thanks, Drew.

      To dry the water tank you would just open the inspection port?

      I’ll admit that we still do add oil to our head. We keep a little squirt bottle in the head and add it to the toilet when necessary. It does keep it moving smoothly. I have seen no real adverse affects to the joker valve. As you may have read, I had it in my hand not too long ago. 🙁

  7. Mike, I winterize my boat every year and one thing I do to avoid the gasoline “varnish” on the carburators is to let the engine run out of gas.
    I start the engine, disconect the fuel line at the engine and let it run until it dies.
    I never had a problem with that and never had to take the carburators off.

    Whatch out the for the same “varnish” on the fuel filters….


  8. Grenada Marine waxes the hull and leaves the wax on to protect the finish.


  9. Maybe some borax treats for any little critters that come exploring.

  10. This is an extremely helpful list. Thank you so much for being kind enough to post. I just love your research page, it has so much information in it.

    I was wondering if everyone (or most people) store their boats on the hard for the season and go “back home” and return after the hurricane season? And why? Is it because of weather? Expenses? Does Grenada not welcome so many boats there for such an extended period of time? Or what?? And is it ok and comfortable to stay there on your boat during hurricane season?

    • Many people use H-season as a time to visit their “homes.” For us, and many others, this is our home! So, we stay on board at anchor all season. It is no problem to do so.

  11. Maybe of subject a little, but make sure they store you where you’re surrounded by multihulls. Not a good idea to be hauled next to a mono as they’re known to tip over in hurricanes!

  12. […] And, in case you’re into cross-referencing lists (twinsies!), here’s another great list from Zero to Cruising. […]

  13. An exterminator advised against rat poison in a home (or boat). His thought is that the critters see this as food and it “invites” them inside. His thought was to place this outside–not sure how that would work in a boat yard. Good luck.


  14. Mike,

    Enjoy your vacation from your “permanent” vacation 😉

    When I hauled in Trini, I also put some heavy grease on the jackstand screws about 3 inches wide to prevent bugs from climbing the stands.

    I am not too sure about the waxing idea. I did this and found getting the wax OFF was impossible in certain areas (especially near the waterline, IIRC) and nearly impossible in most other areas. I ended up having to use a rubbing compound on most of the boat with multiple, multiple applications, and then had to apply multiple, multiple coats of wax to bring back the shine … oh my aching arms!

    • Thanks for sharing your hard-earned wisdom.

      • I think the better solution regarding waxing is to do the whole job before you leave (’cause you got nothing else to do, eh?!) That way you have a shiny protective finish vs. the unbuffed wax grabbing dirt and baking into place during the really hot, rainy months.

        Oh, and Drew has it right on the oil in the head, really you are only putting a poor “lubricant” on top of the uric crystals that are already on the rubber parts. Plus, it’s vegetable oil – aka a food. Would you leave a plate of veggie oil in the galley and not expect it to attract bugs? Just sayin’!

  15. Coming late to the party. 😉
    Indefinite storage may take quite a bit of time. So remove all the lines you can, replace halyards with messenger lines. (UV damage does not stop, otherwise be prepared to replace them.)
    If it makes sense also remove hardware like blocks, esp if they have plastic components.

    You are already taking the boat apart, so really take it apart. 😉 Go through all storage compartments. Empty them, clean them, sift trough their contents. (stays here, transfers to the other cat, get rid off, …) If you use lists adjust them accordingly.

    A problem is water ingress, if you have leaks now is the time to fix them.
    You’ve said in a later post that you’ll return after six weeks to transfer stuff to the other cat. Try to reserve some time to fix stuff on ZTC if it becomes necessary. Leaks, bugs – whatever.

    Apropos water. Don’t forget to flush the water maker with fresh water before pickling, the less crud, the less problems.
    I’d go for empty water tanks. Filled ones will go funky after time. Also try to empty the various water hoses. Careful(!) application of compressed air can help.

    • Not too late. 🙂

      We spend much of yesterday afternoon de-rigging the boat. Blocks and lines that could be easily removed and been taken off, cleaned, lubed and stored. I have been debating about the halyards though. I have considered removing them. As it stands now, I have them (and the topping lift) made fast to four corners of the boat. My thought is that it will add strength to the rig in the event of a big blow. You are totally right about the sun though, it is definitely something I have thought about.

      • Using the halyards to stiffen the mast may also make sense. I don’t know enough about rigging to give an useful answer. Drew will probably know. 😉
        As so often and man other things it depends on their condition, the replacement cost and and last but not least how much drama replacing them with other line is. Also if you have other line you can substitute.

        That you are thinking about all these things puts you ahead of the pack. That said I certainly hope the the next chapter works out for you!

  16. […] the good folks over at Windtraveler and Zero to Cruising each published lists of what they do to “de-commission” their […]

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