As the autumn nights start to draw in, it’s time to prepare for over wintering your boat.
Which jobs you choose to carry out at the end of the season will depend on your own boat’s use and personal preference and whether you will be using the boat during the winter.
If you plan to keep your boat on a mooring over the winter months then a bit of thought now could save a lot expense and heartache later and hence an enjoyable season's sailing next year. Here then are a few notes to advise or jog memories into action.
Firstly, please be aware that for vessels on a Cowes Harbour Commission licensed mooring it has always been the mooring license holder's responsibility to provide their own mooring strop or mooring lines and to maintain vigilance over them during the season reporting to the moorings team any problems. This is in line with normal good seamanlike practice.
Whilst Harbour staff endeavour to check these visually on a regular basis and act on noticeable defects, owners should take care to check the strops and lines regularly during the winter. Take a good look at areas subject to chafe, notably the top and bottom eyes and the area where the strop passes over the fairlead or bow roller. These two fittings themselves need a thorough check as you would be surprised at how many have fixings protruding up into the direct line of the strop or bow rollers with rough harsh edges, designed, as many are, for chain or anchors not rope. In some cases the system is compromised by the cleat being perfectly located immediately aft of the bow roller but with the forestay fitting immediately in between.We have also seen strops led around the front edge of rough cut alloy toe rails, not much thought there then by the crew or the boat builder.
Further, we recommend that all substantial cruisers on a swinging mooring should have double strops. Those using 'top' loading buoys will need a swivel built into this, you may already have or have seen these in use in the main harbour. Owners of vessels being left unattended for any length of time over the winter should look at roving a secondary line or chain for peace of mind to cover the possibility of the main strop parting. A good system should therefore be well fixed, chafe free, strong, and simple.
Ideally, there should be a minimum of two aft and two fore with suitable spring and breast lines. The fore and aft lines should be made fast direct to the rings or shackles on the risers, not led through and back to the boat (slip lines) as they will chafe through in no time. The lines themselves should be good, preferably new polyester or nylon three strand designed to do the task, not old multiplait non-stretch genoa sheets that have been discarded. If they are no good to sail with - why insist on mooring up your pride and joy with them? Polyprop builder's rope should likewise be left alone.
Now is the time to remove, clean and store all lines. Don’t leave them to foul up over the winter, shortening their usefulness and ruining your pristine deck and your wife’s fingernails in the spring!
As per the pile line notes, the use of worn out multiplait genoa sheet is not recommended and the practice of doubling up of lines in the winter is sought after and almost universally practiced. The fixing of doormats to the pontoons is however frowned upon, damp is retained in the timber under these causing premature failure of the boards, usually first spotted by someone walking on the mat.
If you should need any further assistance or advice, please feel free to call the CHC mooring team based at Shepards Wharf Marina on 01983 297821 or email email@example.com.
Photo: Shepards Wharf Marina.
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