The Neglected Boat


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Emily.Winter
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Covid has extended the time far beyond that when we should have been reunited with our boats in far away or not so far away places. What disasters await us after about two years of neglect?

Perhaps the best advice would be to make sure you have a copy of Nigel Calder's boat maintenance handbook. However despite its encyclopaedic contents there are many traps for the unwary.

I am no great expert in the field but I have plenty of experience restoring much neglected yachts. Most of which had been left alone between four to five years.
Of course you will hope that the boatyard has “kept an eye on things”. I would not hold my breath.
I am hoping to call on the experience of the OCC membership to help compile the most frequent problems and the DIY solutions.
I will start by listing a few of the almost inevitable problems that occur even if your boat was put to bed properly.

  • Flat batteries, are they dead beyond recovery ?How would the fact be established? What treatments have been found to be successful?
  • Seized skin fittings, it is usually the lot in hot places, freeing them without breaking the levers or snapping the screw thread is an art form. Inspecting the outside of a valve is no indication of the horrors of what might have happened to its innards.
  • Stinking marine toilets together with bilges and polluted water tanks will exercise some lateral thinking in restoring sweetness.
  • Water in the fuel, or horror of horrors a rampant fuel bug might well ruin your day.
  • The life raft is out of date. Did you weigh it when it came back form its latest service so that you can now monitor the gas content of the cylinder? How else can this be done?
  • The list is endless, and professional solutions expensive.
  • Leaks of all sorts are highly probable.

Perhaps our pooled knowledge of these and similar problems will be of benefit to others.


Yours, Noel Dilly
Dick
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Emily.Winter - 1 Feb 2021
Covid has extended the time far beyond that when we should have been reunited with our boats in far away or not so far away places. What disasters await us after about two years of neglect?

Perhaps the best advice would be to make sure you have a copy of Nigel Calder's boat maintenance handbook. However despite its encyclopaedic contents there are many traps for the unwary.

I am no great expert in the field but I have plenty of experience restoring much neglected yachts. Most of which had been left alone between four to five years.
Of course you will hope that the boatyard has “kept an eye on things”. I would not hold my breath.
I am hoping to call on the experience of the OCC membership to help compile the most frequent problems and the DIY solutions.
I will start by listing a few of the almost inevitable problems that occur even if your boat was put to bed properly.

  • Flat batteries, are they dead beyond recovery ?How would the fact be established? What treatments have been found to be successful?
  • Seized skin fittings, it is usually the lot in hot places, freeing them without breaking the levers or snapping the screw thread is an art form. Inspecting the outside of a valve is no indication of the horrors of what might have happened to its innards.
  • Stinking marine toilets together with bilges and polluted water tanks will exercise some lateral thinking in restoring sweetness.
  • Water in the fuel, or horror of horrors a rampant fuel bug might well ruin your day.
  • The life raft is out of date. Did you weigh it when it came back form its latest service so that you can now monitor the gas content of the cylinder? How else can this be done?
  • The list is endless, and professional solutions expensive.
  • Leaks of all sorts are highly probable.

Perhaps our pooled knowledge of these and similar problems will be of benefit to others.


Yours, Noel Dilly

Hi Emily,,
Some of us will have engines that have been in storage for at least a year and a half when we get to them. I have put together the following thoughts for a friend who asked, but also would like feedback/suggestions.
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


1. New impellor.
2. Check oil level (oil was changed as were the primary and secondary fuel filters and oil filter)
3. Tighten pto/alternator belt which I loosen over the winter
a. I might swap with new if left tight and put old in stores
4. Ensure starter battery is charged
5. Fuel:
a. I have a system to take fuel from the bottom of my tank (below the pick-up tube), run it through a Racor filter and return it to the top of the tank. Do with both tanks.
b. It might be wise to find some sort of cetane additive: perhaps someone has ideas/experience with this?
6. Remove the rag from the hull exhaust discharge thru-hull
7. Starting
a. I am in a cold area. I will ensure that the engine is at least warm room temperature and try to ensure the oil in the sump is warmed (space heater in engine room?). This is likely needed to be started an hour or two before starting. I might even try to heat the engine room to 90 degF/30+C or more for a few hours before starting.
b. Turning the engine over manually will ensure nothing is seized and will distribute oil a bit.
c. I plan to: while holding down the manual “stop” button, hit the start button for a couple seconds. Let the engine sit for a bit and do again and again let sit (for oil to drip around)
d. Then I will start as usual (while crossing my fingers)
Other possibilities include:
Remove injectors or glow plugs and dribble oil in and hand turn.
Fairly quickly in the season change oil and coolant: they may have depleted their detergent and anti-corrosion properties with the long time period and exceeded expiry (coolant) and sludge may have developed.
More:
Do not over-crank if the engine does not start right away and get water into the engine/exhaust system.

Dick
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Dick - 1 Feb 2021
Emily.Winter - 1 Feb 2021
Covid has extended the time far beyond that when we should have been reunited with our boats in far away or not so far away places. What disasters await us after about two years of neglect?

Perhaps the best advice would be to make sure you have a copy of Nigel Calder's boat maintenance handbook. However despite its encyclopaedic contents there are many traps for the unwary.

I am no great expert in the field but I have plenty of experience restoring much neglected yachts. Most of which had been left alone between four to five years.
Of course you will hope that the boatyard has “kept an eye on things”. I would not hold my breath.
I am hoping to call on the experience of the OCC membership to help compile the most frequent problems and the DIY solutions.
I will start by listing a few of the almost inevitable problems that occur even if your boat was put to bed properly.

  • Flat batteries, are they dead beyond recovery ?How would the fact be established? What treatments have been found to be successful?
  • Seized skin fittings, it is usually the lot in hot places, freeing them without breaking the levers or snapping the screw thread is an art form. Inspecting the outside of a valve is no indication of the horrors of what might have happened to its innards.
  • Stinking marine toilets together with bilges and polluted water tanks will exercise some lateral thinking in restoring sweetness.
  • Water in the fuel, or horror of horrors a rampant fuel bug might well ruin your day.
  • The life raft is out of date. Did you weigh it when it came back form its latest service so that you can now monitor the gas content of the cylinder? How else can this be done?
  • The list is endless, and professional solutions expensive.
  • Leaks of all sorts are highly probable.

Perhaps our pooled knowledge of these and similar problems will be of benefit to others.


Yours, Noel Dilly

Hi Emily,,
Some of us will have engines that have been in storage for at least a year and a half when we get to them. I have put together the following thoughts for a friend who asked, but also would like feedback/suggestions.
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


1. New impellor.
2. Check oil level (oil was changed as were the primary and secondary fuel filters and oil filter)
3. Tighten pto/alternator belt which I loosen over the winter
a. I might swap with new if left tight and put old in stores
4. Ensure starter battery is charged
5. Fuel:
a. I have a system to take fuel from the bottom of my tank (below the pick-up tube), run it through a Racor filter and return it to the top of the tank. Do with both tanks.
b. It might be wise to find some sort of cetane additive: perhaps someone has ideas/experience with this?
6. Remove the rag from the hull exhaust discharge thru-hull
7. Starting
a. I am in a cold area. I will ensure that the engine is at least warm room temperature and try to ensure the oil in the sump is warmed (space heater in engine room?). This is likely needed to be started an hour or two before starting. I might even try to heat the engine room to 90 degF/30+C or more for a few hours before starting.
b. Turning the engine over manually will ensure nothing is seized and will distribute oil a bit.
c. I plan to: while holding down the manual “stop” button, hit the start button for a couple seconds. Let the engine sit for a bit and do again and again let sit (for oil to drip around)
d. Then I will start as usual (while crossing my fingers)
Other possibilities include:
Remove injectors or glow plugs and dribble oil in and hand turn.
Fairly quickly in the season change oil and coolant: they may have depleted their detergent and anti-corrosion properties with the long time period and exceeded expiry (coolant) and sludge may have developed.
More:
Do not over-crank if the engine does not start right away and get water into the engine/exhaust system.

Hi Emily,
Some thoughts on the other questions:
Batteries: Recovery is dependent on the battery chemistry. Refer to manufacturer. They can be very helpful. Any stored boat is best left with someone who can plug the boat in to charge batteries every month or so.
Properly maintained and serviced sea cocks should be fine. If worried or find difficulty remove the hose and let sit with a puddle of penetrating lubricant (PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench might be good) of some sort. Sread it on all moving parts /threads etc. Heating the metal will probably help the penetrating if cold (watch for igniting the penetrating liquid).
If properly prepared for storage, the toilet, holding tank and hoses should be fine.
There are water absorbers for fuel but I have never used so I am unsure of their effectiveness. Polishing the fuel might be a wise move. At the very least keep a close watch on your fuel filters for the first hours and longer. If a clear bowl, be sure you know what water accumulation looks like. Have extra filters for a bug. Might be a good time to consider a polishing system and to fit in a Dual Racor filtering system.
An out-of-date liferaft needs to be serviced.
What leaks are “highly probable”?
Come back with questions/comments etc.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Noel.Dilly
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Noel.Dilly
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Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Dick
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Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Hi Noel,
I am well aware that boats can be experienced like malevolent beasts. But it sounds like you feel every avenue has PITA qualities and that every proper maintenance and care you attempt will be thwarted at every turn. You have some good suggestions and I will try to address those areas where you express concerns.
I am assuming, in my writing, that the boats we are discussing were left for an over-winter storage and were prepared properly for this and that, with covid, an over-winter storage got extended and the boat became “neglected” because the owner could not get to it. It is quite a different challenge if the boat was just walked away from with no prep and abandoned.
Liferaft maintenance is an expensive endeavor and usually a bother. I personally would not use a weighing method to determine the state of my raft: far too critical a measurement and the down-side of error is too great (contacting the raft manufacturer as to the wisdom of weighing to determine condition might be wise). And, for sure there is lots else that goes into a liferaft inspection/servicing.
And, no: I have no “service agent on tap” nor one that comes at the “ring of a bell”. I am not sure what I said that implied that. Perhaps my saying “get it serviced” made it sound too easy. Quite the contrary: I have been ~~20 years from usual marine support facilities and mostly living aboard and, in that time, I have had a wide variety of raft servicing. My raft’s manufacturer paid for my raft to be couriered from Turkey. Another time I sailed the raft to The Channel Islands from the UK for servicing. Two times I sent it by mail (prohibitively expensive) and one time I was lucky enough to be close to a service facility.
Not sure what point you are trying to make about raft servicing in the telling of boatyard employee(s) appropriating of the heater and cord without permission.
My modern engine is easy to turn over by hand: I am no expert in this area, so talk to your local mechanic or the manufacturer to ensure doing so properly. My take is that there is generally a straightforward way to turn over modern engines by hand. It may be enough to just do the starting technique I suggested and let the batteries and starter do the work, but even there it might be wise to consult a mechanic/engineer you trust.
Oil heating could be effectively accomplished in the way you describe, although getting out cold oil could be a challenge (I am in a cold area). My interest was the oil for sure, but also generally in having the whole engine, block and all, warm before starting. I am unsure how important this is, but not unwilling to extend myself for my engine’s sake, even if of marginal value.
I am not sure bleeding one’s fuel lines is necessary. Why do you suggest this? I would assume that at the end of season Biobar (or the like) and fuel stabilizer would have been added to the full fuel tanks and the engine run enough to distribute the fuel into the engine. In this way, the fuel in the lines should be the same as the fuel in the tank and drawing in fuel from the tank via the lift pump should make no difference. Am I missing something here?
I assume what you mean by “fuel filtering” is what I wrote about fuel polishing. Search the OCC Forum and you will find my fuel polishing method with comments about how it can be generally applied.
You ask about maintenance of seacocks: cone ones like Blakes can be an essay in itself and I suspect googling will get you a youtube demonstration that will transcend any written description. In short: I have had ball valves for decades now and would not go back to cone style. Maintenance includes: 1. Working all seacocks once per month during the season and more often if they prove to be stiff or barnacles etc. are fast growing: 2. At spring commissioning spraying lubricant grease into and around the seacock from outside the boat while someone inside is opening and closing and working the seacock: 3. Do the same at lay-up (if on the hard) and leave the seacocks open to ensure no water accumulates later to freeze and damage the seacock. 4. Some seacocks have the capacity to use a zerk fitting for a grease gun making lubing much easier. And the above efforts, for sure, will ensure the seacocks are tried out on land before launching as you correctly suggest.
With the above, I have never had a seized seacock, stiff at times, but never seized: I am sorry you find yours “usually seized”.
I did not neglect a warning about heating near penetrating oil in my previous writing that you are responding to and wrote: “watch for igniting the penetrating liquid”. But warnings like that bear repeating. If worried about heat sources, wrap the seacock with a towel and pour on boiling water: repeat and the seacock will be warm with no danger of igniting the volitiles.
It has been my experience that a properly maintained and prepared toilet, holding tank and hoses done at lay-up is not smelly at the end of the lay-up period.
And multiple impellors should be part of any wide-ranging vessels stores. I replace my impellor every year even if it looks “like new”.
Thanks for your thoughts, My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Noel.Dilly
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Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Hi Noel,
I am well aware that boats can be experienced like malevolent beasts. But it sounds like you feel every avenue has PITA qualities and that every proper maintenance and care you attempt will be thwarted at every turn. You have some good suggestions and I will try to address those areas where you express concerns.
I am assuming, in my writing, that the boats we are discussing were left for an over-winter storage and were prepared properly for this and that, with covid, an over-winter storage got extended and the boat became “neglected” because the owner could not get to it. It is quite a different challenge if the boat was just walked away from with no prep and abandoned.
Liferaft maintenance is an expensive endeavor and usually a bother. I personally would not use a weighing method to determine the state of my raft: far too critical a measurement and the down-side of error is too great (contacting the raft manufacturer as to the wisdom of weighing to determine condition might be wise). And, for sure there is lots else that goes into a liferaft inspection/servicing.
And, no: I have no “service agent on tap” nor one that comes at the “ring of a bell”. I am not sure what I said that implied that. Perhaps my saying “get it serviced” made it sound too easy. Quite the contrary: I have been ~~20 years from usual marine support facilities and mostly living aboard and, in that time, I have had a wide variety of raft servicing. My raft’s manufacturer paid for my raft to be couriered from Turkey. Another time I sailed the raft to The Channel Islands from the UK for servicing. Two times I sent it by mail (prohibitively expensive) and one time I was lucky enough to be close to a service facility.
Not sure what point you are trying to make about raft servicing in the telling of boatyard employee(s) appropriating of the heater and cord without permission.
My modern engine is easy to turn over by hand: I am no expert in this area, so talk to your local mechanic or the manufacturer to ensure doing so properly. My take is that there is generally a straightforward way to turn over modern engines by hand. It may be enough to just do the starting technique I suggested and let the batteries and starter do the work, but even there it might be wise to consult a mechanic/engineer you trust.
Oil heating could be effectively accomplished in the way you describe, although getting out cold oil could be a challenge (I am in a cold area). My interest was the oil for sure, but also generally in having the whole engine, block and all, warm before starting. I am unsure how important this is, but not unwilling to extend myself for my engine’s sake, even if of marginal value.
I am not sure bleeding one’s fuel lines is necessary. Why do you suggest this? I would assume that at the end of season Biobar (or the like) and fuel stabilizer would have been added to the full fuel tanks and the engine run enough to distribute the fuel into the engine. In this way, the fuel in the lines should be the same as the fuel in the tank and drawing in fuel from the tank via the lift pump should make no difference. Am I missing something here?
I assume what you mean by “fuel filtering” is what I wrote about fuel polishing. Search the OCC Forum and you will find my fuel polishing method with comments about how it can be generally applied.
You ask about maintenance of seacocks: cone ones like Blakes can be an essay in itself and I suspect googling will get you a youtube demonstration that will transcend any written description. In short: I have had ball valves for decades now and would not go back to cone style. Maintenance includes: 1. Working all seacocks once per month during the season and more often if they prove to be stiff or barnacles etc. are fast growing: 2. At spring commissioning spraying lubricant grease into and around the seacock from outside the boat while someone inside is opening and closing and working the seacock: 3. Do the same at lay-up (if on the hard) and leave the seacocks open to ensure no water accumulates later to freeze and damage the seacock. 4. Some seacocks have the capacity to use a zerk fitting for a grease gun making lubing much easier. And the above efforts, for sure, will ensure the seacocks are tried out on land before launching as you correctly suggest.
With the above, I have never had a seized seacock, stiff at times, but never seized: I am sorry you find yours “usually seized”.
I did not neglect a warning about heating near penetrating oil in my previous writing that you are responding to and wrote: “watch for igniting the penetrating liquid”. But warnings like that bear repeating. If worried about heat sources, wrap the seacock with a towel and pour on boiling water: repeat and the seacock will be warm with no danger of igniting the volitiles.
It has been my experience that a properly maintained and prepared toilet, holding tank and hoses done at lay-up is not smelly at the end of the lay-up period.
And multiple impellors should be part of any wide-ranging vessels stores. I replace my impellor every year even if it looks “like new”.
Thanks for your thoughts, My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Hi Dick,   Thank you for your contribution.  By the time most of us have finished the immunisation schedule for the cover virus and waited the required extra time to have a significant antibody titre our boats will have been ashore for much longer than merely overwintering sadly.
The weight of gas in the cylinder is significant , it is easy to judge between a full and empty cylinder. Weighing it routinely just makes sure that you do. A life raft that support you when you get in it is what is required, the rest should be in the grab bag. About the only two essentials are water and seasickness remedies.
Scopolamine patches work for me. 
Relying on the boatyard to charge batteries is a risky business. Solar panel on the boat if outside, or a dedicated power line to the charging system with some means of monitoring the continuity of the power supply is far more reliable.
You have not told us how you turn your engine over by hand. Do you use a spanner on the crankshaft or what? Are you sure that you need a warm engine block before starting? All over the World engines are started ever morning from cold Winter or Summer. What is important is the ambient temperature. Most lubricants even those without special additives work above zero degrees Celsius.
I suggested bleeding the fuel lines because before my boat is lifted from the water and put ashore I close the valve at the tank and run the engine dry of fuel. This stops any evaporation of fuel in the fuel lines and blockage by the reside that inevitably remains.In the sense we are using the words filtering and polishing the words are synonymous. I am not obfuscating by changing what is done filtering, to polishing.  Unfortunately all the pre storage waggling the seacock lever is irrelevant after a long storage.
Volatile fluids can explode without necessarily pre ignition . Of course impellers are part of any yachts stores. By taking one with you you are simply maintaining the onboard store.
I await with interest the report of your sweet holding tank and loo when you are reunited with Alchemy.   Good luck  Noel



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Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Hi Noel,
I am well aware that boats can be experienced like malevolent beasts. But it sounds like you feel every avenue has PITA qualities and that every proper maintenance and care you attempt will be thwarted at every turn. You have some good suggestions and I will try to address those areas where you express concerns.
I am assuming, in my writing, that the boats we are discussing were left for an over-winter storage and were prepared properly for this and that, with covid, an over-winter storage got extended and the boat became “neglected” because the owner could not get to it. It is quite a different challenge if the boat was just walked away from with no prep and abandoned.
Liferaft maintenance is an expensive endeavor and usually a bother. I personally would not use a weighing method to determine the state of my raft: far too critical a measurement and the down-side of error is too great (contacting the raft manufacturer as to the wisdom of weighing to determine condition might be wise). And, for sure there is lots else that goes into a liferaft inspection/servicing.
And, no: I have no “service agent on tap” nor one that comes at the “ring of a bell”. I am not sure what I said that implied that. Perhaps my saying “get it serviced” made it sound too easy. Quite the contrary: I have been ~~20 years from usual marine support facilities and mostly living aboard and, in that time, I have had a wide variety of raft servicing. My raft’s manufacturer paid for my raft to be couriered from Turkey. Another time I sailed the raft to The Channel Islands from the UK for servicing. Two times I sent it by mail (prohibitively expensive) and one time I was lucky enough to be close to a service facility.
Not sure what point you are trying to make about raft servicing in the telling of boatyard employee(s) appropriating of the heater and cord without permission.
My modern engine is easy to turn over by hand: I am no expert in this area, so talk to your local mechanic or the manufacturer to ensure doing so properly. My take is that there is generally a straightforward way to turn over modern engines by hand. It may be enough to just do the starting technique I suggested and let the batteries and starter do the work, but even there it might be wise to consult a mechanic/engineer you trust.
Oil heating could be effectively accomplished in the way you describe, although getting out cold oil could be a challenge (I am in a cold area). My interest was the oil for sure, but also generally in having the whole engine, block and all, warm before starting. I am unsure how important this is, but not unwilling to extend myself for my engine’s sake, even if of marginal value.
I am not sure bleeding one’s fuel lines is necessary. Why do you suggest this? I would assume that at the end of season Biobar (or the like) and fuel stabilizer would have been added to the full fuel tanks and the engine run enough to distribute the fuel into the engine. In this way, the fuel in the lines should be the same as the fuel in the tank and drawing in fuel from the tank via the lift pump should make no difference. Am I missing something here?
I assume what you mean by “fuel filtering” is what I wrote about fuel polishing. Search the OCC Forum and you will find my fuel polishing method with comments about how it can be generally applied.
You ask about maintenance of seacocks: cone ones like Blakes can be an essay in itself and I suspect googling will get you a youtube demonstration that will transcend any written description. In short: I have had ball valves for decades now and would not go back to cone style. Maintenance includes: 1. Working all seacocks once per month during the season and more often if they prove to be stiff or barnacles etc. are fast growing: 2. At spring commissioning spraying lubricant grease into and around the seacock from outside the boat while someone inside is opening and closing and working the seacock: 3. Do the same at lay-up (if on the hard) and leave the seacocks open to ensure no water accumulates later to freeze and damage the seacock. 4. Some seacocks have the capacity to use a zerk fitting for a grease gun making lubing much easier. And the above efforts, for sure, will ensure the seacocks are tried out on land before launching as you correctly suggest.
With the above, I have never had a seized seacock, stiff at times, but never seized: I am sorry you find yours “usually seized”.
I did not neglect a warning about heating near penetrating oil in my previous writing that you are responding to and wrote: “watch for igniting the penetrating liquid”. But warnings like that bear repeating. If worried about heat sources, wrap the seacock with a towel and pour on boiling water: repeat and the seacock will be warm with no danger of igniting the volitiles.
It has been my experience that a properly maintained and prepared toilet, holding tank and hoses done at lay-up is not smelly at the end of the lay-up period.
And multiple impellors should be part of any wide-ranging vessels stores. I replace my impellor every year even if it looks “like new”.
Thanks for your thoughts, My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Hi Dick,   Thank you for your contribution.  By the time most of us have finished the immunisation schedule for the cover virus and waited the required extra time to have a significant antibody titre our boats will have been ashore for much longer than merely overwintering sadly.
The weight of gas in the cylinder is significant , it is easy to judge between a full and empty cylinder. Weighing it routinely just makes sure that you do. A life raft that support you when you get in it is what is required, the rest should be in the grab bag. About the only two essentials are water and seasickness remedies.
Scopolamine patches work for me. 
Relying on the boatyard to charge batteries is a risky business. Solar panel on the boat if outside, or a dedicated power line to the charging system with some means of monitoring the continuity of the power supply is far more reliable.
You have not told us how you turn your engine over by hand. Do you use a spanner on the crankshaft or what? Are you sure that you need a warm engine block before starting? All over the World engines are started ever morning from cold Winter or Summer. What is important is the ambient temperature. Most lubricants even those without special additives work above zero degrees Celsius.
I suggested bleeding the fuel lines because before my boat is lifted from the water and put ashore I close the valve at the tank and run the engine dry of fuel. This stops any evaporation of fuel in the fuel lines and blockage by the reside that inevitably remains.In the sense we are using the words filtering and polishing the words are synonymous. I am not obfuscating by changing what is done filtering, to polishing.  Unfortunately all the pre storage waggling the seacock lever is irrelevant after a long storage.
Volatile fluids can explode without necessarily pre ignition . Of course impellers are part of any yachts stores. By taking one with you you are simply maintaining the onboard store.
I await with interest the report of your sweet holding tank and loo when you are reunited with Alchemy.   Good luck  Noel



Hi Noel,
Agreed: from the get-go we have been talking about neglected boats (because of covid) rather than over-wintered boats. It is my take (and my casual thinking and research supports this) that we are not looking at significant problems 1 1/2 years down the line as different than just an over-wintering for the well-prepared boat at lay-up.
I never suggested that the weight of the gas is not significant, but I think that evaluating such an important piece of kit be left to the professionals. I suspect more than lost gas (and here we are talking ounces of weight difference on a raft weighing 40 up to 60+ pounds) can change the weight of a raft over a period of time and make evaluation difficult. Again, I would refer those with questions and concerns in this area to contact their raft’s manufacturer. Please get back to us with their advice if you do so.
(Noel, it might be said here that I am responding to you and your concerns and the help you requested. Clearly, you can and should, as skipper, make the choices that seem best practice for you. But I am also writing for others who might be reading over our shoulders and deciding what actions they wish to make in these areas.)
We have not been discussing charging batteries, but I do agree that leaving it to most boatyards would not be my choice. When I am not able to visit the boat regularly, I always have had a knowledgeable and reliable person inspect regularly. My boat in Newfoundland gets plugged in every month for a few hours for battery charging and the inside and outside of the boat gets inspected. Some insurance companies demand this for lay-up periods. I am not a fan of having an unattended boat plugged in all the time.
I purposely chose not to discuss how I turn my engine over by hand, as it is likely not to be of help to someone with a different engine. As I stated, I know how for my engine and not for anyone else’s and, not being in any way an expert in this area, again, I refer you to your mechanic/engineer.
It would be great if you could get back to us with your engineer’s response if you go that route and consult.
I would definitely run a gasoline/petrol engine dry prior to lay-up, but not a diesel. Air in the diesel fuel lines can cause too many unexpected, and sometimes hard to isolate, problems. I do not think doing so (running a diesel dry) is in any way common practice. Diesel fuel lines seem far less prone to evaporation and the nature of a diesel engine design is meant to preclude air (and air is essential for evaporation). Again, those with questions in this area should consult their engine’s manufacturer and/or an engineer they trust.
I disagree that servicing one’s seacocks by spraying them with grease and working them open and closed at lay-up is irrelevant: whether one winter or longer, the servicing is likely to make a difference. You report usually having seized seacocks: perhaps doing the servicing I suggest might make a difference. Worth a try?
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Hi Noel,
I am well aware that boats can be experienced like malevolent beasts. But it sounds like you feel every avenue has PITA qualities and that every proper maintenance and care you attempt will be thwarted at every turn. You have some good suggestions and I will try to address those areas where you express concerns.
I am assuming, in my writing, that the boats we are discussing were left for an over-winter storage and were prepared properly for this and that, with covid, an over-winter storage got extended and the boat became “neglected” because the owner could not get to it. It is quite a different challenge if the boat was just walked away from with no prep and abandoned.
Liferaft maintenance is an expensive endeavor and usually a bother. I personally would not use a weighing method to determine the state of my raft: far too critical a measurement and the down-side of error is too great (contacting the raft manufacturer as to the wisdom of weighing to determine condition might be wise). And, for sure there is lots else that goes into a liferaft inspection/servicing.
And, no: I have no “service agent on tap” nor one that comes at the “ring of a bell”. I am not sure what I said that implied that. Perhaps my saying “get it serviced” made it sound too easy. Quite the contrary: I have been ~~20 years from usual marine support facilities and mostly living aboard and, in that time, I have had a wide variety of raft servicing. My raft’s manufacturer paid for my raft to be couriered from Turkey. Another time I sailed the raft to The Channel Islands from the UK for servicing. Two times I sent it by mail (prohibitively expensive) and one time I was lucky enough to be close to a service facility.
Not sure what point you are trying to make about raft servicing in the telling of boatyard employee(s) appropriating of the heater and cord without permission.
My modern engine is easy to turn over by hand: I am no expert in this area, so talk to your local mechanic or the manufacturer to ensure doing so properly. My take is that there is generally a straightforward way to turn over modern engines by hand. It may be enough to just do the starting technique I suggested and let the batteries and starter do the work, but even there it might be wise to consult a mechanic/engineer you trust.
Oil heating could be effectively accomplished in the way you describe, although getting out cold oil could be a challenge (I am in a cold area). My interest was the oil for sure, but also generally in having the whole engine, block and all, warm before starting. I am unsure how important this is, but not unwilling to extend myself for my engine’s sake, even if of marginal value.
I am not sure bleeding one’s fuel lines is necessary. Why do you suggest this? I would assume that at the end of season Biobar (or the like) and fuel stabilizer would have been added to the full fuel tanks and the engine run enough to distribute the fuel into the engine. In this way, the fuel in the lines should be the same as the fuel in the tank and drawing in fuel from the tank via the lift pump should make no difference. Am I missing something here?
I assume what you mean by “fuel filtering” is what I wrote about fuel polishing. Search the OCC Forum and you will find my fuel polishing method with comments about how it can be generally applied.
You ask about maintenance of seacocks: cone ones like Blakes can be an essay in itself and I suspect googling will get you a youtube demonstration that will transcend any written description. In short: I have had ball valves for decades now and would not go back to cone style. Maintenance includes: 1. Working all seacocks once per month during the season and more often if they prove to be stiff or barnacles etc. are fast growing: 2. At spring commissioning spraying lubricant grease into and around the seacock from outside the boat while someone inside is opening and closing and working the seacock: 3. Do the same at lay-up (if on the hard) and leave the seacocks open to ensure no water accumulates later to freeze and damage the seacock. 4. Some seacocks have the capacity to use a zerk fitting for a grease gun making lubing much easier. And the above efforts, for sure, will ensure the seacocks are tried out on land before launching as you correctly suggest.
With the above, I have never had a seized seacock, stiff at times, but never seized: I am sorry you find yours “usually seized”.
I did not neglect a warning about heating near penetrating oil in my previous writing that you are responding to and wrote: “watch for igniting the penetrating liquid”. But warnings like that bear repeating. If worried about heat sources, wrap the seacock with a towel and pour on boiling water: repeat and the seacock will be warm with no danger of igniting the volitiles.
It has been my experience that a properly maintained and prepared toilet, holding tank and hoses done at lay-up is not smelly at the end of the lay-up period.
And multiple impellors should be part of any wide-ranging vessels stores. I replace my impellor every year even if it looks “like new”.
Thanks for your thoughts, My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Hi Dick,   Thank you for your contribution.  By the time most of us have finished the immunisation schedule for the cover virus and waited the required extra time to have a significant antibody titre our boats will have been ashore for much longer than merely overwintering sadly.
The weight of gas in the cylinder is significant , it is easy to judge between a full and empty cylinder. Weighing it routinely just makes sure that you do. A life raft that support you when you get in it is what is required, the rest should be in the grab bag. About the only two essentials are water and seasickness remedies.
Scopolamine patches work for me. 
Relying on the boatyard to charge batteries is a risky business. Solar panel on the boat if outside, or a dedicated power line to the charging system with some means of monitoring the continuity of the power supply is far more reliable.
You have not told us how you turn your engine over by hand. Do you use a spanner on the crankshaft or what? Are you sure that you need a warm engine block before starting? All over the World engines are started ever morning from cold Winter or Summer. What is important is the ambient temperature. Most lubricants even those without special additives work above zero degrees Celsius.
I suggested bleeding the fuel lines because before my boat is lifted from the water and put ashore I close the valve at the tank and run the engine dry of fuel. This stops any evaporation of fuel in the fuel lines and blockage by the reside that inevitably remains.In the sense we are using the words filtering and polishing the words are synonymous. I am not obfuscating by changing what is done filtering, to polishing.  Unfortunately all the pre storage waggling the seacock lever is irrelevant after a long storage.
Volatile fluids can explode without necessarily pre ignition . Of course impellers are part of any yachts stores. By taking one with you you are simply maintaining the onboard store.
I await with interest the report of your sweet holding tank and loo when you are reunited with Alchemy.   Good luck  Noel



Hi Noel,
Agreed: from the get-go we have been talking about neglected boats (because of covid) rather than over-wintered boats. It is my take (and my casual thinking and research supports this) that we are not looking at significant problems 1 1/2 years down the line as different than just an over-wintering for the well-prepared boat at lay-up.
I never suggested that the weight of the gas is not significant, but I think that evaluating such an important piece of kit be left to the professionals. I suspect more than lost gas (and here we are talking ounces of weight difference on a raft weighing 40 up to 60+ pounds) can change the weight of a raft over a period of time and make evaluation difficult. Again, I would refer those with questions and concerns in this area to contact their raft’s manufacturer. Please get back to us with their advice if you do so.
(Noel, it might be said here that I am responding to you and your concerns and the help you requested. Clearly, you can and should, as skipper, make the choices that seem best practice for you. But I am also writing for others who might be reading over our shoulders and deciding what actions they wish to make in these areas.)
We have not been discussing charging batteries, but I do agree that leaving it to most boatyards would not be my choice. When I am not able to visit the boat regularly, I always have had a knowledgeable and reliable person inspect regularly. My boat in Newfoundland gets plugged in every month for a few hours for battery charging and the inside and outside of the boat gets inspected. Some insurance companies demand this for lay-up periods. I am not a fan of having an unattended boat plugged in all the time.
I purposely chose not to discuss how I turn my engine over by hand, as it is likely not to be of help to someone with a different engine. As I stated, I know how for my engine and not for anyone else’s and, not being in any way an expert in this area, again, I refer you to your mechanic/engineer.
It would be great if you could get back to us with your engineer’s response if you go that route and consult.
I would definitely run a gasoline/petrol engine dry prior to lay-up, but not a diesel. Air in the diesel fuel lines can cause too many unexpected, and sometimes hard to isolate, problems. I do not think doing so (running a diesel dry) is in any way common practice. Diesel fuel lines seem far less prone to evaporation and the nature of a diesel engine design is meant to preclude air (and air is essential for evaporation). Again, those with questions in this area should consult their engine’s manufacturer and/or an engineer they trust.
I disagree that servicing one’s seacocks by spraying them with grease and working them open and closed at lay-up is irrelevant: whether one winter or longer, the servicing is likely to make a difference. You report usually having seized seacocks: perhaps doing the servicing I suggest might make a difference. Worth a try?
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Having not seen my boat for 11 months now all the above posts are quite interesting.
Although I don't know of anywhere that rainwater could leak into the boat and I have a deep bilge I always used to worry about a leak developing and coming back to my boat after an absence and finding the water level above the floorboards and getting into the engine.
What I do now is to remove the engine cooling water hose from the seacock and leave it open so that if a serious amount of water did some how find its way into the boat it would drain out before it got to the engine.
With regard to Blakes seacocks (and this is slightly off topic): on one of my previous boats we only had one sink for washing and doing the dishes so lots of soapy water went through the seacock. One summer, despite me having serviced it before launching, this particular seacock became quite stiff, so much so my wife was having difficulty operating it.   I surmised  the grease had been washed out by the soap. At a quiet anchorage and following instructions from my 'Skippers Emergency Handbook" I fastened a line form one side of the boat to the other to hold onto, swum underneath and hammered a bung into the skinfitting. Back onboard I gingerly undid the seacock bolts and pulled out the cone. At first there was an alarming spurt of water ! but this was just what was in the pipe up to the waterline and in fact the bung had sealed well. I re-greased the cone, reassembled, went back in the water underneath the boat and waggled the bung out and cured the problem. Job done!
On the following season's fitting out, I put more grease on this particular seacock and adjusted the cone bolts with a tiny bit more slack.

Martin


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Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Dick - 3 Feb 2021
Noel.Dilly - 3 Feb 2021
Thank you Dick, Sadly we do not all live in the ideal World where boat and life  raft care and service come at the “ring of a bell ! “What boatyards say they will do and what they do can be startlingly different. Some years ago I went to a very prestigious boat yard in the UK to service a friend’s yacht only to discover that his power supply and boat heater had been taken to heat the boatyard hut.  
    
 Engines are an interesting problem ! Tell us how you turn a modern engine over by hand. Oil heating is very much easier done by draining the oil into a can, heating can and contents in a bowl of very hot water and returning it to the engine.     An important step in starting long left engines is to bleed the fuel system using the manual lift pump. I agree whole heartedly with you fuel filtering idea. Perhaps you would care to publish the details of your device.      I would also very much like to know how you get inside seacocks to properly maintain them. You say nothing of “Blake style sea cocks that have their own intriguing problems. It is a good idea tho try them out on land before launching. They are usually seized. Simple to fix on land. Loose a little the two screws holding  the moving part. then from the outside a piece of dowel in the aperture given a thump with a wooden hammer will restore the moving part to movement. Now is the time to lubricate it.           Life rafts, lucky you having a service agent on tap. There are places on this planet where it is not that easy. That is why I recommend weighing the raft after each service. Small losses of weight don’t matter, even a partially inflated raft will keep you afloat whilst you warm up by inflating it manually. If it is decided to “open the box” photograph every stage it can be demanding to repack it anyway. Better still keep the raft as it is and put any replaceable goodies that are inside in the grab bag.              

   New impellers take the spare with you. Also take along the rearming devices for your life jackets.      Please don’t heat penetration oil in a confined container it might ruin your day.
leaks and smelly loos and holding tanks, I await the report of your boat condition when you are soon hopefully reunited.
Meanwhile I would suggest that cold climates wreck havoc with most marine sealants and large temperature swings finish  the job.  
Thank you again for firing up the discussion.

Noel

                                                                                                                      





Hi Noel,
I am well aware that boats can be experienced like malevolent beasts. But it sounds like you feel every avenue has PITA qualities and that every proper maintenance and care you attempt will be thwarted at every turn. You have some good suggestions and I will try to address those areas where you express concerns.
I am assuming, in my writing, that the boats we are discussing were left for an over-winter storage and were prepared properly for this and that, with covid, an over-winter storage got extended and the boat became “neglected” because the owner could not get to it. It is quite a different challenge if the boat was just walked away from with no prep and abandoned.
Liferaft maintenance is an expensive endeavor and usually a bother. I personally would not use a weighing method to determine the state of my raft: far too critical a measurement and the down-side of error is too great (contacting the raft manufacturer as to the wisdom of weighing to determine condition might be wise). And, for sure there is lots else that goes into a liferaft inspection/servicing.
And, no: I have no “service agent on tap” nor one that comes at the “ring of a bell”. I am not sure what I said that implied that. Perhaps my saying “get it serviced” made it sound too easy. Quite the contrary: I have been ~~20 years from usual marine support facilities and mostly living aboard and, in that time, I have had a wide variety of raft servicing. My raft’s manufacturer paid for my raft to be couriered from Turkey. Another time I sailed the raft to The Channel Islands from the UK for servicing. Two times I sent it by mail (prohibitively expensive) and one time I was lucky enough to be close to a service facility.
Not sure what point you are trying to make about raft servicing in the telling of boatyard employee(s) appropriating of the heater and cord without permission.
My modern engine is easy to turn over by hand: I am no expert in this area, so talk to your local mechanic or the manufacturer to ensure doing so properly. My take is that there is generally a straightforward way to turn over modern engines by hand. It may be enough to just do the starting technique I suggested and let the batteries and starter do the work, but even there it might be wise to consult a mechanic/engineer you trust.
Oil heating could be effectively accomplished in the way you describe, although getting out cold oil could be a challenge (I am in a cold area). My interest was the oil for sure, but also generally in having the whole engine, block and all, warm before starting. I am unsure how important this is, but not unwilling to extend myself for my engine’s sake, even if of marginal value.
I am not sure bleeding one’s fuel lines is necessary. Why do you suggest this? I would assume that at the end of season Biobar (or the like) and fuel stabilizer would have been added to the full fuel tanks and the engine run enough to distribute the fuel into the engine. In this way, the fuel in the lines should be the same as the fuel in the tank and drawing in fuel from the tank via the lift pump should make no difference. Am I missing something here?
I assume what you mean by “fuel filtering” is what I wrote about fuel polishing. Search the OCC Forum and you will find my fuel polishing method with comments about how it can be generally applied.
You ask about maintenance of seacocks: cone ones like Blakes can be an essay in itself and I suspect googling will get you a youtube demonstration that will transcend any written description. In short: I have had ball valves for decades now and would not go back to cone style. Maintenance includes: 1. Working all seacocks once per month during the season and more often if they prove to be stiff or barnacles etc. are fast growing: 2. At spring commissioning spraying lubricant grease into and around the seacock from outside the boat while someone inside is opening and closing and working the seacock: 3. Do the same at lay-up (if on the hard) and leave the seacocks open to ensure no water accumulates later to freeze and damage the seacock. 4. Some seacocks have the capacity to use a zerk fitting for a grease gun making lubing much easier. And the above efforts, for sure, will ensure the seacocks are tried out on land before launching as you correctly suggest.
With the above, I have never had a seized seacock, stiff at times, but never seized: I am sorry you find yours “usually seized”.
I did not neglect a warning about heating near penetrating oil in my previous writing that you are responding to and wrote: “watch for igniting the penetrating liquid”. But warnings like that bear repeating. If worried about heat sources, wrap the seacock with a towel and pour on boiling water: repeat and the seacock will be warm with no danger of igniting the volitiles.
It has been my experience that a properly maintained and prepared toilet, holding tank and hoses done at lay-up is not smelly at the end of the lay-up period.
And multiple impellors should be part of any wide-ranging vessels stores. I replace my impellor every year even if it looks “like new”.
Thanks for your thoughts, My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Hi Dick,   Thank you for your contribution.  By the time most of us have finished the immunisation schedule for the cover virus and waited the required extra time to have a significant antibody titre our boats will have been ashore for much longer than merely overwintering sadly.
The weight of gas in the cylinder is significant , it is easy to judge between a full and empty cylinder. Weighing it routinely just makes sure that you do. A life raft that support you when you get in it is what is required, the rest should be in the grab bag. About the only two essentials are water and seasickness remedies.
Scopolamine patches work for me. 
Relying on the boatyard to charge batteries is a risky business. Solar panel on the boat if outside, or a dedicated power line to the charging system with some means of monitoring the continuity of the power supply is far more reliable.
You have not told us how you turn your engine over by hand. Do you use a spanner on the crankshaft or what? Are you sure that you need a warm engine block before starting? All over the World engines are started ever morning from cold Winter or Summer. What is important is the ambient temperature. Most lubricants even those without special additives work above zero degrees Celsius.
I suggested bleeding the fuel lines because before my boat is lifted from the water and put ashore I close the valve at the tank and run the engine dry of fuel. This stops any evaporation of fuel in the fuel lines and blockage by the reside that inevitably remains.In the sense we are using the words filtering and polishing the words are synonymous. I am not obfuscating by changing what is done filtering, to polishing.  Unfortunately all the pre storage waggling the seacock lever is irrelevant after a long storage.
Volatile fluids can explode without necessarily pre ignition . Of course impellers are part of any yachts stores. By taking one with you you are simply maintaining the onboard store.
I await with interest the report of your sweet holding tank and loo when you are reunited with Alchemy.   Good luck  Noel



Hi Noel,
Agreed: from the get-go we have been talking about neglected boats (because of covid) rather than over-wintered boats. It is my take (and my casual thinking and research supports this) that we are not looking at significant problems 1 1/2 years down the line as different than just an over-wintering for the well-prepared boat at lay-up.
I never suggested that the weight of the gas is not significant, but I think that evaluating such an important piece of kit be left to the professionals. I suspect more than lost gas (and here we are talking ounces of weight difference on a raft weighing 40 up to 60+ pounds) can change the weight of a raft over a period of time and make evaluation difficult. Again, I would refer those with questions and concerns in this area to contact their raft’s manufacturer. Please get back to us with their advice if you do so.
(Noel, it might be said here that I am responding to you and your concerns and the help you requested. Clearly, you can and should, as skipper, make the choices that seem best practice for you. But I am also writing for others who might be reading over our shoulders and deciding what actions they wish to make in these areas.)
We have not been discussing charging batteries, but I do agree that leaving it to most boatyards would not be my choice. When I am not able to visit the boat regularly, I always have had a knowledgeable and reliable person inspect regularly. My boat in Newfoundland gets plugged in every month for a few hours for battery charging and the inside and outside of the boat gets inspected. Some insurance companies demand this for lay-up periods. I am not a fan of having an unattended boat plugged in all the time.
I purposely chose not to discuss how I turn my engine over by hand, as it is likely not to be of help to someone with a different engine. As I stated, I know how for my engine and not for anyone else’s and, not being in any way an expert in this area, again, I refer you to your mechanic/engineer.
It would be great if you could get back to us with your engineer’s response if you go that route and consult.
I would definitely run a gasoline/petrol engine dry prior to lay-up, but not a diesel. Air in the diesel fuel lines can cause too many unexpected, and sometimes hard to isolate, problems. I do not think doing so (running a diesel dry) is in any way common practice. Diesel fuel lines seem far less prone to evaporation and the nature of a diesel engine design is meant to preclude air (and air is essential for evaporation). Again, those with questions in this area should consult their engine’s manufacturer and/or an engineer they trust.
I disagree that servicing one’s seacocks by spraying them with grease and working them open and closed at lay-up is irrelevant: whether one winter or longer, the servicing is likely to make a difference. You report usually having seized seacocks: perhaps doing the servicing I suggest might make a difference. Worth a try?
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Having not seen my boat for 11 months now all the above posts are quite interesting.
Although I don't know of anywhere that rainwater could leak into the boat and I have a deep bilge I always used to worry about a leak developing and coming back to my boat after an absence and finding the water level above the floorboards and getting into the engine.
What I do now is to remove the engine cooling water hose from the seacock and leave it open so that if a serious amount of water did some how find its way into the boat it would drain out before it got to the engine.
With regard to Blakes seacocks (and this is slightly off topic): on one of my previous boats we only had one sink for washing and doing the dishes so lots of soapy water went through the seacock. One summer, despite me having serviced it before launching, this particular seacock became quite stiff, so much so my wife was having difficulty operating it.   I surmised  the grease had been washed out by the soap. At a quiet anchorage and following instructions from my 'Skippers Emergency Handbook" I fastened a line form one side of the boat to the other to hold onto, swum underneath and hammered a bung into the skinfitting. Back onboard I gingerly undid the seacock bolts and pulled out the cone. At first there was an alarming spurt of water ! but this was just what was in the pipe up to the waterline and in fact the bung had sealed well. I re-greased the cone, reassembled, went back in the water underneath the boat and waggled the bung out and cured the problem. Job done!
On the following season's fitting out, I put more grease on this particular seacock and adjusted the cone bolts with a tiny bit more slack.

Martin

Hi Marten,
Water just seems to collect: sometimes it is repeated condensation that eventually adds up. On my boat with the mast up, all the “holes” allow water in and down to the bilge.
You are wise to leave an opening.
Please make a big note reminding you to connect the hose before launching.
I leave out the transducers which leave a sizable hole for water to escape. That should not occur as I almost always have a reliable person with a key checking bilges, charging batteries etc. monthly.
Great and creative story of in-water work.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
.


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