Sunday, 28 May 2017

Preparing to leave your boat for an extended period.

We are preparing to leave Our Dreamtime  tied to the dock for the southern winter while we flit off to lead a flotilla charter in the Greek Isles during the northern summer. While we are looking forward to our Greek adventure we fear we may suffer some separation anxiety being apart from our floating home that long.
We will worry about her while we are gone but are taking what we consider to be the basic precautions anyone leaving their boat for an extended period should. Here's what we have done.

We are fortunate to have great sailing friends we can call on for help. A few extra hands
certainly made getting our sails off easier.

1.       Our boat is moored on a friend’s private pontoon berth in a canal estate. We have left him with two contact numbers of people who know how to start the engine and move the boat if the need should arise, although highly unlikely in our case. In a marina situation this would be much more important.
2.       We have arranged for one of those friends to check on the boat and run the engine each month.
3.       All fuel tanks have been filled. With very little exposure to air, they are less likely to get much condensation and suffer from any diesel bug.
4.       We also filled  the water tanks but added a small amount of bleach to each to prevent any nasties growing. Our Queensland winters are way too mild for any risk of freezing lines to worry about.
5.       We have removed both headsails from their furlers, the main from inside its Liesurefurl boom along with the mizzen and its sail bag. Why have them out in 4-5 months unnecessary UV  exposure.  June to October is certainly not storm season here in Brisbane but that does not mean an unseasonal big blow couldn’t occur while we’re gone.  The disastrous outcomes of Cyclone Debbie in the Whitsundays just a few months ago reinforces how important it is to strip the sails off your boat when leaving it for any length of time.
Our friends Bob and Lyn plus an obscured Brett, carry the mainsail ashore for flaking and bagging.

6.       We removed all the running rigging that was practical. This includes sheets, preventers, furling lines, spinnaker pole lines and running backstay lines. They deteriorate quickly laying on the deck and, again, we want to avoid unnecessary UV  exposure.
After as many lines as possible were removed, they spent a day soaking in fresh water before being rinsed and spending another day floating in a water and fabric softener mix.

Our daughter's back fence was great place to dry all the lines before they were coiled and put into storage. Yes - ketches do have a lot of line.

7.       Everything normally stored on deck, such as fuel jerry cans, crab pots, dive tank etc, has been removed and put into storage.
8.       The dinghy and outboard is off the davits and stored under a tarpaulin at Karen’s parent’s house to avoid UV. 
9.       The fridge and freezer are emptied, turned off and left open to air.
10.   We have also left all lockers below open so they too can air and hopefully avoid mould.
11.   All seacocks have been closed except those for our scupper drains.
12.   Everything  electrical except the bilge pumps are turned off.
13.   Some people isolate their batteries but as we have good shore power and solar panels, we prefer to leave them connected and let the smart regulator cycle them. We have done this for a month at a time before and everything has been at 100% on our return.

14. We have an LPG shutoff valve at the stove plus a solenoid activated shutoff in the line but always turn the gas off at the bottle whenever we are leaving the boat.
15.   We contacted our insurance company and advised them of our movements and preparations to make sure nothing adversely affects our cover.

Our Dreamtime with her sails off and almost ready for her winter slumber. Dinghy and kayak yet to be removed.

We are going to miss Our Dreamtime while we’re gone but are very much looking forward to spending the summer meeting many new friends as we lead a Greek Sails flotilla charter based in the port of Poros south of Athens.  Maybe you’d like to join us. Have a LOOK HERE.


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  1. All the best for your northern hemisphere adventures.
    I'm sure that the patrons will benefit from your enthusiasm and vivacious personalities.
    Catch up when you return..
    Your description on how to prepare a boat for extended leave should be standard operating procedure in all marinas and mooring areas.

    1. Thanks Brett. You were on our 'Catch Up' list we wanted to get through before we left but time has been flying. It's a must do on our return. Cheers!

  2. Wish you Best of luck buddies for your adventures in the northern hemisphere. I'm defiantly sure its been a great adventure for and your co-partners and your description on how to prepare a boat for extended leave helpful to understand the basic things about boats and other things that are necessary for a place where a boat or ship is moored.

    1. Thanks very much. We're glad you enjoyed our blog and are looking forward to writing about our time in Greece this summer. Cheers!

  3. Excellent! That's a very comprehensive list of things to do when preparing to leave your boat. Friends whom you can count on during times like this are a treasure! Wishing you all the best on your Greek adventure. Stay safe and enjoy!

    1. Thank you for your comments ... Yes where would we be without great friends we are very fortunate... 10 weeks into our Greek Adventure with 2 to go can't believe it has gone to quickly ... Lots of blogging to catch up on! Cheers Rob and Karen


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