Last Thursday my bride and I sailed away from Essex for some “together time” to wrap up our boating season on Lake Champlain. Today Errant is on the hard, winterized, and covered for a long North Country fall-winter-spring. What a week!
As always, I’m super grateful to Paul, Tami, Andre, Michael, and everyone else that ensures smooth operations at Willsboro Bay Marina. What an incredible team. Always reliable, always friendly, always generous, always over-delivering. Launching and hauling has is such a positive experience each year. Thank you, Team WBM!
There’s a long-ish laundry list that we need to take care of during winter storage including:
finding and fixing a fresh water leak
repairing the bimini bracket that ripped its screws out of the deck
troubleshoot ceiling light in head (one works; one doesn’t)
repair broken ceiling light in salon near clock/barometer
fix v-berth latch
refinish companionway boards
repair main and genoa
install smart latch brackets for helm seat
source new cockpit cushions and porthole blinds
repair/reseal wiring in bilge (especially wind instrument connections)
replace all running rigging, dock lines, etc.
replace halyard/sheet/line pockets
and various other projects…
But for now, it’s time to celebrate a memorable sailing season on Lake Champlain, and to breathe a sigh of relief that hauling and winterization are complete. And — it’s worth noting — de-rigging, winter storage cover, etc. took half the time of last year. Progress!
With the snow gone and temperatures warm, I couldn’t resist the urge to drive over to the shipyard and check on Errant. It’s been over two months since I last visited her, but everything still looks great. The winter cover is still secure, and the unusually warm day heated up the interior enough to [almost] imagine it was summer. Okay, so I’m stretching it. But I did daydream a little! Soon enough it will be launch day and another season of sailing on Lake Champlain will begin.
I tackled a few small projects and removed the wheel. More on that in my next post…
Spring is in the air. Not only is the weather warm enough today for me to work on Errant barefoot, but I broke a sweat removing the winter storage cover.
Gravity helps rather than hinders. And disassembly is just plain obvious.
It’s worth noting that removing the winter storage cover is a fair share simpler, quicker, and less aggravating then installing it last autumn. Gravity helps rather than hinders. And disassembly is just plain obvious. Figuring out how to jury-rig all of those supports last fall made removal all the more challenging. Today was pleasant in comparison, sort of like feeling extra super well after recovering from a cold.
More good news: the winter storage cover made it through the winter without coming unlashed and without getting ripped or chafed. Bravo!
I keep feeling the hankering to visit my lonely vessel, so I drove up to Willsboro Bay Marina where Errant is still snug in winter storage.
Pleased to see that her winter cover remains intact despite the whipping winds, and the interior is totally dry. So many boats in the shipyard have flapping covers and loose straps/lines, but fortunately our slow, concentrated effort last fall learning how to install and secure the winter storage cover has paid off. We’re not 100% out of the woods yet – at least one more snowstorm in mid/late March (or even early April) is likely – so we’ll keep Da Capo/Errant weatherproof until at least Easter. Then the spring work begins!
I unzipped the cover and climbed inside to ensure that everything was shipshape. I expect to come back in a week or two with my bride to take some measurements for interior cushions and curtains that she is reupholstering before we launch.
Reminders to Self
The “to do” list is already swelling! Here are some reminders: check on sail repairs; check in regarding fiberglass/gelcoat repair schedule; remove v-birth door hardware to determine why door is binding; order new cockpit cushions; continue researching folding help; and look into re-rigging to ensure safe lines throughout.
Stopped by Willsboro Bay Marina today to check on Da Capo/Errant. So many whistling, flapping halyards!
The date is March 8, sort of spring, at least it seems like it should be spring. But the cold, humid wind and a lingering blanket of snow suggest that spring launch is still a good way off…
I was relieved to see that the winter storage cover has held up well, not a single tear or loose line. Frankly, I was a little surprised. I guess all of the hours trying to decipher the cryptic instructions paid off.
I didn’t climb aboard, but I will return in a couple of weeks if the temperature rises to inspect the interior and start a few projects like refitting the v-berth door and deep-cleaning the bowels so that I start the sailing season with a super clean vessel.
I’ve been worrying about installing Errant’s winter storage cover ever since hauling the boat. It’s not the sort of project you can whittle down slowly, a little bit at a time. It’s really a start-to-finish proposition. Or — as I learned once I finally made enough time to tackle the challenge — it can be divided into two separate stages completed on two different days.
Given the fact that the instructions were not a perfect match for the winter storage cover we inherited with Errant, this first-time installation took a looong, aggravating time.
In hindsight, the problem(s) all derived from a single issue. The instructions explain how to install the cover without a stepped mast. Except that’s not exactly true…
Basically the superstructure, a support skeleton consisting of tube steel ribs that need to be bolted together in the appropriate order, etc. was built 100% symmetrically side-to-side. In other words, the port and starboard side of the frame is identical, a mirror reflection on both sides of the center rail. In order for this frame to fit properly not the deck, the mast must be removed from the equation (which it wasn’t and isn’t.)
Lots of tinkering and “cob jobbing” enabled us to finally install the superstructure in a stable enough fashion…
In order to accommodate the mast, the superstructure must be installed off center. But this results in ribbing on one side or the other being too wide to fit on the deck… See the problem?
Lots of tinkering and “cob jobbing” enabled us (yes, my patient bride helped me muddle through this less-than-enjoyable debut performance) to finally install the superstructure in a stable enough fashion that we could proceed with relative confidence that it would not collapse beneath snow and wind loads over the winter. (Note: wire tires were used generously to secure the superstructure to the boat and to secure styrofoam pipe insulation to high abrasion areas.)
Winter Storage Cover
So the two-day discovery is that the best way to break up this project, if unable to do everything in one fell swoop, is to build/install the superstructure on the first day and then install the canvas cover the next day. Partially installing the canvas isn’t an option. The two sections must be connected and secured for it to be wind resistant. Attempting to install one section and then interrupting the installation until later would be extremely risky because wind would likely damage the partially installed cover.
But returning the following day to drape the winter storage cover over the ribbing worked well. It’s still a slow process, especially since it was the first time and the instructions were not particularly helpful as far as sorting out how to orient the large, unwieldy fabric sections, etc.
The good news? The fabric cover fits the boat quite well, mast, stays and all! Phew…