Tips for the Long Winter Hibernation of a Lido 14 in Northen California
In Northern California, we are off the water for several months due to inclement weather and limited sailing options. Properly storing your Lido is important so that it, and its trailer, reappear no worse for wear in the spring. These tips are focused on storage outside, as that’s the case for so many of us. We have developed these ideas over the years.
- Cover your boat with a good tarp or boat cover that is waterproof. Tie it down securely to prevent a wind incident. Several hundred pounds of rain water in the boat for a long time is not good for an old Lido, for many reasons. A new blue tarp is OK and worth the price. Be sure the hull is clean from that last sail because if that scum is allowed to dry on for months it is hard to get off. Ideally we would store our boats in the garage or at least under cover of a carport or awning.
- Raise up the tongue of the trailer so that the water drains completely off the boat cover with no ponding. Use a sawhorse, a box, or 5-gallon bucket, for example. Just be sure the lifting device is safe and strong enough.
- Empty the boat of everything except the mast (that holds up the boat cover), as this prevents unnecessary weight on the hull at the bunks, decreasing the chance of a deformed hull. Maybe leave the boom in the boat if you are in the mast up situation. Store all the other gear in the garage or somewhere else indoors. This also allows an easier opportunity to work on the rudder, tiller, boom, and other projects during the winter and things will not become moldy by springtime. Now you have less excuses to not do those maintenance projects. Some people also add additional padding between the hull at the bunks to distrubute the weight.
- If you are storing the boat with the mast up, add a bungee around the mast and shrouds to reduce the amount of mast movement (and stress on the shrouds) caused by the wind, . Months of the mast banging back and forth shortens the shrouds integrity significantly.
- Be sure that the hull drain plug is out, so that if any water does get in, it can escape. Also pull the flotation tank plugs as well. Be sure to store the plugs in a logical place, like your sail bag, or on the shelf in a classic Lido.
- Lock the trailer hitch coupler with a padlock to prevent theft, if that is a concern.
- An advanced precaution is to jack up the trailer at the axle and block it up to get the tires off the ground to prevent continuing pressure on the tires and causing a flat spot to occur on the tires. If you can’t do this, then make sure that the tires are properly inflated.
- Cover the tires and spare with opaque plastic bags or other covers to prevent UV damage, which is the primary source of tire degradation and cracking, and not the miles we put on the trailers. When you cover the tires look at their condition and determine if they are degraded and cracked and need replacement before spring time.
- If you can, pull the centerboard from the boat on your last time in the water for inspection and to possibly work on it over the winter. This also reduces the weight of the stored boat.
- Place a wooden board or concrete stepping stone under the trailer tongue/jack wheel to prevent it from sinking into the dirt, if you are parking the trailer on the ground/dirt.
- Check on the boat frequently throughout the winter, before a big storm and after, to see if everything is secure. Double check the tire pressure.
- If you are leaving the centerboard in-place put a pad or piece of foam under the centerline of the hull where the centerboard would touch the trailer or plywood deck when it comes down. Then release the centerboard bungee cord and the up-haul line, thus lowering the centerboard, to reduce the continuing tension on those lines that hold the centerboard up.
- Put in a wasp/bug trap under the cover to prevent a surprise next spring. They seem to like a warm dry boat cover for the winter.
- Be sure your sails are clean/dry and properly rolled onto a plastic tube (for example) or folded if you prefer and in a sail bag before the long nap for a mold free unveiling in spring. Maybe they will last one more season?
- Allow yourself some extra time in the spring, or before that first sail, to: inspect the boat and trailer, check the shrouds and forestay, get things back on the ground, dry things out, put your gear back into the boat, and to clean and polish the boat in preparation for a great sailing season.
- Renew your Lido 14 Association membership, put the sticker on the stern when you get it, order or buy those parts you know you will need for your winter time projects, and then schedule some time this winter to complete those projects — so that once the sailing season starts up again, all you have to focus on is enjoying sailing: spring, summer, and fall.
Earl Thomas #4562
Fleet 62 Captain
“We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust the sails"
Editors Comments: Earl has some excellent points. No one want to come down to start the sailing season to something like this.