Before we started cruising we had to haul out Pegu Club every fall and get her ready to go back into the water the following spring. It was all we knew, so we had no idea what a gigantic pain in the ass it is until we didn’t have to do it while we were cruising. As we worked on Pegu this spring, a very frequent refrain could be heard: “We’re NEVER hauling out in New England for the winter ever again.”
We had three weeks to get Pegu Club ready, but between Jeff’s schedule at Defender and the weather gods’ complete failure to cooperate, we went down to the wire. Every speck of her interior needed a good cleaning – that alone took two days. The bottom, propeller, and boot stripe were painted. We installed a new, brighter anchor light and replaced the VHF coax cable and antenna.
The engine was dewinterized, along with changing the gear box oil and engine oil/filter, air filter, alternator, impeller, and primary and secondary fuel filters. Despite our best attempts to ensure the galley foot pump didn’t have any water in it over the winter, it cracked anyway, so we needed to replace that. A new hand pump was installed in the head, and we replaced the broken light switch in there.
Coir was prepped for the Nature’s Head composting toilet. Items like cushions, clothing, and food were loaded onto the boat. New connectors were installed on the AIS cable which we had to cut last September when the mast was removed (it’s a long story).
These were all things we expected to take care of (except for the galley foot pump, but it had happened to us once before so it wasn’t a complete surprise.) But because it’s a boat, there were certainly some unexpected issues that cropped up.
When Jeff was working on the engine he discovered that the muffler hose was chafed so we replaced that, along with the hose that we had replaced in the Bahamas after IT had chafed. The hose from the Bahamas wasn’t as robust as we prefer, so we wanted to install a better one. When Jeff removed the muffler hose he cracked the muffler, but we didn’t realize it until we were test-running the engine and water started dripping out of the muffler. Cue another trip to Defender to buy a new muffler.
Pegu Club was in the water, but still in the travel lift slings, when we discovered that water wasn’t coming out of the exhaust like it should have been. What the heck? It had worked fine when we ran it for 10+ minutes on the hard, using water in a bucket for the raw water intake hose, so we knew it wasn’t the muffler. We motored 100 feet to the wash down dock, and after some sleuthing we discovered that the raw water seacock had failed in the closed position. We didn’t know it when we were on the hard, because the bucket method bypasses that seacock. We have no idea how it failed (it was working fine when we hauled out and it was only 7 years old), but after a quick haul we had a new one installed.
Fortunately, the broken seacock proved to be the last of the winter gremlins. After tuning the rigging and putting the sails on, Pegu Club was ready for us to start sailing (and cruising post-Labor Day) on her again.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we had no idea what a hassle decommissioning and commissioning a boat is until we no longer had to do it. Now that we’ve experienced the joy of not having to close Pegu Club up for the winter, we’ll be sure to be far enough south not to have to winterize if we decide to leave her again for several months. Some things are a hassle no matter where you are: removing food, cleaning the boat, etc. But letting the boat sit in freezing temperatures for months on end brings its own set of issues that we’d just as soon not deal with anymore. Fortunately, we don’t have to!