1st November 2022

Royal Quays

Winterising your boat

Helpful tips to protect your boat

When the winter gales come, you can rest assured that the boatfolk marina crew will be out and about checking on boats and adjusting lines and fenders where needed. Every year the marina crew battle flogging sails and canopies that have worked looks, re-securing boats whose lines have parted in strong winds. 

Here's a few winter tips from Royal Quays Marina Manager Matt Simms, and Andy and Rob at Storrar Marine to help avoid avoidable damage to boats: 

  • Make sure that your mooring lines are adequate and you have sufficient fenders, and that they are well positioned. Check that spring lines are correctly adjusted to prevent your boat hitting the pontoon walkway. Pull your boat hard backwards and forwards to make sure that springs limit fore/aft movement.

  • To help release the strain on cleats and chafe both on your boat and on the pontoon, Andy Burgess (M.D. of Storrar Marine) recommends fitting a couple of shock absorbers or mooring compensators as they're called in the trade. They help prevent that 'snatch' that you often get from bow and stern lines.

  • Protect mooring lines with chafe protection through fairleads or where they may rub against any fittings or toe rails. Andy says: "You can purchase chafe protectors to help overcome this issue or make your own. If you feel your lines are past their sell by date and considering new, steer well away from polypropylene. Yes, it's cheap, but it's low in strength compared to polyester of the same diameter, has poor abrasion resistance and it doesn't like exposure to UV. Whilst nylon initially has more give or spring than polyester, long term you are better off with the latter." 
  • Don't risk the dreaded shredded sails (picture below). Remove your headsails (and possibly your mainsail if it’s not in-mast) and store them safely away. They will last much longer if not left on your head foil year-round and removing them reduces windage and heeling. Why not get your sails checked over whilst they are off the boat? Both our local sail lofts Steve Douthwaite Sails and Storrar Marine offer a sail repair and winter valeting service and can collect from your boat.
  • Remove canvas dodgers and spray hoods – again if you are not going to be sailing in the winter, they are only going to add windage, and they’ll last much longer if not battered by winter gales.
  • Make your mooring lines fast to pontoon cleats with a simple 360 and two or three simple figure-of-eights so that staff can adjust your lines when under load. Please avoid multiple half hitches, spliced loops & wonder knots!

If you need any advice or assistance with the above, please ask the team– we’ll be happy to help!

Shredded sails

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