Flying Scot Winter Boat Storage How-To

Let me start by saying that the way that I store my boat for the winter works for me. This method will not work for everyone and certainly not every boat type. This article is only intended to describe how I store my Flying Scot. When storing your boat make sure to take the properties of the surrounding area into consideration. I will describe some of the issues that you might see but it is not possible to cover every possible scenario.

I live a relatively urban area so I can't keep the boat at my house in the winter time. In the summer I keep it on the driveway but in the winter it gets in the way of snow removal. Instead I bring the boat to a storage facility, Ipswitch Boat and Storage. The owner is responsible, the facility is secure, and the price is very reasonable.

To cover my boat I use two 20X15 foot tarps held on by Bungee chords. The covers can be purchased at any marine store and the Bungee's are available at any local hard ware store. Two tarps are required because one tarp is not long enough to cover the entire boat. I could use a 25 Foot tarp but they are very long and wide so there is a lot of extra material. I also have a Sailor's Tailor trailer cover that I leave on under the two tarps for extra protection. If I did not have the Sailor's Tailor cover I would consider adding a third square tarp. The Sailor's Tailor cover might be able to handle the snow alone but I figure that leaving it uncovered exposes it to extra harsh conditions unnecessarily.

I use the first tarp to cover the stern of the boat. I locate the middle of the tarp on the narrow side. There is usually a grommet there so I use that to attach the tarp to the end of the mast off of the stern. I spread the rest of the tarp out over the rest of the boat and fasten it down with bungee chords to the trailer and other grommets on the tarp. I wrap the stern up like a present folding the tarp over itself as neatly as I can.

The second tarp goes on top and covers the bow. Lay one end of it about four feet up from the bottom tarp. I use the grommets from the first tarp as a guide and fasten the corners of the top tarp to the boat with the same bungees as the bottom. Working my way up to the bow I fasten the top tarp down again using the same bungees as the bottom tarp. When I get to the bow I wrap it up as neatly as I can fastening it with more bungees.

While covering the boat I try to keep the tarps in such a way that the trailer can be moved if needed. I tuck the sides of the tarp up above the fenders and make sure that the wheels will still roll without rubbing on anything like a bungee or the tarp.

When I am all done, and the cover is secure, I raise the trailer jack all of the way up so that water will run down the top tarp, onto the the bottom tarp, and off of the boat. If water happens to be in the boat it can also escape through the stern drain hole.

People have asked me what I leave in the boat and what I take off for the winter. I actually leave everything on the boat like sails, PFD's, empty soda bottles. There is small chance that a mouse or other rodent could get into the boat and damage things. I have had this happen when storing the boat in wooded area where tree limbs and branches were in contact with the boat. In that case the rodents have easy access to the soft tarps over the tree limbs. Now I keep my boat where there is nothing overhanging or in contact with the top of the boat so chances are slim that anything will bother with the effort.

With the Flying Scot you can leave the mast on the boat and use it to support the tarps through the winter. Thinner masts on other types of boats can bend under the weight of the snow. My father actually constructed A-Frame support systems to go under our old O'Day Day Sailer winter covers. Day Sailer masts have been known to bend underheavy snow when used to support the tarps. The Flying Scot mast is so beefy that I feel pretty confident that it can suppor the snow.

Some people choose to shrink wrap their boats. I have read good and bad things about shrink wrapping so I really have no opinion on it. I like using the tarps because it lets some air circulate through the boat and the tarps are cheap and simple. Since I leave the canvas trailer cover on the boat I do not have to worry about the tarps leaking. If I did not have the cover I would consider a third tarp for extra protection against the elements.