Winter Layup – Now’s the time to start planning your yacht’s winter work schedule

posted on 11th September 2018 within

Our glorious summer season may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking forward to getting out on the water next year! Now’s the time to start planning your winter layup – first class preparation now means you’ll be ready to set sail with the minimum effort as soon as the spring sunshine makes a comeback. At Fox’s, we can advise you on the best way to lay up your boat for the winter and take care of any refit or repair work that needs attending to, so come the new season you’ll be back on the water ahead of the fleet!

 This year’s exceptional weather with high temperatures and UV levels may well have taken its toll on bright work, sails and canvas work. Gelcoat will degrade, losing its gloss with the surface becoming porous and chalking – coloured gel is particularly susceptible however, with careful cutting back, polishing and sealing, gelcoat can normally be restored at least for another season or two. In extreme cases painting is the preferred option, with the latest two-pack paint systems proving much tougher and offering far better gloss retention – as well as a new exciting topside colour!


Traditional varnish finishes really only last 12months without over coating (less in more tropical climates) and it is much better practice and ultimately less work to prep and top up with just a single coat each season, rather than allowing the paint/varnish film to fail, which would allow water to get in and the whole area to require stripping and re-coating. Covers provide welcome shade for bright work and it is well worth investing in well-tailored covers to protect varnish work.  



Sails and spray hoods also take a beating when exposed to a season of UV and wind – they should be removed as soon as the season is over and ideally returned to the sail loft for rinsing, any repair work and dry storage. UV protection on the leach of furling sails is important to protect underlying sail cloth and should periodically be replaced.

Running and standing rigging needs to be regularly checked throughout the season and it is highly recommended that a professional rig check of all rigging and spars is carried out annually and/or following any longer passages.  Particular attention should be paid to furling gear and wire/rod standing rigging to ensure correct articulation and that there are no signs of stranding/cracking. The mousing out and removal of running rigging is recommended to reduce chafe and allows for a more complete inspection of both ropes and running gear.

Batteries require controlled charging in hot climates particularly during periods of extended motoring when hydrogen gas may be evolved and regular topping up of wet cells may be necessary.  During winter layup, controlled trickle charging and periodic checks are essential to avoid the batteries discharging, which would then allow damage to occur.

Engine and generators, fresh water and wet heating/air conditioning systems should be checked over, flushed and winterised to minimise internal corrosion and any risk of freezing during colder winter months.

Seacocks should be checked for any signs of dezincification, hose security and serviced to ensure correct/easy operation.

Watermakers must be pickled to avoid bacterial growth and damage to membranes.

Fuel tanks should be topped off and an approved biocide additive used to reduce risk of diesel bug developing.

Interiors should be allowed to air with some background heating to avoid freezing and a dehumidifier installed with the ability to drain freely outside the vessel.

From end of season layup to complete guardianage packages – Fox’s Marina & Boatyard is internationally renowned for our extensive refit and repair facilities, friendly and knowledgeable staff and the quality of work across all our inhouse departments. The marina enjoys 24hr deep water access, is within easy reach of Suffolk’s county town of Ipswich and has excellent road and rail connections. Operating two travel lifts up to 70 tonne capacity, with secure storage ashore in steel cradles or afloat in the marina, large covered workshops, Fox’s has the ability to carry out any conceivable type of work using a dedicated team of inhouse craftsmen including Shipwrights, Composite repairs, Painting and Varnishing, Teak decks, Spars and Rigging, Marine Engineering and Electronics, Stainless repair and fabrication.


Contact our knowledgeable and friendly team of specialists for advice or visit the SERVICES SECTION of our website for more information.