Getting Ready For Spring Sailing

I am talking about the boat silly, not me.  Besides, you may have noticed that they cancelled spring for this year, at least in Illinois.  Today is  April 15th and we are expecting snow tomorrow.  I’m being optimistic and starting to work on my spring move in plan.  I have already taken my master shopping list and stocked up.

I’ll show you pictures from Amazon,  so you can see what I am recommending.  Before you order something, check around for sales.  Menards for instance, had the Concrobium on sale for $5.99 a can.  It usually sells for $9.99.  You can  buy a set of two x-large space bags at Menards.  Amazon and Walmart sell them in sets of multiple sizes.  You will never use the small ones, why pay for them.

Fall Storage

Every fall, I take most of our stuff out of the boat and  store  it in a spare bedroom.  We remove cushions, sails, bedding, clothes, and anything that can get damp or moldy.  We wipe down the vinyl  with vinegar water and tearfully store everything away.  All the other stuff goes in Rubbermaid containers.  We put peppermint tea bags with the sails to prevent mice from getting comfortable.

Spiders and Mice

Yeah,  I am aware they need someplace to live…they can try the neighbor’s camper.   Did you know that bugs and mice do not like peppermint.  This is lucky for me because I do.  We live in a farm house in the middle of a cornfield.  Mice and spiders were constant uninvited guests.  Dave planted peppermint all around the foundation of our house.  We hardly ever get a spider or mouse in the house.  Not to mention, the yard smells wonderful.

Ways to Make Peppermint Work For You

So, you can’t plant peppermint around your boat.  What does work is  essential oils and tea bags.  After we take everything out of the boat,  I throw cheaper generic peppermint tea bags in the corners.  They are easy to clean up in the spring.  You can even put a peppermint tea bag in the Rubbermaid sail containers to keep the mice out.  It beats the smell of mothballs.

Making Peppermint Balls

At Wal-Mart,  I purchased these little round wooden balls called doll heads.

They come in bags of 6.  The reason for the hole in the middle is so the essential peppermint oil can soak in.  I buy the cheap peppermint oil in the pharmacy section of Wal-Mart.  You then put the balls in a sealable bag and add peppermint oil.   The balls will soak in the oil making them fragrant, but not greasy.  After a few days, take them out and place them around the boat.  You can use them over and over again.  I place fresh ones around the boat in the spring.   We put the balls in each berth, under the sink and in the bathroom cabinet.  Yeah, I hate insects.

Fall Bedding Storage

For the winter, the bedding is washed and then sealed in Space Bags.  My sheets and blankets  are fresh and ready to go when spring finally gets here.   I buy the extra large size for blankets, sheets, comforters, and pillows. I have found that Space Bags only work if you store them in another container, tightly packed.  If they are allowed to expand they will.  Stick to the Ziploc brand. They are the only ones that stay vacuum sealed.   I have gotten them on sale at Menards for 2.00 each.  Don’t buy the set of different sizes.  You will only use the large.

Desiccant Bags For Moisture

I throw a few small desiccant bags in each bag before sealing. This keeps them fresh and dry.

A friend a of mine also throws a scented dryer sheet in with hers.  Dave doesn’t like things that smell like perfume so I stick to the desiccant bags.

Storing Towels Fall and Spring

In the container marked towels,  I can store all the towels since they are vacuum sealed.  The towels are not in spacebags.  I have a Food Fresh sealer.   I buy the big rolls that is 11″ wide and seal up a wash cloth and towel in each bag.  Then in the spring I just open the ones we will use and leave the extras in the bags.  They get stored away incase we have guests.  This way they stay clean and fresh and take up no space at all.  I can do the same with extra sheets and blankets.   I usually leave out three sets of towels and 3 beach towels.  That leaves me with 3 sets of each in the storage area under the front berth.  Since all my boat towels are blue, my camper towels are green and my house towels are white, I know exactly where each towel goes after wash day.

Food Storage

Hint:  I also use these bags to store food.  I take the food out of the original packaging. Then just measure enough for one meal and vacuum seal.  I write the cooking directions on the bag.  They take up almost no space.


First Aid and Toiletries

All the food, first aid supplies  and toiletries are removed when we pull her out of the water in the fall.   This is when I check for any item that will expire before the end of the next sailing season.  If something will expire,  use it in the house and replace it in the spring.

Also, I want to start the sailing season off with new supplies, we use up the shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste.  Things like razors, hair brushes, and things that are not expiring go back in the Rubbermaid container till spring.

Rubbermaid,  My Best Friend

Labeling each compartment with a number makes it easy to find things and restock.  We have a corresponding  Rubbermaid container for each.  Our master list is written up by compartment numbers.   I  also mark one box galley and one bathroom.    Restocking the boat in the spring, is fast and easy.   Someone, who is of the male gender, gets really anxious to hit the water in the spring.

In the fall we just fill up the containers and store them.  As we are filling them,  I circle the things on my master list that need replacing.  This way my shopping list is done for the spring. Then,  before spring I go shopping and drop the items in the right Rubbermaid container.


All Electronic equipment is removed in the  fall.   I remove the batteries from everything from the GPS to the clock on the wall.   We have ruined too many of my favorite toys leaving the batteries in.  Give the partially used batteries to your grandkids for toys.  Start the season off with all new batteries.

I have written,  on my master storage list,  how many batteries each electronic device takes.  For instance, GPS (2 AA).  Now, when I go shopping I know what I need for fresh batteries.   Come April they all get fresh batteries and a quick start up to test.  I also have a container on the boat with an extra set of fresh batteries for each electronic device.

Boat Batteries

Remember that your main boat batteries will discharge over the winter.  Keep them charged up to extend their life and make sure you are ready for spring. About once a month Dave plugs in the boat batteries and gives them a little extra juice.

Winter Grime Has To Go

Dust and dirt somehow finds its way into a sealed sailboat.  In the spring we wash the interior with soap and water. Then we rinse with vinegar water,  about a 50/50 mixture.  The smell is gone the moment it dries.   Remember, vinegar kills and prevents mold.

Once it all dries,  we spray Concrobium Mold Preventer.  You want to spray it  in the compartments, where the cushions go, on the floor where the carpet goes, and in any dark corners.  The aerosol seems to get into every crack.

I was lucky to find this on sale for $5.99 a can this spring, you guessed it, at Menards.

Moisture and Mold Prevention

Concrobium keeps the mold from growing.  We spray it a few times a season under the cushions.  If you have been sailing awhile,  you know that this is where, no matter what you do,  moisture collects.

Another problem area is under the mattress.  This year we purchased a product called Hypervent: Condensation Preventing Matting.  It reminds me of a furnace filter.  It provides enough air flow to keep it dry under the mattress and prevent mold and mildew.   I have more info on mold prevention in the article, “Oh No  Mold”

Why This Works For Us

With this system,  it only takes me an hour to unload the boat each fall.  I am washing and sealing the items away when I can’t be out in the boat.  One shopping trip to restock the boat every spring.  Then about two hours to restock it with supplies and make up the beds.  We are out on the water quickly, making the most of the first warm days. That is if we get any??