Wooden boat winter: in or out?


Active member
3 Sep 2001
Emsworth, boat Emsworth YH
Being new to wooden boat ownership I am getting conflicting advice on what to do in winter. My options are either lift out to a club compound from Oct to March, or leave her in her sheltered, tidal creek berth and lift out to a yard for a repaint and antifoul.
The boat is a clinker Iroko Finesse 24, 20 years old. The previous owener left her in a tidal berth all winter reckoning that it was better for the hull. But the surveyor advised 6 coats on the hull below the waterline, which will take some time to apply.
Any advice on what will do least harm to the hull?


You are in the position of :

Leave her in and any 'weak coating / paint' below waterline will allow timber deteriation to start. But the timbers will stay tight as she will not dry out.

Take her out and the timbers will dry and contract, causing easing of joints along the scarfs. BUT you will now be able to do her justice and re-paint / coat for longer protection.

Many people consider that when they see timbers start to contract and joints show in the paintwork, that it is time to 'fill / caulk' etc. This is generally not the case and can cause excess strain and pressure on frames and strakes when the boat is placed back in water and the timbers expand and take up again.

Really if the boat is checked for coating and tightness out of water for one day, and all is well - there is no reason you cannot put her back and she stay for the winter. BUT not if you are prone to ice conditions or freezing, such as my boat sees in Estonia !!!! She comes out in November before the timber frezzes with the water still in it !

If you lift out and she dries out to show lines in the paintwork. Don't fill the cracks unless absolutely necessary. Clean up the paint by scraping back and recoating. Then when you lift in hold her in the strops / cradle till the water slows down coming in.Don't leave her unattended !!!!!


Well-known member
5 Jun 2001
When we had a Teak on oak 45 footer, we had her in a tidal berth one winter , in the shed the next.

Agree with being on board at launch, and after but notleaving her in the cradle , as the mud in the berth seemed to aid take up.

David ps Take a look at my site www.yachtman.co.uk


What Nigel says.

We don't get ice out here, but I understand some places (marinas?) where freezing occurs have aerators that continually bubble air through the water to stop the ice forming. I don't suppose it's cheap, but perhaps it's an option if ice is a problem.

If the painting isn't an issue, I would certainly suggest that you leave her moored four-square in a mud-berth in preference to hauling her out. (Older cruising books will tell you how to go about it.)



New member
14 Jun 2001
I had a Finesse 24. She came out of the water end of October and went back in beginning of April. She dried out enough by March to recoat / touch up any bare patches but never dried out too much. On relaunching only a couple of cupfulls came in before she was as tight as a drum.. Good idea to seal the bottom of the centreboard slot in Feb and then fill the case up with bituminous paint diluted with about 25% turps. Leave until about a week before launching then remove seal and drain (messy job) the remainder of the stuff out of the case. The case will never leak for years.