The time may be near at hand to put away your Wayfarer for the winter. If so this is your opportunity to do those jobs that you have been talking about all season and maybe some that have not crossed your mind yet. The following suggestions may help with the task ahead:-


Wash out the mud you may find in the mast. Check wires and ropes for damage. Re-do those eye splices in the comfort of your own home – not in the wet/cold dinghy park.

Spinnaker halyards and pole adjustment ropes can be turned around so that the cleat positions on the rope vary.


Outhaul ropes inside the boom may have frayed. Check rivets in the end castings – badly worn or broken castings can be replaced – also the sliders for kicker and mainsheet. Why does the kicker slide on the boom at the wrong time?

Boat Cover

Repair any holes and wash down. Store in a dry place. Renew those lost ties that do not hold the cover taut over the boat – loose covers collect water. If your cover flaps around the skirt, you could replace the aft drawstring with elastic.


Wash down with fresh water – don’t forget behind your ears – oops, sorry, floorboards! Salt water and mud hold dampness close to the boat and can cause rot or mark your boat heavily.

Wash all your control ropes in fresh water and dry them well (kinder on the hands next year).

Release your catches on tank covers – it gives the seals time to recoup and also allows air to circulate all around the boat. Wash out all your fittings and see to those that do not work. Spares like springs can be obtained, so you may not need a new cleat. Sometimes grease and salt build up and force springs off their pegs – they just need to be cleaned and put back together.

Centreboards and Rudder Blades

Take out the centreboards and rudder blades – check for damage and surface condition. They make up a large part of the total wetted area of the boat. The tips are the most vulnerable areas and are covered by rules! If you seem to lose a lot of tip every year, a brass or epoxy tip might help to reduce wear and tear to a minimum.

General condition

Paint and varnish protect your pride and joy – but only if they cover all of the boat. See to those bare areas where paint or varnish has been chipped off. By at least touching them in you can wet and dry them down to existing paint – even if you are going to paint the whole boat later.


A matter of convenience! If the boat must be outside it is best upside down and off the ground. This gives air a chance to circulate, and the rain no chance to gather. If you cover the upturned boat, do not let the cover touch the hull as a damp cover may dry out only into your hull.

If inside a garage (what are garages for anyway?) leave the boat upside-down again, with a low wattage bulb underneath. The heat will be contained inside and keep your hull dry. I don’t cook my boats – only when they have no paint on them and are very wet.


Clean with fresh water and dry. Take out all of the battens and check the pockets for wear and tear. Check all the sails for rips and loose stitching. Your local, or not so local, sailmaker can see to the bigger repairs.

On older jibs the luff wires may be starting to rust near the wires, so renew the wires. Older sails can be reworked on the leeches to remove that ruddering, and spinnaker tapes can be replaced to give your spinnaker a better shape – and another year of life.

Trailer and trollies

Your boat spends a lot of time on its trolley, so check that it supports your boat correctly. I like to see a boat with most of its weight taken on the strongest part of the boat – the keel. The side supports are really just to bear the boat laterally. Too much weight on the bilge keels can damage them and also tends to concave the hull panels. Plastic trolley wheels tend to wear around the metal axles and can collapse without notice. Replace them with new, and the older tyres and tubes can become spares. Paint any rusty parts – it’s cheaper than buying new.

Trailers enjoy lubrication – so give them some! The bearings, the wheel nuts – and a spot on the ball couplings does not go amiss. Check the tyres for wear, damage and tread depth. Lift the wheels off the ground and spin them. If you hear a metallic grumble, it could be that the bearings have gone west. The centre nut may be able to be tightened a small amount, but if this does not work, seek new bearings – or help.

Colin May, W9068 “Watery Moments” 

Colin is a UKWA Measurer and professional boat builder. He can be reached on 01202 476145 (mobile 07866 350462)