Product Care

Preparing your dinghy for the season

Typhoon International

March 23, 2024

The days are getting longer which means it’s time to get your sailing dinghy ready for the season ahead! This pre-season checklist will help you make sure your boat is in good condition…   

 Your boat, spars, sails and other equipment will all need a good check over to identify any problems, particularly if the boat hasn’t been sailed over the winter months. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this ahead of your first launch so you are not in a rush.  

 Start with the hull. Give it a good wash down to clean off any muck that has built up over the off-season; fresh water and a scrubbing brush should suffice; for stubborn dirt use marine specific cleaner that is environmentally friendly.  

 Now you have a sparkling clean hull, give it a close inspection, paying particular attention to joins and areas like the centreboard casing. While fibreglass and rotomoulded hulls are unlikely to have sustained any substantial direct damage while the boat has been left, you may spot small scrapes and scratches from last season that will need attention. Your boat manufacturer or class association will likely be able to advise on a DIY fix. Wooden hulls can require more specialist care if you spot damage, but providing they have been stored correctly and kept reasonably dry are unlikely to throw up any big surprises.  

 Remember to feel inside buoyancy tanks to check they haven’t been harbouring any unwanted moisture – or creatures!  

 Pay close attention to fixtures and fittings, everything from cleats to rudder pintels; check they are secure and functional. Run blocks through with plenty of fresh water and check they run smoothly.  

 Next, consider the sheets and halyards. Replace any showing signs of wear and tear to avoid risking a breakage on the water. Don’t forget things like toe-strap adjustments and spinnaker system elastics; if these any show signs of perishing then replace straightaway.  

Inspect your boat’s mast and boom. If the rig has been left in situ over the winter, take a few minutes to drop it so you can give a thorough check of stays, cleats and blocks. Sluice fresh water down the track and through any fittings to wash away grit and ensure everything runs smoothly.  

 Hopefully you have stored your sails in a safe, dry place for the winter out of reach of small animals who like to nest in them! Find a large dry space to spread your sails out and go over inch by inch looking for rips that need repair or chaffage, which is especially common around the boltrope. Hoisting them is also a good idea, if nothing else, to refamiliarize yourself with set-up. 

 Thoughts turn to getting your boat to the water, and trolley wheels are often a big casualty of winter neglect, so check if they are correctly inflated and assess the trolley frame itself for any rust patches that may cause issues.  

 Likewise, if you have a road trailer, this needs a thorough check to ensure it’s road legal, including a correctly lit trailer-board with a registration plate that must correspond to the towing vehicle. 

 Last but not least, has your cover withstood the winter? Pooling rainwater can cause some fabrics to stretch, resulting in a poor fit, so consider ordering a replacement if necessary so you can be sure your boat is protected from the elements for the season ahead.  

Registered address: Saxon Wharf, Lower York Street, Southampton, SO14 5QF, UK Company number 00462364© 2024 Typhoon International Limited

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