Winterizing The Hylas 54 Is a BEAR

By Rich

Rover is hauled out for the winter here in Annapolis and I’ve spent essentially every free moment for the last two weeks getting her winterized. The process has been about what I expected, which is to say confirmation of why it’s easier to sail these boats 1,000 or more miles south to somewhere warm than to winterize them! Here’s a short list of the task list with some details on the methods I chose:

  • All three AC units (disconnect intake from seacock, ingest antifreeze through condensers)
  • Empty all four water tanks and dry with vacuum fluid pump
  • Disconnect water pickup line from each tank, connect to bucket of antifreeze, then winterize water lines from tank fitting to galley sink
  • Anchor wash down pump (disconnect seacock hose, ingest antifreeze)
  • Bypass and drain hot water heater
  • Forward sink hot and cold
  • Forward shower hot and cold
  • Forward toilet & holding tank
  • Forward shower sump pump
  • Aft toilet & holding tank
  • Aft sink hot and cold
  • Aft shower hot and cold
  • Aft shower sump pump
  • Washer / dryer hot
  • Washer / dryer  cold
  • Ice maker (disconnect line from solonoid,  drain, turn on, wait for last tray of ice to eject, run antfreeze through water supply line)
  • Galley hand pump
  • Galley sink hot and cold
  • Galley sink drain sump
  • Galley seagull filter (remove and discard element)
  • Fridge / freezer drain sump
  • Generator (disconnect raw water hose from seacock, ingest antifreeze)
  • Transom shower hot and cold
  • Aft HVAC condensate sump pump (leads to galley sink drain)
  • Water maker fresh water flush lines
  • Water maker via ‘produce water’ mode
  • Water maker ‘product’ lines (by removing hoses from membrane housing; confirm no standing water in membrane housing)
  • Four water maker lines from manifold to each tank with compressed air
  • “Town water” supply (disconnect from plumbing tie-in and blow compressed air from transom fitting)
  • Main engine via strainer housing

Here’s the rig I made so I could ingest antifreeze into the fresh water system without putting antifreeze in any of the tanks. If the antifreeze is allowed in the tanks, it takes forever to get the smell and taste out of the system the next spring! It’s bad enough that antifreeze is in the water lines but allowing antifreeze in the tanks themselves dramatically increases the time to purge all traces from the fresh water system, so it’s well worth a little shade-tree engineering to develop a system like this to avoid the hassle the next spring.

Here’s a photo of the rig I created to bypass the hot water heater. I used Shark Bite Pex fittings:

Although all four water tanks had been drained and manually cleaned a year ago, and although the aft 50 gallon tank was left completely empty during the boat’s stay in Lauderdale over last winter, a ton of gunk managed to find its way into the bottom of the tank. Here is what the water in the bottom of the tank looked like when I poured it out of my vacuum fluid pump into the sink:

These boats are full of sump pumps that should be winterized (shower drains, fridge and freezer drains, etc). This is the sump pump for the aft AC unit condensate, which routes it to the galley sink drain sump instead of allowing it to gather in the bilge. A nice feature, but like all other systems, one that needs periodic maintenance:

This has been a huge level of effort to have the boat sit idle all winter instead of serving as our Fort Lauderdale home, but it’s been necessary since we have a ton of projects that are much easier to address with the boat hauled ashore and out of service.


2 thoughts on “Winterizing The Hylas 54 Is a BEAR

  1. I had been thinking about how much is involved with the process. This occurred about or so times, and each time I realized a new step: the A/C systems, all the water, water maker… laundry… My final thought is already in your post; sailing south is a tad easier!

  2. Look, I bought your old boat, and winterized all but the engine and the heat last winter, sailed every weekend, and yes it was a pain in the ass. But the evil genius in me used vodka, not antifreeze. 8 handles of the most foul stuff I could find to do the fresh water. My friends did not notice when, first thing in the spring, we went for a brisk jaunt any had bloody Mary’s made with hot and cold running vodka. So it was twelve bucks a gallon, I got a good laugh.

    The Sabre is awesome and tolerates me well.

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