Winter Prep & Stuffing Box

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    Merlin’s Magic

    Hi all,

    There are a couple of projects I want to work on this off season while my D36 is out of the water.  I'm a new boat owner.  While I have a lot of knowledgeable friends that can help I wanted to run some things by this forum to see if there is anything different or special about the Dickersons that I need to take into account that my friends may not know about.

    1 – The first thing I wanted to do was replace or re-line the stuffing box.  I'm getting quite a bit of dripping even when the engine is not running.  I tried working it while she was still int he water late last season but the bolt was really tight and all my effort was just making her drip a little more.  So I figured I better wait until I had her out of the water.

    Is there anything special about the D36's stuffing box I should know or is it pretty standard?

    2 – The next question – I'm hoping to be able to keep her in the water next season (Magothy River – MD).  The working club I'm a member of already has the de-icers so the location has not probs.)  However, the previous owner always had her pulled.  Is there anything I need to do to prep her for staying in for the winter.  (This is in addition to all the things I already do to her to winterize her when she's out of the water.)  The previous owner mentioned something about making sure that all the drain spouts were plugged.  And what about the previously mentioned stuffing box drip.  Would this cause  problem for the keeping her in the water?

    I would appreciate any help you offer.  Looking forward to meeting some other dickerson owners.


    Mike Aitken

    Welcome to the forum…..

    a bit of info on stuffing boxes/packing from a prior thread…..pretty straightforward.  The stuffing box is pretty simple to open/re-pack.

    Up north we haul  but I know some folks who like to stay in the water year round.  Some things to watch – most of it's pretty straight forward common sense stuff…. Lots of the generic “winterization” stuff to do…….

    Always issues with zincs on shafts – they need replacement a bit more often.
    Thru hull seacocks – ought to be “opened/closed” monthly to not freeze up opened or closed
    Be “wary” of 120 power & power feeds to your boat….some “imaginative” power feeds out there – Use quality marine rated cords/receptacles.
    Bilge pump working – on “auto” – with decent battery capacity/charger system.
    Make sure the head is winterized & won't freeze.
    Make sure the engine & intake/exhaust lines winterized (I usually just drain).  Change the oil/antifreeze as per usual for annual maint.
    Make sure all scuppers clean & free – hate to have the cockpit fill…..
    Basic weather proofing……..Keep the weather out…..
    Decent lines & chafe gear.

    I'm sure others will chime in…
    best, mike

    Fleet Captain

    Ahoy Brendan,

    Welcome to the community.  Cap'n Mike always gives good advice that you can take to the bank.  In fact, I started the stuffing box thread he references with pretty much the same questions as you.  The box on your boat is much more accessible than on the D37, so fear not–jump right in when you are on the hard.  After doing it once, I would now even consider doing it in the water–but not the first time.  And the new materials (packing and grease) really make a difference.  Like Mike, my re-packed box does not drip at all at rest, and VERY little underway–nice and cool and dry.  Here's a good pictorial discussion that I found helpful:

    We did a Winterizing survey a couple of years ago and you can find a link to that from the Association homepage. I'm down in Hampton and we don't get frozen in, but it does get cold and I stay in the water year-round.  Mike's got all the biggies listed.  I have reliable shore power, and I hang a 100w lightbulb in the engine room (may not do much good–but it makes me feel better).  Just some other random precautions I see in my marina:
    1.  Remove your headsail for sure
    2.  About 50% leave mainsail hanked on
    3.  Remove as much canvas (bimini/dodger) as can be done easily
    4.  Fill fuel tank
    5.  A couple of hardcore folks replace their running rigging with messengers to save UV damage (really hardcore folks)
    6.  Remove through hull sensors (log/depth)
    7.  Put a couple of desiccant evaporator containers (like “Damp Rid”) down below to stifle the mildew.
    8.  Do NOT completely seal up the boat–need a little flow

    With all that said, I can't think of anything really peculiar to wintering a Dickerson.


    Al Sampson

    How about replacing the stuffing box with a mechanical shaft seal? I have had them on two boats. No leaks and no ajustments!

    Al Sampson

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