For the last three winters Starcross has suffered from frost damage in the form of burst pipes. Although I do drain the water tank and do my best to get all the water out of system each year there always seems to be enough left behind in the various sumps and low points in the pipe work to cause trouble. Perhaps plastic plumbing wasn't around twenty years ago when Starcross was fitted out, but the idea of installing copper pipes without drain keys on a boat that would be left unattended during the winter months strikes me as optimistic to say the least.
Over time most of that copper has been replaced with plastic, but even then your troubles are not necessarily over. Last winter it was cold enough for long enough to freeze the Hep20 connectors that join the pipes together and crack them. So although I'd been extra-careful with lagging this year - and bearing in mind that Uplands is 33 locks lower in altitude and more sheltered than Norbury Junction - it was with some trepidation that I headed to the boat yesterday to put it back into Summer-Mode. My hosepipe is too short to reach the nearest water tap to my mooring (I shortened it because it was too long and difficult to roll up and store) but there is a CRT water point just outside the marina. I part-filled the tank so that the level was above the inlet, closed all the taps and put the pump fuse back in place. If there is a leak anywhere this acts as an open tap and activates the pump. Of course, the pump runs for a few seconds anyway to equalise the pressure but joy - oh! - rapture it soon stopped and a quick check of all the obvious spots found no evidence of leaks! Even the water heater lit first time (easy now that I've read the instructions and found that you have to bleed it first!)
So Starcross is now almost ready for the summer. I say "almost" because I celebrated by taking her for a quick spin up to Barnton Tunnel and back. I don't know if it was when I clouted the bank when winding or when I nudged the wall on the tight turn back into the basin (in both cases I blame the wind) or whether it had happened somewhere before but the weak link on the front fender chain, that prevents you getting hung-up in locks, was broken and the fender is now held on only by three out of the four such chains. It was too cold and too late to do anything about it before coming home and it could do with replacing anyway, but if that's all I have to do then I'm happy.