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Old 20-12-2010, 13:58   #1
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Challenge: Cruising in the Cold, Staying Alive

We are finally leaving MD, heading down the Chesapeake Bay on Jan 2nd. This is about the coldest time of the year and one of the coldest winters already. We have our route to go down the ICW and make it to warmer FL. With a week long stay in NC we plan to take a month to get down there.

We would like some advice about safety and staying warm.

Safety:
We currently have safety lines running across the boat and will stay clipped in with our lifevest/harness at all times, especially while anchoring. We do NOT want to fall in! We have a tied off tossable life preserver and a dinghy davit lift incase that does happen. We have charts, guides, garmin, and tow insurance. We have a smoke and CO detector.

Warmth:
We have about 80 hand warmers to be used everyday. Lots of layers: multiply thermals, sweater, winter coat and weather gear">foul weather gear all to be worn. We have face masks and gloves. We plan to run a heated blanket off of the inverter while the engine is running for the helmsmen to wear. The deisel engine and/or our alcohol stove are the only way to heat the cabin. We have lots of blankets.

We do not have alot of money and this is only a one month trip to warmer weather so we are not buying an expensive generator heater. Any practical and useful advice would be very welcome!

Wish us luck
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:11   #2
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hand warmers to the armpits in coldest times --must protect brains and get a lot of rest as cold is a major body stressor.
donot get wet and allow to air dry--ye will freeze to death that way. dont get exhausted
drink many fluids--warm is best--broth is excellent to fill into the times when coffee/caffeine isnt a good choice. in icw, watwr is smooth.. can cook while underway--will help keep a warmth so off watch can sleep and recuperate from chill/coldness. dont do watches over 4 hours--if ye feel cold during watch, rearrange watches or move around a lot to warm up--cant just sit and sit--have to move around-- but not without tether if is cold enough f or ice. gooodluck.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:13   #3
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Something I used to do when really cold was use clay flower pots inverted over the burners... give them a couple of minutes then turn the heat down low.. they radiate the heat a bit more efficiently... also when at anchor.. a dozen tea lights on a plate under the saloon table can be quite comforting.. huddle together under a blanket and trap the rising heat..
Its just a shame no ones come up with a way of circulating the raw cooling water from the exhaust round some radiators yet...
When one is cold every little helps... used to stick my feet by the engine vents when motoring...lol
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:15   #4
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I usually wear a survival suit with layers underneath when winter sailing. I like to be overwarm when hauling lines so that I'm warm enough when I'm not. When you're working intersperssed with periods of rest the cold can sneak up on you and sap your strength.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:16   #5
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clay pots and oil lamps..lol coziness !!!!!!! hang a weems and plath yacht lamp in bathroom for warmth... btw--you will be soooo happy the head isnt frozze to yer booty!!!!! will also help dry out the wet foulies and clothing a lil bit.....every bit of heat helps in coldness....
problem with sweating then drying is that the coldness makes the sweat freeze and isnt comfy....be safe and try to not sweat then cool......
also in icw--wont be sailing as much as motoring, in many places which will keep interior of boat warmer.....
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:18   #6
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you sound pretty much sorted. and probably have more cold weather experiance than me .......

........hot water bottles on deck (up jumper!) and in berth Keep yer feet dry. and head warm. so don't run out of warm socks and dry hats.

and hot food, if only soup. mental as well as physical.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:23   #7
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I am thinking of leaving the chesapeake around xmas as well of course I am in a trawler I hear there are spots in the river that are already frozen This is a last min decision for me or I would already be long gone Better late then never At least all the popular anchorage will not be busy
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:23   #8
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Don't laugh but get a couple of hot water bottles!! Like my grandmother used to have. You bed will be colder than a witch's whatchamacallit. Also be very careful in the mornings as the deck will have frost on it.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:30   #9
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i take kat to bed with me to warm it-lol-- doggies / cats/ water bottles--whatever works!!!!!! gramma wasnt a dummy!!!!!
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:34   #10
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sleeping bag and my best cold weather gear at nite
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:35   #11
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I sail all year in the Chesapeake (including last weekend--Brr). A few thoughts posted here:

Sail Delmarva: Winter Sailing

And few other thoughts, worth repeating:
  • No heater? sleeping bags are MUCH warmer than blankets. I would test-sleep on the boat to make CERTAIN what you have will work!
  • IF it is below freezing your roller furler will freeze; don't deploy on cold days.
  • Ski goggles, if you have them. They really help keep the face warm.
  • Insulated pants for the legs, not just long johns. Contractors and skiers laugh at the cold in insulated coveralls. Long johns are for cool or working hard, not cold and sitting. 2 pairs of fleece pants under foul weather gear is a good substitute.
  • The flower pot thing is urban legend. I've tried it and it made no difference. I have a propane cabin heater.
  • Take a cheap 1500 watt electric heater for use at marinas. Very nice. 2 would be better (I need 2 in my boat).
  • Don't expect a blanket--electric or not--to work on-deck. The wind causes too much draft under the blanket. Insulated coveralls and a foam pad to sit on. It is more about even insulation and air tight clothing (no drafts) than big clothing. How do you think ice climbers manage at -40F?
  • Fleece socks. Cheap and a bigger difference than you think. I hate cold feet.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:41   #12
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silk
SOX, LONGIES TOPS AND BOTTOMS balaclava, wear gloves with leather palms.
silk is light yet warmest thing i could find in life besides down, and dries very fast. perfect for sailing gear. polypro navy SEAL longies are second best, i found also--with high collar and zipper and gooood long pants with water wicking capability.i was gifted 3 sets..LOL....awesome stuff-- but i like the silk best as doesnt bind while at helm.
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:41   #13
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Thinwater.... I'm not surprised it did'nt work on a cat... I'm in a little mono...
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Old 20-12-2010, 14:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Thinwater.... I'm not surprised it did'nt work on a cat... I'm in a little mono...
Yes, cats have a lot more surface to heat.

But unless the pot generates BTU--unlikely--then the math makes little sense, unless you huddle around the pot. I stand by what I said, that it is more impression than function.
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Old 20-12-2010, 15:05   #15
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the clay pot on a stove worked great in sd in a cold winter -- warmed the entire cabin. might nneed more than that for colder weather unless boat is small---i love my trawler lamp--warms entire living space of my formosa except the head ..hence the crack about the weems and plath lamp in bano..LOL
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