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Old 23-09-2008, 07:59   #1
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Wintering in the Baltic

Hi all,

Does anyone know if its possible to keep your boat in the water if you winter over in the Baltic? Or is that a silly idea?
We're thinking of going there next year and will probably take a couple of years to explore the area, but we're unsure what to do the winter in between.
Do we take the boat out somewhere, and fly home to the UK for the winter (kinda defeats the point of living onboard!), do we live onboard somewhere in the Baltic or is there an option 'c'- which we've not thought of yet?
Anyone have any experience of doing this?
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Old 23-09-2008, 09:12   #2
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Depends where you are in the Baltic and how cold that winter gets.

The baltic is quite fresh (as opposed to salt), thus will freeze earlier, and the further east you are, the colder it is.

I would consider travelling as far west as possible and overwinter kiel or somewhere near. I dont know if you are able to use the canal as a stop over point.
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Old 23-09-2008, 11:56   #3
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The saltier the brine, the lower its freezing point.

The freezing point of seawater depends upon it's salinity, which is the amount of salt that it contains. Open ocean seawater has a salinity of about 35.
Fresh water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and 35 Sea water freezes at about -1.9 degrees C.
The decrease is linear, so that water with a salinity of 17 freezes at about -1 degree C.

Freezing Point Calculator: Utilities: freezing point
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Old 23-09-2008, 12:44   #4
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GordMay

While your numbers are probably empirrically correct, they ignore an important factor - depth of water and thus the heat sink under the surface. Atlantic will become a real problem when the surface gets down to about -4, whereas the baltic, which is much shallower will freeze between -1 and -2 centigrade. Doesnt sound like much, but this is the waer temperature, not the air, and those 2-3 degrees are a significant difference.

I have been up on the ice edge north of iceland, and believe me the air temperature was a LOT colder.
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Old 23-09-2008, 15:23   #5
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GordMay

While your numbers are probably empirrically correct, they ignore an important factor - depth of water and thus the heat sink under the surface...
Right.

Ocean water, with a typical salinity of 35 parts per thousand, freezes only at −1.9C (28.9F). So if there were no halocline* in the polar oceans, then the cooled top ocean layer, being denser, would sink into the deep ocean, in the same way as thunderstorm clouds rise in the atmosphere, and the entire ocean column would have to cool to −1.8C before its surface could freeze.

* A Halocline is a layer in which the salinity changes rapidly with depth (analogous to a Thermocline where temperature changes rapidly with depth).

Ice will form first in shallow water, near the coast or over shoals or banks, and particularly in bays, inlets, and straits in which there are no currents; and in areas of low salinity (near the mouths of rivers, for instance). Shallow water is conducive to ice formation because of the relatively small depth of water that has to be cooled. The greater the depth of high-salinity water, the later the time of freezing. In fact, deep waters may never freeze over entirely, as not enough heat can be removed from the water during the course of a winter to bring this about.

Theoretically, the whole body of water must be cooled to the freezing point, before any ice will form. In reality, the oceans are stratified with increasing salinity, and hence become denser toward the bottom. The convection currents need only reach down to a layer of sufficient density to provide a stable stratification. Typically, convection currents will reach 50 m; therefore, ice begins to form on the surface long before the deep water has been cooled to the surface freezing temperature.
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Old 23-09-2008, 16:34   #6
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Theory is good, but as I've had to watch an Ice Breaker push ahead of a regular ferry from N Germany to Denmark, and again Denmark to Sweden mid winter, it's not a piece of water I'd risk leaving a regular yacht in the water.

Most owners in N Germany not just slip the boat but remove the rig and store the hull in heated hanger type sheds.

Alongside the Keil Canal there are many such storage spots.

Or you could spend a few weeks heading further south to say UK or France, and return back to the Baltic the following spring.

Good Luck

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Old 24-09-2008, 03:07   #7
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As Swagman suggests, whilst you might be able to over-winter in water, you would require a “bubbler system” (ice eater), and interior heating; and may not be able to locate a facility (marina) that would allow winter live-aboard (and provide services).

Baltic Sea ice conditions vary considerably in different parts of the Baltic, with ice persisting for over half a year in the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea (Bothnian Bay). In the southern Baltic Sea, ice appears only during severe winters.
Freezing, in the Baltic, begins in the northern coast of Gulf of Bothnia typically in middle of November, reaching the open waters of Bothnian Bay in early January. The Bothnian Sea, the basin south of it, freezes on average in late February. The Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga freeze typically in late January.
The ice season 2006/2007 was (comparably) very late, short and mild in terms of ice extent.

The ice season 2006-2007:
Helcom : The ice season 2005-2006

Ice conditions in the Baltic:
Untitled Document
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:37   #8
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We are sailing the Baltic since 1999, we always leave the yacht in the water in the winter. It is far cheaper and the load on the hull is better distributed. Further more, the horror of taking the boat out and in does not apply. We newer had substantial ice in the Kieler Foerde which would worry us. However, we have the advantage to be rather close to the ship to get out additional lines and to check the boat frequently. When we are out of the country, our friends from the yacht club help. I can only recommend keeping it in the water.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:38   #9
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Originally Posted by miss-m View Post
Hi all,

Does anyone know if its possible to keep your boat in the water if you winter over in the Baltic? Or is that a silly idea?
We're thinking of going there next year and will probably take a couple of years to explore the area, but we're unsure what to do the winter in between.
Do we take the boat out somewhere, and fly home to the UK for the winter (kinda defeats the point of living onboard!), do we live onboard somewhere in the Baltic or is there an option 'c'- which we've not thought of yet?
Anyone have any experience of doing this?
Dear Miss-m,
I have also a concrete boat , type one off, 48 ft, 22 ton, build by professionals 1978, and I have kept her in the water since then. Location was first in Turku and from 1998 Helsinki both in the southern Finland. The thiknes of ice have varied almost every winter, from nothing to max 70 cm, at least during the coldes weeks. Winters have turned to bretty mild, almos no ice at all, but the temperature is still around +5celsius to -10 from December to Marsh, at coldes even -20c for some days or a week or two.
I'll try to send some ice information and other material in a few days time.
kind regards, timo v
email:timo.villa@kolumbus.fi
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Old 08-10-2008, 14:24   #10
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Staying at Baltic over the Winter

Hello again,
I wrote earlier today and here's some usable web addresses to study about the Baltic sea, temperature and sear/ice conditions, forecasts, current and past analysis in English.
Please explore: Finnish Institute Of Marine Research : Frontpage
(www.fimr.fi/en/en_GB/en/)
On page "Publications" you can find a pdf format report about the Baltic sea report.
If you are planning to stay on board over the winter months, I would recommend looking a nice marina somewhere at areas 7 and 6, that's the Southern Baltic and Nothern Baltic Proper, but of course it depends on your boat, isolation, heating system etc.

Kind regards,
timo v
skipper of s/y Oceania
timo.villa@kolumbus.fi
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Old 14-10-2008, 02:03   #11
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Thanks guys, really useful info there. We'll look into it.
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Old 19-11-2008, 22:08   #12
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Wintering in the Baltic

Hi,

If you would consider Poland you should know that generally there are not boats on the water during the winter as somethimes there would be not a problem (quite warm winter and no ice at all etc.) but winters could be very strong as well. Because of that poeple don't leave there boats on the water exluding very big ones (especially steel hull).

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Old 19-11-2008, 22:17   #13
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I am sure you will learn all you need to know from locals here but next week I'll be in Helsinki on tuesday and Gdansk wed-friday. I am working on the waterfront in both locations if you think I can help in some way let me know.
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Old 19-11-2008, 22:40   #14
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when i lived in oslo in the mid 80s i remember a lot of boats being left in the water but i think most of them used a bubbler to keep the water against the boat ice free
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:16   #15
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Timo,

Do you know of any marinas in the Helsinki area which would support winter liveaboard? (if anyone would be masochistic enough to do it ;-)
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