(Reposted form another forum. I like to write in the other forum first becuase I can edit and re-edit and re-edit until I've got it about right.)
It's really great having the boat in the water
this winter. I've been sailing just about every week. (Ok, 1 time I motored out and didn't raise the sails
.) DavidPM came with me for a sail. (I went up the mast
- can't do that on the hard
.) My family
went sailing with me. I've sailed mostly solo though, which has it's own enjoyment. This past Sunday was another last-minute sail that was beautiful. I saw 2 other sailboats a long way away. There is always a tug and barge though, even on Sundays. Western sound, by the way.
So I'm learning
a lot. The Eisenglss thing (below) caught me by surprise. For you reading enjoyment, I've divided them up into smart moves and dumb moves.
Smart move: After researching self regulating heat cable, and planning to get enough to parallel every fresh water
pipe and wrap every through hull
(150 feet of cable), with the help of another member
. I decided to put antifreeze
in everything since the cold weather
was on its way. It went well below 32 immediately after that. I better add some to the 1/2 full, in-wall holding tanks
before something happens with them. I still plan to get some insulation
between them and the outside wall. There's a 1 inch air gap.
Dumb move: I tried to use a mere 6 gallons of antifreeze
. That wasn't enough and I had to restart with 15 gallons, which then did the job nicely. (Note that there is so much quantity of water in the pipes, that there wasn't much left to get a good flush of the water heater. I fully drained the tank containing the 6 gallons of antifreeze. Water pump wouldn't "grab" easily from the empty tank with antifreeze in it, so I had to restart the water pump from a non-antifreezed water tank.
Dumb move: The marina staff moved our boat, plugged it back in, but didn't set the circuit breaker. (They left the dock
power channeld to the unused 50 amp outlet instead of the 30 amp outlet.) On Sunday it was 22 degrees on the thermometer on the inside of the boat against the outside wall. Using a laser thermometer from Home Depot ($29 IIRC), the engine
and water hoses to it were at about 31 or 32 degrees. I did not antifreeze the raw water
side of the engine
or the dripless prop raw water
feed. Instead I have one of those expensive 70 watt, marine
, fan-less heaters in the well-insulated engine compartment.
Smart move: Getting a laser thermometer from Home Depot ($29 IIRC). I point it at everything and it gives an instant temperature reading. By the way, clounds overhead on Sunday were at -6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dumb move: Eisenglass does not like cold temperatures. Even with the dodger
already folded down on a previous warm day, 2 of the large panels
cracked. Maybe the marina staff stepped on it while moving the boat, because it was not broken when I left her a day earlier. Can anyone comment on this -- does it just crack by itself. I'm chalking this one up to experience (or inexperience!) and not going after anyone.
Smart move: I plugged up the air vents that go to the engine, to help keep the engine from freezing. There are two adjacent to the companionway
stairs and two at the stern. A towel wrapped in a plastic bag makes a good plug
. Yes I forgot to take them out, but there is enough air leaking from everywhere else into the engine compartment, that it didn't matter. (And last Sunday I left the hatch
off when checking the fluids. I may may make that a standard practice -- remove the heater, check the fluids, leave the hatch
Smart move. I keep the waterproof, handheld VHF
secured to my belt. If I go over, I'm calling for help. Generally I'm close to land, but with the temperatures dropping I need better means to stay in the boat when solo. Not sure I could make it even 1/2 mile in cold water. I have a makeshift jackline that I run. I'm using it 100% starting right now when solo and more than 200 feet from land.
Cold move: I plan to put my wetsuit on and grab my mask and fins and check the zinc. I'll do this outside of the marina proper. Note to self: get a replacement zinc from Beneteau
Smart move: Instead of blasting my way out to clear water on Sunday, I broke the 1/2 inch thick ice all around the bow and sides of the boat. Then I ran the engine in forward at idle. 10 minutes later, with little risk of catching a piece in the prop, I ran up the engine and let the "wake" clear all the ice behind the boat. It cleared the 100 feet needed to get to clear water.
Smart move: There's no calendar on board. While I do want to build more experience in bad weather
, I can pick sunny days and not wish I was back on shore. Things I want to do this winter: 1) see if the riding sail (anchor sail) can be used as a jib
in very windy weather to balance a double reefed main. A partially furled jib
doesn't have very good shape for making upwind headway, e.g. against a lee shore. 2) sail a lot.
Fun move: I put Christmas
lights up one of the backstays
and on a moveable forestay. (I move it back so it doesn't interefere with the jib.) It sure looks great when coming up to the dock
. Not that anyone's ever been on the dock to see it.
Smart move: I created an email
list with 60+ people on it. When I'm going sailing, I can simply send it out. So far only David has made it to the dock. But I'm hearing that others are looking forward to going this winter. Really, how many people, that don't already own a sailboat, like to sail on cold days?
If anyone wants to go sailing this winter, give me a shout. If you already sent me a PM, please send me another one so I can add you to my email
list. There isn't a lot of warning, due to commitments and weather windows, but that's ok. The winter is long; we'll sail at some point.