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Old 25-09-2007, 19:22   #1
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Catamaran Liveaboards in Winter?

Does anyone liveaboard a catamaran during winter in the Northeast? I would imagine that the Bridgedeck, being above water (thus lacking the insulating properties of water), would make the inside much colder. Is this true? If so, how do you insulate/cope with it?

I plan on moving to the NY/CT area for the first of the year. I have been reading these forums extensively about the liveaboard lifestyle, and winter is the only thing that concerns me (I currently live in Louisiana...snow (and winter for that matter) are more of a fairytale than a reality.

I realize that many people who look for the easy answer just shoot off a question without reading the forums...But I have done my homework. I have read the need for dehumidifiers and the numerous heating options, as well as general winterizing of a boat.

I don't own a boat yet, but to make the cruising dream happen, I am thinking about livingaboard as soon as I get the funds together to get the boat. That way, I am putting money towards the cruising kitty that would normally be spent on apartment rent. I realize that marina fees will be cheaper (not cheap, by any means). In the mean time, I plan on crewing on weekends as much as possible. (How hard would it be to convince someone to let me crew on their daysail if I showed up with an icechest full of beer?)

Any and all help is greatly appreciated


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Old 26-09-2007, 01:17   #2
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I'm no scientist so I may be wrong but... Water removes heat from a person about 10 times faster than does air so, if the same holds true for inanimate objects, then the bridgedeck being surrounded by air should be better than having it surrounded by water.

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Old 26-09-2007, 04:21   #3
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We lived aboard Makai for 4 months befoe heading to the caribe in the middle of the winter in MD. The boat sitting in the water made it very cold. Moving water carries away heat much more effectively than air.

The upside over most mono is the the construction with the foam core is that is proabably added a r2 or 3 value of isulation LOL.

We only used electric heaters as we knew it was only for a couple of months. Our eletric bill with the ice eater going was 388 a month. ANd we lived in sweats and slept with the electirc blanket. And that was 4 years ago.

Long term liveaboard I would recommend a dedicated marine diesel heater or something.

Stay warm, Move south.
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Old 26-09-2007, 11:09   #4
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we livabord in the uk and i agree with the info already given we use a wet heating system and the pipes to the cabin heaters run under the floor plates so keeping them warm we are verry cosey the one thing we did was to put in some double glazing which helps with heat los but most of all stops condensation on windows/hatches etc also have fully enclosed cockpit whitch helps with heat loss.
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Old 27-09-2007, 02:46   #5
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Has anyone used a skirt, from bridgedeck to water (think hovercraft), to create a captive & insulating air gap between deck & water?
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Old 27-09-2007, 05:01   #6
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Old 27-09-2007, 07:46   #7
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They wintered over in their Maine Cat, having installed a Hurricane Heater system. Sounds like an excellent system.

Gord's idea sounds interesting, too. That may make a few degrees difference in the bridgedeck.

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Old 27-09-2007, 07:48   #8
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we live in annapolis and for several years the mouth of the Severn froze over at about 10 degrees (f). A couple things we found, one is that everyone thinks that insulation is the way to go. Only partially correct. To stop heat loss only takes a little bit of insulation, and a cored hull does fairly well. The biggest issue is always condensation, and to catamarans with births sitting ontop of the bridgedeck will have the underside of the births very prone to condensation. So, two things to know and deal with this.

1) The most critical thing is keep air flow going. So a small hatch open in each hull and the top hatch cracked in the settee keeps great airflow and the boat ventilated. This does more than anything else to eliminate condensation.

2) under the births to prevent condensation I needed no less than 3 inches of insulation. The issue is to prevent condensation your trying to prevent then the temperature differential of the underneath of the bunk and the inner air of the cabin, that takes a LOT more insulation than simply trying to prevent heat loss. Also, put the insulation down in a way that seals out the air. We used three layers of insulation spraying adhesive between each and then finally a thick plastic cover also with spray adhesive holding it firmly in place to serve as a vapor barrier. Now three years later not a trace of moisture or mildew.

An oil filled electric radiator in each hull near where you sleep and the small cracked hatch and a third oil filled radiator in the settee area and your good to the low teens.
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Old 27-09-2007, 07:53   #9
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Regarding Gordon's idea, I personally don't think it would be too much of a difference because heat loss is through the top and cats have cored decks, our biggest problems are usually the large windows that act like cold plates. But being shrink wrapped and it would make all of the difference in the world. But, to shrink wrap a cat and your probably looking at a couple thousand easy.
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Old 27-09-2007, 08:35   #10
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Thank you all for your responses.

While having never done this, it seems to me that one way to seal in the heat would be a combination of things :

Put clear bubblewrap on the inside of the windows and hatches (lets light in...found somewhere in this forum)

Use a clear plastic type boat cover to trap heat (clear so the sunlight could get in....greenhouse)

Cover the decks with black plastic bags (to attract more sun...thus more heat????)

Great point Schoonerdog. I thought a de-humidifier would take care of this, but under bunks (where there isn't muck airflow) could be a problem.
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Old 27-09-2007, 10:54   #11
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Bottom line - it can definitely be done.

We went with a quick method of sealing the hatches by using Press 'n' Seal. It made a huge difference in reducing the condesation. We also got to the point of going on 'patrol' with a chamois to wipe down any moisture and then a little spray bottle with some bleach dilute to remove the mold. We were really happy when spring came!

On our boat, the strataglass enclosure acts like a greenhouse, so whenever it was sunny the cockpit was great. Of course the reverse was true at night, there's just not a lot of 'R' value in strataglass.

Good luck in finding the right boat!

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