My daily commute is about an hour in the morning, about one and a quarter in the afternoon. While this sounds bad, I used to take 45 minutes to commute across Richmond (from just south of town to just north). Most of this is highway driving, so I stick a Book on CD in the machine and travel. It is about the same distance to the Newport
News/Hampton area or the Williamsburg area. All three of these have a significant amount of "metro" amenities.
We've moved off the boat in the beginning of December last year in order to get everything off while we did our last big refit
. However, we lived aboard in the Richmond area for the past 8 years before that. We have been through a few different heating
We started out using electric
space heaters, which worked OK but were expensive.
We then got a Wallas diesel
stove which had a forced air system that could put warm air into the boat. That worked very well, but the system needed to be cleaned within a year, the only people in the US who could clean it were in the Pacific Northwest
and we had to pull the entire stove out and ship it to them. We were without our stove and our heater for about a month. We replaced the stove with a propane
stove/oven and went back to space heaters.
We replaced our after HVAC
unit with one that had an electric
heater option. That worked very well, until the breaker tripped (it used almost 18 amps by itself, so we couldn't run it when the water
heater was needed). We then added a forward HVAC
unit with reverse cycle heat. That was OK until the water temperature got below about 35F. Then it just couldn't add too much heat.
We have a couple of small propane
heaters - the sort that have oxygen sensors that turn them off if the oxygen level gets too low. We generally use them in the evening to really warm the boat up before going to bed
, and then let the temperature drift during the night.
We also use cheap
rugs throughout during the winter, and a heating
mattress pad on the bed
. Frankly, that made the biggest difference, since we could be all warm and toasty in bed, without a huge cost.
As part of this refit
, I bought a Webasto diesel
hydronic heater and four heater coils. I have got part of it in place, but am nowhere near finished with that particular installation
, so I can't say anything about that.
Generally, my problem with winter here is not the cold - I've never had it get cold enough to have ice on the river, although I have been told that it has happened in the past. My issue has always been the dark. No matter how much I try, I can never get enough light on the boat to really feel comfortable in the winter and I get to the point where I feel that I am living in a cave. Periodically, I have to go out to a shopping
mall or something like that with glaring lights.
We do have a full enclosure for our center cockpit
with a hard dodger
. On nice weekends, we can put a propane heater in the cockpit
, tuck a few towels into the cracks where lines pass through the enclosure and spend the day up there. I suppose that we could do it when the weather
is grumpy, but to be honest, it hasn't happened often enough since we got the enclosure to really say. Usually, if it snows, I am at work - just seems to work out that way