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Old 09-11-2011, 20:45   #91
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Lightbulb Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

wow... Just reading some of the answers here. My husband and i have lived on our beneteau 46 full time for the past 4 years. Winters are great, infact they are very cozy and warm. We use the diesel furnace to warm up the boat for 10-15 minutes only, then use 2 electric heaters. At night we put the dehymidifer on and this takes care of the moisture. No problems, it's been great. Yes sometimes the port windows have condensation, we just wipe it off.
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Old 09-11-2011, 23:03   #92
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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Originally Posted by Freedom2015 View Post
wow... Just reading some of the answers here. My husband and i have lived on our beneteau 46 full time for the past 4 years. Winters are great, infact they are very cozy and warm. We use the diesel furnace to warm up the boat for 10-15 minutes only, then use 2 electric heaters. At night we put the dehymidifer on and this takes care of the moisture. No problems, it's been great. Yes sometimes the port windows have condensation, we just wipe it off.

Thanks for posting and welcome.......

The diesel heat thing seems to be a common thread as it were, for assured heat in northern climes.

I started on an uninsulated 26' boat 5 years ago and heated with anything I could get to stay warm. Not always successfully I might add.

I'm refitting now and am insulating the crap outta this thing. I think that's got to be number one, proper insulation, installed properly. After that I got a heck of a deal on an Espar hydronic unit (install? ) and have good tankage so I'm hopeful that I'll eventually be independent of this damn cord. For now I use a 110v electric heater and a Dickison Newport to warm up the living space (pilothouse companionway door closed) and I can live nice and comfy. I have a kick ass sleeping bag and just sleep in long johns and no heat for now but will change to keeping the electric going when it gets to cold out.

For me, the ability to live aboard under any local conditions, off the dock, in comfort is not something nice to have, it's absolutely necessary and something I've been working at for a while now. I also understand that a lot of the folks who cruise way north, migrate slightly south to empty marinas and shore side power. I guess it all depends on what a persons goals are.
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Old 10-11-2011, 00:31   #93
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

Does anyone know whether a carbon mast gets cold down below during winter ?

Just wondering.
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:35   #94
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Freedom2015.

Where do you overwinter aboard?
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:27   #95
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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Originally Posted by Freedom2015 View Post
wow... Just reading some of the answers here. My husband and i have lived on our beneteau 46 full time for the past 4 years. Winters are great, infact they are very cozy and warm. We use the diesel furnace to warm up the boat for 10-15 minutes only, then use 2 electric heaters. At night we put the dehymidifer on and this takes care of the moisture. No problems, it's been great. Yes sometimes the port windows have condensation, we just wipe it off.
Could you define where "here" is ? Florida ? Seattle? Toronto? Boston? Beaufort?
These are all large liveaboard communities which have totally different requirements for the winter.
I just finished shrinkwrapping.Here is a image I took last night:

Here at Constitution Marina, we have about 160 liveaboards. It is a fairly social environment.


Here is a link to our annual Winter Season Starter Party
It has been still fairly warm for the fall season, However, when it is 20 below for weeks, (Constitution Marina in the Winter) , and below freezing for months, the Diesel Heaters run pretty much all night. On sunny days the shrinkwrap keeps the boat fairly warm during the day. We do quite a bit of insulation on the decks and inside of the cuddies. That really depends on what type of a boat you have.
I don't have diesel. I have 3 5200 BTU/hr Watt electric heaters and one 12000 btu/hr propane heater. I run the electric heaters at night and not necessarily always at high. The propane is used in the evenings, and on cloudy days. I also have a backup 12000 BTU/Hr portable propane heater.
In general, a total of 15000 BTU/hr seems to keep the boat warm enough on the average winter night. If it gets really cold, 20,000 btu/ht may be needed.

We have a liner in the cabins, and the hull is cored. Requirements may be different depending on what type of a hull you have.

Now having said that, there are liveaboards to get by with less heat. We have a fairly large boat, and we like it warm and cozy in the cabin (70 degrees)
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Old 10-11-2011, 18:52   #96
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

First things first. Was that photo posted by Stratosailor taken at Port Credit Marina, on the north shore of Lake Ontario? IE 20km sw of Toronto?

Second thing. I spend the winter of 79/80 living on my Grampian 26. Gramps are single skin fiberglass boats, with balsa coring in the deck and overhead. The only other thing you could laughingly call insulation would be a layer of heavy cloth that they glued to the sides of the hull.

Normal procedure would be to build a greenhouse over the deck, photos have been shown of this. This keeps snow off the deck, allows warm air to accumulate over the day, and adds storage space for things like winter clothing and boots so you don't schlep them below. It also allows you to keep perishables in a cooler on deck as it shouldn't get too cold overnight nor too hot during the day.

I did not do this, I left the boat operational all winter. I froze my buns off a few times but had the fun of crashing the PCYC New years party under full sail with 7 scurvy dogs along for the ride. Plus a few moonlight sails at -10C. Also great fun.

The down side was that with one aboard the condensation was rough. With two it was biblical. Noah would have felt right at home with the 40 days n 40 nights of rain. With just myself and two electric heaters, and a couple of fans, I would wipe down the overhead before I climbed into my bunk and keep a roll of paper towels there. I placed one vee berth cushion up on a lattice work of 2x2s with 1x2 cross pieces, and then took the opposite cushion and placed it on top of the first one. Moisture wasn't too bad but I did take my bed cloths out to the laundry room every couple of days and dry them in a machine.

Books got moldy. Carpeting got moldy. When my girlfriend came down for the night, we'd cook on an alcohol stove and go through a roll between starting the stove and finishing up dinner. We used to watch the condensate stream down the turn of the bilge and I had to pump out every week. (bilge was only 4 inches deep)

I turned 7 different electric heaters into slag. Over the worst week of the winter, Terri's parents took pity on me and let me crash in their guest room. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Now, what were the lessons?

Insulation: Gotta have it. If I had to do it again on a single skin boat, i'd have bought a bunch of fiberglass bats. Take a sheet of plastic about 8 feet wide, and about 1.2 times the length of the boat, put bats in it, fold it and heat seal it. Then rope it to the OUTSIDE Of the hull. Build a green house over the deck and lay bats on deck. Make sure to put a couple of closing vents into the greenhouse.

So, insulation. I have a steel boat now and it is well insulated. IF you don't have insulation, guidance has been given in the how to dept by others.

Heating. I used two 1500 watt heaters and was cold all the time. Plus damp. You need to get a vented solid or liquid fuel heater, all of which has been mentioned. Buy some extra flue piping which will take the flue up and out of the green house. Make sure the installation is fire proof where it goes through the plastic. Use the fuel heater when on board, and if you need to leave an electric running while you are away at work or the pub or what ever.

Take some black PVC tubing of a size to fit a muffin fan (120V or DC PC FAN) and mount a couple on the bulkheads. Put the fan in on the top, so it draws warm air from the overhead and exhausts it at deck level. Build Muffin fans into your hanging locker and into the under berth lockers. If you have dorade vents, try removing the funnel and replacing it temporarily with a muffin fan set to draw air out. If you have solar vents, make sure they get as much sunlight as possible. Air flow must be constant to defeat the moisture. A dehumidifier is a good idea too. The dry exhaust air is warmed up a bit too, so it adds to the heat input. Wish I'd had one in 79.

Cooking: Honestly? The next time, I'm shutting down my fuel stove and going to use a hot plate. $35 bucks at Canadian Tire, and I'm good to go. If you really need to do something fancy, you can still BBQ if you open the vents in the greenhouse, and you can even bake on one if you use a dutch oven. Heck I just found out I can use my wok on the Magna that came with the boat. Stir Fry!!! WoooHooo!

Lighting: In these modern days, LED lighting is super efficient. Very low power draw. Marvelous. I'm staying with kerosene lamps for ambiance and warmth. I can read quite happily by kero, but if you can't then put a goose neck lamp by your favorite reading spot.

Water system: Most people shut it down and winterize it. I'm in agreement there, I carry water down in a small Coleman drink cooler and that works fine for cooking, dishes, and a light wash and tooth brushing before bed. Since most sink drains go straight down, and the impellors are bringing warm water up from the bottom, I don't have a problem with using the sink. Keep a lamp going under the counter and it won't freeze.

That's about all I can tell you, based on what I learned. I haven't lived aboard since that year but I am in the process of getting Sabre Dance ready for me to retire aboard. I will be living aboard in my normal stomping grounds for the first winter so I will be prepared this time.
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:12   #97
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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If you really need to do something fancy, you can still BBQ if you open the vents in the greenhouse, and you can even bake on one if you use a dutch oven. Heck I just found out I can use my wok on the Magna that came with the boat. Stir Fry!!! WoooHooo!
Yikes, be careful here. The "greenhouse" means you're BBQing indoors, even though the vents are opened. This might be okay if you're using a carbon monoxide detector up in the "greenhouse," but it's a risk otherwise.

Remember, the problem with CO poisoning is that there's no warning. All the sudden, you're dead.
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:25   #98
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

Great post, and all very true. Then again, there are different styles of living aboard.
If I was a 25 year old single guy, I could probably live SabreKai's Style.
When I was a 50 year old single guy, I was perfectly happy on my 36 Catalina.
Now, as a married couple, working full time, with two dogs, out liveaboard style needs to be similar to living ashore. Therefore we have a 43 ft boat. The downside is that we can not use the boat as often as we wish.
We have continuous fans circulating the air that seems to significantly help the moisture problem.
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:28   #99
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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Originally Posted by SabreKai View Post
First things first. Was that photo posted by Stratosailor taken at Port Credit Marina, on the north shore of Lake Ontario? IE 20km sw of Toronto?

.
Wow if that is the case, and they can get away with that little heat in the colds of Toronto, I am very impressed and would love to find out how.
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:45   #100
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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Thanks for posting and welcome.......

The diesel heat thing seems to be a common thread as it were, for assured heat in northern climes.

I started on an uninsulated 26' boat 5 years ago and heated with anything I could get to stay warm. Not always successfully I might add.

I'm refitting now and am insulating the crap outta this thing. I think that's got to be number one, proper insulation, installed properly. After that I got a heck of a deal on an Espar hydronic unit (install? ) and have good tankage so I'm hopeful that I'll eventually be independent of this damn cord. For now I use a 110v electric heater and a Dickison Newport to warm up the living space (pilothouse companionway door closed) and I can live nice and comfy. I have a kick ass sleeping bag and just sleep in long johns and no heat for now but will change to keeping the electric going when it gets to cold out.

For me, the ability to live aboard under any local conditions, off the dock, in comfort is not something nice to have, it's absolutely necessary and something I've been working at for a while now. I also understand that a lot of the folks who cruise way north, migrate slightly south to empty marinas and shore side power. I guess it all depends on what a persons goals are.

I have the Hurricaine II to be self sufficient. HOt water for showers and washing no problem at all. If you want real good, go hydronic.
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Old 10-11-2011, 22:23   #101
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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I have the Hurricaine II to be self sufficient. HOt water for showers and washing no problem at all. If you want real good, go hydronic.
I have pretty much the same configuration. The Hurricane with the hot water is really nice. I wish I had that. But that is a lot of installation and space. Even right now we are somewhat cramped in space. They maximized the living space on this boat but storage went out in lieu of a centerline aft bed and large tankage.
It is also difficult to do major work like that if you are living and working and are not by yourself. Although a friend of mine found an entire Hurricane system on EBAY for $2000 and installed it himself. But he had a 49 ft Gulfstar poerboat. Lots of room for expansion tanks etc in the walk-in engine room.
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Old 10-11-2011, 22:26   #102
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

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I have the Hurricaine II to be self sufficient. HOt water for showers and washing no problem at all. If you want real good, go hydronic.
I use the Dickinson in the winter by opening a small hatch that I have and covering it with a plywood cover that I run the vent/air intake through. I just can't get myself to drill that hole through the roof, pius I don't really need it in the summer. Worst case I have the generator and reverse cycle.

The Hurricane with the hot water is really nice. I wish I had that. But that is a lot of installation and space. Even right now we are somewhat cramped in space. They maximized the living space on this boat but storage went out in lieu of a centerline aft bed and large tankage.
It is also difficult to do major work like that if you are living and working and are not by yourself. Although a friend of mine found an entire Hurricane system on EBAY for $2000 and installed it himself. But he had a 49 ft Gulfstar poerboat. Lots of room for expansion tanks etc in the walk-in engine room.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:00   #103
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

This is our third winter in the North East. Last year and this year in NY/NJ we have used three west marine electric heaters on our 37' hunter. Usually one or two but when it really gets cold we use a third one. We have not had any problems but we have never lost power. If we do were in trouble I suppose. I have used the reverse cycle AC unit a few times. I have heard that there is a way to preheat the water for the reverse cycle but I am not sure how that is done...
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:46   #104
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Re: Living Aboard in the Winter

Some people here in Boston have used their revesrse cycle all winter. I don't like to do that. Once the water temp goes below the high 40ies, the unit starts working a lot harder. I'd rather save them for Air conditioning, where I have no alternative.
There are ideas floating around, one of them is to somehow run the pickup to deeper water where the water is warmer. The problem is that you can suck in dirt and silt.
Some also though of pre-heating the water. But a good size A/C pump does about 4000 Gal/hr i.e 32000 lbs/hr 1 BTU is 1 lbs heated 1 degree. So to heat that water up 20 degrees you would need 320,000 btu/hr. Even if the flow rate was a fraction of that, it would be prohibitive.
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