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Old 23-03-2014, 16:25   #1
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New to Living Aboard a Sailboat in Chesapeake and Hoping for Suggestions

Hi all
I moved my starter sailboat of two year,s and bought one large enough to live on. I've never done this before and I could use some suggestions.
1. Marina: I am looking in the Baltimore Annapolis area and I found a slip at the Eastport Yacht center that I like. However this slip is on the outside of the marina and exposed to the opening to Back Creek. It is very wide open. Would this be a mistake come winter?
2. Winter comfort: My sailboat is a Hunter 380 with reverse cycle heat and air. Will I need more than this other than maybe a space heater?
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Old 23-03-2014, 18:23   #2
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

Welcome aboard, Eastport is very nice. I lived on Back Creek around 2002 and do not remember having a lot of rocking motion. I'd invest in a diesel heater though for the winter but I like being warm.
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Old 23-03-2014, 18:59   #3
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

Check out this forum, which has been fairly active lately -

Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

I just purchased a reverse cycle heat pump unit, and my understanding is that it is only good to about 32f. Below that it doesn't produce any heat. I have an Espar D5 forced air also that I am trying to recondition. It puts out about the same as three 1500watt electric heaters on max power. This winter I needed to run two 1500 watt heaters at once if the temperature got below 15f. This is for a 26' powerboat.
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:06   #4
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

Do a search here for previous useful threads; that "Boston heat" one is current, but there are others.

Wintertime pump-outs are critical, unless you have a treatment system. The Annapolis pump-out boat may or may not run at any given time. Marinas with in-slip pump-out capabilities, especially during winter, would maybe be worth a premium. Maybe depends on how much premium

Our area (just south of Annapolis) froze a few times this last winter, so you'll want some kind of heat augmentation, and maybe a de-icer if EYC (or whatever marina you end up in) doesn't deploy those.

Your reverse cycle AC/heat system will not provide heat when the water temps fall below about 40° (some manufacturers say 38, some say 42, etc.) unless it has an additional heating capability. That "Boston heat" thread has a note about inserting resistance heat augmentation in between reverse cycle AC/heat system and the air handler. Annapolis Cruisair did that install, and they could advise whether that relatively simple (?) modification would work on your boat.

Back Creek won't get lots of traffic in the dead of winter, so being on the outside shouldn't be a particular issue. You can sometimes take whatever slip you can get at first, then upgrade (so to speak) in the marina as/when/if better slips become available.

EYC has a great common bath/shower facility, as I remember, completely remodeled not all that long ago.

-Chris
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:53   #5
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by slipslidingaway View Post
Winter comfort: My sailboat is a Hunter 380 with reverse cycle heat and air. Will I need more than this other than maybe a space heater?
I agree with boating2go; I think you’d appreciate a diesel heater for full-time live-aboard, but I lived aboard in DC and Baltimore for about six-years off and on (many years ago) and made it on reverse-cycle, plus space heaters (they will work if your amperage and shore-power have the capacity… )

A lot depends on the boat construction -- we were iced in about half the winters and since my boat had no hull insulation (or core) you could see we were heating the Potomac/Patapsco because the water would melt about 4” from the hull (where wood hulled boats froze in solid unless they used impellers/bubblers… )

A friend of mine had a diesel, recirculating liquid radiator heating system on his boat and it was always toasty on the coldest days – but he had a huge fuel tank to feed his 6-71 upright GMC, so once he was bedded down for the winter he had enough diesel on board to more than outlast the winter… always envied him, but on our Irwin 42 I got by okay on three space-heaters (oil-radiators). I had a dedicated 50-amp line to run the heaters (or the reverse-cycle when it could be used).
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:01   #6
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

Unless you go with a Diesel heater your total electrical capacity will be an issue, do you have dual 30's or a single 50? If a single 30, then that isn't going to cut it for electric heat in a 38' boat (my opinion, I like to be warm, I'm allergic to cold)
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:34   #7
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

My late wife and I lived aboard our 45' cutter at Horn Point Harbor (the next marina farther out into the mouth of Back Creek) for 5 years in the late '80s. We were just inside the end of the breakwater there and generally had no problem with weather-related rough water or wakes. There was one severe, long-lived nor'easter during the five years that put the docks about 6" under water (water piling up on the western shore of the Bay from several days of easterly winds) and required constant tending of lines, but that was about it. Once, we -- along with everyone else -- had to evacuate the marina and head up the Severn for a couple of nights under the threat of one big hurricane that ended up being pretty much a no-show.

I'm familiar with the row of slips you would be in, and I think it is adequately protected from the weather, but an occasional inconsiderate wake might be more of a problem. Back Creek is predominantly sail and the traffic is pretty leisurely, but a big boat pushing the speed limit might slosh you around a bit.

We heated back then with two or three electric space heaters (usually two) and a Paul Luke wood-burning fireplace mostly for the cozy effect and to keep things dry. We installed a second 30A shore power circuit just for the heaters.

Back then, our biggest annoyance in the summer was the stench off the dumpsters full of crab waste at the McNasby Oyster Company when it was still in operation (now the Chesapeake Maritime Museum) and the breeze was coming from the wrong direction. Occasionally the wind would shift to another noxious direction and give us a whiff of the Annapolis sewage disposal plant not too far away on the other side of the creek. I suspect they've made some technological improvements by now to mitigate that problem, particularly with all the high-priced condos in the neighborhood.
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Old 06-04-2014, 00:48   #8
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

I still recommend a good diesel heater, I lived aboard in DC and Solomons, MD for about 10 years and it can get very cold. I currently live aboard in San Diego with a sailboat that had a 30 amp service, I recently added another 30 amp service to be able to handle the things I like on a boat and want to use. If you go with electric heaters you will find out in your climate you will soon max out your electric with either a 30 amp or 50 amp service. You can plug and unplug things to do this, but you will affect you quality of life it you follow this course. I am one that does not like to affect my quality of life to sacrifice so I do not have to spend money to do what I like. But that is a personal preference, not a necessity for you.

Good luck with what ever you decide. Living aboard is worth it.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:03   #9
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

I lived aboard in Annapolis before moving south for a new job. I highly recommend annapolis city marina in Eastport. The people are friendly, the facilities are nice, the prices are the best in the area (no liveaboard fees) AND you're a stones throw from downtown Annapolis. You can watch the Independence Day fireworks from your boat without leaving the slip and can walk to and from any of the year long festivities Annapolis has to offer. As for reverse cycle heat -- mine worked until the water got below 40 degrees. Ambient temp was not a factor. Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2014, 18:38   #10
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Re: new to living aboard a sailboat in Chesapeake and hoping for suggestions

We live aboard every other week in Delaware City. Similar winter weather.

We have a Espar D-4 that keeps us fine. When I'm on alone u shut off the back cabin and sleep in the saloon. When the Wife is here we keep the aft cabin open. This year we were in the single digits a few times. When it was that low I always stayed on the boat overnight to assure it stayed warm.

I know others use electricity but I always worry what would happen if that went down for a few days. So I use diesel with electric back up.
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