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Old 02-12-2011, 19:23   #16
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It's funny, so far in minus 1-2 degrees we have been pretty good with a hot water bottle, good jammies, and a good duvet.

There is a fair amount of condensation in the am... And we get ready for work real quick.... But not too bad.

Any thoughts on condensation?
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Old 02-12-2011, 19:24   #17
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Condensation breeds mold.
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Old 02-12-2011, 19:26   #18
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

We're living aboard in Vancouver as well! However, we're at Mosquito Creek Marina, so we do have unlimited (i.e. unmetered!) power.

Some of the things that have helped us (apart from the luxury of running an electric heater all the time, and two when it's really* bloody cold) at least when we're out on the hook, which we try to do a lot.

- Proper ventilation under the v-berth mattress. We installed the Neptune slat system in the summer, and we are so thankful. We had the hypervent underneath last winter, but it just didn't provide enough circulation (likely due to having a relatively small opening to the berth itself) and left the bunk damp and cold. When your bunk is ever so slightly damp, it's impossible to warm it up. We sleep so much better now, as the bed actually warms up. There's probably about double the air gap between the lockers and the mattress now, and way more air flow. This has made the largest difference for us.
- memory foam mattress topper, somewhat surprisingly. We added this also in the summer when we redid the v-berth simply for comfort. It's the standard 2" thick that we bought from Jysk for ~$150 on sale. We cut it to size and it's a dream to sleep on. You sink into it just enough and it really retains your body heat (without being too hot in summer) We've heard that it can also retain water, but I check ours every time we wash the bedding and there haven't been any issues yet.
- Flannel sheets! I had no idea how much of a difference these make. Even with the heaters, climbing into the v-berth on our Douglas 32 can be freezing. Not anymore with the flannel. We also have a velourey fleecey blanket which is divine, but can be actually too hot after a bit, even with no heat. Our down duvet is also lovely.
- Kitten! Although we'd love a dog, we wouldn't be able to give it the care it needs right now. A kitten though, works a charm. He makes a great neck warmer.
- Diesel heat. We have a Wallas stove which also provides heat. It's great at anchor as it uses damp cabin air for combustion and really helps to dry out the boat and damp gear, even if the gear is across the cabin. Just make sure you have a source of fresh air. We can't wait 'til we can add a hydronic system, as hot water on the hook would just make me very very happy.
- When it's really cold, we stuff socks in the dorade vents as they create quite a breeze down below.
-We're pretty conscientious about dampness. We still haven't completely finished our shower install (again, the marina access) but when we've used it it leaves a lot of dampness in the air and on surfaces. If we're boiling water, we make sure the hatch is open and a fan blowing that wet air out so it doesn't collect on our hull liner.
-Wet gear does not come inside. It's left to dry under the dodger as much as possible. Wet sails never never never come down below.
-I'm neurotic about airing lockers... back to the dampness issue. We had a few bouts with mildew in my shoe locker and in our hanging locker. Going through the lockers regularly and attacking any spots I see with Spray Nine keeps the mildew under control. Tedious but necessary. Along with that, my nice leather purses and some leather shoes have had to be banned from the boat. I'm not sure why, but certain items would grow mildew very quickly when others won't at all.
-Our settee cushions are rectangular, so we flip them regularly, again, trying to eliminate that moisture. If one of us falls asleep on the settee after watching a movie, the cushion will be damp in the morning. *gross*

- On the flip side, this cold weather means our booze locker under the settee keeps beer at the perfect temperature without taking up all the fridge/icebox space.

Would love to hear what other people are doing to cope! We still have some really cold nights!

*I'm originally from Northern Ontario, but when I say really cold I'm just meaning sub-zero. I've become soft living on the West Coast.
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Old 02-12-2011, 19:33   #19
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Missed one!

Keeping locker doors/head door propped open. Back to the same old keeping the air circulating.
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Old 02-12-2011, 20:21   #20
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Storm windows and other tricks...

I don't live-aboard, but I do spend many winter nights aboard and cruise below freezing.

Storm windows. If the windows are made to take screens, they can generally take storm windows made from 1/8-inch acrylic.
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Yes, foam insulation would be warmer, but I won't live in a cave.

External window covers help (canvas).

Don't move any of the dodger windows below 50F. They will crack after they have a few years on them.

Insulate the companionway door. Though I'm sure there are better ways, I simply use a large beach towel. Since the door is covered by a large dodger, it stays dry.

Opening cabinets. Be careful with this one; the air in the cabin is more humid than outdoor air and can cause massive condensation in cold uninsulated lockers. I prefer to periodically run an exaust fan located in such away that it draws in dry exterior air behind the lockers.

There is a misconception, that the type of fuel makes a difference in cabin drying. It does not, if the heater exhaust does not go into the cabin. The problem is that some propane heaters (Cozy Cabin) are poorly vented. Wood an diesel heaters cannot be so poorly vented; they would stink. All heaters dry air the same way; warm air will hold more water than cold air, so warm air has lower "relative" humidity. It is further from saturation. The more excess air the heater uses--wood is generally the most because designers know is stinks the most--the drier the air. Thus well vented propane heaters, like the Dixon heater, are quite dry.

Rugs. More insulation.

IR heat gun. Scan the inside and find the cold spots. Very effective. A good idea at home, too. You can probably borrow one from a mechanic or chef.

Only fast-drying clothes. Single-layer shell gear with fleece underneath dries MUCH faster and heavy insulated parkas. Same with pants.

Fleece socks rule.

Some other stuff I've learned:
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:53   #21
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Some general cold weather camping tips-

Fleece, synthetics don't hold moisture,dry quickly and provide warmth when wet. Cotton clothing and bedding loses it's ability to hold heat when damp. Winter adventurers sometimes call cotton "death cloth"

Wool keeps much o it's insulating ability when wet, so it is also a good choice for bedding or layers.

Always pay attention to dampness. Dress in layers and remember to remove them when you get warm, never sweat in winter is a good tip.

You should always sleep in dry, different clothes than you are awake in. Change as soon as you get up and right before you lie down.

A down mummy bag is a wonderful thing, but don't stick your head in there- always keep your mouth and nose in the fresh air.

Cold air is better than damp air. Ventilation is absolutely key.

I've not lived aboard in winter, but done lots of winter camping!
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:59   #22
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Couple more tips- those reflective emergency blankets are pretty amazing. I am always impressed how warm they make you feel. They are great for emergency hypothermia but you can get the heavier duty ones that are good for routine use.

Know the signs a symptoms of hypothermia in yourself and others and act quickly when you see them. Don't go to sleep if you have these symptoms, you won't wake up.
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:26   #23
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pirate Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Sleep naked under a good quality duvet... soon get toasty...
all this pyjama stuff is rubbish...
only started with Puritan Prudishness...
And...
if you've a partner sharing your bed you'll find the combined body heat close up so much your trying to get away after a while....
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Old 03-12-2011, 13:00   #24
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

I assume you're at anchor and off the grid. However, if you're at a marina and can manage electric heat it helps keep the boat dry. Burning fuels adds moisture to the air. If the some comes out, slip a black garbage bag over each hatch cover and hang one on each portlight. Heat will pour in.
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Old 03-12-2011, 14:13   #25
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Re: Storm windows and other tricks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
IR heat gun. Scan the inside and find the cold spots. Very effective. A good idea at home, too. You can probably borrow one from a mechanic or chef.
Or outside thermal imaging to scan for heat losses?
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Old 18-12-2011, 07:26   #26
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

If you have electricity you would be pleasantly surprised by how great an electric blanket works. I've slept in -25 with only that and snug as a bug in rug.
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Old 18-12-2011, 12:25   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charmycoal
If you have electricity you would be pleasantly surprised by how great an electric blanket works. I've slept in -25 with only that and snug as a bug in rug.
Ahhh how I dream of a slip with unlimited electricity!
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Old 25-12-2011, 06:36   #28
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Hi, I'm new here and thought I'd ad my 2 cents...I used this year two rolls of fiberglass home insulation on the cabin top and trunk cabin sides then covered all with heavy duty poly tarp sealed with 4" shrink wrap tape so water doesn't get in. It has made a very noticeable difference how often the espar cycles on/off. Last winter, without insulation, the heater ran way more often!
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Old 26-12-2011, 12:38   #29
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

When we lived aboard in Canada we used insulation on the deck and it really made a difference too. Fleece blanket under a down comforter is my latest favourite way to warm up fast. Flannel sheets are good too.

Condensation sucks. Its a constant battle. Fans to circulate the air. A dehumidifier if you can run one. Foam insulation on the shelves. Raise the mattress on your bed with wood slats if you can...

One good thing about where we are now is no condensation.
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Old 30-12-2011, 09:46   #30
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Have spent a number of winters aboard in the comparative warmth of Europe its nothing like BC I suspect or the US east coast. An often forgotten source of damp are towels etc There are very thin and light fleece ones available. The bath size will just about go around the fuller male figure and they dry very very quickly also very light when travel by and form of public transport is essential, especially flying.
Good venting is essential, especially when not aboard as is leaving all lockers etc open to allow free passage of air throughout the whole boat. A couple of cabin sole boards up also helps.
I have traditional style opening ports/scuttles with a pair of securing dogs on each have yet to work out a way of insulating them and still allowing light. Commercial cling film works on the others does no damage and is cheap and easily replaced if needed.
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