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liveaboardL 30-01-2014 12:24

Help! Too Cold, Condensation, Sick, Need Info
Hi, I'm new.
I recently bought a 35' sailboat & am on the hook for the 1st time.
It's winter & freezing cold outside. There was snow on the deck. I started getting sick today & having headaches. I think it's related to the cold & all the moisture on the inside of the ports, ceiling & walls.
I believe a lot of the moisture got there from my breathing in the cold air, but some of it dripped through from the snow melting some.

So I went outside & scraped the ice & snow off the sail & deck. Now I'm inside the cabin & am heating it for the 1st time. I've sealed up the hatch & holes w/ insulative cushions & am just running the propane stove full blast, while heating up my pressure cooker ;). I will stop it before it steams. I just stopped it.

BTW: I'm aware of the dangers of cooking w/ propane & having no oxygen, & carbon monoxide.... Don't need any warnings. I know I'm taking a risk. I feel much better w/ the heat right now, than w/ the headaches. But I don't encourage others to do it.

I feel a little better actually, now that the snow isn't melting into the cabin. I also wiped some of the moisture off the ports, walls & ceiling. The air went from 38 degrees to 42 degrees after running the burner for 15 minutes.
The moisture is still there though. How can I get all this moisture out of here? Will that help the headaches go away? I think the headaches have to do w/ the moisture & mold. This has happened before in winters when I don't heat the house & there's too much moisture in the air & on the walls.

Is there a quick way to get rid of the moisture, like heating up the cabin to maybe 50 degrees & then opening the hatch door & letting all the wet air escape outside & then sealing the cabin again?

I normally don't insulate the cabin. This is the 1st time I've put the cushion up against the hatch & plugged the holes & this is also the first time I've gotten headache, but it's also the first time I've had an inch of snow sitting on the deck.

Anyone have any experience w/ this & how to solve it? I feel much better after scraping the snow off, but some of the paint came up too. I used a metal scraper, but tried to be gentle. :banghead:

I can now see the wisdom in shoveling snow on a daily basis. Some people may not even know why they do it, but if it helps the body be stronger & not get sick, there may be more to it than just keeping the snow from blocking the doors. There may be wisdom in simple chores that boat owners do that I'm not familiar w/ yet, like, perhaps, wiping down the condensation every day, or twice a day, in the winter & storing the wet rags, perhaps outside? Cause they sure never seem to dry out inside - although I've been trying.

Is it necessary to keep the temperature at a certain baseline limit in order to stay healthy? Can't a man just wear a bunch of sweaters & keep warm that way? That's what I normally do, but I also normally get sick. I must be doing something wrong & not be informed enough. Perhaps it's OK to wear 4 wool sweaters & 4 pairs of pants when it's 30 degrees outside as long as the hatch is wide open. I suspect it's the lack of air circulation that might be the problem, causing me headaches.

Please, anyone who has experience w/ this & has learned what to do, please let me know. Is my only option to run the heat at 50 degrees or so all day, or keep the hatch open?

Ukeluthier 30-01-2014 12:35

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info

You need to get ashore before you kill yourself... seriously!

You are making the moisture yourself with the unvented propane stove. Any combustion of hydrocarbons creates water vapor, and without a flue it just gets dispersed into the cabin air.

As long as you keep burning the stove with the cabin closed up, the more moisture you will get, and you'll likely die of asphyxiation or carbon monoxide inhalation in the process.

Sorry to lecture, but "Them's the Facts."

Vasco 30-01-2014 12:36

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
Most of the moisture comes from you breathing and also the propane burning. There is a solution but I don't think you would like it.

You would be better just snugging up in a duvet. If your boat's floating and not in ice it couldn't be that cold. You need dry heat such as coal or wood. A wood stove would be fine. Electric heat would be good too but obviously out of the question on a hook.

Make a big thermos of hot sweet tea . Drink often and eat.

scuba0_1 30-01-2014 12:38

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
alot of ways to heat up the cabin do you have a engine? a small propane heater i have used before just have to keep the cabin vented, stove works. for moisture try damp rid. never had snow on my boat but ive been in cold weather. run your engine just turn on your blower.

skipmac 30-01-2014 12:38

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
This is the big question for most boaters trying to heat a boat. Bottom line, if you have a cold surface (a glass of iced tea OR the inside of a boat hull in winter) in contact with warm, moist air, then moisture will condense on the cold surface. The two ways to eliminate the condensation is eliminate the moisture or insulate the cold surface from the warm air (like putting a cold drink can into a foam cozy) or adding insulation to your hull.

By the way (yes I know you said it but I have to say it back) burning a propane stove in a closed area is EXTREMELY dangerous AND the combustion of propane makes water so it is adding to the humidity inside the boat.

Combustion of propane with excess O2 generates CO2 (bad enough but doesn't usually kill you) and water. If you are sealed up and start using up the O2 inside the boat then the process generates CO (deadly) and water.

Obviously insulating the hull is not an afternoon job so try electric heat instead of propane. Will dry the air instead of adding moisture.

letsgetsailing3 30-01-2014 12:44

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
I guess the bright side is that you still have internet connectivity!

The humidity is from you breathing, so it's a good sign. You do need to be careful about heating a small boat, as you do need proper ventilation. Your weather should be warming quite a bit today, so you should be OK.

atoll 30-01-2014 12:46

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
ventilation is the key to getting less condensation.
crack open the hatches and you will find even if running heating a lot less moisture will accumulate on cold surfaces.

Skylark 30-01-2014 12:48

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
Crack open the hatch so the hot, wet air from running the propane stove has a way to exit.

Heat up the pressure cooker half full of water until it gets up to pressure, then turn off the stove and close the hatch.

Wrap yourself in a blanket, sit with the pressure cooker between your feet under/inside the blanket. Cover your head with the blanket. This should keep you very warm for hours. Read a book or something to pass the time.

When you dress, dress in layers.

Ukeluthier 30-01-2014 12:48

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info

Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 (Post 1454377)
I guess the bright side is that you still have internet connectivity!

The humidity is from you breathing, so it's a good sign. You do need to be careful about heating a small boat, as you do need proper ventilation. Your weather should be warming quite a bit today, so you should be OK.

Some of the humidity comes from respiration, but I'll wager the unvented propane combustion generates more.

If the OP is planning to winter on the hook, he needs a vented propane or Diesel heater, a solid fuel stove with a flue, insulation, or some combination of the above.

lifeofreilly57 30-01-2014 12:55

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
Add a vented diesel or propane heating system.
One that has a vented exhaust.
I have a dedicated diesel hot air heating system on mine and it keeps the boat dry and warm and is pretty efficient, the previous owner lived year round on it in Boston.
If you don't have the battery capacity you can get a propane or diesel vented heater that doesn't require fans, it would mount to the forward bulkhead in your salon. Doesn't take much to heat a small boat.
On the 30 footer I had years ago I'd just put a large clay plant pot upside down over the burner on the stove and run the stove long enough to heat it up, it would act as a heat sink and radiate heat after the stove was turned off.
Just make sure you keep the carbon monoxide to acceptable levels, it's a dangerous way to heat a boat. Might want to get a carbon monoxide detector.
Or hope that your friends take pity on you and let you sleep on their couch a few nights a week, maybe trade for some sailing during the warmer parts of the year.

ScuzzMonkey 30-01-2014 13:05

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
This article has condensed our tips and tricks for wintering aboard after a few hard years of experience:

Weather the winter aboard | Late Entry | Three Sheets Northwest

I can only echo what everyone else is saying about the propane stove: it's dangerous and probably making your conditions even more miserable by putting more water in the atmosphere.

I suspect you might actually be better off with the snow on deck in the long run. Snow's actually a pretty good insulator. It's certainly going to be a problem if you have a leaky deck or portholes, but that's a separate problem you will have to take care of anyway.

You're sort of looking at a triangle you have to manage, trading off heat with ventilation with energy. It sounds to me like your biggest problem is you don't have a good way to heat without introducing water, which will increase your need for ventilation, which will decrease your heat. On the hook, it's hard to have the energy source to manage all that adequately. A diesel furnace can certainly do it but they're not cheap to buy or feed.

If you can insulate well enough, even just a few candles can help warm it up inside. But you'll have to vent some of that heat to get the moisture out, too. I don't think it's a sustainable solution but it might get you by for a few weeks while you figure out something better.

svmariane 30-01-2014 13:07

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
Yeah... Had that problem. This book helped me figure stuff out back before I knew about CF.


Found this link, just for ref: Navigator's Book Shelf

You might be able to download it after a bit of Google searching.
I found a copy at a library.

And oh yes! Please pay attention to comments up above about propane.
Danger. Puts moisture into the air.

a64pilot 30-01-2014 13:20

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
A VERY strong warning sign of CO poisoning is headaches and feeling sick, CO is cumulative and does not leave the body easily. Read this

CDC - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Frequently Asked Questions

liveaboardL 30-01-2014 13:24

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
I didn't know most of this stuff! For starters, I'll keep the hatches open when heating up the pressure cooker (cooking food) & then turn off the stove & seal the hatches & let the super-heated pressure cooker act as a heat-sink to slowly help w/ the cold. Lots of great info I had no idea of. Ill see how it goes. One of my favorite suggestions so far was making a big pot of sweet tea!!! You don't know how cool it is to read that. I had just made some & drank some b4 writing & it may have had everything to do w/ my feeling better. It's a very powerful healing drink.

My battery is getting low. Gotta save juice for the anchor alarm. BTW: I'll do a quick search for this next, but how do you keep/get the nice off the wind-generator blades? I'll try a broom. It's a few feet above my reach.

hpeer 30-01-2014 13:27

Re: Help! Too cold, Condensation, sick, need info
Google "yacht propane explosion"

Find a friend to stay with until you get this sorted out.

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