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Old 30-10-2020, 20:38   #1
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Wintering on a Catamaran

So, I'm going to be living aboard my Catamaran this winter. Catamarans aren't built for winter temperatures, but it is what it is, and I'm going to be on the Chesapeake all winter so that means snow, ice, freezing temperatures.

I have 3 forced air heaters on board, but wondering what else I can do to try to keep from freezing? Is it worth it to cover the windows in that plastic wrap that you use a hair drier on? What about the silver coated bubble wrap sheets? With the hulls being so exposed and the catamaran having such a low R value, would covering the windows even make a difference?

What about tenting or shrink wrapping? My boat is pretty big, so to shrink wrap it would be both expensive, and pretty difficult for a single female to do by herself, but, I would try it if it would make a significant difference.

Anything else that I could do to make it easier to keep the boat warm?
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Old 30-10-2020, 20:49   #2
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Amazingly, you'll probably have a colder winter than we do. Nevertheless, the shrink film over the windows is the best $25 we've spent on winter prep. Don't know how much heat it keeps in, but the bulk of any condensation we get is on the windows/frames and the film cuts that to zero. Our windows are generously framed on the inside so there's at least an inch of space between window 'glass' and film.

We do find that a couple of small heaters (750W) are enough to keep the chill off but our diesel heater is the only way to get toasty.
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Old 30-10-2020, 23:40   #3
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

if you have shorepower running a dehumidifier in each hull will cut down condensation,some can be plumbed in with a tube to a sink so you are not having to empty the reservoir every day or so.

i have 2mm removable perspex panels over all the opening hatches,and fixed panels over the non opening windows.

on the beds we also use electric under blankets and have 1kw oil filled radiator type heaters in the cabins that are safer ,silent and don't dry out the air like fan heaters do.

some form of floor mat will keep your feet warm,i have a yoga mat in the galley to stand on.

condensation in lockers will be a problem if you have stored linen or clothes,we have the plastic vacume bags which you can suck all the air out of for long term storage of stuff.

on the lagoon you might also have a problem with your water tanks freezing so might also need to lag the tanks with some sort of insulation and run some sort of heat source in the bridge deck lockers.

get some sacks of rock salt ready so you can sprinkle salt on the decks where you walk outside the cockpit.if temps are below freezing.
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Old 31-10-2020, 01:20   #4
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

1. Buy a cheap electric (induction) hob and electric oven. Cooking with gas releases vapour that translates to condensation and dampness and the feeling of cold.
2. Shut and seal off those cabins you are not using.

3. Buy a thick rug for the bridge-deck floor a lot of heat is lost by the air flow under the boat.
4. Buy a Christmas tree, a little fibre-optic one will cheer the place up.
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Old 31-10-2020, 01:37   #5
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

During my winters over (a couple in a catamaran) I found using masking tape to tape foam insulation to the outside of the hatches or windows worked extremely well, eliminating condensation. There is some light loss so you’ll want to balance which you cover vs. which you absolutely need uncovered for light.

Then peel it off it in the spring and dispose of it.
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Old 31-10-2020, 02:12   #6
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
During my winters over (a couple in a catamaran) I found using masking tape to tape foam insulation to the outside of the hatches or windows worked extremely well, eliminating condensation. There is some light loss so you’ll want to balance which you cover vs. which you absolutely need uncovered for light.

Then peel it off it in the spring and dispose of it.
i have just made 7 sunbrella hatch covers with neopreme/yoga mat inserts which should protect from UV in the summer and condensation during the winter.

mainly for use when i'm not onboard as the double glazing is enough,but still can get condensation on the aluminium frame if it is really cold,even with the heating off
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Old 31-10-2020, 02:32   #7
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
i have just made 7 sunbrella hatch covers with neopreme/yoga mat inserts which should protect from UV in the summer and condensation during the winter.

mainly for use when i'm not onboard as the double glazing is enough,but still can get condensation on the aluminium frame if it is really cold,even with the heating off
This is great. Much more environmentally sound. It turned my stomach a little bit to say “peel it all off and throw it away in the spring.”

For the temporary ones I made, for just used 50mm (or was it 25mm?) 2” or 1” XPS foam insulation from the big hardware store and blue easy peel masking tape. Quite ugly, but it did a good job over the snowy months.
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Old 31-10-2020, 03:35   #8
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
This is great. Much more environmentally sound. It turned my stomach a little bit to say “peel it all off and throw it away in the spring.”

For the temporary ones I made, for just used 50mm (or was it 25mm?) 2” or 1” XPS foam insulation from the big hardware store and blue easy peel masking tape. Quite ugly, but it did a good job over the snowy months.
looks like we are going into lockdown again in the uk,fortunatly i have plenty of sunbrella for the duration.

looks like winches,outboard,generator,cockpit cushions ,dog,children and the wife will all get covers as well
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Old 31-10-2020, 04:00   #9
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
i have just made 7 sunbrella hatch covers with neopreme/yoga mat inserts which should protect from UV in the summer and condensation during the winter.

mainly for use when i'm not onboard as the double glazing is enough,but still can get condensation on the aluminium frame if it is really cold,even with the heating off
What a great idea!!!
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Old 31-10-2020, 05:13   #10
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

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Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
What a great idea!!!
You get the first preview of the finished item before i take them over to the catamaran and hope they fit!

easy enough to make with a normal sewing machine,just allow a bit for the seams,2cm all round and and the fold over and seam on the drawstring side panels.
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Old 31-10-2020, 05:41   #11
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

You've got a good start on it. We wintered one year in Gerogia (saw temps down to the low 20's fairly regularly).

Condensation is probably the biggest challenge. The plastic or bubble wrap in the windows is very helpful. Once it gets cold, start going thru the back of cabinets that touch the exterior regularly as they can either develop condensation or it can drip down from above.

We knew people who did it in Detroit on a Cat. They did shrink wrap the topsides to create a bit of a greenhouse...still there are limits to what is comfortable.
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Old 31-10-2020, 06:51   #12
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

Note: My wintering was in Portland, Maine. Cut, hauled and split my own firewood for the boat. No diesel or electric heat. It was incredibly rewarding and not really a hardship because the boat was comfortable and downright hot. Often worked in a t shirt and underwear because the wood stove blasted me out of there. Ha ha. That’s why I needed the hardcore thick foam for the hatches. I had to shovel feet of snow off the deck.

You’ll find a nice peace involved with winter storms and live aboard. It’s magical
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Old 31-10-2020, 10:24   #13
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Re: Wintering on a Catamaran

I have a 35' cat and winter on the Columbia river in Portland OR. Water temp gets so low that I can't use my reverse cycle heat pump for 2 months out of the year, coincidentally, the coldest 2 months out of the year. Go figure lol.

I'm adding bubble wrap to the inside of my windows this year. The bottoms of my lockers are all below water level. They get mold. I'm adding 1" thick rubber matting to those.

In the coldest part of winter, a 1500 watt forced air heater can keep my berth warm enough and help keep the chill off my body when up in the salon as long as it's pointed at me. Keeping air moving and warm in the whole boat is a challenge and one I want to solve too. Closing off cabins just invites mold, you need airflow. A small heater in each hull doesn't do the job either on my boat. I tried running a 1500 watt forced air heater in front of the air intake for my reverse cycle heat pump and using it's fan and ducting to distribute the air. 39 F outside it kept the boat at 60F. Will try adding one more on low power and see if that does it.

My boat has a fiberglass liner inside so there's a 1-2 inch gap of airspace between the outer hull/cabin top and the inside. By removing the many hatches I have great access to that area and am investigating insulating the whole top and sides of my cabin top.
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