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Old 14-11-2009, 15:02   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Francisco
Boat: Cal28
Posts: 11

With too many projects on-going (yes I know .. prioritize and complete) ...
one is requiring attention and moving to the top of the list ...

insulation ... for the V berth specifically and the entire boat (potentially)

Again ...the '67 Cal 28 is a test bed for acquiring skills and knowledge as a move up 6-8 feet is planned in 2-3 years ... and it is the San Francisco Bay cold I am primarily concerned about ... and yes ... I am not the handiest bulb on the string ...

There are a few instructional posts on this subject

Capt'n Pauley's Virtual Boatyard -- Projects Galore!!!: Installing Insulation in Your Boat

The Frugal Mariner: Advice for the cash-starved boater -- Insulating your boat

SetSail Ľ Blog Archive Ľ Adding Insulation to Wind Horse

I have come to the conclusion that "reflectix" seems to be the most cost-efficient and easiest way to go ...

My specific questions are ...

V berth (primary focus for the moment)

- two layers sufficient/required?
- what about adding polyethylene foam between between the layers?
- can the "reflectrix" be set directly against the hull ... or should there be an 'air pocket' left ... (the insulation is to be covered in fabric for a more aesthetically pleasing feel and look)
- if so, can it simply be caulked on?
- should the below water level areas (accessible via storage compartments) be insulated to a greater degree?
- any ideas for the anchor locker?

There is currently condensation build-up above only (marine plywood fiber-glassed over) and I have concerns this will continue even if I add a small dehumidifier ... what precautions can be taken to resolve this issue (again ... insulation to be covered in fabric ... but this piece not being done immediately as I have to reset the safety stanchions per Maine Sail's informative guide ... (another pressing project)

Re-Bedding Hardware Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at

(yes I read it for the photos ... unashamed)

as if I am not asking enough ... will continuing to insulate the hull ... especially in the cabin and aft berth areas ... help in keeping the chill from my feet (still 40 years removed from humping in the boonies ... rather sensitive to wet and cold)

Thanks to all for their patience ... time and expertise in replying.
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Old 14-11-2009, 18:42   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Home Base: Seattle; Currently Cruising in Mexico
Boat: Tayana 37- Victoria Rose
Posts: 151
Hi Cal28- I'm no expert on insulation or condensation management.... but here's what we did to make our V-berth area livable in the Pacific Northwest (also a bit cold and damp):

The first thing we did was put a small dehumidifier in the v-berth compartment... one of the small aluminum round things that only get warm... the one we use has a small fan also. It did wonders in changing the climate forward. However this only works at the dock.

The next problem we tackled was keeping the sheets and bedding dry from condensation through the hull. Our mattress already has good ventilation underneath... make sure you do that... use either dry-deck or other material to lift the mattress off the support and allow airflow under.

We took a scrap of blue-board insulation and placed it at the foot of the berth, up against the anchor locker. The sides of the berth are lined with the reflectex insulation, tight against the hull.. Ours remains in the in-style 'silver-bubble' look. Quite trendy. We then have dry-dek between the insulation and the bedding, to allow for a bit of airspace.

With the airflow around the mattress, the insulation around the v-berth, and keeping the bedding from contacting the hull.... we've pretty much licked the condensation problem in the v-berth area. We also put some of the reflectix insulation against the forward hatch.... we just cram it up against the plexiglas and it stays in place. Keeps condensation drips from landing on our heads as we sleep.

The other keys are to keep moisture to a minimum down below, but you are probably already doing that.

As for putting fabric around the insulation... I don't have any experience with that. Keep in mind that you want to minimize any material that could absorb moisture and then mold.

My advice: get good airflow around the mattress and bedding... the sides and the bottom. Insulate the sides of the v-berth with reflectex... one or two layers would be fine. Pay attention to the foot, if you have an anchor locker.. it will be have cold air in it, and will condense at your feet. And if you're living aboard, a couple of small dehumidifiers.

Let us know what ends up working for you.

(not dealing with condensation at the moment... in the Sea of Cortez)
Steve Abel
SV Victoria Rose, Tayana 37
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