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Old 29-11-2019, 15:09   #16
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Re: Body Temperature

I was NOT advocating a sauna system for treating hypothermia but rather to increase core temperature to prevent hypothermia. This was based on personal experience, "flirting around the edges" so to speak. When core temp starts dropping, it's time to do something, long before actual hypothermia kicks in. Good gear is the first line of defense, but exposure and time still bring the body temp down. As a single hander, the ability to "cook" the chill out fairly rapidly would be a lifesaver. Long before hypothermia kicks in your ability to make sound decisions starts to break down....... I've been there many times in my younger years, and when you are alone, it is a survival situation. I live in a harsh climate, and have all my life. It doesn't take sub zero temperatures, evaporative chilling from wind and spray can quickly suck the warmth out of your body.

Basically I was suggesting directing heat into a confined space for efficiency, and the head is one of the most confined spaces on most boats.... a quarter berth might be better situated based on where your heater is.... or even a curtain arrangement in the saloon. It doesn't take long to break the chill so to speak... once you have some food in your belly and some concentrated heat.
Most cruisers tend to frequent tropical areas, but some of the wildest and most beautiful places on the planet are cold. My personal tolerance for cold is far greater than for heat... You can put clothes on, but there is only so much you can take off. That's a whole 'nother topic. Interestingly those mad dogs and Englishmen in the days of yore, trekked off into the deserts of North Africa, Afghanistan, etc using INSULATION to protect themselves from heat stroke. Wool clothing, and a thick felt spinal pad to prevent the spinal fluid from overheating resulting in heat stroke....... their Arab guides dropped dead from heat stroke, and the mad Englishmen marched on. For us evaporative cooling is the key... water water everywhere, but nary a breeze... Thankfully we have cheap and plentiful solar power..... the real challenge is to get evaporative cooling without increasing humidity..... it can be done, but requires thinking outside the box.

We humans have a fairly narrow range in terms of temperature and hydration, but that has not stopped us from pushing the to the limits.


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Old 29-11-2019, 16:08   #17
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Re: Body Temperature

I get it, I think.

The sometimes sail in cold conditions, even overnight and single handed. When the water and air are near freezing and you get a fog it just sucks the life right out of my body.

I have a cold weather work suit that doubles as a PFD. It is a one piece Farmer John type of affair. I find it very effective in keeping the cold wind out. That said you can’t really stand outside watches in those conditions.

IMHO you are better off sitting below watching the radar. Sure go take a peak around periodically, but then go look at the screen.

As to the “sauna” suggestion I would think more towards segmenting a part of the boat, say the core peak and installing an Espar to direct heat to that area. You can arrange the Espar vents to allow heat to be concentrated or dispersed throughout the boat. That or get 2 Espar type heaters, if it’s that cold you may want redundancy anyway.

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Old 29-11-2019, 16:40   #18
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Re: Body Temperature

I like it. I'd crew for you!


But what would you use for heat generation, and would you power it with?
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Old 29-11-2019, 22:45   #19
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Re: Body Temperature

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Originally Posted by owly View Post
I was NOT advocating a sauna system for treating hypothermia but rather to increase core temperature to prevent hypothermia.....
Again, why not just turn on the cabin heat? If you are sailing in these kinds of conditions often enough to consider a makeshift sauna, you should have cabin heat that can function away from the dock. Worst case, just sit in front of the heat vent for 10-15 min if you want to speed things up a bit.
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Old 30-11-2019, 08:36   #20
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Re: Body Temperature

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I get it, I think.

The sometimes sail in cold conditions, even overnight and single handed. When the water and air are near freezing and you get a fog it just sucks the life right out of my body.

I have a cold weather work suit that doubles as a PFD. It is a one piece Farmer John type of affair. I find it very effective in keeping the cold wind out. That said you can’t really stand outside watches in those conditions.

IMHO you are better off sitting below watching the radar. Sure go take a peak around periodically, but then go look at the screen.

As to the “sauna” suggestion I would think more towards segmenting a part of the boat, say the core peak and installing an Espar to direct heat to that area. You can arrange the Espar vents to allow heat to be concentrated or dispersed throughout the boat. That or get 2 Espar type heaters, if it’s that cold you may want redundancy anyway.


At least somebody gets it ;-) ........ A confined area with temps of 100+ is what it takes to cook the chill out quickly....... and food in your belly. The optimal boat for sailing in these conditions would be a catamaran with a decent bridge deck cabin or pod that was kept nice and comfortable and had an all round view. A tiller pilot with remote, and your chartplotter, AIS and if you have one, radar, would make this a superb watch keeping station. The problem of course remains of having to spend significant periods of time on deck wrestling with reefing, or other chores, but the more you can reduce this, the less the problem is. Cold and fatigue conspire to cause many of the misjudgments that result in disasters at sea. This is one of the many reasons I'm an advocate of the modern cambered junk rig. No separate foresail to deal with, and a main that reefs instantly without having to tug the sail down, or worry about sail cars jamming, each batten forms a reef and the stack holds itself down by batten weight. That reduces exposure & risk. What's the old adage about sailing being akin to standing under a cold saltwater shower shredding $100 bills...... ;-)
Most folks are fair weather sailors, sailing only on the best of days in warm weather, and preferably in a tropical climate. A look at the east coast US, on Google Earth shows untold thousands of sailboats tied up in marinas, and very few actually sailing on a typical day....... In Florida, if every sailboat raised full sail at the same time while tied up I strongly suspect that the peninsula would begin to drift away to leeward ;-)


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Old 30-11-2019, 14:00   #21
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Re: Body Temperature

A built-in sauna was an option on our Nauticat model [Finnish made S&S designed hull].

There are several other manufacturers offering saunas as well. I mention this in case you want to explore their proven approaches.

As much as I like a sauna [having lived in northern Minnesota and interior Alaska most of my life...] I'm still glad our midship cabin is not a sauna because then we wouldn't be able to use it as convenient stowage if we wanted to make regular use of the sauna... For now we have to make-do either going below into the pilothouse helm station when cold, or visiting various hot springs in our current cruising grounds...

Under the heading of prevention:

To stay safe and comfortable in inclement, cold conditions we rely on Ocean Rodeo Boss drysuits, with fleece unisuit and other undergarment layers as warranted. They quickly convert from foul weather gear to drysuit while wearing. This helps avoid overheating in certain conditions.

If dry suits are not warranted, we live in our StormR foulies in cold and/or wet Wx. [We prefer the StrykR models.]

For emergency warming, we keep vacuum bagged [smaller than a roll of TP...] mylar reflective coveralls [with hood] in all our first aid kits, ditch bags, dinghy, etc. [Somewhat like these for example in XL size to fit over dry undergarmets...] They are cheap and effective, and allow the victim to be ambulatory once they begin to recover.

In case any of this is of interest...

Cheers! Bill

PS: I forgot to mention if we open the forced air vent in the aft head it will not become a sauna, but gets quite warm- acting as the boost of heat you are seeking... [but definately not initial treatment for hypothermia...]
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Old 30-11-2019, 15:46   #22
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Re: Body Temperature

I've actually never experienced cold I could not dress for, and that includes many trips into the mountains for ice climbing (sub-zero) and spending 6-hours in 32F water in a dry suit for a test.


If I get seriously chilled, a 0F rated sleeping bag is the thing.


It took many years to learn the art of dressing for the weather. It's not simple.
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Old 30-11-2019, 22:35   #23
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Re: Body Temperature

Your core will drop to ambient temperature when it can no longer keep up with heat loss. One of the first things you will notice is uncontrollable shivering. That’s your body trying to warm your muscles.
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Old 30-11-2019, 23:07   #24
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Re: Body Temperature

hot meal and a ridiculous low temp rated arctic sleeping bag?
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:40   #25
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Re: Body Temperature

What chills you is wet.... stay dry and well dressed and you will be OK.

In the event you do get wet.... get your kit off and get in a good sleeping bag with a couple of hot water bottles ( I carry 3... only once used in anger) swaddled in towels to spread the warmth...
The other option is another naked but not chilled body in the bag with you... choose your crew wisely....

Our problem coming north from TdF in winter 2018 was frostbite combined with sunburn.... frostbitten cheeks with sunburnt noses..... not a good look.

Even that can be prevented....
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:41   #26
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Re: Body Temperature

Last year we over did it one day on a hike to the boiling lake in Dominique. It was cool and I got wet off and on. Then drove back to Portsmouth and attended the Sunday BBQ, a cruisers beach gathering. Had a couple of stiff rum punches.

Get into the sink with my Wife for a 5 min run to the boat, and it starts to rain. By the time I got to the boat I was shivering uncontrollably, complete shakes, the “uncontrolled shivering” mentioned above. The Wife is yelling at me for docking like poo but it was the best I could do, I was struggling with body control.

Got aboard, stripped down on the settee and threw on a few blankets. Took a bit but I was OK.

Now this was in the tropics with ambient temp about 75° F, 24°C.

The point is it’s not just cold that can get you but a combination of factors. In this case a slight chill on top of fatigue, a big meal, and some alcohol.
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Old 12-12-2019, 20:52   #27
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Re: Body Temperature

I have to say - as much as I love saunas - I do agree with RBK and co. In cold conditions at sea, I think the best bet is to dress for the weather, to have a change of dry clothes, to rely on blankets, sleeping bags, and a mattress pad warmer for the off watch (if you have the electricity to swing it). Once someone is hypothermic, a sauna is not a safe solution. And, before someone is hypothermic - for example, if it's a darn cold day out - I could see myself just chilling in the irresistible sauna when i should be paying closer attention to my watch. So not ideal when under way, in my opinion. / / / Granted - if you aren't at sea, if you're a liveaboard in a chilly harbor - I say HECK YES convert your head into a sauna.
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Old 12-12-2019, 22:46   #28
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Re: Body Temperature

What about a couple of reuseable heat packs, applied to the torso and not the extermities??
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Old 13-12-2019, 01:09   #29
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Re: Body Temperature

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What about a couple of reuseable heat packs, applied to the torso and not the extermities??

If not too hypothermic, that is still shivering, get the person into shelter, remove any wet clothing and dry them off, and into blankets is enough. Another person, or electric blanket, or hot water bottles are helpful, placed on their chest above the heart. Give them warm sweet drinks and food. Note that hypothermia starts when body temperature falls below 35 degrees Centigrade and the key to treatment is to prevent further loss of temperature.

If a person is moderately hypothermic or worse, which is signalled by lack of shivering, 32 degrees and below, that needs more intervention and care. Heat packs are necessary, applied to the groin and armpits. If available, heated oxygen. Rescue breathing in time with their breaths works if heated oxygen not available. Definitely lay them down with legs raised above heart. The person is at risk of unconsciousness and will not be capable of doing anything to help themselves, so be gentle with them.

If unconscious, lay them in the recovery position left side down. Place some crushed sugar under their tongue, but make sure their airway remains open. Rewarm same as above.
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