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Old 25-09-2019, 11:53   #61
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

A combustion heater offers the benefit of being able to draw a percentage of combustion air from in the cabin, creating circulation to remove humidity. This of course is warm air, and is replaced by cold outside air......... Although if you were clever, you would install a heat muff around the exhaust pipe to warm this air from it. The key of course is to engineer things so the combustion air creates circulation to remove humidity. Ideally the venting that feeds this would be far from the stove, to dry condensation in the extreme ends of the boat. This works against heat exchange.



Electric heaters all have the same efficiency........ except heat pumps, which even using "cold water" on the evaporator are vastly more efficient than any sort of resistance heater. The cheapest milkhouse heater, or the most expensive ceramic or oil filled heater are exactly the same efficiency.......... Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. It's simply not true. The exception to this is the radiant dish, but ONLY because you can keep the air temp lower because you are directing heat onto yourself rather than keeping the air temp in the space at a comfortable temp. The most cost effective heat is body heat with good insulated clothing or bedding...... like people used to do before central heating and huge amounts of insulation.

There is a lot to be said for foam sandwich construction....


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Old 25-09-2019, 12:27   #62
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joycemango View Post
I'm new to sailing, please be gentile with me. My partner and I just bought a 1986 C&C 41 to l ... initial plans were to get to Florida starting this Fall, but we're not going to make it. So plan B is to stay in Norfolk VA -area for the winter and sail the Chessie (where I can practice) etc.

Hi Joyce. Welcome aboard. Hugs. Other gentle things. *grin*


Hampton Roads is not bad. Yes it's cold, but you are very unlikely to get a hard freeze and when cold doesn't stay that way for long. Norfolk is not my cup of tea. I'd rather stay at Cobb's Marina in Little Creek or either Bluewater Yachting Center or Hampton Public Piers in Hampton. YMMV.



With respect to heat the most important purchase you can make is to buy The Warm Dry Boat by Roger McAfee. It's brilliant. You may have to hunt around to find a copy at a reasonable price. Persevere.



Your biggest issue is that your C&C 41 is not your forever boat. You don't want to throw money at something that won't pay back a reasonable amount when you sell the boat. You'll have to make that decision.



From there you have to decide if you want to be really comfortable or survive.



A good forced air diesel heater from Espar, Webasto, or Hurricane will be comfortable. There are care and feeding issues you have to know but they are minor and easy to manage. If you go down this path let me know and I'll share. There are Chinese knock-offs; I have no personal experience with them. I prefer Espar over Webasto and Hurricane. YMMV. Cost for hardware is around $2k on your boat plus the cost of fuel (small). If you are moderately handy you can install yourself or you can have down for another $2k (ish).


Bulkhead heaters definitely work. You can get them that run on diesel or propane. Cost all in for hardware around $1k, installation is a bigger deal from a skills point of view. Still around $2k to pay someone else to do.



Portable heaters are definitely practical. Entry cost is low. If you pay for electricity the cost can add up, easily to the point of the hardware cost of a diesel heater. In addition they are in the way and a tripping hazard. Catalytic propane heaters pose a carbon monoxide risk. Electric heaters pose a fire hazard from shore power cord connections. You may find yourself maxed out on power and tempted to run extra extension cords to the dock; don't do that - your marina contract will make you liable for fire. The technical term for that is "bad."



Before I share my solution with you I want to emphasize that my solution may not be yours. It depends on schedules and boat layout and many other things.



What works for me in Annapolis is an oil-filled radiator in the salon up against my centerline table that will keep the boat in the 40s as long as power is running. I have an Espar forced air diesel heater I leave set in the high 30s so the boat won't freeze even if the power fails while I'm traveling. I can crank the Espar and get the boat up to the high 70s in fifteen minutes or so. I don't winterize anything, cook and shower on the boat, and breathe regularly (see McAfee).



Quote:
Originally Posted by joycemango View Post
I'm very worried about mildew etc. ruining cushions, hardware, etc. inside the boat.

Me too. Ventilation is important. If you do this right you'll find that dust is a bigger problem than mold and mildew. Let me know if I can help. If you're coming to the Annapolis Boat Show we can talk and draw pictures on cocktail napkins.
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Old 25-09-2019, 12:57   #63
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Lots of information. Are you confused yet?
Have spent decades on boats in the PNW and Alaska. Have four heaters. Dockside electric integrated, propane, Dickerson and engine generated. Insulation is a must.
When on the hard or at dock in very cold temps I have two good marine electric heaters. Think I got them from Defender for $100 apiece on sale.
Use good cords. Watch your amperage. No fun tripping breaker on dock or losing heat when not onboard.
Have used Webasto. Works well. Watch exhaust since it gets very hot.
Best heaters I have seen are wood stoves on old boats but not practical for you I would think.
Be aware that all heating systems will fail so watch water in system. Lost shower head and pressure gauge last year when heaters failed while I was gone.
Warm clothes.
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Old 25-09-2019, 13:03   #64
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

You've received plenty of responses! Welcome to the forum and to sailing - the rabbit hole of many options!

My wife and I are full time liveaboards in Seattle WA. We are coming into our second winter aboard the boat. I'm not sure how close we are in weather(I suspect you'll get more snow than us), but last winter we had a great deal of snow(for our area) and we were able to stay nice and warm.

As others said, we all have different levels of comforts. I've seen some responses where people keep their boats in the 40's(burrrr), while i've got neighbors who try to stay in the 50's. For us, this is our home, we treat it as a home, not a toy. We want to be comfortable(we lived out of a 1996 Toyota 4Runner for 8 months traveling and are very much over having our home cold).

That being said, we like our boat in the mid 70's, though my wife would prefer it to be 80's. Our boat has 4 dorades which are always open while one of which bleeds into the head and passage way between the saloon/vbirth.

We have a EcoSeb dessicant dehumidifier. Our first one was a compressor based dehumidifier, however they dont produce any heat so we opted for the dessicant style. This runs 24/7/365(unless we forget to empty the bucket) when connected to shore power.

Our primary source of heat is diesel via a Eberspacher Airtronic D5. The boat came with this and has been amazing. Our humidity ranges from 40%-60% depending on how much cooking we've done(propane), what we are cooking, temps of the boat, how long we've been in the boat and what not. As i said before, we tend to keep the boat around the mid 70's.

We recent just got an Ideal Brenner 20" trawler oil lamp. I've been using this at night and so far when running "high"(light output), were able to get the boat to the 80's when its in the mid 40's at night. Very happy with the light and heat source it provides. I suspect our diesel heater will run slightly less due to this light(and in turn less power consumption while on the hook).

I am also looking at installing a small wood fire stove, or gravity feed diesel heater as I enjoy having a "fireplace" - regardless of how illogical it could be when cruising the South Pacific.

If your looking to do a forced air system, I'm not sure I'd recommend a chinese knock off like others have said. I'd consider maybe just doing a smaller version of a name brand and only piping it to one area(main saloon) if budget is a concern.

Good luck, I hope you guys stick with it! Winter can be rough some times, but then I think about how others are tented over and iced in and think about how they can't sail till the thaw and I feel better about my situation

PS - feel free to PM me any questions you may have about heating! I've helped many people out with building camper vans
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Old 25-09-2019, 15:15   #65
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by owly View Post
Electric heaters all have the same efficiency........ except heat pumps, which even using "cold water" on the evaporator are vastly more efficient than any sort of resistance heater. The cheapest milkhouse heater, or the most expensive ceramic or oil filled heater are exactly the same efficiency.......... Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.


H.W.
Electric resistance heaters are 99.99% efficient with minimal heat loss attributed to the cable supplying power to the appliance. All power going to the unit is being turned into heat. Air source heat pump (ASHP) can produce more heat per input in ideal conditions but that diminishes greatly when the temp drops. Agree that it would be fun to design a heat recovery system with the exhaust
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Old 25-09-2019, 15:23   #66
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
You've received plenty of responses! Welcome to the forum and to sailing - the rabbit hole of many options!

My wife and I are full time liveaboards in Seattle WA. We are coming into our second winter aboard the boat. I'm not sure how close we are in weather(I suspect you'll get more snow than us), but last winter we had a great deal of snow(for our area) and we were able to stay nice and warm.

As others said, we all have different levels of comforts. I've seen some responses where people keep their boats in the 40's(burrrr), while i've got neighbors who try to stay in the 50's. For us, this is our home, we treat it as a home, not a toy. We want to be comfortable(we lived out of a 1996 Toyota 4Runner for 8 months traveling and are very much over having our home cold).

That being said, we like our boat in the mid 70's, though my wife would prefer it to be 80's. Our boat has 4 dorades which are always open while one of which bleeds into the head and passage way between the saloon/vbirth.

We have a EcoSeb dessicant dehumidifier. Our first one was a compressor based dehumidifier, however they dont produce any heat so we opted for the dessicant style. This runs 24/7/365(unless we forget to empty the bucket) when connected to shore power.

Our primary source of heat is diesel via a Eberspacher Airtronic D5. The boat came with this and has been amazing. Our humidity ranges from 40%-60% depending on how much cooking we've done(propane), what we are cooking, temps of the boat, how long we've been in the boat and what not. As i said before, we tend to keep the boat around the mid 70's.

We recent just got an Ideal Brenner 20" trawler oil lamp. I've been using this at night and so far when running "high"(light output), were able to get the boat to the 80's when its in the mid 40's at night. Very happy with the light and heat source it provides. I suspect our diesel heater will run slightly less due to this light(and in turn less power consumption while on the hook).

I am also looking at installing a small wood fire stove, or gravity feed diesel heater as I enjoy having a "fireplace" - regardless of how illogical it could be when cruising the South Pacific.

If your looking to do a forced air system, I'm not sure I'd recommend a chinese knock off like others have said. I'd consider maybe just doing a smaller version of a name brand and only piping it to one area(main saloon) if budget is a concern.

Good luck, I hope you guys stick with it! Winter can be rough some times, but then I think about how others are tented over and iced in and think about how they can't sail till the thaw and I feel better about my situation

PS - feel free to PM me any questions you may have about heating! I've helped many people out with building camper vans
Stuff some heavy duty paper towel (blue shop towels or wool socks work) into the cabin side of your dorades, keep it loose though and fluff it up, this will reduce the ingress of cold but still allow it to breath. Also watch your use of the oil lamp, you'll be scrubbing a fine black layer off of everything in the spring, they are awesome heat and light though.
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Old 25-09-2019, 15:36   #67
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joycemango View Post
Hi All-
I'm new to sailing, please be gentile with me. My partner and I just bought a 1986 C&C 41 to l ... initial plans were to get to Florida starting this Fall, but we're not going to make it. So plan B is to stay in Norfolk VA -area for the winter and sail the Chessie (where I can practice) etc.

I have lots of questions, but starting with this - apparently it does get cold and even snows in Norfolk, and I've read all about condensation etc. We can't shrink wrap, so ...
I've read some forums about different options for heating, and am looking for advice here, especially given this boat and our circumstances - this is likely not our "forever boat," given that we'd planned to go back and forth between the warm South for the winter and back to New England for summer (I have some family for a couple of years anyway) - boat has 8 ft draft and tall rig - oops!
Anyway, I'd like something safe (electric space heaters out I guess?), non-invasive in terms of punching holes all over the boat (though maybe we could manage a diesel heater by using a work-around for chimney). We did purchase a small dehumidifier.

I'm very worried about mildew etc. ruining cushions, hardware, etc. inside the boat.

I'm also worried about snow and ice on the topside.

HELP!

Thanks,
Joyce

Chill. We met folks who stayed over the 2017-2018 winter at Tidewater in Portsmouth. All good, even for a colder than usual winter.

Try your reverse cycle heating; it should work fine until sea water reaches 40-42°F or so... and it may well stay nicely above that in most winters where you are.

After some trial, if it seems like occasionally a tad chilly, run down to X-Mart (your favorite) and get an oil heater or some such. And/or an electric blanket, etc.

FWIW, it was low 20°Fs in Myrtle Beach in Jan 2018. No issues with warmth on board, with just reverse cycle.

And the reverse cycle heat will suck a boatload of moisture out of the boat, no worries about humidity.

IOW, relax. You got this. Or at least if you do find it too chilly, you'll know how much extra to throw at it, if any. We only used a slightly heavier blankie on the bed; that was all it took.

-Chris
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Old 25-09-2019, 15:58   #68
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Had the same problem overwintering in Tasmania. Without shore power I installed a small car radiator from a wreckers yard and plumbed it into the main engine.
The 12 volt fan attached to the radiator is driven with reversed polarity so it blows instead of sucking. It has a 15 watt light bulb as a resistor in a second circuit which allows for a much quieter operation.
The radiator runs at the engines operating temperature and is fitted to the engine bay wall. With the fan turned on hot air is forced throughout the hull.


Disadvantages:-
You need to run the motor. The Perkins Prima burns about .8 of a liter of diesel an hour at idle.
It gets too hot too quickly.
Idling the motor for long periods may have side effects.
It's co2 contribution is going to ruin our planet.



Advantages:-
It uses the waste heat if you need to run your main motor for any other reason.
It allows some fresh air circulation by the engine exhausting overboard.

It's cheap, it's self contained, it's very effective.
It can be used to maintain the engine in case of a cooling water failure.

It's co2 contribution will heat the planet and reduce it's need.


Cheers
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Old 25-09-2019, 16:41   #69
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Seems to me you could save a lot of grief by just sailing the boat to South Carolina or Georgia.
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Old 25-09-2019, 18:32   #70
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joycemango View Post
Great ideas - so grateful!
We have lived for going on four years in the Capital Yacht Club on the Washington, DC waterfront. Four rather cold, snowy, and icy winters. We live on a 54 foot Bluewater Motor Yacht which has three cabins and two heads. We have depended on small electric heaters to keep our yacht home warm and comfortable throughout all aspects of the weather changes Mother Nature throws at us. Our boat also has four 16000 BTU Cruisaire reverse cycle heating/ air conditioners. But the waters here drop to and below the 40 degree cutoff for these units in winter so we again depend on our small electric heaters. With the thermostat and excellent fan distribution these units are all we need.
Oh also, regarding shrink wrap, we have a mix of motor vessels and sailing vessels. Most of our boat community takes advantage of the significant benefits of shrinkwrap. Keeps us from worry from the heavy snows we often get her on the upper Potomac. I heartily recommend the top quality space heaters , their power requirements are well within tolerances of most boat systems and the small bilge heaters keep our engine room, fresh water pump room and power distribution areas warm as well. Don’t know what you will wind up using but just my two cents worth.
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Old 25-09-2019, 19:30   #71
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

I think a properly installed diesel heater that exhausts out the transom with ducting in the head and a few locations in the living quarters will go a very long way to warming you up. I 'inherited' mine and just fired it up for the first time today to get the 'bugs' out.

So nice that it burns the same fuel that you already have many gallons of on board. It will operate from your DC battery bank so you don't need to be plugged in to enjoy some comfort.

I like propane for cooking but it does have some risks attached. Ok, so does sailing and driving a car.

It is a bit of an involved install but once it's done you will have heat anytime, anywhere including on the hook.

Enjoy the nice fall sailing in the mean time!!!
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Old 25-09-2019, 20:02   #72
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joycemango View Post
Hi All-
I'm new to sailing, please be gentile with me. My partner and I just bought a 1986 C&C 41 to l ... initial plans were to get to Florida starting this Fall, but we're not going to make it. So plan B is to stay in Norfolk VA -area for the winter and sail the Chessie (where I can practice) etc.

I have lots of questions, but starting with this - apparently it does get cold and even snows in Norfolk, and I've read all about condensation etc. We can't shrink wrap, so ...
I've read some forums about different options for heating, and am looking for advice here, especially given this boat and our circumstances - this is likely not our "forever boat," given that we'd planned to go back and forth between the warm South for the winter and back to New England for summer (I have some family for a couple of years anyway) - boat has 8 ft draft and tall rig - oops!
Anyway, I'd like something safe (electric space heaters out I guess?), non-invasive in terms of punching holes all over the boat (though maybe we could manage a diesel heater by using a work-around for chimney). We did purchase a small dehumidifier.

I'm very worried about mildew etc. ruining cushions, hardware, etc. inside the boat.

I'm also worried about snow and ice on the topside.

HELP!

Thanks,
Joyce
Joyce, Many people have responded to your query. There are a variety of views, but I think the consensus is clear, electric won't add enough heat and won't dry the boat.

Combustion with a smoke stack will. That means, generally, diesel heat.

It is sad that you will have to do this for a single winter. Quite an investment and learning curve.

But, it will be a good investment, and who knows, maybe you will be in another cool place some time.

So, I'd advise you: suck it up, buy a good diesel heater, and enjoy a cozy, dry boat this winter.

Two other things: There is nothing finer than being anchored in a quiet bay on a crystal clear cold winter day with a cozy boat, firelight flickering from the heater, and a steaming mug of hot buttered rum.

Our 43' large volume boat needed 11,000 BTU on a below-freezing day. We had an Espar D3 that wore out in two years, too small. We got a amp'd up wall mounted diesel fireplace, it was great, but needed 5 fans to move the hot air away from it. We managed 10 winters. It was pretty nice to have lots of heat but we did have to deal with a bit of soot.

And my friend Don Larsen owned a 1986 C&C 41 with tall rig and 8: draft, named Larseny, a fast and lovely boat, and lived on it through several Seattle winters. I think he had an espar.
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Old 25-09-2019, 20:44   #73
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbk View Post
Stuff some heavy duty paper towel (blue shop towels or wool socks work) into the cabin side of your dorades, keep it loose though and fluff it up, this will reduce the ingress of cold but still allow it to breath. Also watch your use of the oil lamp, you'll be scrubbing a fine black layer off of everything in the spring, they are awesome heat and light though.
This actually is a great idea!! Two dorades live right above the main saloon seating port and starboard so wind often makes it down in the cabin with the right angles.

Will have to give this a go come this season!
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Old 25-09-2019, 22:53   #74
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Given that this is not a 'forever boat' or 'forever situation' I'm wondering if an electric oil filled radiator (or a couple of small ones) plus an electric blanket and a bit of extra insulation might be the easiest, if not the most perfect solution?

And add a portable Honda type genset for if/when the shore power goes out.

This would be not too expensive, off the shelf products, basically no installation (so also no irreversible modifications to the boat), and easily removed, transferred to another boat, or sold if/when no longer required.

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Old 26-09-2019, 01:51   #75
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

The most bang (btu) for the buck seems to be the chinese knock off espar / planar heaters ranging from 2kW to 5kW, small, efficient, easy to install, the unit with all parts 150...250 USD, plus some custom addons (piping, exhaust, troughhull, insulation) for another 100..200 USD and some diesel.

There are quality electric heaters and A/C units, but you need plenty of current, and runnig the gen set for heating seems a little odd and noisy, as running the main engine is too.
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