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Old 26-09-2019, 01:58   #76
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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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.

I didn't notice the 'not a forever boat' part, so I heartily second this. In marinas often we only use electric space heaters, and they are fine. The good ones have protection against surges, tipping and overheating, so no worries (tho we don't leave them on if we're not there). The oil radiator might be better while you are away to keep things from freezing. And like I said too, gonna try that electric blanket this winter....
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Old 26-09-2019, 03:07   #77
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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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?
We did try two oil filled radiators but with other electrical loads we exceeded the supply.

Also a diesel forced air system, or drip fired heater, takes relatively dry cool air from outside, heats it and forces it around the boat replacing the damp air inside. So once the boat is warmed up the lower humidity makes the boat feel dry and warmer.
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Old 26-09-2019, 04:09   #78
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

As you can see you have many options, most of which will not suffice from a point of condensation, and safety ie bunches of space heaters and extension cords etc. SO, having lived aboard over several winters in North Carolina, which is not quite as cold as Norfolk but really winter on the water on the mid-atlantic is cold. And cold and wet is worse. So what we used was we had a new 16,000 BTU Digital AC/Heat system installed under the starboard side settee (sacrificing the storage certainly) which allowed us to put in intake and room vents without cutting up the whole boat or running a bunch of vent hose either. We then used a small, high quality fan to blow the heat from the living room up towards the V-birth. On the coldest of nights we also used a flat sitting West Marine heater plugged into the V-berth wall's new GCFI (sp) plug, as when sleeping we were not using power for anything else, and that worked well. If your Marina has 50 Amp you will not overload, if you have 30 amp you will have to use prudence, or it will kick off. With all that said it is enough heat to survive, and sub zero sleeping bags are cheaper than electricity bills for really goofy attempts at trying to keep the temp at 85 degrees. Try living aboard with the temp at about 65, and dress accordingly. A true large capacity heat/ac unit can really be helped along with a small pellet stove as well, but again you are cutting up your boat when its not needed. If you are not going to be sailing, or living aboard, pull it out for the winter. I never did that, but many do. I use my boat all winter, all the time. But I do have a home as well, and stayed on the boat four days a week on average for many years, and its a 33 footer not a 41. As far as the eight foot draft, I think most here will agree thats a whole set of problems all on their own, as the ICWW is simply not going to tolerate that draft well in any circumstance no matter what the charts say, shoaling is constant and you will run aground likely every day. It might even be the cheapest solution to move that boat by hired Captain to somewhere like St. Augustine, Florida which is doable in the winter time, all the time. From Norfolk to St. Augustine is all down I-95 and really a quick trip that can be done in one long day. It might well solve all of your problems!
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Old 26-09-2019, 06:15   #79
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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I installed a Sigmar Marine diesel 17k BTU heater (believe they are now owned by Dickinson - same heater as Newport, more or less) and lived aboard for about 4-years in San Francisco. I had about 6-feet of stove pipe, and drilled the deck-hole for a 4-inch Nicro Vent so when I headed to tropics, I could lose the stove.

I had regular problems with the stove back-puffing due to winds. Basically, wind comes down the stove pipe and blows-out the flame and creates a ton of smoke, smell, and is very dangerous because the fuel keeps running and is potentially hot enough to re-ignite. Granted, SF is a fairly windy place, but there is no way I could leave it unattended, and worried about leaving it running overnight.

When the wind was calm, I loved the heat and ambiance - I plumbed it to my diesel fuel tanks with a small low pressure diesel pump. I tried installing a fan beneath the burner chamber, extending the stove pipe, installing a Charlie Noble (two different styles), and opening ports to equalize pressure. The only thing I did not try was to install a second stove pipe from bottom of stove through the deck to equalize pressure.

I had 30A of shore power so running more than once ceramic heater eventually tripped the main breaker (water heater or microwave). I now like reverse cycle AC/Heat units. Granted, it still takes a lot of power so I have to be careful about running the microwave if water heater is on when cabin heat is running, but is more efficient than ceramic heaters and heats the entire boat nicely due to forced air. Plus, my plan is to head to the tropics where AC will be much appreciated.

A friend installed a small bulkhead propane heater. Small 1-inch stove pipe and worked well even in San Francisco Bay - rated at 6500 btu (ceramic heater is 5000 btu, so about the same heat). 45-50 hours of run time on a 20-lb tank, so for a liveaboard, a large tank would be advised (Tractor Supply Store has decent prices on 100-lb tanks)

Regards - Peter
I've had two boats with the Sigmar heaters and had the associated back puff problems.
I agree with all of the above comments by mvweebles, and would add that I eventually found a smoke head that completely eliminated the back drafting problems and the re-ignition explosions are now a thing of the past.
I've had the Vacu-stack, for three winters in New York where the weather can be fierce in winter. Had a couple of noreasters at dock and actually been heeled over to about 15 degrees by cross wind. This can be difficult for down drafting and prior to installing the Vacu-stack I had had identical experiences to mvweeble with blow back and explosions.
I can recomend the Sigmar heater unreservedly with the addition of the smokehead.
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Old 26-09-2019, 07:22   #80
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Lot's of recommendations here. I will add a desiccant dehumidifier like an EcoSeb unit. They dehumidify using desiccant and there is a heater that removes the moisture from the desiccant - you get warm dry air. We used oil-style electric radiators and the dehumidifier on the Chesapeake as well as electric blankets.

We've had snow and ice through South Carolina without shrink wrap. The key is to keep the canvas and dock clean to prevent buildup of ice. In Charleston one winter we were the only folks with a snow shovel. The marine did not have one.

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Old 26-09-2019, 07:35   #81
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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In Charleston one winter we were the only folks with a snow shovel.
Snow shovel + boating for pleasure... Are we doing this right?

Don't take offense, I know it makes total sense in the situation, but it still made me laugh
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Old 26-09-2019, 08:01   #82
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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Snow shovel + boating for pleasure... Are we doing this right?

Don't take offense, I know it makes total sense in the situation, but it still made me laugh
Hey, it happens. We got "stuck" in Charleston for the winter because the city was AWESOME. St. Johns Yacht Harbor is a great marina.

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Old 26-09-2019, 08:31   #83
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

I run my three Comfort Zone heaters all at once, 24/7 in the winter. Cost $100 bucks a month in Virginia. They are very quiet.
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Old 26-09-2019, 08:38   #84
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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Hey, it happens...

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Old 26-09-2019, 09:03   #85
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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Joyce, one other thought, our club turns the water off and drains down the dock pipes if there is a risk of freezing. Found out the hard way when we ran out of water at 10pm at night trying to fill the kettle. Now if you are English you will know how serious a lack of tea is

Popped the dock hose in the tank and turned the water on, but nothing happened. Then the penny dropped, followed by a walk across the car park with a large jerry can in me slippers

Pete
Oh, good point. I had that happen too! Now I have the marina call me anytime they plan on doing that or I'll call them and ask if they are planning. I also fill both water tanks if a nor'easter is coming. I know for sure they will turn it off. Which I find very weird. In New England we always leave it dripping so it won't freeze. Why is that?
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Old 26-09-2019, 09:15   #86
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

I keep water tanks topped up in winter. A few minutes each day is easy. The biggest deal is draining the hose. When the marina turns the water off I start carrying jugs every time I leave the boat. One or two jugs a day is a minor inconvenience. Refilling 120 gallons of water when the tank runs empty (24 jugs of water at 40 lbs each) to refill is just not for people. Keep the tanks full and you can skip it for a day or so while the docks are icy.



If there are other people wintering over of course you can organize water parties and get help sharing hoses, pulling the hose from a working hose bib, and tidying up after. Water parties have generally been late Saturday mornings in the marinas I have been in. That quite often leads to a late lunch and early happy hour somewhere. *grin*
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Old 26-09-2019, 09:18   #87
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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I run my three Comfort Zone heaters all at once, 24/7 in the winter. Cost $100 bucks a month in Virginia. They are very quiet.
Just to add to my own post. Pick up a bag of rock salt long before winter sets in or it will be gone from the stores when you need it. I also put a tarp over the hatch, helps a lot when it snows.
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Old 26-09-2019, 09:39   #88
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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Just to add to my own post. Pick up a bag of rock salt long before winter sets in or it will be gone from the stores when you need it. I also put a tarp over the hatch, helps a lot when it snows.

Agreed.



Since we're adding tips, I never found shrink wrapping that helpful. The zipper doors are a PITA and the ducking and dodging to get in and out with groceries or baggage makes life harder than it has to be. A plastic snow shovel or better a coal shovel is a big help. So is a big push broom. Most times I'd rather sweep the dock three times than shovel it once. If you're using electric heat get an IR thermometer and check the temp at both ends of the shore power cord every time you board or leave the boat. Definitely a pair of Yak-Traxs for everyone aboard. I had a half-sized sheet tray with a small towel at the bottom of the companionway for shoes on and off.



I'm sure there were other accommodations but these are what occur to me at the moment.
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Old 26-09-2019, 19:28   #89
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

For me it's a no brainer: we have no tricolor or any other light at the top if the mast other than a windex light.

Don't want the weight of the fixture or wires aloft.

But I have very bright LED bi-color side lights and stern light, and at the half way point on the mast, a bow light for motoring, with a deck light.

If I am worried that a ship won't see us I turn everything on until they are past.
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Old 27-09-2019, 00:13   #90
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

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For me it's a no brainer: we have no tricolor or any other light at the top if the mast other than a windex light.

Don't want the weight of the fixture or wires aloft.

But I have very bright LED bi-color side lights and stern light, and at the half way point on the mast, a bow light for motoring, with a deck light.

If I am worried that a ship won't see us I turn everything on until they are past.
And this keeps you warm in long dark cold winter nights?
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