Winter Aboard

As summer ends boaters make plans for the winter. Some trailer to their driveway some haul out at a local yard and others stay in the water. I stay in the water and live aboard. My plans are, what marina to call home, new dock lines chafing gear, a log boom to keep the ice away, get a phone line installed, and build a hut over the boat. Add to this finishing summer projects installing the windlass , bottom paint and bright work makes for a busy October.
I've been through a few covers over the years and found the canvas to be the cheapest IF YOU MAINTAIN IT. The plastic tarps are throw away every year and the plastic bottles not only chafe the tarps but the lines will rub on the hull and wear the gelcoat. I have covered the hull from bow to transom and now only cover from the mast to transom.. The extreme temperature change (day to night) will amaze you hot enough to take off that winter coat and melt the ice. That melted ice will condense on the inside of the boat and provide a breeding ground for mold if it isn't allowed to vent out. Some shrink wrap installers make vents in the cover to allow that humidity to escape. I have built covers that are high enough to walk under and other that I had to crawl on my knees to inspect the deck. I prefer to stand thank you. I have now lived aboard for the last 4 years My cover is from the mast to transom and high enough to use as an extra room when the weather permits it . It's a mud room the rest of the time. I shrink rap it because the other tarps won't let in the light. I found the deck drains will work to keep the fore deck clear and I can inspect the area easy enough when Mother Nature sees fit to clear it for me. I bought a roll of the shrink rap and have been using for the last 4 years the frame is plastic pipe the kind you buy in 100 foot rolls and I have reuse the same frame. The only thing I seem to have to rebuild every year is the door
I hope this will be my last winter locked in the ice. My plans to go south continue, like most plans a few unexpected delays have occurred. But I pursue my dream. My work this winter involve my www pages getting them up to date and writing a few more . I will add the pictures as they come back from the processor. I have a Dickerson Newport propane heater . It uses a double (coaxial) chimney balanced draft system. It provides enough heat to raise the inside temperature about 10 degrees Celsius. The boat I live in is a Bayfield 36 and the furnace is mounted about amidships. The main problem with most of the balanced draft systems is the length of the chimney. The Dickerson is recommended to be no longer than 5 feet . The problem is the hot exhaust gass is cooled by the down-draft pipe and if there isn't a temperature difference the draft to the fire will stop and the fire will go out . As for wind gusts blowing out the fire it hasn't happened yet in 5 years of using the furnace. I use about 20 pounds of propane in a week during the most active time . These times are late spring and early fall when I am on a mooring and have no other source of heat. In the winter I am on a dock and have access to shore power . But I still use the heater for that romance of a fireplace. For those that will winter ashore I would add one suggestion in the drinkable water system use Vodka . I discovered the practice by accident one year while stosring on the hard . I had forgotten to get a bottle of antifreeze for the potablt water system and not being able to return in time I looked around for a reasonable substitute. In my liquer cupboard was a full bottle of Vodka. I disconnected the hose from the tank and using a funnel pored the contents in. run the pump till I had Vodka coming out of each tap (hick).and left for the winter. The spring came and I had a party to help flush out the system and launch the boat. Lots of fun and no harm to the system better yet I didn't have to flush the tanks out to get rid of that antifreeze taste. I don't recommend it for the engine.


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