Page 21 - 48º North - The Sailing Magazine - December 2017
P. 21

After turning back the clocks and having our first taste
of snow, there is no denying it. Winter has arrived! The docks are wet, the air is raw, and windows are steaming up.
Photo courtesy of Gary Peterson.
for augmentation on really cold nights. Just seeing that flame makes me feel warmer!
•A liquid filled, 450- watt, electrically- heated towel bar spans one wall of the head, making it the warmest room on the boat.
Neighbors marvel when they see us prancing around in t-shirts and tank tops in our near- tropical environment as the dock outside becomes a skating rink.
For boaters,
particularly live-
aboards, winter
can be bleak and
agonizingly long. My
husband and I, who
have lived aboard
our 42’ Discovery
sailboat for almost a
decade, are fortunate
to have spent the
last seven winters
in sunny Panama, where we heard about the rain and wind up north as we slathered on sunscreen and headed to the beach. However, having recently sold our Panama place, when the temperature plummeted into the 30s and the rain began in earnest, I panicked. Without plans to travel this winter, I reached into my all-but- forgotten bag of tricks for making winter on the boat more bearable.
Those of us who have been boating for a while know the challenges. No surprises there. But perhaps some of the following solutions will
be of use, especially for those
newer to living aboard or
winter cruising.
Baby, It’s Cold... Inside!
To state the obvious, we boat dwellers are sitting in a bath of cold water. Our icy foundation chills our floating homes and outside temperatures are considerably lower than those recorded just up the hill. Newcomers on the dock are shocked when they realize that without sufficient heat, the internal temperature on their boat is in the 40s. “I can see my breath. Inside!”
remarked a neighbor last year whose lipshadbeguntolookanoddshadeof blue.
My husband, aka “The Wiring Whisperer,” (48° North, January 2016), converted our electrical system to give us the option of 50 or 30 amps. Thanks in part to this system, our approach to heating the boat is multifaceted.
•In winter, the 50-amp system supports hard-wired electric heat throughout the boat.
• We have a wall-mounted propane heater in the salon for cruising or
Other options for heating your boat include diesel hot air or hot water systems, which work great, but are noisy and burn fuel. Every boat is different so figure out what works best for you. Be careful about space heaters and know what your wattage is so you don’t over tax your system (or burn your boat down!).
Boat systems alone are not enough. Absolutely, treat yourself to an electric blanket and flannel sheets to pre-warm the bed and make crawling in at night a dreamy experience.
The Cure for the Winter Blues
Whether Cruising Or Living Aboard, These Tips Can Help Make Winter Time on the Boat More Pleasant
By Irene Panke Hopkins
A 50-amp system runs much of the heating equipment. The breaker (left) is the difference between comfortable and cold. A propane heater and dehumidifier (center) are also part of the heating/drying plan. And finally, the towel heater (right) actually makes the head the warmest room on the boat. December 2017

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