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post #2 of Old 03-16-2006
Catalina 38 Avantura
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Michigan
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Been there, done that!

Hi Matt,
We (my wife, two kids, two cats and myself) lived for 1 1/2 years on our 38' Catalina at Humbug marina in Gibraltar, MI, just barely up the river from Lake Erie. WInter wasn't too bad. We shrink wrapped the boat and used electric space heaters. Our electric bill by the end of the winter was under $700.00. Another thing I did, before shrink wrapping, was to frame in the whole cockpit and insulate it to give us an extra room. This was also where the door to get in was located. I also rolled out insulation onto the deck and cabin top. This stopped any condensation. On sunny days, the shrink wrap acted as a green house and helped warm things up (I don't know how much food we wasted by storing it on deck in the cold only to have the sun shine and warm things up enough to cause food to spoil). The hardest things to deal with were fresh water and the holding tank. The water to the docks gets shut off for the winter, so we had to constantly refill our water tank. Since our boat only has a 35 gallon fresh water tank, we had to refill about every three days. We were close enough to the bath house/laundry room that a couple of water hoses attached together was long enough to reach so that we could refill easy enough (the hoses were kept in the utility room on a reel when not being used). The toughest thing was the holding tank. We would use the bathrooms in the bath house as much as possible, but sometimes, when ya' gotta go, ya' gotta go! This meant we would have a holding tank to pump out. Since there are no pump out facilities in the winter, I had to come up with another plan. I went to the local RV store and bought one of those rolling holding tanks. I then attached an extra long hose to the macerator pump output. When we needed to empty the holding tank, we would just pump it into my little tank on wheels and then roll it to the bathroom and dump it there. It was a nasty job, but it worked. I will try to attach a picture of a shrink wrapped boat with it's door installation (not my boat). If you would like some more pictures, I can try to dig some up and scan them for you.
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File Type: jpg 1st%20snow1202.jpg (24.3 KB, 380 views)

Russ Duff
Catalina 38, Hull #112
Lake Erie
Grosse Ile, Michigan
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