To Shrink or not to Shrink??? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 10-18-2011
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Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
We were fine, with 2 cheap electric / ceramic space heaters.

Thanks for your input Doug. Sorry about being so hard on you on the other thread.

I too used ceramic heaters during most of the 20 years of living aboard on the maryland portion of the Cheapeake Bay. During the winter months I always removed the sails and installed a canvas tarp over the boat. It was not custom made just a retangular tarp set up above the boom so that a good slope was achieved to shed the snow. Two winters ago when we got two snowfalls of more than 30 inches each, it did a good job of keeping most of the snow out of the cockpit and off of most of the deck.

There was only one time during those 20 years when I needed to run another power cord to achieve adequate warmth in the cabin. The outside temperature was in single digits and I was pulling close to the 30 amp limit of the single power cord using the built in heater along with the space heaters. The thing to be careful about is the contact that the power cord makes with the boat. Be certain that good contact is made since any resistance might cause a fire.

I now miss living aboard and even during the winter when I couldn't go out sailing there was a certain charm about being there on the water. That lifestyle is not for everyone, but since I enjoy backpacking even in the winter living on a boat seemed easy.
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Old 10-18-2011
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We do not shrinkwrap to improve heating efficiency. We do it to protect our boat. I would get better insulation if I let hte snow pileup on deck.

The shrinkwrap protects the deck from snow and ice and also allows me to do any work on the exterior while under cover.

The mast also comes down and gets stored inside simply to protect it and the rigging.

Originally Posted by ujk View Post
About when do you shrink?
Last year it was about 2 weeks before Christmas. This year will likely be just after Thanksgiving.
Tim R.
Out cruising
1997 Caliber 40LRC

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Last edited by Tim R.; 10-18-2011 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 10-19-2011
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Siamese: "Third Ear" 'twas the name of my professor's boat- (psychiatrist by day)
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Old 11-27-2011
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I wrote a "how to" post on shrink wrapping on the Maine live aboards web site, please take a look. It may answer some questions

Shrinkwraping | MaineLiveaboards

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Old 12-03-2011
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Cool pic treilley!
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Old 12-03-2011
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Ventilation has to be an issue for a liveaboard. While there are normally a few vents installed in the shrinkwrapped boats here in southeastern CT, you may need more to handle increased moisture (cooking, breathing, washing) and to vent combustion products from interior heat sources (e.g., stove,heaters, oil lamps) that otherwise aren't vented outside the shrinkwrap. A carbon monoxide detector would be a good investment, too.
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Old 12-15-2011
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Shrinkwrapping isn't necessarily so much a function of heat, though it's a nice benefit. You can run an extra shore power cable and plug in double space heaters if you're getting chilly, but with all the caveats that constant high-amperage utilities necessitate.

Shrinking, at least the clear stuff, creates a layer of semi-trapped air, essentially a greenhouse. Sunlight permeates and warms up the area to the point where it's almost tropical in there on a 40-degree day. It also prevents winter wind from blowing heat right away from the deck, helping whatever heat source you have to be more efficient. It's essentially a great layer of insulation.

It also (more importantly) prevents the freeze-thaw cycle: snow piles on deck, the snow melts in the sunshine the next day, water seeps into tiny cracks in the deck or between stanchion beddings, then re-freezes that night, widening existing cracks and eventually (over years) doing significant deck damage which takes either serious money or time (or both) to fix.

Shrinking prevents that. Most other benefits are just ancillary, IMHO.
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