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post #1 of 8 Old 12-16-2006 Thread Starter
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Cold weather sailing/ docking

With all the bad press about leaving unattended heaters aboard (even the West Marine low profile unit), what do people use in more moderate climates where it can get down into the 20's but then climb into the 60's allowing for some great winter sailing? (this is assuming you do not want to winterize any of your systems). Heard some people use a light bulb or a dehumidifier to provide heat- also, reverse cycle heat doesn't seem to work when the water temperature falls to 40 or below- any thoughts appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-16-2006
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Some folks use a 60W bulb in the engine room but that doesn't do much for your water lines! Also if the bulb burns out...well you understand.
Reverse cycle does not work well as the water temp drops but it does work well enough to keep the boat from freezing. Problem there is the same though...if the pump goes or clogs...no heat AND it is hard on the system to run full tme all winter. I don't see any problem with UL approved heaters plugged into a good electrical system. A couple of small ones should suffice and provide redundancy.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-17-2006
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For years we used a light bulb or a plate heater in a small chimney stand. (just a plywood base with a standard bulb receptacle, and an 18" section of stovepipe mounted above it on standoffs)

The chimney effect creates some convection circulation and keeps the chill off in the conditions you described. Later we added some computer-type "muffin fans" to further improve air movement within the cabin.

We also placed a 250W plate heater in the engine box, this greatly aided starting in the colder conditions by keeping the block and the oil at a warmer temperature.

Today, since unlimited power is included in our moorage rate, we are using a good fan heater with a thermostat.

With all or any of these options it is imperative that the wiring is of proper size and condition for the loads. This includes shipboard shore power wiring AND any plugs/extension cords etc used in powering these things. Some heaters can use a lot of current.

Also in the off season, we make a point of checking the boat at least twice a week.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-18-2006
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Winterizing

I must be missing something. How hard is it to winterize? I sailed yesterday. When I came back, I adjusted the gate valve on the raw water line, poured some anti-freeze ($2.99/gallon) into a gallon container, stuck the other end of the gate valved line into the anti-freeze, re-started the engine long enough to see pink coming out the exhaust, and then shut the whole thing down. Total elapsed time: five minutes. I do the same thing to the bilge pump that I installed (even easier: thirty seconds), and I'm done. There's then no need to worry about conditions on the boat.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-18-2006
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OK that may be fine for the engine, but what about the water tanks, the head, the water heater, any residual water in the bilge pump, etc.?
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-18-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drynoc
I must be missing something. How hard is it to winterize? I sailed yesterday. When I came back, I adjusted the gate valve on the raw water line, poured some anti-freeze ($2.99/gallon) into a gallon container, stuck the other end of the gate valved line into the anti-freeze, re-started the engine long enough to see pink coming out the exhaust, and then shut the whole thing down. Total elapsed time: five minutes. I do the same thing to the bilge pump that I installed (even easier: thirty seconds), and I'm done. There's then no need to worry about conditions on the boat.
Someone else mentioned the other water systems. Here is another thing to consider. Are you sure that with just a gallon of antifreeze that the volume of antifreeze left in the muffler is sufficient to keep it from freezing and cracking? It was presumably filled with salt water when you came back from your sail. The antifreeze would enter the muffler, be diluted and a diluted mixture sent overboard. The remaining diluted antifreeze must be strong enough for the conditions expected.

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post #7 of 8 Old 12-18-2006
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As long as sea/lake water temp does not go below 0C don't worry!
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-19-2006
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This winter has been mild so far in the Northeast US, but before it is over the river where my boat is wet stored will ice over with up to 6" of ice. The marina deploys "ice eaters" to keep water moving around the boats and docks. Great as long as the power stays on.

In addition to making sure the mufflers for the main engine and genset have plenty of antifreeze, I also winterize all of my thru hulls and sea water strainers. I try to close thru hulls with antifreeze inside the closed valves. The main body of the thru hull fittings and the muffler are not in contact with the outside water. They are affected primarily by air temperature inside the boat.

It may be overkill, but a cold snap with a power failure at the marina could really test all of my efforts.

Herb DuBois
Beneteau 36CC
Split Decision

Last edited by HerbDB; 12-19-2006 at 02:12 AM.
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