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Old 10-07-2012
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extending the season a bit

Hello,

I am taking delivery of a new Beneteau 41 this week in Annapolis and would like to keep sailing until Thanks Giving and fully winterize after that. Although winter takes usually until January to really set in here, there is always a possibility to get a couple chilling nights here and there and I am trying to find a way to prevent freezing damage if this should occur. My boats will be docked in a nice marina with dock power. Can I possibly leave a small ceramic heater on to maintain enough warmth in the boat? My A/C system can also heat but am not sure I can leave it on 24/7. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

Never leave a running heater in an unattended boat! That is a recipe for disaster.

Here in the middle Chesapeake, there is no, or very little, risk to your engine until well into December. Even when the temps get down into the mid 20's on land, there is no risk. First, it takes most of the night to drop that low and it doesn't stay there long (due to sunrise). Second, temps on the water remains significantly higher than on land due to moisture saturation in the air from proximity to water and it remains above freezing even when land temps drop into the upper 20s, unless there's a stiff wind blowing off the land. Third, your engine is low in the hull and is partly below water level. Water warms the hull, and therefore the boat, and keeps it above freezing. Fourth, inside the hull, there is no wind to remove heat, and the entire environment must cool below freezing before there is a risk. There just isn't enough time before sunrise unless it drops into the mid 20s and stays there for a day.

Pragmatically, winterize your water system in late Nov and you can easily sail into December if you like sailing in that kind of weather. I usually go on the hard in late November or early December, myself, mostly because I don't like sailing when it is in the 30s and 40s, but also because my marina won't haul past then.
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

Congratulations! I saw Beneteau's Oceanis 41 at the Annapolis boat show yesterday. Great boat!

It would definitely depends on the weather. We had a warmer than usual fall/winter last year, so I winterized around mid December as I recall. I had my water tanks winterized in November. Chesapeake water remains warm for quite a while so I wouldn't be concerned about a few below freezing nights.

Also, I would NOT leave a ceramic heater running on any boats especially a brand new sailboat!
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

We run a small heater on our boat all winter. If you use a little common sense and your shore power is up to scratch it should not be any more dangerous than using that same heater in your house. If the fan fails, the heaters have thermal protection that cuts power to the heater element. If it falls over, most heaters have switches to shut them off if they aren't upright. If there is an internal fault of some kind, it may melt wiring internally but ultimately the breaker will trip. Electric heaters are very safe.

What are you worried about freezing? How cold do you expect it to get? Aside from your fresh water system, and your engine if it is raw water cooled, what else is there to freeze?
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Last edited by SchockT; 10-07-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Re: extending the season a bit

Thanks guys, that is helpful. The boat has a bit of a complicated fresh water circuit (my two heads are connected to fresh water, there is a deck shower,....) so, there is a bit of work involved in winterizing it. I understand the concerns with leaving a small heater on, may be I can just rely on the dual heat/ac system to keep the boat warm enough in case of unusual, cold weather which would be unlikely in November, I agree. I am planning on taking the family on a nice fall cruise to St Michael, Wye Island, weather permitting, of course.
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by telecam View Post
Thanks guys, that is helpful. The boat has a bit of a complicated fresh water circuit (my two heads are connected to fresh water, there is a deck shower,....) so, there is a bit of work involved in winterizing it. I understand the concerns with leaving a small heater on, may be I can just rely on the dual heat/ac system to keep the boat warm enough in case of unusual, cold weather which would be unlikely in November, I agree. I am planning on taking the family on a nice fall cruise to St Michael, Wye Island, weather permitting, of course.
It's not a big deal to winterize the water systems and still day sail. Other posters have noted that the sea water in your engine systems probably won't freeze until later in the season for the various reasons noted.

Going down and doing a bit of winterizing then going for a sail is my way of break up the pre-winter chores

Starting about now, every trip to the boat means I go for a sail then remove a load of junk that's built up over the summer, do some cleaning etc.

With luck, the last things I need to do are; go for that final sail, take off the sails, haul that afternoon, winterize the bilge and engine and cover the boat... I'm done till spring...
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

Congrats on the new boat

We sail well into December. I winterize the boat after that and she stays in the water. Never a problem. I would not run a small heater ( fire hazzard). I would also not run the interal boat cabin heater as it will have a hard time keeping temp as the water temperature begins to drop and why run hours on it when you arent there and wear it out/ NOt to mention that it is a new boat and you know with anything new there may be glitches in in which need to be worked out. Better if you are there should the glitches occur.

I would suggest you figure and and find a way to winterize most of your systems, and the fresh water one is the easiest or you will be paying someone a load of money to do a simple operation. It may require a special install of a valve to draw antifreeze into it, but most are pretty easy to do. It requires draining it the using the adible antifreeze to replace it in the pumps and lines which is usally as simple as draining you fresh water takns and then putting antifreeze into them and runnning the spigiuts in the head, galley etc until the pink comes out. For you head jush pump it out until you see pin k in the bowl when you pump or elctrically pump. Make sure you drain your holding tanks at the end of the season. Also make sure you flush antifreeze all the way through the lines into the holding tank. If you have a mascerator make sure it also gets antifreeze to it trhough its hoses and out. Lastly open the deck pumpout cap and pour 1 gallon of antifreeze down it. Make sure when you do this that you also drain you hot water heater.

As far as engine winterization the dirst time let a professional do it and watch them, again its not difficult. Usually winterizing the engine just requires closing the seacock to the outside thast draws in the water, disconnect the hose to the seacok to the engine at the seacock ( we have put a 3 way valve here so we dont have to do this each year.). Put the hose in a bucket of antifreeze and run the engine till you see pink come out the exhaust water. I also cheack my antifreeze of the fresh water side of the engine every other year or change it. I suggest you also change the oil and filter then so no old oil sits over the winter in the engine. before you fire everything up in the spring...change the impeller every year.

Learning how to do this is basic 101 in owning a boat and learning one of its easiest systems. No one will ever take the care or do it as well as you and it also gives you the information on where to look to troubleshoot things should something ( murphy lives on every boat) fail, break, or wear out. There is great peace of mine being able to fix simple things rather than ewaste money or your time being dowen waiting for someone else to fix them when it really maybe a simple fix. If you feel uncomfortable at first have a professional do it and make sure you are there present to learn.

Not sure where Wye Island is, but we anchor in the Wye river frequently when we can. Shaw Bay, Dividing Creek and our favorite Granery Creek. There are lots of little holes to anchor in also.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about your ssyems or even the Wye.

Have fun on your new boat.

Dave
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Last edited by chef2sail; 10-07-2012 at 09:42 PM.
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Re: extending the season a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post

If there is an internal fault of some kind, it may melt wiring internally but ultimately the breaker will trip. Electric heaters are very safe.
Electric heaters are NOT safe! Most of the time the breaker will NOT trip! Electric heaters never actually overload themselves. They are not safe because there are just so many ways they can start a fire. Despite all the safety features added over the years they just haven't found a way to make them safe. In fact perfectly good safe electric heaters far from any combustibles and carefully watched often start fires!

Electric heaters are typically rated up to 1500 watts or so. They picked this number because that is about the largest load a 15 amp household circuit breaker or fuse will handle without nuisance tripping. The problem is that heaters keep this heavy load on the circuit for long periods of time, unlike toasters, microwaves, hair dryers, etc. that are used briefly. So ANY slightly bad connection becomes another little heater. This secondary heating happens out of sight, in the connections at the receptacle the heater is plugged in, down the hall at another receptacle in the same circuit. Up at the ceiling light fixture they picked up on the way or the switch that controls the light. In the splice box buried in the basement or attic.

Every time I see someone using a portable electric heater I check the plug at the wall for heating, I feel the wall above the receptacle too. If they have any extension cords I check all the connections. The number of times I find a connection feeding a portable electric heater burning up is just plain scary! I just cut up 3 extension cords my father-in-law was using with two electric heaters because I found 3 bad connections almost ready to burst into flame!

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Re: extending the season a bit

I have always used heaters on my boats. But, I am an electrical engineer, so I understand my wiring and how much to trust it. I set a heater at no more than the 750 watt setting with the fan on all the time, temp is set so the heater element only comes on in the 50 deg range. Just enough to keep the boat dry. It is very important where the heater is placed, eliminating things that might fall off on it like a pillow. You have to look at your setup and ask "what could go wrong?" My boat is in Southern California now so the heater is not needed but I want to avoid mildew so it stays on all the time with just the fan running. I also use 2 110v fans to keep the air moving and 2 boat dryer/dehumidifier units.These are basically small heaters with a fan. I also use desiccant dryers in clothing lockers. I dislike a musty smelling boat.

Some people leave one or more 60 watt light bulbs on. Adds a little heat and is pretty safe.

Just use comon sense and check things out properly.

As far as things freezing up I would think the cockpit shower would freeze first. Everything else will be ok till it stays below freezing for a while.

Gene
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: extending the season a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
Electric heaters are NOT safe! Most of the time the breaker will NOT trip! Electric heaters never actually overload themselves. They are not safe because there are just so many ways they can start a fire. Despite all the safety features added over the years they just haven't found a way to make them safe. In fact perfectly good safe electric heaters far from any combustibles and carefully watched often start fires!

Electric heaters are typically rated up to 1500 watts or so. They picked this number because that is about the largest load a 15 amp household circuit breaker or fuse will handle without nuisance tripping. The problem is that heaters keep this heavy load on the circuit for long periods of time, unlike toasters, microwaves, hair dryers, etc. that are used briefly. So ANY slightly bad connection becomes another little heater. This secondary heating happens out of sight, in the connections at the receptacle the heater is plugged in, down the hall at another receptacle in the same circuit. Up at the ceiling light fixture they picked up on the way or the switch that controls the light. In the splice box buried in the basement or attic.

Every time I see someone using a portable electric heater I check the plug at the wall for heating, I feel the wall above the receptacle too. If they have any extension cords I check all the connections. The number of times I find a connection feeding a portable electric heater burning up is just plain scary! I just cut up 3 extension cords my father-in-law was using with two electric heaters because I found 3 bad connections almost ready to burst into flame!

Gary H. Lucas

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Everything you mention has to do with incorrect or faulty wiring. If the connections are good, and the wiring is adequate for the load there is no problem. I challenge anyone to take an electric heater and deliberately use it to start a fire. even if you disconnected the fan and then piled combustible materials up against the heater you would be hard pressed to get a fire going before the High Temperature limit switch breaks the circuit.

Heaters are not a hazard, bad wiring is a hazard! It is true that heavy load for extended periods of time, such as running a heater, may expose the bad wiring, but that is not the fault of the heater. In terms of household applications, there are entire houses that are heated with electric resistive heaters drawing high current for extended periods of time. There are electric water heaters that draw high amperage for extended periods of time. There are high wattage lighting circuits that draw high amperage for extended periods of time. Does that mean they are at fault for an electrical fire in a house? No, faulty wiring is invariably the cause.

But we are talking about boats here.

If you are unsure about the safety of your shore power, use a good heavy extension cord to the dock.

By the way Telecam, am I to understand that you have a heat pump on your boat? (I am guessing that is what you mean by "dual heat/A-C?) If so, and you are on shore power, why don't you just leave that set low enough so it only comes on if it gets really cold.
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Last edited by SchockT; 10-08-2012 at 01:28 AM.
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