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  #1  
Old 12-24-2008
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Snow Load Sinks Boats

We've been enjoying the benefits of Global Warming here along the British Columbia coast for the past few weeks. Where normally this time of year people are bragging to their friends back east about their afternoon sailing or round of golf, this year it has been consistently below freezing nearly the entire month of December. We have had several daily low records and a new all-time low record set. It started snowing early last week, and has continued with little interruption ever since.

This morning the temperature nudged above freezing for the first time in weeks, and the falling snow became wetter as it tried to turn to rain. A snow sample and some quick calculations told me I would by now have just over two tons of snow on Sequitur. The forecast is for the precipitation to turn to rain and and for temperatures to rise to 3 on Christmas Day and to 5 on Boxing Day, with dips to just below freezing both nights. This would add considerably to the load on Sequitur. Time for snow removal.

Around noon I drove down to Granville Island through nearly deserted streets that should have been bustling with Christmas Eve shoppers. I grabbed the Bowen Island water taxi to Snug Cove and waddled through knee-deep snow along the floats my slip and shot the following 'before' photo:



Forty-five minutes of shovelling lifted Sequitur about 5cm out of the water, and the rains over the next few days should wash the rest of the snow off her. Here's a shot after shovelling about half a metre of snow off Sequitur:



I grabbed the water taxi back to Vancouver, and as we came into False Creek, I saw most of the boats in the marinas still had full snow loads. Several of them were well below their lines, and some of the smaller boats in the Burrard Civic Marina were dangerously low. We are not accustomed to snow like this on this coast, and few people know the risks of allowing heavy accumulations of snow on their boats.

After I returned home, I did a quick Google search and found the following link about a boat sinking from its snow load:

Snow: Boats sink in La Conner, Blaine
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1908 Wildschut Skūtsje

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  #2  
Old 12-24-2008
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Is the water around your boat actually frozen? Looks that way, but hard to tell as it might be the snow you tossed overboard.

I had 6" or so on my boat last sunday afternoon, checked her tonight, and she was pretty snow free. A bit of rain earlier today, along with it being 33-36 most of the daylight hrs the last two days in Edmonds probably helped.

Marty
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Old 12-24-2008
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Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ańo Nuevo. It's Christmas Eve here in Corpus Christi and it's a balmy 75 degrees - quite different than Vancouver
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Old 12-24-2008
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Yup... snow can sink boats pretty well...since it can lead to clogged cockpit drains, which can lead to the cockpit filling, then the boat fills with water....then blub...blub... blub...

Rain, if it is warm enough, and if the air temps are high enough can lead to the snow melting... but if it the air isn't warm enough, it just makes the snow denser and usually turns it to ice.
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Old 12-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
Is the water around your boat actually frozen? Looks that way, but hard to tell as it might be the snow you tossed overboard.

I had 6" or so on my boat last sunday afternoon, checked her tonight, and she was pretty snow free. A bit of rain earlier today, along with it being 33-36 most of the daylight hrs the last two days in Edmonds probably helped.

Marty
Marty,

There are paddies of ice, a cm or two thick from the minus 8 to minus 14 temps we've been having. I haven't seen the salt chuck freeze here in over 25 years. I remember ice in False Creek in the early '80s, when I kept my ketch at Pelican Bay.

Forecast here is for temperatures to remain above freezing after Friday, and to work their way back up to more normal levels. That and the forecast rain should make it worse for some boats, before it gets better.

This deep freeze and snow sure are cramping my sailing style.
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Last edited by Sequitur; 12-24-2008 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 12-24-2008
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Thats correct Sail Dog When the drains plug up ....
I keep my boat all covered up .Makes the shoveling a lot nicer
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Old 12-24-2008
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I'm currently in the baltic/ North sea so i think i know how you are feeling its minus 10 and steel tends to be slippery when frozen the Cheif officer has already fallen over several times (this could be due to the large amount of Port she drinks, but lets pretend it,s the ice ) and i'm not doing much better
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Old 12-24-2008
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Don't forget that when water freezes, it EXPANDS.
So its important to get ALL the water off the boat. ice forming in your drains and other crevices can create force enough to crack things you dont want cracked.
you have a nice boat. worth spending 40 or so bucks on a tarp for. If you do cover it, be careful that you don't leave any place for snow/ice to collect, or the weight can pull the stanchions in.
the best solution of course to all of this is to spend some quality time in the tropics.
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Old 12-24-2008
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We've shovelled our boat off twice already this week.. and will need to do so again Boxing day by the look of it.

Many believe that the snow acts as insulation, but I'm far more concerned about loads, and plugged/frozen cockpit drains.

Michael, how were the outflow winds crossing over to Bowen?
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Old 12-24-2008
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when you can ice skate around your boat, it's a good indicator that you need a latitude-ectomy. Got any friends in California with a dock?
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