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  #1  
Old 02-05-2009
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living aboard in Mass.

does anyone have suggestions on w/e living onboard 37' sailboat during winter months - better to pull out of water or keep afloat? What about snow and ice build up - are there suitable tarps/covers avilable? If pullout - where to dock and how to keep warm and comfortable. Would appreciate suggestions.
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Old 02-05-2009
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You are nuts...but there are other nuts doing this in Mass.
You can't live aboard on land.
In water will require bubblers to keep ice free around the boat. You will need to construct a "greenhouse" type covering for the boat using a grid of wood/plastic pipes or metal conduit and then cover that with plastic or tarps. Nothing comes pre-made. Finding a marina that allows and has winter liveaboards will be an issue.
Search a bit and you'll find lots of other posts and pictures about winter living aboard.
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Old 02-05-2009
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Cam, you can live aboard on the hard in winter. The trick is to build a big box that reaches to the deck level which is at least 6 feet longer and six feet wider than the hull. You then fill the box with straw and then construct the "greenhouse" as you suggested. You then install central electric heating and run an insulated plumbing line connecting boat's head to the boat yard sewage system and an insulated hose to a convenient water tap. Getting cable installed is hard, but with a good library of books and DVDs who needs cable TV.
---------------
Durbanite7,
Seriously, living aboard in a New England winter is at best like camping in winter. A very few, very hardy souls do it -- but only in the water and they are well-prepared with lots of gear and a sensory system that is immune to cold. If you're on the hard, it's like living in a single wall tent. Try a few weekends in a tent first. If you like it, then try doing it on a boat.
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Old 02-06-2009
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There are liveaboards around Boston Harbor, both at Shipyard Quarters and Constitution Marina but not very many. Most are on larger motor yachts with clear shrink wrap and a 50 amp power supply. Both facilities shut off dock water for obvious reasons but both facilities have year round laundry and showers.

Needless to say, the ideal berths are closest to the ramps and hard to get.

A lot of liveaboards on smaller boats chose to either own a house or a boat and living aboard seems to be a way to do both. Most abandon the idea after awhile because the hardship is not worth what it actually cost to winter on a boat in New England

BillyR offers good advice. You want to ease into a decision to take this on. Beside the right boat, you will need a fairly good supply of anti-depressants. And every article of clothing you own will be fleece.
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Old 02-06-2009
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There are usually live-aboards in the more expensive urban areas of the northeast. New York has them, Boston has them.
This is a blog I found of a girl wintering aboard somewhere in MA. (I think).

Winter To-Do List
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Old 02-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39512 View Post
And every article of clothing you own will be fleece.
Or wool

Thanks for the link to that blog Soundbounder.

We are still learning about living aboard in cold weather after having sailed from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. Of course, the weather here in WA is not as severe as in New England. The biggest challenge we have encountered is ventilation. In Hawaii we just left everything open and let the trade winds blow through the boat. Up here at 48 North the temptation is to button up and crank the heater but that results in severe condensation problems. A solar vent was recommended, which I installed, but of course there is not enough sun to keep the battery charged and we still generate enough condensation to fill the bilge in two weeks.

The solution is more ventilation and circulating fans. I am adding a DC exhaust ventilator that will run without the sun and another blower for the lazarette plus passive vents to allow circulation through all the interior lockers. Laura does not want me to install a solid fuel heater because of the requisite Charlie Noble so we rely on an electric heater. Propane is out because of the water vapor it generates.

By the time we get this all sorted out properly we will be on our way to Tahiti

New video added today
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Old 02-06-2009
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Vega1860,
You are welcome!!!!

Here is another
We Live On A Boat

It is one of those things that if out of sight,..is out of mind.
But once you start to meet a few people who live aboard in the winter, then you realize there are more people doing so than you would have originally imagined.
Also, Soundings Magazine has a regular column by someone living aboard this winter in the Chesapeake. Sure that is further south than MA, but I am sure it was plenty cold this past month.
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Old 02-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
You are nuts...but there are other nuts doing this in Mass. You can't live aboard on land. In water will require bubblers to keep ice free around the boat. You will need to construct a "greenhouse" type covering for the boat using a grid of wood/plastic pipes or metal conduit and then cover that with plastic or tarps. Nothing comes pre-made. Finding a marina that allows and has winter liveaboards will be an issue.



Ahhh........ Southern wimps But really Cam, I have to take issue with a couple of your statements. These boats in my marina (in the front row) have been wintering in the water since the marina opened about 10 years ago - Without Bubblers/Circulators and had no damage. This was taken back in 2003 and I haven't seen this bad of a freeze myself but have talked to other people who have walked up to their boats while frozen in and reported no damage. The owner does offer circulators but in his newsletter a couple years ago he basically said - Don't bother..... and it's not a boat yard with repair facilities so he has nothing to gain by damaging boats. Some use them, most (me included) don't. In river ice flows or the arctic it may be different but in our Very Well Protected cove it's just no big deal.
As for the "Nothing comes pre-made" ... Fairclough and others make their boat specific tarp/frame systems for Land or Water storage.
Our marina is full of boats every winter and about 10 or so are winter live-aboards including a 70's era Nauticat next to me that has a diesel furnace with outside exhaust for No Condensation.
As for being "Nuts" from Mass...... yup, but I plan to retire down south with the rest of you wimps as soon as I can.
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Old 02-07-2009
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This is my first year living aboard in winter. Soundbounder mentioned my blog earlier in this thread. I've moved a few times, but am settled now in one location for the rest of the winter. A few things about the above comments, and my experiences:

1) Condensation will be the biggest problem. Temperatures drop outside and its toasty warm inside. One thing that helps, but isn't perfect, is a lot of insulation and bubble wrap on the inside of your hull. The condensation on my port side is worse than my starboard because it gets hit by the wind more. I put everything in my lockers in plastic bags, just in case. And now I check the lockers frequently. Other solutions: dehumidifier, constantly running fans, etc. I couldn't afford. All I did was insulation, bubble wrap, and plastic bags. Its ok so far. I mentioned the condensation problem only once on my blog and people still post comments with lots of suggestions.

2) Yes, there are places to liveaboard in the winter. And its waaaay cheaper than in the summer! A bubbler is a good idea, but as some suggested, it may not be necessary. Double check with your boat insurance company. Sometime they won't insure the boat in the winter without the bubbler. In MA? I have heard that Boston has a great community of liveaboards, but I haven't ever checked it out.

3) About the cover. There are two posts on my blog with pictures of my cover. Mine is a great one...almost a custom fit. Its a wood frame with a giant piece of canvass over the entire boat. It helps a lot with keeping warm inside and keeping the snow off. My cockpit is much warmer because of it.

Teresa
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Old 02-07-2009
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Stan...thanks...I stand corrected!
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