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Ranger-26-Duluth 03-29-2013 01:27 PM

Canadian sailing + heating ?
Hi All,

Relatively new to this site.

What is the safest, easiest way to heat your boat when sailing the northern Canadian side of Lake Superior ?

I am guessing propane is too dangerous and electric will drain batteries too often ?

I have sailed out of Duluth for about 6 years, and in the Apostle Islands often, but I am a little concerned about sailing farther north starting in the later part of May.

Any helpful ideas ?

Thanks, Gregg

killarney_sailor 03-29-2013 01:33 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
You mentioned safest and easiest means to heat your boat but did not mention cost. We have an Espar diesel furnace, similar to what is used to heat buses, and it is a wonderful piece of kit, we lived onboard for two winters in NYC and it was toasty - but they are far from cheap. You might look at a bulkhead mounted diesel heater, especially if you can mount it low.

PaulinVictoria 03-29-2013 01:34 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
Most heat sources are fine as long as you are careful, they all have their particular strength/weaknesses.

IslanderGuy 03-29-2013 02:31 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
Sweaters :)

IslanderGuy 03-29-2013 02:37 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
More seriously though, I've sailed on a friends boat a few times who installed a hydroponic diesel heater. Diesel heats hot water, which circulates through the boat to registers with fans. Assume heat, warm, dry and toasty. Felt like Mexico inside in freezing temps. Expensive though.

We use sweaters, but it's not that nice sailing in the PNW in the winter / spring. We went up the west coast of Vancouver Island last spring, temps in the 40f - 60f I would guess. Not bad, but sure would have been nicer with a heater. I would love to get a Espar forced air diesel heater as mentioned above, but it's down on the list of things sucking all my money at the moment. Hydroponic diesel heater is overkill for my boat and way to expensive.

Minnesail 03-29-2013 03:08 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
If you're planning on doing all of Superior maybe you could do the south shore first and then come back via the north later in the summer when it's warmer. shows Grand Portage, MN having an average low of 39 for the end of May and an average low of 51 at the end of July. I think you'd feel that 12 difference.

LinekinBayCD 03-29-2013 04:06 PM

My sailing us in Maine. Nothing as nice as firing up the Espar on a cold damp morning other than hot coffee perking.

Ranger-26-Duluth 03-29-2013 04:43 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
Again, thanks everyone

I really like that idea of heading along the south shore first - I had no idea there was such a great temp change in the month's difference.

Thanks Minnesail ! A simple and great idea !


MikeOReilly 03-29-2013 04:54 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
Although I would like to have a diesel bulkhead heater, we get by just fine using nothing but fleece, good foulies, and cuddling most of the time. We carry an origo alcohol heater for those times when it gets really damp and cold, but we've only had to resort to this less than a 1/2 dozen times in the past three years.

Good advice about staying on the south shore until summer takes hold up here. You'll still want good fleece for sailing days though. The water normally stays quite cool all year round, so crossings can get chilly.

Brent Swain 03-29-2013 05:09 PM

Re: Canadian sailing + heating ?
I tried diesel, gave it up for a wood stove and lived happily ever after, as have many of my friends. Free fuel is another advantage.

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