How/what to winterize for living aboard in Great Lakes - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-15-2006
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The water won't freeze. The air does occasionally...

I don't think it has a battery charger. Probably not been a huge issue in FL, and I don't know if they even had power at the condo dock she has used. Is it a big deal to have one installed? We do have power, and will want to run on shore power whenever we can, so that would be a good thing to have. I also only have 2 batteries, and would like to have 3 or 4...would this be a good time to do that as well??


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post #12 of 15 Old 09-15-2006
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JSW...if you don't already have an onboard charger...perhaps now would be a good time to start planning your complete electrical system so you don't make piecemeal mistakes...i.e. getting a small charger then upgrading to batteries that need a bigger one. Some questions to start the process of thinking about it:
1. How do you plan to use the boat...mostly at the dock, lots of weekend anchorages, extended cruising with lots of anchoring?
2. Do you already have A/C inlets on the boat for shore power?
3. Do you have a refrigerator/freezer that you'll want to run when at anchor and do you know how much current it draws?
4. Do you want to be able to watch TV, charge cell phones, use microwave, hair dryer etc. when at anchor.
5. What size and type batteries do you have now? What is their condition? Do you have room for more of the same size batteries or larger ones? Are they on a 1/2/Both/Off battery switch.
6. What output is your alternator and does it have a "smart" 3 stage regulator? Do you have an on-board generator? Thinking of wind or solar power additions?

Thinking about and getting the answers to these questions and others will help us better define your needs and how complicated things need to be. Never fear however...most of this work is easily accomplished step by step. As always with boats...the real pain is in the wallet!
Maybe the "Design my Electrical System" topic deserves a new thread once you can better define your needs as per the above. Should be a fun one!

Last edited by camaraderie; 09-15-2006 at 08:28 PM.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-15-2006
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What I do know...
1. At first we'll use the boats for weekends, as the rest of the family learns to sail and I refresh with some ASA courses. We would like to do a week or two along the ICW, but, owning a business...who knows if we can do that next spring/summer/fall or not. My dream of a trip all the way south and then a couple of months in the Bahamas...probably awhile off (sadly).
2. There is an inlet for shore power. Just one that I know of, in the cockpit.
3. No fridge, although I'd really like to get one. I don't know that converting the icebox is do-able since the Newport 33 forums seem to indicate both a significant lack of insulation AND a very hard time getting to the outside of the box to improve that. And it's in a very stupid spot (my basic method for removing things from it is to kneel on the stovetop and dive in headfirst...and I'm 5'7"!). I'm looking at more "portable" ones, but haven't given that full attention as it's a spring/summer issue (except, I guess, if I'm redoing the electrical system!).
4. Microwave...maybe. Cell phones...definitely, as long as we own a business and have a full time working but live-at-home child. Hair dryer...heaven forbid! Coffee maker...ABSOLUTELY.
5. 2 brand new batteries. From the invoice: Trojan Deep Cycle Marine Grade Battery 24SM-850. (That tells me so much...) They are on a 1/2/Both/Off switch. They are under the seat, and there's a built in space for them, but it's compartmentalized with wood so it can be redone and there's plenty of storage area here.
6. New alternator, too - westerbeke 39139. No idea on the questions about it. I wouldn't mind a generator or alternate power (my wallet might!), but none at the moment.

I'll post to that topic as well, since we've kind of strayed here...


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Kate Chopin

Last edited by jswwrites; 09-15-2006 at 08:45 PM.
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-13-2006
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Greetings from the Great white north as some call it “Canada”
Kathy and I have been living aboard since the mid 90’s and will call this winter my last at least up here. We will go south next year. But now on to winterizing. The ice here is thick enough to measure it with a yard stick. We walk on it, play hockey on it and some times park a car on it when we fish through it. Around the boats we use agitators to keep the water moving up from the bottom that prevents the boats from being lock frozen in. we also surround the boats with a log boom to stop the ice from moving against the hull . Most of us cover the deck with a plastic shrink wrap the keep the snow off, that provides us with a mud room for a cockpit to take off out coats and boots before entering below. Inboard I use electric heaters for most of our heating needs and have a propane furnace for those days when the power fails or when the temperature really drops….. come to think of it the power fails and the temperature drops at the same times… fancy that?? I pump antifreeze through the engine raw water system to protect it and close the valve. we also disconnect from the city water and use internal tanks. I will need to fill then usually every month but I do it when the weather permits. My plumbing has frozen inside where the pipes come to close to the hull and I try to lift it off the hull but that isn’t always possible. We just make sure the coffee maker is full the night before the pipes usually thaws out in 24 hours. there are 50 or more boats of different styles and sizes here for the winter its like a village we all know each other and watch each other water line so to speak. The only thing missing is our own Legion Hall (V.F.W. hall for our southern readers). Its cozy and comfortable I can’t see us moving into a house apartment again for quit some time. We have all the comforts of home ..come to think it .. it is home.. for those who would use antifreeze of any color I would make one suggestion in the drinkable water system use Vodka . I discovered the practice by accident one year while storing on the hard . I had forgotten to get a bottle of antifreeze for the potable water system and not being able to return in time I looked around for a reasonable substitute. In my liquor cupboard was a full bottle of Vodka. I disconnected the hose from the tank and using a funnel poured the contents in. ran the pump till I had Vodka coming out of each tap (hick) and left for the winter. The spring came and I had a party to help flush out the system. Lots of fun and no harm to the system better yet I didn't have to flush the tanks out to get rid of that antifreeze taste. I don't recommend it for the engine.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-17-2006
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Cool Wintering on our boat in Toronto Canada

Heading (cheerfully?) into our fourth Toronto Harbour winter on our Niagara 35Mk1. We have two 30A shore power feeds to power three oil circulating electric heaters for us, and one fan-forced heater for the engine. There are two 3/4hp "Ice Eaters" under the boat. They typically run continuously from mid Dec 'till early March.
The engine and cockpit lockers are kept at 10C all winter. There's a magnetic block heater sticking to the Volvo MD11C engine to aid in winter starting.
We do not winterize the boat at all. There is a semi-clear shrink wrap cover over the whole boat to produce a lovely greenhouse effect on sunny winter days.
For more details read our Winter Liveaboard blog
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