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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-05-2011 06:55 PM
dhays I also would recommend a dehumidifier. I've used one on two boats now and I'm completely sold. I use a household model that runs on 120 AC. It isn't super small, measuring 10x13 inches and 19 inches tall. It has a humidistat so you can set the amount of humidity you want. It has three fan speeds but I always have it on the highest as that helps to circulate the air. It has a hose that I have routed to the galley sink so I never have to drain the bucket. I put the end of the hose into an empty water bottle in the sink so that when I get to the boat I have a pint of distilled water to top off the batteries. The boat stays very dry, even though I have some fresh water leaks and it rains here all the time. Since my boat is relatively large, I put a WM TurboDryer in the forward and after cabins. This provides very low heat and a slow fan to help circulate air. There are solar vents in the aft head and main salon as well which I allow to run so the boat smells fresh.

We leave the dehumidifier on the boat running all year round. The only hassle is taking it off the boat and putting it in the dock box when we go cruising. If we are just going out for a day sail, or quick overnight, we just bungy it to the mast and it doesn't go anywhere.

Works great.

06-05-2011 10:35 AM
puddinlegs While at the dock, a dehumidifier is your friend.
06-05-2011 09:34 AM
Some contrarian thinking

Ventilation will only get your air as dry as the exterior air. I don't know what evenings are like up in Toronto, but around here they're HUMID. All that moisture captured by the day's heat cools at night, and it practically condenses on your skin when you go outside. That's exactly what you'll get as your reward for cutting a bunch of holes in your boat to increase ventilation. I did NOT want that happening inside my boat.

I took the opposite view. Seal 'er up real tight and suck the moisture out. It's worked great for me, and the boat is dry as a bone every time I go there. Fortunately I have shore power to keep a dehumidifier running 24/7. It draws about 60w:

Another source of condensation may be the cold water up in Toronto. If the inside of your hull is below the dew point of the air (another reason to dehumidify), you could get condensation anywhere below the waterline - settee lockers, V-berth, bilge, etc. Increasing ventilation to these areas might evaporate the condensation, but it could also INCREASE it. Think about it: You're constantly providing a fresh source of humid air to the cold surfaces below the water line. OTOH, insulating those areas could prevent the condensation from occurring. If you can insulate them well enough, LESS ventilation might actually be better.:

About 80% of the people here will disagree with me on both of these things. Many of them are far more experinced sailors than I am. So take this contrarian thinking with a grain of salt. But my concepts are based on good science and engineering, so they're worth considering.
06-05-2011 06:42 AM
DonScribner Rocky,

Are you sailing during the day? Is it raining at all? I don't know about your boat, but mine is a somewhere between an elegant, beautiful elderly woman and a fat old bag. The POs maintained some things and not others. The last PO was nice enough but had NO BUSINESS being on the water in anything, let alone a sailboat. Just saying. So, one of the items not maintained is the toe rail. I have to pull them both up, reseal the deck joint and rebed the rail. As it is, the carpet is always damp and often outright wet. Maybe you have a nuisance leak like that.
06-05-2011 01:20 AM
allene222 I went through this a few months ago on my boat and studied the issue to death. I wrote it up (kind of a free from blog) with lots of little humidity calculators if you are interested Humidity. The bottom line is that if you seal something up, it will go to 100% humidity. If you keep it open, you can keep it to the humidity of the outside. To do better than that, you need some kind of smart vents that let dry air in and moist air out (nobody does that on a boat) or an electric dehumidifier (air conditioner like contraption). The little bags you buy that fill with water help very little. Everyone is right, ventilation is the key. As an example, my cockpit lazarette cover was always dripping water when I opened it and everything in it was always wet. Since I started leaving it cracked 1 inch, it is always dry. My article has some hints on getting an accurate hydrometer cheap and a few other things but like has been said, it comes down to vents. I run a low grade heater with a fan not to heat the place but to facilitate air circulation.
06-05-2011 12:17 AM
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Ventilation ... ventilation ... ventilation
Some more specific points:

- You should have at least one vent, powered or not, for each compartment; even if air can flow freely between the compartments. My 27' boat has a cowled vent forward, a solar exhaust vent in the head (mid-ships), and a louvered companionway hatch board.

- Moist air is less dense than dry air, so you will usually have warm, moist air high in the cabin. A solar exhaust vent at or near the highest point in the cabin will therefore be most effective at getting moisture out.

- Arranging your boat's vents so that air flows along the length of each compartment (or even the length of the entire cabin) will help to dry out moist surfaces, cushions, fabrics, et cetera. Small circulation fans will help tremendously in this respect, but take electrical power.

- Two or three people inside a small enclosed space (e.g., a boat cabin) can generate a lot of warm, moist, air (even if everyone is behaving themselves ).
06-04-2011 11:44 PM
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Ventilation ... ventilation ... ventilation
Can't be stressed enough. I have started on planning for small fans along the inside of the hull in places where they can suck air out of the boat. Mean time I have things opened up and always have a light on that can produce enough heat to circulate air flow. A constant flow is necessary if you want to keep the moisture and the smells down.
06-04-2011 10:15 PM
CalebD One solar vent (that may not be working at night) going while I'm sleeping on any boat would not do it for me. You need ventilation, period.
06-04-2011 10:09 PM
SlowButSteady Ventilation ... ventilation ... ventilation
06-04-2011 10:09 PM
Rockstar2011 Nothing left open. There is a solar vent that is always on. No water in bilge at all.
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