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post #1 of 22 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Gearing up for Winter Cruising

Up here in Western Canada the summer cruising season is all too short. Many boats are covered up and put away for the season by October. Our last boat had no heat and limited interior living space, so we rarely took it out past September. It is a shame really, because the west coast in winter has it's own kind of beauty and tranquility.

Now that we have a boat that is better equipped for inclement weather we are looking forward to getting out for the occasional weekend throughout the winter. Azura came with a full cockpit enclosure that appears to have never been used. This weekend we decided to go down the the boat and install it and see how it looks. I have always referred to enclosures such as ours as "oxygen tents", but now that we have one, I can see the appeal! I cant see myself sailing with all of the side panels in place, but they are easily rolled up when not needed, however once we get to our destination being able to enclose the cockpit will massively increase our living space.

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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

I did some snow sailing this weekend in my Catalina 22. Friday night it was snowing a little, and blowing 20 knots with gusts to the mid 30s. Big stuff for a little boat!

Obviously I wouldn't have a full enclosure for a small boat such as mine, but I was wishing for a dodger.

I have a bimini that's set low and far forward. You can stand under it in the companionway, but you have to sit when in the cockpit. It's far enough forward that it covers the hatch so if it's raining straight down you can have the hatch wide open. If it's blowing you'll have to slide the hatch partway or all the way shut. I can be protected under it and reach the tiller easily, and all I have to do is lean backward a little to look up and see the sail and windex.

Anyway, the way snow swirls around it was finding its way down in the cabin even with the hatch slid shut. I was wishing for a dodger insert I could zip to the front of the bimini and attach somehow to the cabin top. Snaps, maybe? It might be a fun project to make one.

I really enjoyed the snow sailing, but a little more protection would have been nice.

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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

And nice just for a weekend camp at the dock
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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
.....I have always referred to enclosures such as ours as "oxygen tents", but now that we have one, I can see the appeal!
Me too, but we have them as well and they truly extend the sailing season. We notoriously sail to Block Island around the first of May. No one is there, but us (and friends we talk into the flotilla). It usually pretty cold, but I wear a t-shirt inside the enclosure. The key to making ours so versatile is that all our winches are inside the enclosure and allow full swing of a winch (if necessary, as most are electric).

Quote:
I cant see myself sailing with all of the side panels in place....
I say, don't be a hero. Enjoy the comfort and extended sailing. The greenhouse affect may actually warm the cockpit too much. We often roll up the rear panel, but keep the rest in place to prevent the cold air from requiring foulies. Literally t-shirts. The big downside is view of the sails. I can look up through a clear panel above the helm. We can see through the front of the dodger, of course. I will often poke my head up over the bimini, by standing at the open rear panel. However, the typical position of hiking up on the rail, near the helm, to watch the sails is out. No matter, I'm better trimmed there than I would be on the hard.

Have a great time this winter!


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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
was wishing for a dodger.

I have a bimini that's set low and far forward.
My Bay Hen has a dodger that zips into the bimini. Its pretty simple. Uses shock cords to hooks on the coach house, then zipper on the bimini end. The dodger is 3 pieces, clear plastic, so you can remove one or all panels as the conditions warrant.

In cold weather, the full enclosure goes up in the evenings, alcohol heater on in the cockpit. Cozy.
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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I did some snow sailing this weekend in my Catalina 22. Friday night it was snowing a little, and blowing 20 knots with gusts to the mid 30s. Big stuff for a little boat!

Obviously I wouldn't have a full enclosure for a small boat such as mine, but I was wishing for a dodger.

I have a bimini that's set low and far forward. You can stand under it in the companionway, but you have to sit when in the cockpit. It's far enough forward that it covers the hatch so if it's raining straight down you can have the hatch wide open. If it's blowing you'll have to slide the hatch partway or all the way shut. I can be protected under it and reach the tiller easily, and all I have to do is lean backward a little to look up and see the sail and windex.

Anyway, the way snow swirls around it was finding its way down in the cabin even with the hatch slid shut. I was wishing for a dodger insert I could zip to the front of the bimini and attach somehow to the cabin top. Snaps, maybe? It might be a fun project to make one.

I really enjoyed the snow sailing, but a little more protection would have been nice.
Consider a good XY zipper on the front Bimini.....make the front window separately with strataglass and a 3 inch border of sumbrella then the other side of the zipper. ....put snaps in the end you will attach to the boat. Drill and seal the attachment points for the snaps in the fiberglass

You can zip it out or use it for complete protection.
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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

Me jealous.

Over here on the east coast of Newfoundland only the truly daring, or foolhardy, would dare attempt to sail into late Fall and Winter. My boat is high and dry till next May/June .

Ive spent a little time sailing the west coast out of Vancouver. I have a grand vision (which is far less than a plan) of eventually washing up on your shores. At my current speed I should make it there in 15 years. Although if the NW Passage continues to open up maybe I could cut that down to 10 years .

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

That is awesome Schock. With your "mild" winters and nice enclosure you should be able to get some year round sailing in. I think it will be really nice in spring when you can get a head start on cruising with an enclosed porch on your boat.

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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Me too, but we have them as well and they truly extend the sailing season. We notoriously sail to Block Island around the first of May. No one is there, but us (and friends we talk into the flotilla). It usually pretty cold, but I wear a t-shirt inside the enclosure. The key to making ours so versatile is that all our winches are inside the enclosure and allow full swing of a winch (if necessary, as most are electric).







I say, don't be a hero. Enjoy the comfort and extended sailing. The greenhouse affect may actually warm the cockpit too much. We often roll up the rear panel, but keep the rest in place to prevent the cold air from requiring foulies. Literally t-shirts. The big downside is view of the sails. I can look up through a clear panel above the helm. We can see through the front of the dodger, of course. I will often poke my head up over the bimini, by standing at the open rear panel. However, the typical position of hiking up on the rail, near the helm, to watch the sails is out. No matter, I'm better trimmed there than I would be on the hard.



Have a great time this winter!
The reason I am not sure about sailing with the full enclosure is because of the visibility ahead. I don't even like looking through Dodger windows so I tend to look over the Dodger or sit outboard and look around it. The distortion caused by the soft plastic windows with rain on them makes it much harder to spot crab pots and deadheads. Maybe I will get used to it.

The side panels have zippered cutouts we can remove to allow full use of the winches, so if I can get used to the visibility we could stay pretty warm and cozy while still sailing.

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Re: Gearing up for Winter Cruising

I am surprised that I see a number of boats without even a dodger, Bimini let alone a full enclosure. I guess most are racers. But, seems to be not to comfortable being exposed to the elements while cruising even in summer.

Mike
Currently: Heading to warm waters over the winter on a variety of boats.

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