Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Prepping for Winter - Part 4

It's not the cold that gets to you -- it's the condensation!

We've been told numerous times that we have to be careful about condensation and the potential for mold during the winter months. Essentially, the temperature difference inside the boat versus outside plus the general humid conditions related to being on the water can cause a moisture buildup on the interior of the boat. One of the worst areas for this issue is the inside of our hanging lockers (aka closets for you landlubbers).

You've probably seen condensation on the inside of certain windows in your house during the winter months. Now picture that inside your closet, touching your clothes, making a general mess of things. One sailboat friend told me that a heroic drycleaner was able to salvage a suit that had been left hanging in the back of a storage locker and was almost destroyed by mold. I like my drycleaner but I don't want her to have to take epic steps to save my clothes. So we've taken preventative steps....

I have two cedar lined lockers in the master stateroom.

(Yes, ladies, that is the extent of my hanging closet space. My husband uses the hanging space in the guest stateroom. It's not so bad once you get used to it.)

My friend, Malcolm, had some extra Reflectix Insulation that he gave to me. The insulation acts as a vapor/moisture barrier that should help protect my clothes. I now have space age lockers:

Each of my lockers also has a Pingi:
Each of these satchels is a mini-dehumidifier that can be recharged in a microwave. When the penguin image turns pink I pop it in the microwave and put it back in the closet.

I'll be sure to check everything a few times this winter and make adjustments if necessary. Many thanks to all of the boaters around us -- they've given us so many tips as we enter the cold season.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prepping for Winter - Part 3

That title is a complete lie - there is no more time for prepping - winter is already here.

The almanac has predicted a wet and cold winter. Baltimore has already seen two snowstorms. The calendar may not say winter but the temperature and white landscape say otherwise. It's a good thing we had already done some prep work in November (Prepping for Winter - Part 1 and Part 2).

We returned home on Sunday to a frozen reverse-cycle heat system.
What the heater should look like.
What the heater looked like on Sunday.
So....no more "central heat" for us. This is normal on a boat. The reverse-cycle heat will no longer work once the water temperature dips below approximately 42 degrees. We were prepared for this; we had already purchased a combination of oil filled electric radiators:
And ceramic cabin heaters:
So we are sitting nice and toasty inside the boat. However, the radiators don't move the warm air around the same way "central air" moves air around. So, while the foot of my bed is a warm 65 degrees:
The head of my bed is a bit colder at 57:
But that's why they make blankets.

We are fortunate that the previous owners foresaw the potential challenges of winter life aboard the boat. They installed power outlets connected to three of the four HVAC systems which can power the electric heaters when the reverse cycle heat is off. This means that the large amperage draw needed for the electric heaters is distributed evenly through the installed HVAC breakers therefore not affecting the normal outlets and appliances. Before we plugged into these "new" outlets, our wonderful heaters were tripping breakers and causing headaches.
We also purchased an engine room heater to keep everything in that space from freezing during the winter. This includes the water pipes, the engines themselves, the hot water tank, etc. Imagine if your basement had absolutely no heat during the water -- disastrous! This heater kicks on whenever the space dips below 40 degrees. It then heats up until it reads 50 degrees and the cycle starts all over again.
All nice and cozy now? Good because marinas are gorgeous when it snows:
Still loving this crazy, floating life!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Boat Parade

Just like a home, boats are often decorated both inside and out for the holidays. One of the best ways to show off the decorations is by participating in a Lighted Boat Parade. We were lucky enough to be invited onto a friend's boat for the Middle River Parade of Lighted Boats.

Before you let loose the lines, you need to decorate the blank canvas:

Boat railings are a natural location for lights attached with zip ties.
Cords can be hidden in the canvas.
Attach snowflakes to the arch.
Employ a boat hook and bungee cords to hold up a string of lights on the bow.
Include a mascot.
Plug it all in and invite friends for the ride.
Many boats arrived at the starting marina while there was still a bit of light:
Baltimore Pride

High-tech tree stand.
It's a new species -- Umbrella Jellyfish!

Some boats must make the boat parade circuit. I saw this boat in the Baltimore parade last year:
They even had a train whistle.
Apologies for the blurry nature of the picture -- trying to take a picture in the dark of a boat covered in lights traveling in the opposite direction of the boat you are on is not ideal for crisp photographs.
More boats:

Starting to line up.

Hopefully we can get our act together and participate in a parade next year. Any suggestions on how you would like to see our boat decorated?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Fun

When you live on a boat you get lots of questions about your lifestyle. Numerous people have asked me about Christmas -- What about decorating? Where are you going to store all the decorations? Eek! How are you going to put up a tree? The short answer to all of the questions is: "Yes, I still decorate for Christmas, however, my style has become very minimalist."

Many moons ago I had two big tubs full of Christmas decorations. I now have this box.
Thanks to Latte for entering the picture and providing scale.
The upper windows in the salon have curtains.
Push them aside, and ta-da! ideal place for hanging ornaments and stockings.

And I found room for a couple other favorite decorations.

Come back tomorrow for pictures of boats all decked out for the Middle River Parade of Lighted Boats.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Neighbors

It's the time of year when boats are finding their winter homes -- either on land or in a slip. It looks like our November neighbors are here for the long haul.

You may recognize this boat from a previous post. Grand Passion is here for the winter and we are excited to have friends so close by.
"Grand Passion" - Ocean 44
No, you aren't seeing double. We have two of the same model sailboat directly across from each other on the dock.
The first one arrived in October. This is the more recent addition.
Anybody want to place bets on the possibility of anyone new arriving before next spring?