Friday, November 17, 2017

Dealing with Cold III

So we wound having an amazingly  F*%*%*^ing irritating and frustrating day today.  You know the kind.  Tools you needed seem to have dropped into a black hole and reemerged in Calcutta, you discover you've mismeasured, miscounted, and misappropriated just about everything, and you woke up in a pissy mood to begin with.  You know those?

We began working on cutting and seaming and reinforcing the edges of the Flex-o-glass to enclose the pilot house.  It was freaking miserable.  No fault of the materials mind you.  It was a combination of poor planning, general irritability, and Waaaaaaaay too much wind to make doing this comfortable.  Still, we persisted and got one of the panels in to figure out how to proceed.

We've used GorillaTape to rim and reinforce the edges of the Flexoglass and then punched snaps through the tape to be able to connect to screw snaps on the boat.

Snaps set into the gorillatape.
Weve used the GorillaTape/snaps trick before to make screening for our hatches, and it's held up really amazingly well.....I mean our freaking 17 pound cat sleeps on top of the screen and it hasn't collapsed so I count that as a success.  Anyway, the actual installation of the tape and snaps on the Flexoglass is really pretty simple.  The Flexoglass is 4mil, surprisingly tough, amazingly clear, and really pretty simple with which to work.  After many trials and tribulations with which I shan't bore you, we managed to position the snaps on one of the correctly cut panels and install it on the screw snaps on the boat.

See it?  No?  That's the Idea.
The above picture shows what we like about it.  The middle panel is glazed.  No, really, it is.  The stuff is damn near invisible.  You can see against the boat's fiberglass surrounding the cockpit the black outline of the glazing panel, and that's about it.

So apart from being in a crappy mood, hating the wind, and not being well enough organized (which is, apparently, my hobby) we actually did get some decent things done.  We now know how to do this, and will hopefully get lots more done tomorrow, and we learned that. . . .well. . . .the stuff will work.

Okay, we didn't actually know that going into this.

So dinner and a bottle of wine is in order.

More tomorrow


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dealing with Cold II

Well today, finally--FINALLY--the flexoglass showed up for enclosing our wheelhouse.  Flexoglass is a VERY clear plastic sheeting, about 4 mil, that is often used to enclose porches and the like.  We'll be using it to turn our wheelhouse into a greenhouse for the winter.

New support struts to our solar roof to facilitate the enclosure.  Dealing with the weird angles on a sailboat hull can be a challenge.
We spent most of the day installing a series of new support struts to which we'll attach our new, clear membrane around the wheelhouse.  Since this is an old sailboat hull (a cal 2-29 to be specific) some of the angles are, to put it mildly, bizarre.  The Flexoglas turned up way too late today for us to do much about it, so that's the agenda tomorrow.  Will give  you a full report, but, from sitting in the cockpit this afternoon in the sun, the whole concept looks promising.

We've finally gotten a bit of cold weather here on the Chesapeake, but the last couple of days have been beautiful, so we took the opportunity to go hiking in one of our favorite spots, Marshy Point Nature Center.  It's really beautiful this time of year, and, frankly, we need to get out of the boat and get some exercise that didn't involve construction.

Where ever you are, there is a place like this near you.  Take advantage of it.
We love Marshy Point.  It has a great staff, a cool little interpretive center, and miles of well maintained and marked trails through some of the most varied flora and fauna I've encountered.

Really a lovely day to do some hiking.
 This time of year, in particular, the lycopodium stands out.  The club moss looks like tiny pine trees.  It's cheerful, evergreen, has lots of medicinal uses, and is vaguely explosive. . . .

One of the few explosive plants of which I am acquainted.

. . .no kidding about that last one.  The spores were used in flashpans for early photography and are still used for magician's flash powder.

So tomorrow we begin closing in the wheelhouse, which should make for a MUCH more pleasant winter.  Will give you pictures and a description of how we're doing it shortly.

Stay Tuned.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dealing with cold

It's interesting, we've had some pretty unseasonably cold weather here the last few days (following some unseasonably WARM weather) and everyone we run into at the Marina keeps going "are you guys okay?  Are you warm enough?"

Um, thanks for asking.

But if we weren't, we'd be in a hotel.  Seriously, folks,, 80 square feet isn't hard to heat, though you do have to take some things into consideration.  First of all, since most boats are poorly insulated, air leaks are an issue.  We've crammed discarded foam into every crevice we can find in the evenings to make sure we don't lose the heat we have.

Some gonzo foam insulation we stuff in the hatch when we button up for the night
Another issue is, of course, condensation

The confined space of a V berth, covered over with hard, uninsulated fiberglass, is a formula for condensation.  You're in there, you're breathing, and your breath condenses on the ceiling.  It's not impossible for it to rain.  No foolin.

In the original Floating Empire, we had a problem with condensation collecting between the ceiling fabric and the membrane which could suddenly result in a waterfall . . . .of course, directly over the bed.  Here aboard Tesla's Rvenge, there's less of a gap in which water might collect, but still the roof above  your head can glisten with water.  It can get unpleasant.  Partly, we solved that with a small, Peltier device dehumidifier that did a great job of removing moisture from the small space (see here).

Of course, with the first of the cold winds coming on, we took the gizmo out of storage to discover that it's power supply had shorted out.  Ah well.

Candles help.

Right now, it's comfy inside, with our new insulation in place, and some candles going, and lots of blankets in the V birth.  We'll be snug and fine.

Winter aboard a boat is at the same time a problem and rather simple.  Insulate the drafts, deal with the condensation, and you'll be fine.  Frankly, we're looking forward to it.

More shortly

M .

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fall and Winter Prep

Well it's been an unseasonably warm fall here on the Chesapeake. . . .hardly surprising with what's been happening with temperatures everywhere. . . .but we've had our first few chilly nights, and given that, we've begun our cold weather prep here aboard Tesla's Revenge.

Fall here can be drop dead gorgeous.
I've had a number of people ask me what we do for prep, and the general answer is "not a lot".  Really, most boats being rather small spaces, heating them isn't a lot of a challenge, and the Marina installs ice eaters to keep the docks clear of river ice during the few outrageously cold days of winter.

We will be taking some steps, however.  In a week or so (as soon as the materials show up) we'll be glazing in the wheelhouse with flex-o-glass, a super clear glazing film used for enclosing screen porches and the like.  That will turn our wheel area into a big greenhouse during the winter and help keep us cozy. 

We've also installed the carpeting we normally leave up in the summer months to keep our toes warm, and dragged down the heater from the basement up in the marina office 

So when we do finally get some chilly weather, we'll be as ready as. . .well. . .as we get.

People always say "isn't it COLD?" when we say we overwinter on the boat. I always say, yep, outside, just like it is where you live.  Inside an 80 square foot space, keeping it cool enough with a heater is more of a challenge than it being chilly.

I love the Fall here.  The boats are, one by one, being pulled up onto the hard, which frees up our view of the river, and the whole place becomes quiet and peaceful.  Soon, we'll be one of only about 20 or so boats still in the water, and that suits us fine.  By spring, we'll be ready for company, but for now, the quiet, and time to write and cook amazing meals and just relax is at hand, and I'm ready for it.

More shortly.