Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Winter Prep

So thus far the winter weather here in the north end of the Chesapeake has been pretty benign, but looking at the forecast, we're starting to suspect that that might not last (shocking, I know).  Accordingly, we've been starting some new projects to make Constellation a bit more livable through cold weather.

Cold weather on a boat is a definite mixed bag.  On the one hand, it's a small space, and small spaces are inherently easier to heat.  A simple heater designed for a single room will usually do the trick, and that's fine.

The trouble is, most boats are poorly insulated if at all, and added to that, you'rr sitting in freaking WATER all winter, which makes it a bit warmer in the fall before the water temperature falls, and then makes for a permanent chill for most of the rest of the months until spring.

So the next few entries are going to be a few things we've been doing to make ready, starting with the floors.

The interior floors of a boat tend to be thin, separated from the outer hull by the bilge.  That is, of course, a good thing when the water gets cold, but they still can transmit a lot of chilly onto your feet.  Carpeting, of course, helps.  Last year, we even stacked some waxed cardboard we got from our fishmonger under the carpets for more insulation, which frankly worked pretty well.  But this time we wanted to find something a bit more permanent and a bit more. . .well.  .waterproof.  Our beloved ship's cat, Magellan, has this weird habit of dragging his water bowl around before  he drinks. . .I mean like the entire length of the galley around.  . .and he washes the floor in the process (we call it a "water feature").  We wanted something warmer that wouldn't absorb all the water he throws about and would be easy to clean.
Must. . . Have. . .More. . .Water. . .

After casting about for a bit and consulting with some slipmates, we decided on some interlocking gym floor pads.  The things we got are 3/4" thick interlocking closed cell neoprene foam, immune to oil and water, and pretty cheap (around 24 square feet--which did the galley--for less than $30).

The floor pieces are easily cut with a knife blade.  The seams, once they interlock, are nearly invisible.

And it's surprisingly warm and comfy.

The results were actually kind of remarkable and immediate.  The difference in the flooring temperature was instantly evident, as was the fact that nearly an inch of foam is a lot easier on the knees than fiberglass.  Water also mops up easily.  We know because it took Magellan all of about ten minutes to try the new surface.

So, one task down and several more to come, including our new winter door.

Stay tuned.

Stay Warm


  1. Wow! That's an excellent idea!! I'd like to try that in my mobile home as my floors are freeeeeezing ❄️

    1. Thus far we've been really happy with it. Keeps the toes a lot more comfy