Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing for winter

Winterizing's pretty much essential for us, since Kantara's going to be without us for a couple of months. And the job's simple enough, and doesn't take much time. However, despite our best efforts, we've had patches of mould appear over the past three winters - on blinds and in cupboards mainly - and we'd really like to avoid that this year. OK, so taking the blinds down and taking them back to the house is no big deal, but there's something very wrong in the feeling that the boat's going to be allowed to get as cold and damp as the air outside - leaving windows open is recommended, in order to maintain an air flow.

What many people do is have their built-in heating systems switch on automatically when the temperature falls below, say, 5 degrees Celsius. The systems are diesel-fuelled, and it's not an expensive solution. We don't have such a system. Our only option would be to have a thermostatic device plugged into a mains socket, and a bar heater or similar plugged into that.

But we've worked out that this could be very expensive over the period of two very cold months, and we reckon, too, that such low heat would do nothing to keep the air dry. And mould might well grow better in the slightly warmer, damp atmosphere. Not a solution.

However, I read what seems to be a really good idea in an online forum this morning. A dehumidifier. This can be set to reduce the humidity in the boat by set amounts (which is far smaller than the house which these devices are said to be able to deal with), and go to standby when the set level is achieved. It checks 30 minutes later to see if it's needed again. If it is, it reactivates, if not, it goes back to sleep. Obviously, we don't have the windows open when this is working.

The given energy consumption makes it far cheaper to run, and would pay for itself within a year; there are many times it could be used, even when we're on board - wash-day is the prime one.

The device we've just ordered is able to send its collected water through a hose into the sink - surprisingly, most of them don't have that feature - so we don't have to empty a tank two or three times a day! It's been highly commended by other boaters, and by Sailing Magazine, who voted it "Best Buy".

We'll be able to test it before we leave it alone to get on with the job. Fingers crossed!

After using the kettlebell Grace bought the other week, she decided that it's fine for some exercises, but too heavy - at least at the moment - for others, so we returned to the warehouse shop yesterday to but two more, one at 4kg and one at 6. If Grace doesn't get stronger and fitter now, there's something very wrong!

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