Friday, July 4, 2014

Cold is Coming

It is summertime in Miami, and I came awfully close to melting today.  We were out running some errands, and when I stepped out of the car, I stepped into what felt like a sauna.  And I wasn't in a sauna kind of mood.  Sticky, wet, insufferable heat.  Ordinarily, I'd say that the summer heat in Miami is exaggerated--most days, it is no hotter or more humid than most cities on the East Cast.  This did not feel like one of those days.

And yet, it's not heat on my mind, but cold.  Before long, we'll be in New York, and before long thereafter, it will be wintertime in New York.  Icy, insufferable cold.

We are taking several steps to prepare Sea Gem (and ourselves) for winter, which will be our first in years and Sea Gem's first in...forever.  So far, we installed and sealed the storm windows, and Krissy bought a bunch of big coats.  With the low-hanging fruit now picked, it is time to move onto the more difficult tasks, such as insulating the hull.

Sea Gem's hull is solid fiberglass, and although that method of construction has many advantages, it is a poor insulator.  (The deck, on the other hand, is fiberglass with a thick plywood core, which is a decent insulator.)  And so, to help Sea Gem retain heat in the coming winter, we are going to insulate as much of the hull as possible.

The best time to insulate a boat's hull is when the boat is being built and the hull is fully exposed.  That ship sailed almost 28 years ago, unfortunately, and so we now need to disassemble portions of the interior in order to access the hull to install the insulation.  Some portions of the hull would require way too much destruction and reconstruction to access, so we unfortunately will not be able to insulate the entire boat.  But we will do as much as we can, which will hopefully be enough to make a real difference.

We decided on using a foil-covered bubble-wrap material called Reflectix, which easily conforms to the curves of Sea Gem's hull, is (relatively) easy to install, and does not absorb water. 

Reflectix
As an added bonus, the foil is highly reflective to radar, and we should therefore be easier to spot by big ships while at sea.
The downside of Reflectix is that it is not as good an insulator as many of the thicker, foam-based alternatives.  To get the most out of the Reflectix as possible, we will be installing two layers--one against the hull and a second facing the hull on the inside of the interior cabinetry, with an air layer in between. 


First Layer
Will this do the trick?  We'll find out just as soon as we leave this extreme heat and enter the extreme cold.

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