Friday, November 28, 2014

A Wet Winter

We expected that moving Sea Gem from the tropics to the tundra would involve some growing pains.  We were certainly concerned about the cold weather, and ours fears have so far proven to be well founded.  Oddly enough, though, the problem with the cold has not been the temperature--Sea Gem has thus far been surprisingly easy to keep toasty warm.  Rather, the problem with the cold has been the wet. 

On our first cold, rainy day of the season, we noticed puddles of water forming underneath our hatches.  Our hatches had never leaked before...why would they all start leaking now?  I thought that perhaps the gaskets had shrunk in the cold, and so I tightened the latches.  My solution was a failure, and the water just kept coming. 

We soon discovered that our hatches were not leaking, but that the moist air inside the boat was condensing (at a frightening speed) on the cold metal frames of the hatches (much like a cold can of soda) and then dripping onto the floor.  We soon discovered the same problem with our metal ports, which caused water to slowly drip down the sides of the hull.  In certain places, water even condenses on the sides of the hull itself, which we discovered when we opened our closet to find that all of our clothes were soaking wet--condensation and wicking. 

After discussing the problem with our neighbors, who have lived on their boat the past three winters, we were provided with a solution (or at least a partial one): shrink-wrap the inside of all of the ports and hatches. 

Door to Aft Cockpit
Although the shrink wrap doesn't provide much insulation, by providing an air-tight barrier between the hatch and the warm, moist air inside the boat, there is no moisture available to condense on the cold frames. 

Covered Hatch
After spending several hours with a roll of double-sided tape, plastic wrap, and a hair dryer, our ports and hatches are finally free of condensation.  The closet, though, is another matter... 

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