Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beating the Heat

Erie Canal Lock 20
43 08.63 N 075 17.50 W

There's a heat wave underway here right now.  Yesterday was about 95F and humid.  Today will be more of the same.  That makes a good time to talk about beating the heat while on the boat.  Need I mention that Libby and I are both very intolerant of hot muggy weather.

First and foremost, half the boat is in the water all the time, so interior temperatures are mitigated.  That means it is cooler in summer and warmer in winter inside the boat than outdoors.  Therefore, for all but the most extreme weather events, we don't need to do anything special.   The best summer location is Maine in summer.  The water there is very cold, thus keeping the boat very comfortable.  The winter water temperature in the Florida Keys and The Bahamas is also very warm because of proximity of The Gulf Stream.

Second, we migrate North and South every year specifically in pursuit of temperate  weather.  You won't find us in Vermont in winter, or Florida in summer.  In the fall and spring, we're most likely spending time in North Carolina.  We do that to avoid those extreme weather events.

Third, we circulate the air.  We have a half dozen or so Hella muffin fans.   On low speed, they do well at circulating air without making much noise.  It is amazing how much a tiny bit of breeze helps.

Fourth, we have a wind scoop that can bring air in via the forward hatch.   The problem with that is that it only works when we are at anchor and the bow faces into the wind, and during heat waves there tends to be no breeze to catch.

Fifth, I once bought a battery-operated hand-held fan that includes a water bottle and a fogger nozzle.  You spray your face, then blow air on it.  Ir really cools, but the battery compartment soon fell apart so I can't keep it running.   Such a device violates the KISS principle.

Others who are tied up to a dock all summer, can use window fans and even air conditioners.  They make marine heat pumps that work very well both winter and summer.  However, without shore power, they are useless.

A frustrating component is mosquitoes.  When the sun goes down in the Northeast, air temperatures cool rapidly.  That is the same time when interior temperatures reach maximum inside the boat.  We would go out for a walk at dusk except that mosquitoes are most voracious exactly then.

When we get to Champlain, we can use a better method -- jump in the lake.  A quick plunge causes an instant attitude adjustment, and it can be reapeated as often as necessary.

When all else fails, I do what I'm doing today.  I'm hiding out in a public library during the hottest hours of the day.  

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