Now that winter is really over I can finally reflect on our first (and potentially last) full winter season while living aboard. It was a feat I wasn't sure was possible for me, given my chronic winter chill and dislike for slippery surfaces!
Surprisingly the boat held quite a lot of heat, and two space heaters running 24 hours a day was enough to keep the inside spaces at about 50 - 55 degrees farenheit. Add a workhorse of a heated blanket to take the chill off of the sheets and things were surprisingly cozy. When it came to predicting outside air temperature, a bottle of penut oil in our kitchen cubbord was a good clue. If it congealed and turned a little more opaque we knew the temperatures inside were a little closer to 40, meaning it might be in the 20 degree range outside. Either way, socks, slippers, fleece and sweaters were my daily companion upon returning home from work.
One of the wonderful things about winter on a boat is the silence. Hardly a soul ventures out to the marina since many of the boats are lifted out of the water between October and late November of each year, leaving the whole place looking like a private cove. The only sounds were of the bubblers placed near our hull to prevent the water around us from freezing and the occasional heron squawking.
The wind was much more feirce during the winter, a few times making me wonder if we would come loose from our docklines - but they held, just like they always do. The rain was more dismal and stark and each morning meant treacherous walk to the car over water-logged docks that had frozen and thawed and re-frozen during the night. I slipped one morning in January and came down sqarely on my left elbow, leaving it swollen and unusable for several days before range of motion began coming back.
We got a few big snows, mostly in January and February, requiring quite a lot of shoveling to remove the white stuff from the entire length of our dock. I've always thought that the muffling qualities of snow is profound, but added to the already quiet marina, being alone in a snowstorm on a boat is kind of magical.
Our projects over the winter involved some plumbing fixes, a new drawer-style refrigerator installation by the very handy Jason, and a sunbrella fabric purchase for a new curtain project that is under way. We also covered several of our ceiling panels (otherwise known as 'head liners' in boat-speak) with brand new white vynil - a great improvement over the 30-year-old yellowed predecessors. We then picked out new LED lights for the kitchen and stateroom, with updated brushed stainless steel switches to match soon on their way from the EU.
This old boat is getting a new life, and it makes us happy to see the place look more and more like our home all the time. So here's to a brand new sailing season!