Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tired of the Cold and Blow

Today was another day of very below normal temperatures for Key West.  I am frankly tired of it all.  Yes, I know that it is much colder North of me.  But there is a difference.  At anchor (rather than in a marina tied up to a dock) everything has a price.  The price is usually not only money but inconvenience.  For example, there are (at the moment) three ways of generating heat on Reboot.  The first is to use an electric heater.  This runs the batteries down in a matter of minutes, so in order to use it you run the engine.  This uses diesel fuel.  A second way is to run the small propane heater.  This uses screw on cartridges at the rate of one each 4 or 5 hours.  Not only expensive, but doesn’t make for a long night sleeping.  One could, of course, hook the small propane heater up to the big propane tanks.  That requires a couple of adapters.  I have been able to purchase all but one of the required adapters as I write this.  The final way is to run the stove.  This generates quite a bit of heat from the big propane tanks.  Of course when they get empty it will be a 45 minute round trip walk to get them filled.  Of course I do have the permanent propane heater still in a box as other tasks have taken priority.  That will be more efficient than any of the afore mentioned options but requires about 20 hours of labor to get hooked up and running.

The second problem is that Reboot, like most boats, has no insulation.  It takes less than 15 minutes after you turn off the heat for the boat to revert back to the ambient temperature.  Since it is also sitting in a big bathtub of water the water temperature has a big impact on the temperature inside the boat too.  Of course, with this extended cold snap the water temperature has been dropping like a stone.

A second (and third, I suppose) rule of boats is that all projects have some glitch that stops them dead, and that all projects take at least 4 times as long as estimated.  Today Maury hoisted me up to the top of the mast to do a number of items:  replace the Windex, run wires for the Windex light, run the control cable for the Garmin wind sensor, and replace the bulb in the anchor light.  Score:  the Windex mount is frozen – I can’t get it unscrewed, the Windex and Garmin wind sensor wires are down the mast but we can’t get them out of the bottom, and given that once up on top the wind freshened to about 25 very cold knots I completely forgot to put the new bulb in the anchor light.  And so it goes…

The winds will shift eventually.  When they shift to the South we will get a blast of very warm and damp air from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.  The problem is that the forecast suggests this will happen very quickly – translation – winds approaching or exceeding gale force (35 knots).  We are nicely tucked in and protected from everything except – you guessed it – gale force winds from the south!  So we will move back to the north side of Sigsbee until the winds decide to shift back to the north again.

Of course next week is forecast to be quite calm and nice.  That is why next week is Key West Race Week, one of the largest international sailing regattas.  So they can come down and bob around with no wind.  LOL!  But Ace is planning on coming down, and after that I am taking Reboot to the Bahamas for a few weeks.

With all my complaining above I should point out that I am very fortunate that I did not go to the Bahamas a couple of weeks ago.  The weather has also been very cold but in addition there have been very large seas – I know of at least two couples that have been stuck on their boats for the better part of two weeks!


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