Saturday, November 24, 2007

sailors, waifs and strays

A fellow marina member, Nicola, was kind enough to invite us to visit her house in Marblehead for her annual "sailors, waifs and strays" Thanksgiving dinner.

Jim, another liveaboard, was also going so we were lucky enough to get a ride from him.

We arrived in Marblehead around 3pm, and took a walk around for about an hour. It is a gorgeous place. We would have walked longer, but smells of Thanksgiving meals were lingering in the air, so we went back to Nicola's and had a wonderful meal.

This is the only picture I got of Nicola, the fantastic host. I think she was making faces with one of the children.

Well, that's all for now!


Saturday, November 17, 2007


Pellets burn very, very fast. Because of this, we decided to try a recommendation from a marina friend to try coal in our solid fuel stove. After 48 hours (about 30 of these spent in front of the fire, trying new tactics) we seem to have found a happy medium with the pellets and coal burning. The coal was hard to start and burns slow, but it also dies easily and randomly, and the combination seems like quite a brilliant discovery on our part.

In the meantime, we've had a lot of boat projects.

I finally finished our curtains. The back windows are enormous, and covering them for the winter might actually help us keep the heat in. It is a nice change, because previous to this, we didn't have 100% privacy. The curtains I had hung in the back were see through, and now that we're on a more trafficked dock, we are happy to be able to close ourselves in.

We've been staying warm another way....FOOD. The stove gets everything nice and warm in here, and we're all (Justin, Gollum and I) working on getting an extra layer of fat to keep us warm.

We don't fancy the idea of sinking, as that would NOT be a warm experience. Diver Dan is the man to call to change our zincs, which keep our boat rust-free and happy. It was about 45 degrees outside all day, and the water temperature seems to be about 48 degrees. This was right before he jumped in to change the zincs. We could hear his bubbles while he was under, and this was possibly the most amazing sound I've ever heard in my life.

Gollum isn't sure what to think of the cold weather, but she loves Aunt Pat's blanket and keeps wrapping herself up in it.

Ahh, the flames.

We have been taking insane amounts of trips to Home Depot in friends cars lately to purchase this and that. Today, we spent our time and money on a few stove related projects. Here, you can see the new aluminum sheets that we put down on the floor to save our carpeting. We've already dropped a couple of hot pellets and made a few small burn holes, so the sheets should prevent that and keep us a bit safer. You can also see the new cement board/firewall backing which will keep the bulkhead cooler.

I also made the screen that is sitting on the port side of the picture (haha). I noticed the amount of heat we could feel when we had the door of the heater open, but didn't want sparks to fly out. The screen seems to be working great so far. I doubled it up so that it gave the sparks less of a chance to fly out.

This, in essence, is all sources of heat on the boat. You can see the wood/pellet/coal stove, the coals, the pellets, and the space heater.

Sometimes I have to get a bit closer to feel the full effects of the fire. You can see the new damper that we installed in this picture.

Hot, hot heat.

The screen in use.

We currently have no indoor thermometer, so I have no idea what the temperature is, but I can say that we're keeping it much warmer in here than the outdoor temp. We have a few fans running (the built in fan, a fan from my parents, and a space heater fan...without the heat) and the coals/pellets are keeping us nice and toasty!!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

flue the coop

Yes. It is finally here.

As the above picture shows, we have a bulkhead in our main salon with a full length mirror on it. This is pretty much right as in the center of the room/boat as one can get, so I hung the heater on some crossbars on brackets to either side of the mirror. I think that tomorrow I am going to get an extra piece of steel to go between the heater and the wood hanging brackets I made. These pics are just of the quick-fix setup I have so that we can test the thing out.

The cat seemed impressed during the install phase

This picture is of me lighting it for the first time. Unfortunately all did not go splendidly well. As it turns out the flue (aka: chimney stack) is way too tall and straight for such a little woodstove. In other words our boat is too tall for it. What it caused was a gigantic roaring fire with massive amounts of suction pulling the flame about 2 feet up into the chimney. There are no pictures of this incident because we were too busy freaking out and trying to put the huge fire out. Haha, silly boaters in their floating tinder box. Well, luckily it seems to be an issue I can fix pretty easily. We just have to go to a woodstove store tomorrow and buy a flue damper so that we can close down the updraft a bit and keep the fire from taking in so much air. I certainly hope that this does the trick. We'll be awfully bummed if it doesn't. If not though, there are a couple tricks I have up my sleeve to make it calm down a bit. Lesson learned: less air flow = slower burning, more manageable fire that can get nice and toasty; more air flow = giant raging mad fire that burns all our pellets away instantly and never gives much real heat.

In the meantime though (it was Sunday so woodstove shops were all closed) we were able to make some little bitty fires in it just to play with it. It would burn up all the wood in a matter of minutes, but still fun to play with while we can't do much else.

In the meantime though, we found this amazing thing called an ecofan. Basically it is a fan that is entirely metal, not electric or anything, but runs off of the heat generated from a woodstove. You set it on your stove and the heat causes the two different metals in the fan to create an electric current and thus powering itself. We've found great reviews on them and will likely be purchasing one to help push our stove heat around the boat. Of course, we have to get the stove working properly first.

So overall, we are happy with the stove, just needing to do some chimney work to get it tweaked a bit better first.

Oh, and just in case you wanted one, here is a picture of our pumpkin from Halloween :)

We'll update more as we get along in the heater proper-install phase, hehe. Also I'll try to get some pics of the shrinkwrap frame etc up. Going to try to shrink it up next weekend or perhaps the one after. Depends when we can borrow a heat gun and some labor help.


Friday, November 9, 2007

wood and screws

The shrink wrap frame is built! photos coming soon. Heater is supposed to arrive tonight!

Monday, November 5, 2007

November kicks in

So the heater STILL isn't in. It is killing us. I have all the chimney stacks for it just waiting here. Lets just hope they fit properly when it is install time. Electric heat is sufficing in the meantime.

Hurricane Noel came through out at the Cape on Saturday and it was supposed to create a "major nor'easter" here. All it did was drizzle all day. What a disappointment. We were all hoping for some exciting rough weather. Oh well, careful what you wish for I suppose.

Halloween came and went in the meantime. We carved up a little bitty pumpkin. Perhaps one of us will get the picture up here later.

Other than that, not much has been going on.

Lots of rum.... and homework, somehow.