Much of this trip will be in cold weather. Even in the height of summer, the water in the Saguenay and Gaspe regions does not climb much above 10 Celsius and as the saying goes, we will be “Chasing 60″ as we continue south to Florida. That’s 60 degrees Fahrenheit that we’re talking about. Traditional wisdom is that boaters should not be south of the Chesapeake region before the beginning of November when the hurricane season is starting to wind down. It’s a hard call though because the later you leave that area, the colder you’ll be while on route to Florida – we’re hearing that some years, there can be frost on the deck first thing in the morning even in Georgia.
So, even though we’re eventually going south, we’re going north east first and then dragging our heels south. To keep the crew warm and happy on Strathspey, we’ve installed an Espar diesel heater, complete with ducting and vents.
Before we even started the installation, we spent an entire day planning the location of the ducting and vents; yet no matter how we arranged and re-arranged things, we still lost 50% of valuable wet locker space in the process.
Using that old rule “measure twice, cut once”, Blair cut vent holes in the pristine cherry below deck. After pushing and pulling ducting throughout the boat, on day four, with far more confidence than I felt, Blair cut what seemed to me to be a massive exhaust hole in our stern. That was definitely the point of no return in this particular project.
It took another day to wire the heater to the panel but when the switch was flicked, we had heat. We are so pleased with this installation that anytime other boaters drop by to check out the installation we are happy to switch on the heater and listen to the satisfying sound of the heater slowly working its way from a distant tinny squeal to a full honest-to-goodness roar. Because we’re in an indoor storage area, we’re limited in how long we can let the heater run without getting completely thick headed. The true test will be when we launch next spring and have our first cold rainy weekend on the boat.