Friday, October 23, 2015

A Better Way to Heat a Boat

Last Fall we tried an inexpensive way to heat Breeze On in during the cold evenings and mornings. It was less than effective. This year we wanted to try something else that would heat the boat more effectively and allow us to extend our season a bit longer. I read about the Mr. Heater Little Buddy propane heater on The Boat Galley blog. We tried our new Little Buddy this morning for the first time. When we woke up it was 51.9 degrees outside and 55.2 degrees inside. George fired up the Little Buddy and the inside temperature went up to 61.5 within a half-hour and 65.3 after an hour of use. Not bad. We are quite happy with our Little Buddy.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Solution to Our Too-Short Slip (we hope)

We love where we live. We love our town and our condo. The view from our condo is stunning and always interesting. Our condo also came with its own deep water slip. The only problem is that the slip is 23 feet long and our boat is 40 feet long.

Photo of our slip taken from our balcony

We have tried and tried to find a solution. George even talked to the Army Corps of Engineers to find out if we could add pilings to extend the slip. He was told that we couldn't since the slip is adjacent to a federal channel and turning basin. This issue actually has to do with dredging. If the channel were to be dredged in the future there needs to be a buffer zone. The law states that the width of the buffer zone has to be three times the depth of the channel and/or turning basin. Although Cambridge Creek hasn't been dredged in years and there are no plans to dredge it in the future it would require an actual act of congress to change the law. We briefly considering going for the act of congress but that would take years and lots of money in lawyer's fees.

My next plan involved widening the slip (the slip is barely wider than the boat) and adding a "med mooring". It is a type of mooring system frequently used in the Mediterranean. The stern of the boat is tied up perpendicular to a wall and the bow of the boat is secured to lines that are tied between the wall and an anchor submerged a few boat-lengths from the wall. Lately we thought about giving up on the idea of the med mooring and just widening the slip and parking the boat there only when the winds were very light. We got permission from the condo board and the owner of the slip adjacent to ours to move pilings into a "no-man's land" on a corner between our slip and the next one (on the left side of our slip in the photo.). We were all set to have the work done when our piling guy told George we needed to apply for a permit. It would take at least 3 months to get the permit. Arrrrggggghh!

Last week we went to the boat show in Annapolis and think we stumbled on a solution. We visited the TideSlide booth only because Mark Baluha had a cool display and we were curious about the system. A boat in a very narrow slip up the creek uses it. We described our situation to Mark and he said "no problem". The system would secure our boat in it's too-short slip very nicely. The system was actually designed to secure boats in hurricanes and has been successful for 16 years. Not a single boat using it has been damaged. The idea is that you tie your boat to slides that move up and down stainless steel poles that are mounted to the pilings.

Photos taken from TideSlide website

The lines are tied very snug and keep the boat from moving back and forth. It is actually better to have a smaller slip and shorter lines. We could add this system, save the time and money required to widen our slip and rest assured that our boat is secure. I am so psyched!!!

The other day we made our first attempt to back into our very small slip just to see if we could do it. There was no wind and we had friends on board to help if necessary. It was much easier than I imagined it would be.

We are now in the process of taking measurements so we can order the system and install it. We also plan to talk to the owner of the boat up the creek and ask how he installed it and how he likes it. I am hoping we can get it done before our season is over.