We made it! We are back home on the boat in North Carolina. Our 14 hour journey looked like this: car—ferry—tram—plane—bus—car—sailboat. My mom is a SAINT and came along with me, W, and Scout. Don’t worry, I’m flying her back first class on Monday—she’s more than earned it!
It took about a day and a half to get the boat back up and running. It’s like we never left! My mom kept W occupied while I de-winterized everything. Huge props to Conor who cleaned the crap out of everything before he left in January. I was honestly surprised that there were no major issues and we came back to a pristine boat. It helped that our friends Zach and Corri (read their post here) checked in on Story Time for us about once per week. They emptied our dehumidifiers, checked the bilge and batteries, and made sure the heat was running.
These are a few tips we swear by if you have to leave your boat for an extended period of time:
Wash and bag all linens, towels, pillows, etc.
Prop up cushions and mattresses to help with air flow
Leave fans and dehumidifiers running to keep things dry
Bleach water tanks
Put vinegar in the toilet
Get a boat babysitter for peace of mind
Store all breakables in a cabinet in case of strong winds
Put more lines out than you think you’d need
Wipe down all surfaces + inside every cabinet with disinfectant wipes. It’s a pain in the butt but you don’t want to come back to any mold!
Damp Rid bags in every closet
For the love of God, empty your holding tank
As for the marina, we have FOUR new liveaboards that moved in while we were gone! I just love that Gottschalk is growing into such a vibrant and active liveaboard community. We love the sense of family here and sharing the lifestyle with others. It is going to be a great summer.
As I sat at my computer earlier this week, all of the sudden I felt a drop of water fall on my head. Skies were clear (but cold), and the hatches definitely weren’t leaking rainwater. I realized it wasn’t coming from outside the boat, but inside! Condensation had accumulated on all the windows, including the ones on the ceiling. Tis the season for the great battle that all boaters must face: excess moisture inside the cabin.
Temperatures have dropped significantly this past week, and instead of running the AC 24/7, we have *gasp* turned on the heat! What we didn’t realize during the summer was how much our AC helped keep the moisture level down in the boat. Add in two full grown adults, a dog, daily cooking, and bathroom usage–a lot of water vapor gets released into a very confined space.
My biggest fear is mold. I’ve taken to wiping down the walls and ceiling inside the boat with antibacterial wipes every few days just in case. Other areas I need to stay on top of are underneath cushions and mattresses, and all those nifty hidey-hole storage spaces that share a wall with the hull. These areas are the most subject to consequences of temperature fluctuations and can accumulate a lot of condensation.
I ordered a dehumidifier from Amazon and we got to use it in our bedroom for the first time last night. I think it made a difference, but I’m excited to see how much water it pulls once it has been running for 24 hours. The good news about living in such a small space is that it doesn’t take much time/power to dehumidify or heat. I’m sure we will find the right balance to get us through the winter. At least we won’t be paying an outrageous heating bill this season! One of the perks of living at our marina–they don’t charge for power usage. So while the temperature drops into the 30s outside, I’ll be toasty warm and cozy in 70 degrees on the boat!
If any other boaters have advice for our moisture problem through the winter, please give us all your tips!