Coping With Hot Weather
From Porto , Portugal , onwards, I found the heat sometimes too much. By the time we got to Lagos on the south coast of Portugal , I found the afternoons from 12pm to 4pm pretty unbearable. Nigel and Daniel seem to be more resistant!
Whether you are inside the boat, outside the boat, on the beach, or wandering around a new town, it is too hot during this time. Some solutions which we worked out were :
- to buy a wind scoop which we did in Portimao, on the south coast of Portugal, fix it over the front hatch, and lie in the front cabin straight under it;
- to use all the awnings we have to shade the boat and so avoid the inside heating up quite so much;
- to go into town and have a very long lunch in an air-conditioned cafÃ©;
- to spend the afternoon in the sea, and to buy a large beach parasol and sit under it on the beach like the Spanish do;
- to install air conditioning and run the generator to run it, which is noisy but good to get cool for a bit;
- Nigel installed a cockpit shower when we were in Formentera in the Balearics, which we can use sparingly to soak ourselves and stay cooler through evaporation.
- In marinas where we could get mains electricity, we used a large fan set into the forward hatch to pull air through the boat, and later we used any mains electricity for our air conditioning. In a harbour or marina, the temperature in the boat during day or at night is higher, because you are closer to land, sheltered from any wind, and you do not usually face into the wind that there is, so our wind scoop will not work very well if at all. The big fan was in constant use when we were in Adra in SE Spain , as the night-time temperature outside was 28 degrees, and the boat was difficult to cool down. There, we were tied alongside a Dutch boat where the owner had a portable air conditioning unit which worked extremely well, and in Adra there were at least seven shops within easy walking distance which sold various types of air conditioning units. So the decision was made, and after a few difficulties (language, and a portable unit which didn’t work), we finally had a split air conditioning unit installed on the boat. The indoor unit was mounted in the saloon with the drain out onto the side deck, and the outdoor unit was mounted in the front cabin, with the air extracted to outside using the fan initially. This was very noisy and we later found a suitable large diameter exhaust hose to take out the air, and dispensed with the large fan for the moment.
For next year, we have also the following options which we will try to make the heat affect the boat less:
- We can paint the side-decks in white instead of light grey. When the grey bits are too hot to stand on, we can still stand on the white bits, consequently the heat transferring to the inside of the boat will be reduced. The awnings do not sufficiently stop the sun reaching the side decks. The main deck can remain grey as the awnings shade most of it anyway when we are at anchor or in port, and when on the move grey is the better colour to avoid dazzling us when we are driving, keeping watch or otherwise out on deck;
- We can put more insulation in the boat especially under the side decks, possibly sheets of polystyrene;
- Nigel is planning to make an option to mount the big fan in the cockpit entrance, which we can use to pull air out of the centre of the boat, and consequently in through the front and back;
- We can buy or make more wind scoops for other areas of the boat;
- We can get further awnings made to give greater coverage, although they are expensive.
Notes Dec 2008 :
In Trinidad we installed a number of 12v fans around the boat, following the advice of other sailors. Although they draw from our batteries, our improved solar panel and battery capacity (anotherÂ improvement madeÂ in Trinidad) allows the extra draw. The fans make a huge differenceÂ in comfort !
Our 240v generatorÂ failed in Trinidad so we cannot power our air conditioning unless in a marina. So it doesn’t get used often now!
Nigel fitted a deckwash hose system for washing the anchor or decks with salt water, it is also useful for cooling people in emergencies!
For the children we can use a paddling pool on deck or in the cockpit, for play and keeping cool! While anchored we use salt water, but if we can tie to shore we use fresh water.
Swimming is often possible when anchored, but in busy harbours the water isn’t very clean.