Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Planning for Winter

We’ve always known that as constant cruisers we would be spending winter on the canal. It’s now time to commence some preliminary planning for our first winter.  Obviously our original plan would have seen us on Waiouru throughout the summer and with plenty of time to settle into life on the canal.  However these plans have obviously changed. 

Although we were in Australia during the last UK winter we were able to gain an understanding of the conditions with many boats being frozen in and some stories of burst pipes, etc.

The first thing I want to know was how severe the coming winter was likely to be.  Well it appears it’s likely to be similar to last year <click here>.  Although a Google search threw up a number of sources for a long range forecast they all appeared to be using the information from the link above.

So when living on board we should be prepared for severe weather and probably be “iced in” for some of the time.  I think there are five essential factors we will need to manage.

Fuel.  Whilst we do not intention to cruise during the period we will need fuel for heating along with limited propulsion in order to empty the blackwater tank.

Water.  Another essential.  We must remember to top up the tank on a regular basis just in case the supply pipe freezes (or the canal).

Food.  We will need to ensure we have an emergency supply of food.  Probably a mixture of canned and dry.  We may also be able to count on being able to leave some food in the cratch and cockpit areas where the cold will assist in preserving it.

Waste.  I can see we will need to keep a close eye on the weather forecast to ensure we don’t get trapped with an almost full blackwater tank.  Better to empty it 3/4 full than start going cross-eyed (and legged).Smile

Clothing.  We left Australia with only a limited amount of clothing and there isn’t exactly a great demand in Australia for cold climate apparel.  We need to start buying winter clothing.

I recall when we were living in Singapore how I longed for a cold day!  After 20 years living in Australia it has been quite a while since we experienced really cold weather so in some ways we (perhaps me!) are/is looking forward to the experience.  . However back in the distance recess of my mind is a small voice telling me………. I might regret that last comment!


Peter and Margaret said...

Hi Tom, re keeping food in the covered cratch area. The boat next door but one to us did this last winter and was attacked overnight by the local wildlife who gnawed a hole in his brand new cover to get at it. Probably best to restrict it to canned items as a result. Also, you need to keep an eye on planned BW stoppages for lock gate repairs etc. which might restrict movement in order to empty tanks. Many liveaboards have a backup system in the form of a black water pump, to empty out 25 litres which can then be taken to the nearest services. Our method is two backup portables with removable tanks, but have never had to use them yet. Regards, Peter.

Lesley NB Caxton said...

Hi Tom
We have experienced 3 winters aboard Caxton and we usually continuously cruise - we are now moored in Stourport while our new boat is being built -
Each year we have been iced in, the last winter being the hardest and longest period of sub zero temperatures.
1. We carry two jerry cans of spare diesel
2. Last year we bought a 35 litre water carrier
3. We have a cassette toilet but many boaters who have opted for a holding tank also have a porta-potti for emergency use.
4. You will need warm waterproof gloves.
5. We have never run out of food!

Tom and Jan said...

Waiouru will have two side lockers in the cratch and an storage area under the deck. The vermin will need to eat through 4mm of steel :-)
I like the idea of the spare diesel jerricans and water. However I'm not sure what we would do with them in summer.