Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cooking with Gas! (We're in High Cotton)

Hello all:
The title of this post reflects not our cooking capabilities, but our heat! As you probably know, "cooking with gas" refers to the 1920s-era when gas started being piped into homes for cooking (rather than using a wood stove); "high cotton" is a southern expression referring to the best part of the crop! Alongside this text will be photos of the furnace (all except the heat shield in the aft cabin that Doug just tied around the insulation-wrapped exhaust with Monel wire).

As you know, Doug not only maintains the Winnie W, he *improves* it! Several years ago, knowing my (KK) intolerance of cold weather, he installed a diesel furnace that pipes heat to all sections of the boat, so the boat warms up *everywhere*, all at once! This is a big deal; our reverse cycle heater (or air conditioning, depending on the season) has two sections that leaves most corners of the cabin cold. Using water for our heat exchange helps somewhat but the same principles as with air apply here.

The toughest part was the furnace exhaust; it required a long pipe to be bent & welded so as to run from the engine room to the aft cabin roof. The whole system worked well until the heat shield for the exhaust shook loose, probably during those rough days on Lake Michigan. Doug has been mulling over this repair for several weeks, and last night, arrived at a solution (the Monel wire), and we had *heat* last night and this morning! This is important because it has been in the high 30s and low 40s at night, and will remain so until we get further south.

These photos show the furnace itself, in the engine room; the installation of one of the heaters (small radiators with 12V fans) which provide about 7500 BTUs of real heat; and the installed heater in our head (bathroom) which makes showering on a cold night just as comfortable as you'd be at home.

And here is where we spent last night (Nov 10), anchored near Goat Island on Guntersville Lake (link to GoogleMap). You can see the dam and lock chambers at the lower left.

Hope you all are well & happy, Kathie & Doug


Ben said...

Hi Doug and Kathie,

Do you guys plan to a schedule per se, or is it follow the Loop, staying longer in nicer places, schedule be danged?

Are you more hurrying to get south because of winter coming?

I really like the pictures in the blog. The mechanical issues are very interesting. I've looked at quite a few other Looper blogs, and yours is definitely top tier.

Thanks for the great reading!


Winnie W. said...

Thanks very much for your kind remarks.

It's difficult to hurry in a 7-knot boat, but FWIW we are trying to get further south. In Aberdeen MS we had a hard frost.... ice on the deck in the morning... prob'ly wouldn't have this problem in Florida. Plus we are far behind the majority of the Great Looper fleet.

Our schedule is very loose, we would like to get to Mobile around the beginning of December, then get to southern Florida by early January. We expect to be back home by March or April.... that's really all the schedule we have!

The difficulty with making a tight schedule is that travel by water is far more dependent on weather than most people are willing to admit; then you also have the possibility (or strong probability, if you're acquainted with Judge Murphy) of the boat giving trouble. Lastly, there is the certainty that in order to compensate for the above-mentioned issues, when trying to keep a schedule, you will miss the best side-trips on the cruise and not enjoy it as much.