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Where has the time gone?! Wrapper's Delight.

First of all, we are very sorry for taking so long between posts.  We won't bore you with the details, but just know it has been a very busy and difficult couple months in our work and personal lives.  So again, sorry.

Oh shit it's winter again!  Well, at least it seemed that way this past weekend when we got our first snow of the year.  After learning so much last winter we are doing some things differently this year, not everything, but some things.  We aren't wrapping the boat until January.  That has the most to do with the fact that we want to take Cygnet out for New Year's Eve.  You see, this year, Chicago is premiering a New Year's Eve shindig like NYC.  It just so happens that it is based on both sides of the river near Michigan Ave. which is a short ride from our marina.  Hopefully the weather holds up and we can have a front row seat for the "star ascension" without dealing with any crowds.

Once we wrap we will be snuggled in for the winter which everyone except the Farmer's Almanac says is supposed to be mild due to El Niño.  We hope the Almanac is wrong since last winter was a hard one with a lot of very cold days and almost no respite in January and February.  The spring ended up quite cool as well, so it made winter seem extra long.
Manny and his crew in progress wrapping a couple BIG Ocean Yachts.

Same boat, with wrap and prepped for wrap.

This past weekend we got the first snowfall of the year but it wasn't deep here as opposed to the foot plus that some northern suburbs saw.  In terms of the other things we are doing differently we are running heaters from cords rather than from our boat.  Last year we had three electric space heaters plugged into outlets on Cygnet and were constantly monitoring the amps to keep them in the safe range.
Snowy Sister Ships
This year we got a new 30 amp cord that Ts into three standard 120v three prong outlets and we are running very heavy duty extension cords into the engine room and through a window to run heaters inside without having to plug into Cygnet.  We are still running a couple small heaters through Cygnet for now, but they don't use more than 20 amps together so we have some cushion.  Different sources have told us different things about the actual amperage available to us, some say since we are running a 50 amp cord at 125 volts we only have about 30 amps of safe power, others say the 50 amp shore service is a full 50 amps and we can use it all.  To be safe we keep it under 30 most of the time but when the water heater and fridge kick in with two space heaters, the TV, and battery charger going it sometimes sits around 40 amps for a minute or two.  We are keeping a close eye on it after our meltdown last year.

We've also been using our reverse cycle A/C unit to heat a lot, but it's loud so we only use it when we have to.  It's on it's own circuit and power cord.  I say "it" even though we have three units since the fore and aft units are not working anymore.  The fan and compressor turn on, but they don't make heat in the winter or cool in the summer.  We spent a lot of money installing digital thermostats that worked great at first, but it's very disappointing that they don't work anymore.  We plan to troubleshoot them soon to get them back to operational.  Another thing to add to the list.  The main unit in the salon works great on the original control knobs we never replaced.  We can slightly adjust the temperature and fan but it never cycles on or off, just makes a lot of noise all the time.  At least the heat works great, it's not uncommon for the boat to be 80 degrees in the morning on a night below freezing.

We've covered the air vents to the engine room and that has helped tremendously with keeping it cozy down there and are also blocking the sink drains and bathroom vents when we aren't using them.  You would be amazed at how much cold air comes through the sink drains that go directly outside!  We are also putting the old school plastic shrink wrap on the windows just like last year, but this year we've decided to do it on the outside instead of inside.  Our hope is that it will stick better and keep more drafts out.  Plus it will look better from inside the boat and be easier to apply now and remove in the spring.
Plasticized windows and taped up vents make for warmer digs.
So Water We Thinking about our upcoming winter?  We are sad that summer is over, we had a great one and a very mild fall.  Now is the time when people think we are nuts, and honestly we aren't enthusiastic for winter, but we are better prepared this year and expect to have a much better time with controlling the temperature inside Cygnet.  Maybe those will be our famous last words.

Not everyone goes to the extremes that our resident engineer does to wrap their boat.


  1. Just discovered your interesting blog. Your writing and photos are all interresting. We live in MEXICO, but have a son in Chicago. We want to spend more time in the windy city, and are wondering. If we bought a sail or power boat no longer than 27 feet and are not fussy about the marina, could we keep the costs down? Any comments would be appreciated. Look forward to reading more of your blog.

  2. Jake,

    The marinas in Chicago are all run by Westrec with the exception of River City and Marina Towers. Those are the only two places that you can keep the boat year round, all Westrec slips on the lake are summer only. Rates for a 27' boat in a slip (not a floating can) would be about $3500 from May-November but then you'd need to find storage for winter which might run you about $1500. In River City you'd probably be looking at $5000-$6000 for the whole year. You'd have to use your Son's address to get those rates since they charge a 50% premium for people without city of Chicago addresses. If you consider that affordable check out for more info.

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