Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Do We Beat The Heat?

The sky is more whitish than blue, and the sun is more glaring than shining.  We're experiencing the dreaded HHH (hazy, hot, humid) weather of Washington summertime, with temps in the upper 90s for the next several days.  Dan loves summer warmth, but this is definitely too much of a good thing!

So how do we keep our cool on the boat? 

You'd think we were in the ideal place to keep cool in summer.  After all, what's the first thing you think of for a hot sunny day?  Going to the beach, right?  And we basically are already there since we live on the water all the time.  For much of the summer, we do in fact have it better than folks who live in the city.  Temperatures are a little bit cooler here at the shore than in the concrete jungle of downtown D.C., of course, and there's nothing to block the light breezes that the Chesapeake in summertime is famous for.  So when it's "sorta hot" out, our favorite strategy is to get away from the dock and swing gently at anchor somewhere peaceful.   That, of course, and many pitchers of iced tea or lemonade.

But when it's this hot, with 14-plus hours of sunlight beating down on that fiberglass bubble we call home and outside temps of 95 degrees as I type this, the outdoors doesn't seem so appealing.  A house might be shaded by trees to keep it cooler in summer; obviously we don't have that option.  But we can - and do! - make our own shade by tenting over our boats. Some of the tents are elaborate custom-fit affairs, while others are more impromptu, and still others are downright lumpy; but all at least help to mitigate the solar gain for a boat at anchor while keeping the breezes.  

Some tents:
Quick and easy tent made from a tarp

The one on our boat was a hand-me-down from a bigger boat,  modified to fit (okay,sorta fit) us. 

A bit lumpy, but I suppose it works
 Boats, of course, can be air conditioned.  Boat air conditioning is a little different than land-based; it uses seawater for cooling instead of blowing hot air out the back, and is generally quite efficient.  Keeping air conditioning while at anchor, however, requires either a continuously-running generator, or a heckuva long extension cord.  For me, though, just like our friends with houses who are more comfortable staying indoors, I'd just as soon keep the boat at the dock, plugged in to shore power running the air conditioning.  

Today, though, we have tented over our boat and even with that assistance, the air conditioner is challenged to keep up.   I'm tempted to wait out the heat wave at the mall, but the best solution of all is the solution my friend Melissa has employed.  She's got her boat in northern Canada for the season.

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I owe you guys a photo of one of the custom boat awning tents I'm referring to; the boat I'd intended to photograph for this piece isn't in its slip right now.  I'll update when they come back or I find another example.  Meanwhile, stay cool, and thanx for reading!

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