Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Hella cabin fan to help Force 10 diesel heater

Living in the NW means certain things are true about using our boat. One is that it is possible and desirable to sail year round, as the weather in winter is cold but not bitter, and the wind is better than summer. It is also wonderful having the San Juan Islands to ourselves from October to May! Cruising these off months means that besides never putting her away for the winter or winterizing, you must have a good cabin heater arrangement. I get a real kick out of looking at other Gulf 32's for sale in lower latitudes and seeing them without dodgers or cabin heaters.

It seems nearly every day on sailnet there is an active discussion about cabin heaters. Buddha knows there are lots of choices and arrangements. All I will say here is that what I have works beautifully and I hope to keep it forever. In fact, I just got on Ebay and bought a brand new factory wrapped replacement burner for my no longer made Force 10 diesel cabin heater. Parts cannot be obtained anymore really, not even from Fisheries Supply here in Seattle.

Anyway, quick note on fuel. I tried everything to run biodiesel in the Force 10 and no go. Biodiesel has a higher flashpoint than even dino diesel and it just doesn't get hot enough in the burner assembly to vaporize and burn. I smoked the boat a couple times after massive priming efforts before I gave up. I now burn only Kerosene, as it is super clean and never seems to leave any carbon.

Separate from the stove, which really pumps out heat, Aeolus came with a Guest cabin fan mounted right by the exhaust pipe. Damn thing was way too loud and I have always wanted to replace it. Well, finally I have. I got a Hella Turbo large and installed it today. So quiet in comparison, something less than half the noise, and uses 1/4 the amps: .2 instead of .8. Win-Win.

Between the heater and the fan, Aeolus is perfectly toasty inside on the coldest NW night. Meaning, you can be only in your pajamas and read a book and not have your fleece hat and down jacket on! And this even though she has all these new tempered glass windows and the hull is not insulated.

My friend and intrepid Alaska explorer Peter Frost of took his 27 O'Day and painstakingly insulated her whole hull, I think, and added a wood burning heater. Hard core. Now he, and she, are both truly NW winter worthy!

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