We are absolute beginners when it comes to wintering on a sailing ship. We are still in the middle of it and it is worth writing down a few experiences and lessons learned. One criterion when we bought the Aegir was its suitability for winter. The steel hull is foam-insulated all around and the heating (Kabola) works well. Nevertheless, we are totally happy to have opted for the additional installation of a Dickinson diesel stove. It gives a cosy warmth, also has more power than the Kabola and also needs less diesel.
We protected the chimney against strong winds by cutting out a zinc bucket. That way it (almost) always works. After a day underway or with the generator running, the open engine compartment door is an additional source of energy to warm up the back of the boat.
Shortly before the first snowfall, Christine finished sewing the missing roof hatch covers just in time. This provides a certain amount of insulation, but most importantly, you can open the hatches a crack when there is 20 cm ++ of snow without having an avalanche in the ship. Two hinged windows and the ship's door in the deckhouse were fitted with winter curtains to protect them from the cold. We also decided to leave the bimini (sun canopy) in place to have a dry cockpit. We stabilised it with sail battens so that it can withstand a certain rain or snow load. This has also proved very successful so far!
Moisture is a particular issue on the windows. Wiping here is certainly part of the daily routine. We have implemented the ingenious tip (booteblog.net) of covering sweating aluminium window frames with foam rubber and are totally thrilled with the result. The purchase of a dehumidifier was also very good for drying the laundry in the bathroom quickly.
Outside, dealing with winter on board is also very exciting. The winches also got a cover because the water in the hole for the crank was frozen. We also wrapped the line clamps. The lines themselves ice up very quickly and become rock hard. For the stiff frozen mooring lines we found an intermediate depot in the shower. There they can thaw in peace on anchoring days until we need them again in the harbour. Unfortunately, we cannot thaw the lines on and around the sails in the bathroom. We have not yet found a good solution to make it easier to sail in winter.
In the area of snow shovels and brooms, we have upgraded properly. It is very important to us that we do not let our deck ice up. In concrete terms, this means that we shovel very quickly in fresh snowfall so that our steps do not ice up. We are also quick to get rid of the heavy snow and water when there is a thaw. The next night can be cold again!
And last but not least, our clothes, woollen blankets and hot water bottles, as well as a hot cup of tea or cocoa, also help to keep us comfortable.
Since 15 January, the sun has been rising again up here and every day it stays light for 20 minutes longer. Feeling the first rays of sunshine after a good two-month break is very good. So the vitamin D tablets can soon disappear in the drawer again. At the moment, however, it's still snow shovelling on board and the first time under anchor. It remains exciting!