Ken Goodings and Lynn Kaak moved aboard their Niagara 35, moored in Toronto Harbour, in the fall of 2003, after “selling up” and committing to the liveaboard life. With reports from Ken and Lynn, we shall follow their adjustment to this lifestyle and their continuing adventures
Winter Yacht Preparations – The first snowfall
December 2, 2003:
We swept light snow from the dock today…it was pretty in the bright sunshine…….and I’ve hung an illuminated Christmas wreath with a Santa on it on the door of our plastic shrink wrapped shelter. The coloured lights will be strung up to the mast soon.
We’ve had folks from two neighbouring boats over for dinner in the past couple of nights. We’ve, or rather Lynn, has organized enough room now to have a warm comfortable saloon with the lights down low. The teak bulkheads, china and wine glasses make a nice setting for a relaxed meal with good company.
There’s still lots to do after having moved aboard permanently in mid-September: mount the microwave to free up valuable space on the counter top; install the AC or engine coolant powered domestic water heater and repair the cracked plastic accumulator tank on the pressure water system. The floor warming carpet is ready to lay.
We have bought a used semi-rigid (fiberglass bottom and transom) inflatable dinghy from a neighbouring boat on our dock. I need to bail out the ice and water, remove the motor haul it out to be stored on the fore deck under the plastic winter enclosure.
Lynn and I wake up at 6:20, listen to the news and then head for the shower shack. Sundays I make my world-famous waffles with real maple syrup, although on Sundays we try to sleep in a little…last week we got up at 9:30am!. Decadent! We make a pot of brew, (with Irish cream on weekends) have a leisurely breakfast and then either walk all the way to work high or take the streetcar along Queen’s Quay to the post office for mail pickup. We feel better for the 50 minute walk.
I’ve gone down a pant size and so we both wear the same size pants and t-shirts too…fewer clothes in the boat to store! Same sized socks too.
One night while getting ready for bed I learned that sometimes cotton briefs can appear similar in the morning darkness. Gentlemen please take note: Men’s Jockeys have a black label with white lettering, while women’s Jockeys have a white label with black lettering. In my own defence I still claim that to be an easy mistake at 6:30am. So far I haven’t mistaken any of the lacier stuff for my own.
We have two 3/4 hp water de-icer turbines to suspend under the boat.They bring warmer water from the bottom to help prevent ice buildup around the hull. Last winter was very cold and people skated beside the boats. They made a hockey rink too! I hear stories about boaters using chain saws last winter to free up their ice-bound hulls.
The cooler has a refrigerated cold plate inside, powered at the dock by shore power, and run during summer cruising by a belt driven compressor from our main diesel. The temp only goes down to about + 5C; no ice cream or cubes but good cold food and beer. There is lots of room, too but as it’s all accessed through a large top lid (actually part of the counter top) organization is key.
We buy meat every day or so. We pick up bagged lettuce, milk, juice and pop and beer and cheese less often. The floors are cold because of the 40F water under the boat. The new carpet will help that (and nice slippers too). Lynn keeps some cans and jars of food under the floor. It’s like a cold cellar!
We have 60 amps @ 125VAC of shore power electricity on the boat, so lots of heat and power to run 3 heaters, two de-icers, double hot plate, microwave, coffee maker, waffle iron and a crock pot.
It’s a rewarding life but a bit hard just now, and the list of pre-winter chores is so long. Lynn and I often have differing priorities on what should be done first. I have trouble coping with the constant boat movement at the dock. The boat rocks and pitches constantly and the mast gives lots of extra windage to the boat. My balance at work and on land is a bit compromised I think. I hope that I get used to the constant movement.
We have a laptop PC and a wireless internet connection in the marina for entertainment. The PC will play DVD videos which we rent on the way home. I have several radio receivers and a 5 inch black and white TV but we don’t watch more than an hour of TV each week. I will install the ham station equipment into the boat’s navigation station and rig an HF antenna up the mast while we’re stuck here in the winter marina until mid-April.
Lynn and I are taking the Via train to London (Ontario) for a few days at Christmas. We don’t wish to leave the boat unattended in the ice very long. Can you imagine what a long power outage would do if we were away? We don’t have a generator or chain saw, but I do have my dad’s old pick axe.
Lynn Kaak Silverheels III – You can catch up with Lynn and Ken’s blog at – The Voyages of Silverheels III
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