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How do we beat the heat?

April 14, 2015


Never? The heat in areas 5-10 degrees north or south of the equator is unbeatable especially at times where there is little or no wind. The Maldives are extraordinary as much of the time there is no wind or very little. The one positive aspect in the Maldives is that when night falls there is little land to hold the heat and temperatutes drop to the equivalent of the ocean temperature i.e. 28C

What are the tricks to keep cool?

1 – keep the sun off the decks. Here is not a very complimentary picture of Sage at anchor with everything up possible to keep the sun off the boat



1 Awnings

Awnings are critical. We have awnings on the fore deck, mid deck and cockpit area. Ideally they would be made with a double layer. The first layer would to be to break the sun. The sandwiched layer would be to capture the heat and allow the wind to blow it away. Then the lower section would benefit from a breeze that loses heat quickly. Practically this is not possible; it increases weight, storage and man handling all making a double awning awkward. So single layer it is and it does help.

2 – Fans.

The biggest you can find. Limitations are only related to how much power you can use either 12 or 24 volts from the batteries or, 110 or 240 volts through a transformer. I have seen on an Australian 10m boat two wall-mounted  household fans running through a transformer. They rotated and for that size of boat were great. They used a lot of power but they were mounted for whenever you wanted to move air. No storage problem!

You might find this strange but the picture below was taken on Silver Girl and mounted above the companionway is a 12 Volt fan. Aren’t we supposed to be in an environment where wind is constant.  By no means.  In the 6 weeks we have been in the Maldives we have only seen once a wind over 8knots and most days have been dead still with temperatures in the shade up to 34C.  On the boats there is no protection from the sun and inside boats the temperature rises to 39C

Cockpit fan onboard Silver Girl

Cockpit fan onboard Silver Girl

On Sage we have 6 fans.  We have two over our V-berth, one mounted on the forward bulkhead pointing aft and another on a suction cup mounted to the hatch above the berth to push the night-time cooler air into the boat.  The other fans are scattered around in various places where it’s our habit to sit

3  air conditioning.

The problem here is that one has to produce enough power to run an air conditioner and for most boats that’s a problem. Tied to a Marina, as Elaine said in the video, is about the only place they use their air conditioning.  However, a number of years ago we were sailing in company with a 64 foot boat and they turned on their air conditioner from 1600-1900hrs to quickly bring the temperature down on the inside of the boat so that with nightfall they could turn the aircon off and have a cool boat for the evening.

4 –  ice

ummm, nice thought as cubes can be used for drinks as well as for the forehead! Again the problem is generating enough electricity to run the freezer.  An estimation of the number of boats with freezers is 25%.  I may be out here but am just taking this from the we have met.  Everyone these days has refrigeration but freezers are power guzzlers and one has to generate that power from either having a genset, solar panels or start the engine to run the alternator.  We are not willing to start the engine or have a genset just to have a freezer

5 – Plenty of swims and showers.

Yes but  with the surface level water day time temperature of the water here at 32C there’s not much relief from the heat and the fresh water rinse doesn’t last long.  The other problem is sometimes the water is too dirty i.e. main harbours or like here in the anchorage as I write I have been stung by too many jelly fish to make is desirable.

6 – Fly back to Canada – but now it’s getting too warm in Canada!

Would love to hear your ideas on how to keep cool on a boat.

Those reading this in Canada do not need to tell me how to keep warm on a boat.  I say head south….

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea Schadt permalink
    April 14, 2015 13:39

    HI, from our heat experience in Thailand try to spray a thin cotton sheet allover wet with water, but not too wet, and wrap yourself in the sheet.While sitting wrapped in the sheet let the fan blowing towards you..It should cool you down.
    cheers Andrea from SV Phoenix

  2. April 14, 2015 19:41

    Seems to me quicker to sail to the South Pole than coming back home.
    May I remind you that the Mediterranean Sea has a moderate climate.
    Have a good time..all the best from France. .G.M.M.

  3. Barrie permalink
    April 14, 2015 21:43

    Send some heat to us. Our passage from the UK to Holand was COLD. Finally off the dock.


  4. April 15, 2015 23:03

    Hey Tony ,have a cold beer and enjoy . Victoria Bill I am sure Dale will drink to that !!!!!!

  5. Judi permalink
    April 18, 2015 18:13

    At least you are not painting a Fence in 39C……spray bottle mister sitting in front of a fan

  6. May 18, 2015 22:42

    It truly is difficult to find skillful individuals for this matter, nevertheless, you sound like you know exactly what you are preaching about! With thanks.

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