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Date:  9 September 2013. Autumn Preparations.


Though we are barely into September I can feel the changing of the seasons. Smoke is definitely upon the water (fog on the river in the early a.m.) and that has become my back to nature "wake up" call. I know from past years afloat that soon the evenings will chill. I have to be ready for cooler weather. This is the time of year when how well I prepare and supply will determine my level of comfort in the coming months.

As I survey my domain (all 23' of her) I remember times past. Like a couple years back when those fall winds were kicking, so I pulled out the sewing machine and made a quilt for my cabin.

Skipper relaxing on my Utilitarian Quilt in the forward cabin.

If you are curious, the box with the grey thing hanging down from the side is for the solenoid from my Lewmar windlass. The grey is a wired remote that when underway I hang from the corner of the hatch (above Skipper) while next to that, the framed square all the way at the bow is the access panel to my anchor locker. And that stack of books? Well, I have just replenished -- in a couple weeks they will all be passed along or gone.

I am puttering along the Panhandle of Florida.


So, as I was saying regarding the onset of autumn... I feel it in the air. Because I am almost at 30 degrees north latitude, it is going to be necessary to consider ways to keep comfortable over the coming season. One thing I discovered a couple years back was the existence of electric blankets for cars. Because they work on 12-volts just like my boat, automobile accessories are a viable option. Car stuff costs less than marine items too.

The problem is, most electric blankets use 70 watts of power (7 amps!) which is craziness. Okay, not crazy per se if you are flying down a highway at 70mph in a car, but when living off battery power, 7 amps per hour is a lot. Too much.

Skipper snuggles under my blanket. Only her nose is peeking out.

Anyway, being cold is worse, so I started looking over the available options on Amazon and discovered this one: MAXSA Innovations 20014 Comfy Cruise 12V Heated Travel Blanket, Plaid which I bought. The first one (navy blue, showed Skipper fluff aka fur a lot!) lasted two years; on AZ (Amazon) I wrote a full review so please read that and you'll have the nitty gritty details.

UPDATE circa 2023. The Comfy Cruise blanket is no longer available. I switched out to Trillium 12v Heated Travel Blanket With Safety Timer a few years ago. The important criteria is this brand has a timer. You need that timer. I like mine. J.

Still, with the hard use I gave it, for a product to last two years (including umpteen trips thru the washing machine and all that entailed -- see review) well, just last week I ordered another one. I would not be at anchor without one, though this time I am going to be smarter. I shall make a pretty duvet cover for it and hopefully that will extend the useful life of the blanket. And washing is against manufacturer's recommendations but, well, I am not saving it. If an item is aboard Seaweed, I want it to be clean. I am going to use it.

My new blanket arrived at General Delivery. 48x52 inches.

And at a nearby thrift store I found a large double sheet of soft cotton. Over the next few days I will cut the floral sheet and turn it into a fancy duvet cover. Just because this is a boat does not mean it has to be all nautical man-cave.

For me, a 12-volt electric blanket is a nifty addition to my comfort level. Seriously, I had considered buying two, one for at my dinette and the second for on the bunk but decided I could make do with one. Besides, next week if the budget will swing it, I shall be buying another heater. My last propane heater did not work well on the boat. Sigh.

This year I intend to be prepared ahead of time. I know: shocker!  Wish me luck.

When do you start preparations for the coming winter season?
What sorts of things do you do/buy and gather for the cold months?

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