The Robertsons find that life aboard in the wintertime is more damp than they expected.

Del Viento- Frances

Frances prefers the newspaper not be only black and white. Life goes on in the main cabin despite condensation issues. Affected mostly are the lockers and sleeping areas. Michael Robertson

That is, the insulation that isn’t built into Del Viento. Our decks and cabin top are foam cored, but otherwise we are solid glass through-and-through. Until now, I never fully appreciated the ramifications of this: condensation and all it means to life aboard a boat.

The entire Del Viento crew now fully appreciates the ramifications of incomplete insulation.

Do you ever wake up to water dripping on your face, your own breath condensing on the inside of the cold cabin top above you? I do. When you change your sheets, do they come off the bed cold and wet where they were tucked under the mattress, evidence of the moisture trapped beneath? Mine do. When you’re cooking dinner on the stove, does condensation drip into your pots from above? It happens here.


Our saving grace are the ceilings along the insides of the hull. (Aboard a boat, ceilings are not above your head, they are slats affixed longitudinally on the “walls,” to cover hull framing.) I always thought they were a decorative nod to the interior of a wood boat—now I know better, they shield us from condensation. But the ceilings are in the cabin and lockers, not in the lower stowage spaces, such as under the settees and v-berth. And ceilings aren’t on the vertical sides of the coach roof (where the portlights are). Condensation is happening aboard Del Viento.

So, we are experimenting with lower heater settings at night and increased ventilation. We’re clearing out crammed lockers and going through a lot of vinegar. We try and keep as much moisture out of the boat as possible, but it drizzles a lot in Victoria and with four wet bodies going in and out… We may buy some Golden Rods or a dehumidifier (or both, please leave a comment if you have experience with these). There are more extensive insulation-related steps we could take to mitigate the problem, but our time in these northern lats is relatively short. But we’ll see, we’ve only dipped our toes into the winter ahead.

In Mexico, it always seemed to Windy and I that we met a disproportionate number of cruisers from the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada, given the number of boats and marinas up and down the California coast. I think I now know why.


Drip, drip, drip…

I__n our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we slumbered through the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along at