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Friday, July 8, 2011

7/8/2011 - Big fans of little fans

When I got up this morning at 7:15, it was already 86 degrees in the cabin. Right now, at 6:47 PM, it's 92 degrees in the cabin and 100 degrees out in the cockpit. The relative humidity is around 80%. And, of course, the cruisers who have been through Baja summers before are saying "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

Now, understand, I'm not complaining. This is what we signed up for. However, the cruisers who leave their boats here and go "home" for the summer are not looking like quite such wienies now as they used to. Maybe they're on to something.

Anyway, we would be completely screwed if it weren't for the fans we have throughout the cabin in Siempre Sabado. We were told over and over by cruisers that it was imperative to have plenty of fans on board if you're going to summer over in the Sea of Cortez. There are lots of fans available through the various marine supply places as well as other, cheaper sources. Some of these are worth buying and some aren't.

I managed to get a couple of these Guest folding fans for cheap at swap meets over the years. They seemed like just the ticket. Push the air out when you need it and then fold up out of the way when you don't.

I got one of these fans for only $1.00. Good deal, huh? No. This piece of crap isn't even worth a buck. Oh, it folds up nicely and makes a lot of noise when it's running. Trouble is, it doesn't actually move any air. Maybe I can unload it at the next cruisers' swap meet.

I also followed the advice of some of the "internet cruisers" and bought some computer fans. Nice and cheap. They may even move some air, though I doubt they move much. Trouble is, you have to build some sort of frame to be able to point them where you want them. I have 2 or 3 of them and they're still tucked away somewhere. Maybe I'll try one someday.

Before we left La Paz, cruisers who had actually summered in the Sea of Cortez recommended these Caframo models (thanks Chuck & Linda):

With no cage around the blades, they can really move some air. The blades are flexible plastic and won't chop off your finger. And they only draw 0.2-0.3 amps. The clamp is an add-on extra but it makes them very versatile. Move them where you want/need them. We have one over each side of the settee where we spend much of our below-decks time, They are lifesavers. Sitting there all hot and sweaty, you just fire up your fan to cool right down. We also have 2 more permanently fixed over our bed so we can sleep comfortably at night.

Our head was a major sauna. If one were to spend any time at all in there, even just brushing your teeth, you'd come out drenched in sweat. Obviously this was a prime spot for a fan. First I mounted one of the folding Guest fans which is how I found out they were such pieces of crap. We were all out of the Caframo fans and I didn't have any kind of housing for our computer fans so I dug out a fan that I used to have on the dashboard of my 1979 Ford F-250 pick-up. The defroster was OK but it could use some help from time to time so I bought this little 12V oscillating fan from Napa. I salvaged it out of the Ford when I sold the truck and have been packing it around on the boat ever since. Didn't really figure it was worth much but I decided to give it a try anyway.

What a surprise! This little booger works great and doesn't draw any more juice than the expensive Caframos. And it oscillates, so, whether you're brushing your teeth or, as we say, "taking readings", it's cooling flow wafts over you at least part of the time.

Anyway, it's HOT down here in the Baja and I doubt that we'd survive without our fans. Matter of fact, we plan to buy 2 more of the Caframos that we can put wherever we happen to need them at any given time. At least one, and usually two of them are running anytime we're on the boat these days.

Our daily routine now takes the heat into consideration. About 4:00 PM, we take the dinghy to shore and spend the next hour or so chillin' in the marina pool. It's not all that cool but it does help us cool down. Follow that with a cool-to-cold shower and then back to the boat. Oh yeah, and while we're cooling our outsides in the pool, we're cooling our insides with some ice cold cervezas from the marina store.

It's a tough life.


Anonymous said...

I used one to help cool the laptop while watching movies. My Toshiba gets downright warm on the left side while the movie is playing. A fan keeps it cool to touch and helps the laptop last a lot longer. Ken

Anonymous said...

I understand the heat! We're still working on our refit. Here in Louisiana its in the mid nineties every day with very high humidity. Though August and September are usually worse. Thank God for those fans huh?

Have you seen the people that use the wind sails for the hatches? Have you tried those? I've always wondered how well they work.

Great to hear Lulu is feeling better. I was down and out all last week. Dani had to nurse me back to health.

Have a Sundowner for us!

Steve and Lulu said...

I have seen the wind scoops. They're on almost every boat you see down here this time of year. They work great as long as the wind is coming from the right direction. Lulu went them one better and built an omni-directional one using plans from a book about boat canvas projects. It works great. I'll b doing a blog post about it soon so stand by for more details.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

A few Caframos fans are on our wish list! Several other cruisers also have given them a "thumbs up"! Glad to hear you're also happy with them, as it reassures us that the extra money is worth it. The multi-dimensional wind scoop is also on our wish list. We figure it's worth the extra money to get one that draws wind from any direction. Happy Belated Anniversary!

Cidnie said...

Great post! Fans are high on our priority list and its great to hear what actually works...