• Ana and John

Warming up for a winter at anchor

After having spent our first winter on The Dream (instead of returning to Australia for the Southern Hemisphere summer) and although we were in Hammamet marina in Tunisia, a place with very mild winters, it was a bit too cold for us.

If we wanted to do this the right way we needed to solve the issue of warming up The Dream without resorting to shore power.

During the last winter because we were in a marina we could easily run an old fashioned electric heater a couple of hours at the end of the day and get comfortable but at anchor, we wouldn’t have that luxury of power.

For the 2019-20 winter, we plan to stay at anchor for most of the time in southern Greece and although I’m sure it won’t be as cold as the rest of Europe it will still be quite cold and we like to be warm. Eventually, we will get to the eternal summer latitudes but for the next couple of years, we will not be so lucky. We also plan to sail both high and low latitudes in the coming few years. So a diesel heater was a must.


We started the research in the spring as we left our winter berth and faced the not so inviting temperatures during those first days at anchor.

We looked through the different manufacturers (Eberspacher, Webasto and Planar) and their models and the decision was made based on a few simple key items:

  • value-cost, yes cost is always a factor in our lives;

  • quality-reliability, we want something that was proven and will stand up to the yacht environment;

  • running cost, we don’t want to be paying a fortune to run it for the few hours a day we want it ;

  • scalability, we want to be able to add more units if we fell it is needed without the upfront cost;

  • integration, we want it to be discreet, concealment was key for us.

We managed to get a test of one on a friends boat thanks to Simon and Julie on Festina Lente a 15m Bavaria... And after their comments regarding the fuel consumption and how having the heater on board help them cope with the Croatia cold spring when they flew from the Australian summer to pick up their yacht.

We made up our mind, we were getting a diesel heater!

After checking the available options in the market we decided to go for the Planar.

We went with a 4Kw medium sized unit with the two vents option, this is considered a bit small for our boat size but we intend to heat up only the main area and our bedroom, reducing the area considerably, ignoring the two aft cabins we use usually as storage. We prefer to see how it goes and scale up if needed.

The Planar was by far the best price (around 1,000 euros for our model specification and including delivery from the UK supplier to Italy) and proven as a boat heating unit, I believe that our friends have the same model on their boat that is the same size as ours.

We will be doing the installation by ourselves during the summer season and hopefully, before the beginning of the winter season, we will be already fully prepared with a nice toasty living zone.

Of course, us being us, this not so little project spurred the idea that we should increase our diesel capacity, but that we will talk in a separate post.


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