You can order a windscoop online for $40, and in a few days a package will show up on the doorstep, no muss, no fuss. $40, though, will also buy about two weeks worth of food for the would be cruiser in Mexico.

But first a little background…Summers in the Sea of Cortez see temperatures in the triple digits for months on end, and night time temperatures can remain in the 80’s. And despite being surrounded by one of the driest deserts on earth, the humidity can still be substantial when you’re half submerged in saltwater. To combat these oppressive conditions while living on a boat, ventilation becomes a high priority.

Enter the windscoop.

Many designs exist, but the basic premise is to capture the horizontal flow of air (wind above deck), and to funnel it downward through a hatch. Provided there is a second opening on the opposite end of the boat, this funneled air will create a current and provide the blessed ventilation that will prevent the hot, damp, stale conditions that are so destructive to a ship and demoralizing to her crew.

saving moneyBack to the story at hand.  We had $40 in our pocket, but we also had some scrap sail cloth, a good book on sewing (The Sailmaker’s Apprentice), and a little bit of free time.  The easy route would have been to spend the 40 bucks.  The route we chose was to use the material we had on hand while honing a valuable nautical skill and performing the work ourselves.  It took a few hours of research and a few hours of work (and some frustration, to be sure), but in the end our set of skills, our overall seamanship, is greater than it was the day before.

Oh yeah, and the $40 is still in our pocket.

We’ll follow with a post on the design and the step by step instructions of how to build your own windscoop.

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