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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler life on a nickel budget is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!

Thank you for visiting my website. I appreciate that.

Date: 24 January 2020. Inexpensive Draft Stopper.


There is a large gap at the top of my cockpit door into the boat.

During the winter cold winds come into the boat via that gap.

Frigid weather has arrived here on the west coast of Florida. Fortunately just last week I installed a draft stopper on the cockpit doorway. I have upgraded from the previous version described in the Draft Prevention using Foam article. The newest method is far better. Today I'll describe the $5 solution for my drafty boat.

Now the Draft Prevention article is fine and dandy. The problem is that it required effort on my part. I wanted a more permanent solution that did not cost a lot of money. I found it! Rather than stop the wind on the inside, I decided to prevent it from entering the cabin. For that I needed something flexible and wide.


Ten-plus years ago my friend Dale Jenkins (see the Birds and my friend Dale the Welder article) had two spools of rubbery stuff that was a couple inches wide. I wanted to attach it to the sides of the doors, thus preventing drafts. Though I was interested in acquiring some, I never asked. Then Dale had a stroke. For many years since then I have tried locating something similar. Alas, I had no luck.

Last November I was shopping on eBay. While perusing a Hong Kong seller's offerings I spotted door stopper. It had potential to prevent those awful drafts around the cockpit door.  Best of all, a 6' section was just less than $4. That's my price range so I ordered it.

Side Note: My advice on how to get a bargain on eBay can be found in the Screening My Hatch (eBay advice) article.

The search term I used for the product I bought is:
 weather stripping silicone draft stopper

This is a door stopper. It is approximately 2" wide.
The part with adhesive is under the 3M strip.

I saved the leftover strip after my project.
 The silicone is flexible. It is not brittle.

Initially I cleaned the aluminum track above my doorway with rubbing alcohol. I keep a small spray bottle of 90% isopropyl alcohol on the dinette table. It is normally utilized for cleaning my eye glasses each morning.

The aluminum is a U-shaped track. Rollers run
on that track. That's how my door opens and closes.

Above you can also see the black hand-hold I created. Details on that project are in the Windlass Debris becomes Handhold article.

My aluminum cleaning items included
the spray bottle of alcohol and a rag.

Additional tools required for the project were scissors to
 cut the door stopper, a measuring tape plus a screwdriver.

The silicone was not long enough to entirely seal the gap when I attached it to the top of the aluminum track. That would have required a 3" wide door stopper. Alas, the one I bought was just 2". I was making do, and in retrospect should have bought wider or bought two and *double stacked them.

*Double stack: In retrospect I should have placed the wider 2" strip far enough down the aluminum so it overlapped the top edge of the door. Then, above that piece I could attach a second strip to cover the top of the lower/bottom piece. It would have looked nicer to hide the entire aluminum track.

Instead I adhered the sticky part to the top of the door. The rest went upward, covering the bottom of the aluminum frame. Frankly I would have preferred to cover the entire aluminum part. Alas, the silicone door stopper I purchased was not wide enough.

The GLUED SECTION is below the red line. The part that seals the gap is above (note the GREEN arrow).

I made a mistake when measuring. I have a tape
measure from Walmart with a Self-Lock feature.


About Rulers: For me, I prefer a tape measure that stays open until I push the button. Then it retracts. This is easier for me to handle by myself. You no doubt noticed Seaweed written on the ruler in permanent marker. I write my boat's name on almost everything as a way to easily identify what belongs to me.

Even with a spiffy ruler made a mistake
 when measuring for the draft stopper at the
top of the doorway. It was cut too short.

I did not account for where the door doesn't quite
reach the edge. There is a SMALL GAP. Argh!!!

Though the gap from the outside looks unprofessional, actually no air gets in due to the framework on the inside. Still, it is a source of irritation. Please be smarter than I was should you do this project aboard your boat.

In addition to the horizontal piece I attached to the top of the door, I also screwed a strip onto the side of the door. That part cuts out a small draft that I experienced along that top corner of the doorway.

The VERTICAL PIECE of the door
draft stopper is screwed and glued to the door.

Originally the back door had a strip of teak along the edge.
The screws were left over from where the wood used to be.

Though not perfect, this is better than my previous solution. Like all things involving a boat, over time changes are made. What was once a-okay, later becomes out-dated. Improvements are continually being made. I enjoy making tweaks to Seaweed. I want her to be the best she can be. So far, so good...


Lessons from my
installation of the door stopper:

Measure twice and cut once. I should have made the horizontal piece 1" longer for aesthetics. Also, although the width at 2" is ideal for the side of the doorway, a 3" wide door flapper at the top would have been ideal. I do suspect the top part will flop over at some point necessitating me to repeat the project up there.


Obviously this draft preventer installation is not perfect. It is however Good Enough for the interim. Rather than being
Paralyzed by Planning, I chose to give this project a whirl. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

When the top part fails, and I do anticipate that happening, I will update you. I believe the quality of the materials is such that this upgrade should last out the rest of the winter. By summertime I hope to have acquired 48" of a 3" flapper to cover the entire aluminum track. That item is now on The List.

There is always an ever-changing list of boat projects. New boaters can easily become overwhelmed by the shear magnitude of desired projects. Really though, almost nothing is Absolutely Necessary. Most of the things I do simply make my life better, nicer, easier or more decadent.

This is life on the west coast of Florida. I am very glad to have finished this project prior to the cold front coming through. Thanks so much for reading. Stay warm.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Inexpensive Draft Stopper page.

Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Money,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

Something a new reader might not realize: Almost every picture on this website can be clicked. The photo will get larger when clicked. Do that a second time and the picture should be full size. Enjoy...

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links found in the upper left corner of every page. This is a tangible way to support me and is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I appreciate that more than you can imagine.

Paypal Tablet link:  *CRUISING KITTY
*for those who wish to donate direct to me via paypal.

Pet of the Week: Erin
on S/V Sparrow

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the
waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

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