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Old 29-08-2007, 12:04   #1
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Need info regarding cruiser amenities

Hello. I'm new to this forum. Found it looking for information regarding cruisers so thought this would be the perfect place to ask my questions. First, you should know that I have owned boats before (various bowrider and river boats). My wife and I have decided to make an investment in a cruiser so that we can stay at the lake (Bull Shoals) more efficiently. Plan to leave the boat at the marina and ride the motorcycle back and forth (about a two hour drive). We will be spending many weekends on the boat up to as much as a week at a time 3 or 4 times a year.

With all of that said - please tell me what I need to know. I started looking at boats and found out that I don't know nearly enough about all of the different options/amenities available. (generator? inverter? shore power? marine air? and so forth and so on and etc) Also, is there anything inparticular that I need to be watching for in cruiser construction or power?

Forgive me for such a broad question, but I need someplace to start.

Thank you.
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Old 29-08-2007, 20:48   #2
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Very broad question.

How much money do you have?
How much can you do without?

Some people just put a tent over an open boat. For me I need a place to sleep, cook and head and enough storage for a few days.
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Old 30-08-2007, 04:21   #3
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Rule 1 - Keep the admiral happy and the rest of the boat is happy.

The admiral needs a flushing head with privacy and place to wash up
The admiral needs a comfortable place to sleep - fans OK aircon preferred
The admiral would like to have a place to cook - one burner galley ok for weekends - more for longer
The admiral likes cold drinks - ice chest ok - fridge a big plus

The admiral likes out 27 foot boat but would be happier with 35 feet+

This equates to a pretty complex boat compared to a bowrider/ski boat.

A little more definition on how you intend to use the boat and what is important would help.

Lot's of choice, compromise and trade-offs to be had in pocket cruisers and small cabin cruisers.
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Old 30-08-2007, 05:05   #4
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Thanks for responding. I'll try to be a little more definite and give you a little more info.

First, we will be using the cruiser for weekend trips mostly with some longer stays here and there - probably not more than a week at a time.
Have determined from the cabin configurations that we will be looking at nothing less than 26 feet (needs to sleep 4 comfortably although mostly will be 2) and probably nothing more than 36 feet (price and storage considerations).

Price is not a huge issue, but as this is our first cruiser, we will try to stay on the lighter end and will be buying used. However, I will spend whatever it takes (w/in our range) to have the boat that has what we need to enjoy it. (For instance, would love to spend $20,000 (hell, or even less) but if it takes $75,000 to get the job done, so be it. I guess from a money standpoint, the most important thing to me is that I be able to recoup my investment if a year from now we decide we aren't going to use the boat as much as we though, or we want to trade up.


Specific questions:

1. What is an inverter (vs. generator) and if they are two things that do the same thing, which is preferable. (some boats have gen., some have inverter, and some have neither)

2. Is there a difference between "marine air" and an "air conditioner"?

3. What is the minimum generator I can get by with if I'm wanting to run a/c on the water?

4. I don't want to have to spend nights hooked up at the dock, so is there anything particular I need to be looking at for staying on the water?

5. The boats I've looked at seem to come with all different types of battery configurations - what is up with that? Generally, is more batteries better than less batteries?

6. I'm not looking for speed, but fuel efficiency at a steady cruise. Any input as to enging or drive configurations?

Please fee free to add any information.
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Old 30-08-2007, 05:09   #5
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I forgot this one:

7. There seems to be alot of different head configurations - what are they? Some will say "electric head," "macerator", "pump out" and so forth. Are there some that are dumping directly into the water? (some will refer to a tank, others do not).
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Old 30-08-2007, 07:12   #6
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Many cruising boats have "Y" valves which allow you to pump directly overboard where allowed. One position on the "Y" goes overboard the other goes to the holding tank. At sea you can pump into the ocean, in coastal waters use the holding tank. You should check the regulations to see where direct overboard discharge is allowed. A macerator pump allows you to empty the holding tank overboard where allowed. A "pumpout" empties the holding tank through a deck fill. This is done at "pumpout stations", usually at marinas. An electric head flushes electrically, no need to pump by hand.
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Old 30-08-2007, 20:26   #7
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A Quick Primer

A quick primer on electrics.

1/ Electricity comes in DC and AC current. DC current lends itself to storage in batteries so is widely used in cars and boats and anything portable. When passing down a wire consider DC current as "one-way" current and AC current as "two-way" current.

2/ A coil of wire passed by a magnet (vis versa) creates a one way current. Rotating a magnet in a coil of wire creates a two way (AC current) because the north and south ends of the magnet keep swapping - This is an alternator - An alternator current is "rectified" to be a one way current in cars and boats. This one way current can be used to power devices designed for DC current and it can also be stored in batteries.

3/ Our houses don't need to store current and AC is easy to generate so our house and all our homoe appliances are AC systems.

So -

Alternator - Makes DC current - usually rated in amps. A 100amp alternator is pretty comon these days.

Battery - Stores DC current. Can be rated in amp/hours, Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) or Reserve Capacity (RC).

Inverter - Sometimes we want to run some of our shore (AC) equipment - drills, laptop chargers, etc on our boat but we only have DC current - An inverter just converts DC back into AC. An inverter can also be created to convert AC into DC.

Loads and ratings - The best analogies for electricity loads come from plumbing. So with that in mind...

Battery capacity - measured a lot of ways but amp/hours is the easiest to understand. Amp hours just means how many amps can the battery supply for how many hours. How much water is in the tank.

Amps - This is a measure of flow down the pipes. A 200 amp/hour battery will supply 1 amp of flow for 200 hours. The reality is that about 50% of a battery's capacity is available - so 100 hours. You could also supply 50 amps for 2 hours or 5 amps for 20 hours.

Voltage - Voltage is the "pressure" of the flow. Most boat systems will be 12 Volts DC.

Watts - Watts is a measure of work done. volts X amps = watts and watts / volts = amps. Devices are always rated for voltages (i.e. 110V AC, 12 VDC) but there is a mix of watts and amps rated stuff. A hair dryer or heater or toaster is usually rated in watts. A 1200 watt hair dryer at 110 volts is a 10 amp appliance. However this appliance wouldn't run on a 12 VDC boat. You would need a pretty big inverter like 1,500 watts - motors especially have a starup surge well in excess of the continuous rating - Air conditioners have "huge" startup loads.

So - Now you have to figure out all the power you'd like to consume per day - lights, engine start, air conditioner, fridge, instruments (gps, depth sounders, fish finders, plotters guages etc. etc), fans, laptops, dvd players, tv screens etc, etc.

You make a table of all the items with volts, amps and hours used. Multiply each line out, add the column and you get daily consumption.

1/ Now - you have to create that daily amount of electricity or the batteries go dead.
2/ You have to consider what happens when you are not creating electricity - i.e. the batteries supply the house so you need to store enough electricity to cover the periods when you are not creating electricity.

If you are going to convert electricity to Alternatoing current to run motors (like aircon) you have to size the inverter to handle the surge load.

Creating Electricity -

1/ Alternator - We already covered the ships alternator. Ship engine needs to be running.
2/ Shore power - You plug into a dock and an inverter (on your boat) turns the marina supplied AC into regulated 12v DC. It can also supply AC outlets on your boat directly - Need to be at a marina
2/ Generator - A portable generator (honda or whatever) usually will create 110V AC - like shore power you plug it into the boat and it is rectified to DC - Need to run the generator, usually on gasoline
3/ Solar - Solar photovoltaic cells create DC electricity which is regulated and supplied to the DC system. More cells / bigger cells = more power - Works as long as teh sun shines
4/ Wind generator - Creates DC power supplied to the boat system - Need wind. Some people don't like 3 foot long propeller blades spinning above their heads.

There are a couple of other systems but not common enough to worry about like towed generators etc.

I hope that the above will allow you to start doing some planning on what you need from a power perspective.
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Old 30-08-2007, 23:55   #8
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Great educational post Ex-Calif!! It definitely helped me to better understand what is really needed! Thanks much!
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Old 31-08-2007, 05:00   #9
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Ex-calif: Thank you so much for that informative post. It was very well written and I learned a great deal. I would have to say that I learned more about electricty in that one post than I have the rest of my 40 years on this planet! Thanks again.
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Old 31-08-2007, 06:45   #10
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Good question ligons. We all had to start somewhere.

Where is Bull Shoals lake? How big is it? Is it connected to a river?

In our experience a 25' boat has proven to be too small for 4 adults. Two adults and 2 kids would be fine. Depending on the ammenities you (admiral) deem essential you might find yourself in need of a boat over 32' which will be near impossible to trailer yourself.

A good place to start the shopping and dreaming is yachtworld.com or boats.com. Both have advanced search features that will allow you to narrow down the wish list.

Take in some boat shows to see what's available. Walk the docks at the marina's and brokerage yards. Ask questions of owners of boats that you're considering. There's nothing like gettin in one you like to get a feel for the size and features.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 21-09-2007, 20:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ligons View Post
Hello. I'm new to this forum. Found it looking for information regarding cruisers so thought this would be the perfect place to ask my questions. First, you should know that I have owned boats before (various bowrider and river boats). My wife and I have decided to make an investment in a cruiser so that we can stay at the lake (Bull Shoals) more efficiently. Plan to leave the boat at the marina and ride the motorcycle back and forth (about a two hour drive). We will be spending many weekends on the boat up to as much as a week at a time 3 or 4 times a year.

With all of that said - please tell me what I need to know. I started looking at boats and found out that I don't know nearly enough about all of the different options/amenities available. (generator? inverter? shore power? marine air? and so forth and so on and etc) Also, is there anything inparticular that I need to be watching for in cruiser construction or power?

Forgive me for such a broad question, but I need someplace to start.

Thank you.
look for older thick glass hulled boats 70s-80's
better construction
stay away from wood
glass over wood
cored hulls

33-36ft

twins are nice

Lots of battery power
inverters/solar pannels
For air con 3000 watt honda
shore power 30 amp system
fresh water
hot water
head/holding
macerator
full galley/fridge/sink/stove/oven
Entertain 6 dine 4 sleep 2
stereo

for anchoring out
windlass
Bruce/CQR/Danforth anchor....with spare
300ft rode 20 feet of chain
300ft groundline

a big pail


and so you embark on a lifetime of spending money....did I forget gps and radar.....a dinghy....an outboard....on and on

whatever you buy

GET A SURVEY and read Pascoe

good luck
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Old 18-03-2008, 19:34   #12
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Ligons,
Hello, 11 years of bow rider, tried a 23ft Cuddy on a lake for one year to get the feel of it. Loved it enough to buy a 25ft cruiser following year. Made it 4 years with it. Bought a 28ft, one year boat. Now on 3rd year with a 35ft. I am extremely happy with what I now have, I have had a lot of different levels [I/Os singles, twin V-drives, with & without Gens]and would be glad to answer any questions, not that I know it all. All were a learning experience and don't regret any.
Good luck shopping!
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