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Old 13-12-2017, 12:58   #1
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Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

In July and August it can become hot and muggy in Boston, think 90-degrees Farenheit and 90% relative humidity.

I am wondering whether these same conditions will hold true in the water and at the dock. Will it be nearly as bad, or does the bay have a strong cooling effect?

This is important because the kind of boat I am looking at costs $15,000 to put in air conditioning because it is raw water cooled and has a complex air handling system. The boat is a pilothouse, so that would tend to be a vote in the favor of HVAC, but if anybody has practical experience I would appreciate knowing. I don't want to be on a 6-hour cruise to the Cape sweating my balls off the whole time.
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Old 13-12-2017, 13:16   #2
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Has the boat got a good generator? Without one you'll not have a/c on a six hour trip.
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Old 13-12-2017, 13:19   #3
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Not much information. I have been at anchor in St. Augustine, and a strong breeze came through my forward hatch.. I had to close the hatch because we were cold. At dock, I have had the air conditioner running and my son turned it off because he was cold. Experiment with a cheap window air conditioner to see what you need. Lately, in the house, my wife is cold and I am hot.
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Old 13-12-2017, 13:20   #4
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Well, 90 degree temps with 90% humidity is common during those months in Florida, too. If your aforementioned testicular region would be sweaty here and be desiring AC, it'll probably be the same in Boston. I know we sweat like pigs while on the boat in the non-air conditioned bridge during those months.
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Old 13-12-2017, 13:40   #5
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

I cruise New England all summer and have AC but never use it north of Cape May. The big difference from farther south is that the ocean water never gets much above 60.

You hardly ever see people using it underway. In a slip in Boston there might be some warm nights but it usually cools down by the next night.

If I was living aboard full time in a marina, I'd probably use the AC more.

Do get a few fans where you sleep. I even have a 110v home fan that I set up at dock or anchor on windless days. Be sure you have bug screens so you don't have to shut up the boat at dusk.
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:25   #6
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

We have spent most of the last 7 years cruising in the tropics and the only time we used an air conditioner was the year we spent in Thailand at a marina (a used window a/c unit that we sold before we left) and the year we spent on the hard in Trinidad (another window a/c unit that we mounted in the companionway - a little gymnastics was required to get in and out of the boat but it was better than positioning it over one of the hatches on our boat). Regardless, we spent many days and nights perspiring profusely with very little relief.

We spent the summer cruising the eastern seaboard of the USA (as far north as the Canadian border) and whereas there was an occasional less-than-comfortable night, we never felt the need for air conditioning.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:19   #7
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Sounds to me like you might have “need” and “want” confused. I just knew that I “needed” AC in Baja Mexico. You know, that place that people run away from when summer comes. I never ran away, and sold the AC unit that I just knew I would “need”.
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:21   #8
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Do you NEED it? No. Will there be lots of days (or even a week or two) when you wished you had it? Yes!

First of all, I question the $15K price tag, but that's another topic.

I've used AC in Boston, and I've used it in Eastport, Maine. Usually at anchor you can find a place that's got a breeze, and the water is cool. At a dock it's different. Luckily, at a dock you'll probably have shore power to run the AC. There have been days when I went to a marina specifically because I needed a break from the heat.

I only run the AC a few days out of the year. But I've never regretted having that option.

The only time I ever ran a generator overnight to power the AC was on the Erie Canal. Heatwave, no shore power, warm water, no breeze. It paid for itself that night!
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:31   #9
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

We spent a lot of time on a mooring in Boston this past summer. Never once even considered turning on the AC--which we have.

In fact, if we are at anchor and swinging into the wind, we find AC not "needed" even in the tropics. On the other hand, if we are in a marina out of the wind, AC can be our best friend. The difference in temperature and comfort between shore and 100 yards out can be dramatic.

I would not dream of spending $15k for AC in Boston. Not even for a house!
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:33   #10
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

The price is almost double what I would expect and yes it can get hot in Boston not so much underway or anchored but at night in a slip. Lack of AC certainly impacts resale value. However, I would not go for a generator as your primary need would be at a marina.
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:37   #11
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Do get a few fans where you sleep. I even have a 110v home fan that I set up at dock or anchor on windless days. Be sure you have bug screens so you don't have to shut up the boat at dusk.
+1 Fans make a huge difference even on hot and muggy nights. I installed a fan in my V berth here in NYC and I could not believe the difference it made. Summers in NYC are disgusting (I don't know why anyone comes to visit NYC in the summer, especially July and August) but the fan made a tremendous difference.

I like the Caframo fans. They are quiet, use a small amount of electricity even on high, and move a lot of air. They are so good that I rarely have the fan on high.

As he said, be sure to get the bug screens. If you don't there will be days you will be eaten alive!
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:39   #12
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Around here, boat air conditioning requires (a lot of) AC power...so usually only available and used at the dock.

I had a Hunter Legend 35.5 with air...ice cold air...nice! Never needed it once we left the dock. In summer, you can feel the air temp go up as you enter the harbour. Its much cooler the minute you leave the dock.

Cities have an effect called a "heat island" from the sun warming all the pavement and solid structures. One of the features (to me) of sailing, is leaving the heat island behind. I've got pictures of me wearing a toque (thats a canadian warm hat) in mid-July while sailing.

12volt fans are the way to go. Get good ones that either oscillate or can be directed easily, and are quiet...you'll want to sleep with them on. And again, not (portable) house style fans...they need to be properly mounted and wired to the boat.
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Old 14-12-2017, 08:44   #13
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

The short of it is that if you need it, it will only be sitting at a dock in a marina. On the hook you'll be fine. Of course "fine" is a relative to your tolerance for heat.

If you are going to spend a lot of time at the dock, consider getting a Cruisair hatch-top AC unit. You can usually find them used at used gear chandleries for a few hundred bucks.

I have one (that I actually assembled from two discarded non-functioning units lol) and spent a couple of summers at a dock in Annapolis with it and it was adequate. Just pulled it off and left it on the dock when I was travelling.

You can cobble together a similar deal using a regular window-mount AC unit and some plywood, but the Cruisair is very convenient if you're going to be taking it on and off with some regularity, and you can potentially stow it below on a bunk if you have the space.

By the way, $15k to install AC strikes me as insane. The hardware (for one unit) is about $2,500-3,000 IIRC and the cooling water install is not that complicated. That quote must be for some elaborate ducting; you could simplify it dramatically and just run fans to distribute the cool air, probably cutting your cost by more than half. But as others have said, you're only going to run it at the dock anyway unless you have a generator and a very low tolerance for heat.

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Old 14-12-2017, 08:46   #14
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

Anchored, the boat clocks to the wind so the forward hatch etc can draw air into the boat. In a marina it doesnt and can be very muggy in places like that.
I spent < 3 months aboard in Annapolis at a dock and it was pretty hot. Mostly at night trying to sleep. But we survived. It would not have been bearable without good fans.
If at a dock, you can put a cheap $150 AC unit in the companionway and it works great. Getting over it depends on your boat configuration though.
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Old 14-12-2017, 09:17   #15
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Re: Do I need air conditioning in Boston?

At marina in summer, yes.

Cruising to the Cape, no.

Dockside is all we ever need and Costco now has a stand alone unit that will do the job.

KISS

We never have needed it at anchor.
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