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Old 10-07-2013, 00:43   #1
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How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

I've got a 24 foot islander Bahama that may be sold, but as time goes on i'm not afraid to keep it.

Its over a hundred degrees over here right now on some days and the cabin is far from comfortable. I've done some research, but haven't seen anything that really looks plausible so far(at least from my google searches).

I've considered putting a window a/c in the companion way, as my google results suggested, but it doesn't sound smart. Plus I'd really like a clean setup.

Anyone added a/c to such a small boat?
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:32   #2
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Re: How would you add a/c to a tiny boat?

I had a small window unit over my hatch in the main salon. I rigged a reflectex cover over the front to funnel down the cold air, then covered it up with a piece of sunbrella. It was a snap to unhook and throw in dock box for sailing days. I also had a 30 amp Y adapter, one leading to the boats shore power the other adapted down to 15amps for the AC. This kept the AC from being plugged in down below. Sorry, can't find the pictures of what I did. The AC is the lump of sunbrella behind the mast.


Another version of same idea



Stay cool
Erika
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:42   #3
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

A window unit could suit you well, but there's always the awkward task of removing it for sailing and having it in the way. Years ago, on a former boat I mounted a small window unit in my quarter berth that exhausted into my lazzarette. When using my AC I would have the hatch over my lazzarette open and a window fan at the top of the lazzarette efficeintly removed the hot air. Admittedly, the downside was more complexity with the added fan, but the benefit was to just close the lazzarette and go sailing. Also, this presented the coolest air within the quarter berth where I slept. Whatever plan that is best for you will be dictated by the design of your boat.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:08   #4
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

With limited space you will need something compact and quiet. Try having a look at the self contained units from these guys in Florida. I have two units on my boat and they are extremely well built, quiet, and will last a lot longer than the standard rubbish from marineaire or similar company. Installation is as simple as hooking up the 110v and two hoses.
Self Contained Marine Air Conditioning Systems - Prices & Specifications
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:17   #5
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

even with air conditioning, you can reduce the temp inside your boat by use of properly placed tarps. proper placement depends on both boat and owner, so isnt standard.

yes, plastic works. functional.

in mazatlan i met a fella who had his window unit in his companionway and he just stepped over it to exit and enter his cabin. easy and no installation necessary. drop in and use, use the hatch boards for blocking ...--make sure water flows out the outside--do not lean it inward if you do not wish to have it leak inside house. common complaint, i found.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:00   #6
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by messagedbottle View Post
I've got a 24 foot islander Bahama that may be sold, but as time goes on i'm not afraid to keep it.

Its over a hundred degrees over here right now on some days and the cabin is far from comfortable. I've done some research, but haven't seen anything that really looks plausible so far(at least from my google searches).

I've considered putting a window a/c in the companion way, as my google results suggested, but it doesn't sound smart. Plus I'd really like a clean setup.

Anyone added a/c to such a small boat?

Lots of people put one in the companion way. My neighbor has done that on his 27' Catalina and he says it gets the cabin down to 72. You probably wouldn't get that at 100 outside but it would still be a huge improvement.

If you can fit it over your center hatch opening, it's pretty easy to build an enclosure for it. My neighbor on the other side has done this and built a triangularly-shaped cover for it. It seems to do a great job.

You could also do that with a forward hatch, although without a central location you may have to have the v-berth cooler than you want to cool off the rest of the boat.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Make it easily removable, esp. over a center hatch. There's no reason the wooden shelter couldn't remain although I wouldn't want it in the way on the bow while sailing, and removing it might mean leakage opportunities when it was back in place.

If you don't have the carpentry skils, find a boat carpenter. It would still be a lot cheaper than A Dometic AC that drops in the hatch, and it's hard to keep them from leaking/condensing into the cabin also.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:01   #7
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Re: How would you add a/c to a tiny boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
I had a small window unit over my hatch in the main salon. I rigged a reflectex cover over the front to funnel down the cold air, then covered it up with a piece of sunbrella. It was a snap to unhook and throw in dock box for sailing days. I also had a 30 amp Y adapter, one leading to the boats shore power the other adapted down to 15amps for the AC. This kept the AC from being plugged in down below. Sorry, can't find the pictures of what I did. The AC is the lump of sunbrella behind the mast.


Another version of same idea



Stay cool
Erika

Your top picture is exactly what my neighbor did, only with lumber.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:58   #8
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Thanks everybody. Some really helpful ideas.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:59   #9
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

I would not add A/C. Too expensive and too unwieldly/inefficient. I would employ windscoops, tarps over the boom, soaked tarps (cooling via evaporation) and fans where shore power didn't exist.

If I was really motivated, I would insulate the underside of the deck, but I assume it's pretty tight below already.

But mostly, I would cool off by going sailing. Perhaps to a cooler climate?
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:57   #10
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

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I would not add A/C. Too expensive and too unwieldly/inefficient...............
I understand this plan, but then I see you're in Toronto and sitting in some cooler water than many of us. This is a more difficultchoice in the SE US in the summer, but I notice that the OP is in San Francisco and I can easily see being without AC there with the tarrps and the proper ventilation.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:03   #11
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

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I understand this plan, but then I see you're in Toronto and sitting in some cooler water than many of us. This is a more difficultchoice in the SE US in the summer, but I notice that the OP is in San Francisco and I can easily see being without AC there with the tarrps and the proper ventilation.

Living on my boat, i would not be without AC.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:32   #12
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

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Living on my boat, i would not be without AC.
.....and neither would I since I've been living aboard mostly in Florida like you, but I can understand how, in some climates, it would be easy not to have AC. I also have very little to heat my boat in the winter. 'just a little 8"x8" electric heater with shore power only. I guess that's the trade off. I suspect "S/V Alchemy" in Toronto has some type of heater for the winters that's far more than my little electric fan heater.
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Old 10-07-2013, 16:19   #13
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

Actually, 95% of the boats in Toronto haul out in late October. I have a Mermaid Marine Air 12,000 heat pump which heats and cools from water above 40F on a steel 41-footer. My point was that it's a 24 footer. Putting a window unit on the forward hatch may actually make it a touch top-heavy and certainly complicates sailing. Maybe an in-room unit?
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:25   #14
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

Another option is to have a/c window unit cool from the dock.
My PS25 didn't really have a good place to put a window unit. I don't like putting them in the companionway cause you get hot exhaust blowing on you when you are sitting in the cockpit. So I constructed a box to look like a boarding step but was really an AC unit box. I duct the recycle and cool air through my ports. Worked really well though the only ducting I could find was silver reflective, so that part was really noticeable, and looked a little hillbilly. But a simple swath of canvas over it could of made it look better, I just never took the time. The boat was low to the water so the duct was only a couple feet long. It wasn't the most efficient set up but worked well for my small boat.
Nice thing is I just disconnected my cool air umbilicals and shoved off to go sailing .

A sketch of the setup since I have no pics...
Dagnabbit, can't load sketch but pm if ya want one, its pretty straightforward but my description may be lacking.

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Old 11-07-2013, 10:36   #15
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Re: How Would you Add A/C to a Tiny Boat?

Have you considered placing a dehumidifier in your boat? It would be an alternative to A/C. (As a bonus, you'll be generating a lot of usable water!)

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