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Old 12-11-2015, 23:06   #16
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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All good advice, thanks everyone.

A Bimini shade over much of the boat, good opening hatches to catch the natural breeze and wetting down the deck all seem like excellent ideas. It is best to prevent the heat entering, rather than trying to cool.

Maybe a compromise might be a single air con in the main cabin for when in a marina. This could be run off a decent sized alternator when motoring, and a 2kw Honda generator as a emergency/backup. I understand the Honda would not be a long term solution for the air con.
We bought a 12000 btu window unit from home depot and put it in the hatch. Plug into the normal outlet. That and our canopy keeps the boat very cool even in 110 degree weather.
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Old 12-11-2015, 23:24   #17
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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Not sure I'd be wetting stuff down in high humidity. Evaporative cooling isn't that great in this circumstance and all that extra moisture can just add to the already heavy air.
I sweat the boat mostly with fresh water and mostly on passage where a canopy is impossible, in areas like Indo and other equatorial zones where the temperature of the deck itself can reach towards 50C, believe me it makes a big difference. The air is in motion over the deck and the deck heat evaporates a few tens of liters in a minute or two, cooling them considerably and reducing transmission of that additional heat energy into the boat. Not necessary in most places such as Fla or the EC or IMHO Thailand… but Indo and the Las Perlas on a tough day? Believe me, it works, so yes, it is that great. Instantly drops deck temps by many degrees, and as an added bonus is good for the teak, if you have it.

If you don't think it works… ask yourself whether sweating works… it is precisely the same mechanism, y'know. That's why I call it "sweating" the boat.

As to the "extra moisture" idea… you are aware that the boat is sitting in, well, billions of liters of the stuff in every direction, right?
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Old 12-11-2015, 23:38   #18
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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How about a salt water mister in the cockpit? That would be cool.
Please tell me that was a joke.

It's a great way to make sure anything metallic in the cockpit corrodes.
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Old 12-11-2015, 23:43   #19
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

If you have access to the power to run an air/con, you will want one. This is often the driving force in people accepting an open window. At anchor for extended periods of time may boats don't have the generator and on tight budgets the fuel consumption is noticeable.

Trade winds help but not all tropical locations are in the trade winds. When the wind dies down or the marina/anchorage blocks the wind, it's quickly stifling and it doesn't get better with time.

Also don't forget the fun of skeeters or no-seeums with all those open hatches.
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Old 12-11-2015, 23:48   #20
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

I second (or third?) the wind scoop idea. My boat is kept in Thailand and we found the interior pretty miserable at anchor because ventilation was insufficient... even with all the hatches wide-open. A four-sided wind scoop (I think mine is called a Breeze Bandit?) on the forward hatch made a HUGE difference.

Since I also have trouble sleeping if I'm too hot, I've used a small damp towel placed over my back or stomach to keep cool. This, plus a cabin fan, can create a pleasant amount of evaporative cooling.
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Old 13-11-2015, 00:21   #21
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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If you have access to the power to run an air/con, you will want one. This is often the driving force in people accepting an open window. At anchor for extended periods of time may boats don't have the generator and on tight budgets the fuel consumption is noticeable.

Trade winds help but not all tropical locations are in the trade winds. When the wind dies down or the marina/anchorage blocks the wind, it's quickly stifling and it doesn't get better with time.

Also don't forget the fun of skeeters or no-seeums with all those open hatches.
Bug screens mate. They work.
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Old 13-11-2015, 00:28   #22
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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Bug screens mate. They work.
Yep, they keep the bugs and the breeze out.

Those that keep skeeters out aren't too bad. Those that keep no-seeums out do a very good job keeping the breeze out.
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Old 13-11-2015, 00:34   #23
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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Yep, they keep the bugs and the breeze out.

Those that keep skeeters out aren't too bad. Those that keep no-seeums out do a very good job keeping the breeze out.
Yeah, they reduce the breeze, but if you have all your hatches and portlights open and covered it is still a pretty good flowthrough on most boats designed with the tropics in mind. Mine work for both, though the no see ums are mostly only an issue in NZ, where in my experience they are definitely "see ums" and look and feel like the metal bugs from the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still"
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Old 13-11-2015, 00:59   #24
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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I sweat the boat mostly with fresh water and mostly on passage where a canopy is impossible, in areas like Indo and other equatorial zones where the temperature of the deck itself can reach towards 50C, believe me it makes a big difference. The air is in motion over the deck and the deck heat evaporates a few tens of liters in a minute or two, cooling them considerably and reducing transmission of that additional heat energy into the boat. Not necessary in most places such as Fla or the EC or IMHO Thailand… but Indo and the Las Perlas on a tough day? Believe me, it works, so yes, it is that great. Instantly drops deck temps by many degrees, and as an added bonus is good for the teak, if you have it.

If you don't think it works… ask yourself whether sweating works… it is precisely the same mechanism, y'know. That's why I call it "sweating" the boat.

As to the "extra moisture" idea… you are aware that the boat is sitting in, well, billions of liters of the stuff in every direction, right?
Not that I claim to be an expert in tropical sailing, but the OP is talking about sleeping. Now I'm thinking Thailand, night time, protected anchorages, inversion layers. I wouldn't be "sweating" my boat in those circumstances but YMMV.

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Old 13-11-2015, 02:41   #25
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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Not that I claim to be an expert in tropical sailing, but the OP is talking about sleeping. Now I'm thinking Thailand, night time, protected anchorages, inversion layers. I wouldn't be "sweating" my boat in those circumstances but YMMV.

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Well in those circumstances it is pointless. Doing this is only useful in the afternoons and generally mostly on passage. If a canopy up no point. At night, equally. But the deck is a heat sink, and what enters the deck during the day radiates at night into the boat. Losing heat from the deck in the afternoon most certainly makes the nights easier to bear…
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Old 13-11-2015, 03:34   #26
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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Yeah, they reduce the breeze, but if you have all your hatches and portlights open and covered it is still a pretty good flowthrough on most boats designed with the tropics in mind. Mine work for both, though the no see ums are mostly only an issue in NZ, where in my experience they are definitely "see ums" and look and feel like the metal bugs from the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still"
We have the screens (normal and fine mesh). The fine mesh seems to completely kill anything short of a hurricane. Plus it's a pain to set them up each day after you get in and then pull them out.

Lot's of no-seeums along the US east coast and you don't realize it until dozens are already trapped in the boat with you.

Turn on the air/con and they all go away.

I will say, air/con or no air/con shading the cabin is helpful. Spraying it down in humid weather...played with that idea and found no significant difference.
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Old 13-11-2015, 03:53   #27
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

A family member is an absolute gun marine trimmer, possibly the best in Sydney. Looks like he will be making me a rather large Bimini when the time comes

I like the idea of sweating the boat in the arvo sun. Obviously it would be less effective of a night time.
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Old 13-11-2015, 04:29   #28
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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We have the screens (normal and fine mesh). The fine mesh seems to completely kill anything short of a hurricane. Plus it's a pain to set them up each day after you get in and then pull them out.

Lot's of no-seeums along the US east coast and you don't realize it until dozens are already trapped in the boat with you.

Turn on the air/con and they all go away.

I will say, air/con or no air/con shading the cabin is helpful. Spraying it down in humid weather...played with that idea and found no significant difference.
Yeah, I can see how the fine mesh would be a real breeze stopper.

As to sweating the boat, it really is a strategy for the VERY hot zones, when the deck becomes more than hot enough to fry up a nice breakfast!
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Old 13-11-2015, 04:30   #29
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

A bimini is of limited use when you are anchored. A boom tent is what will make the difference. If you sleep forward of the mast then a second will be necessary for the foredeck.
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Old 13-11-2015, 04:34   #30
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Re: Live Aboard In The Tropics, is air-conditioning a must have?

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A family member is an absolute gun marine trimmer, possibly the best in Sydney. Looks like he will be making me a rather large Bimini when the time comes

I like the idea of sweating the boat in the arvo sun. Obviously it would be less effective of a night time.
Now that is a nice relative to have . In the intenser zones and during the afternoon in those areas it really does help to "sweat the boat", I mean, evaporating a dozen litres of water in a half dozen minutes obviously involves the decks losing a lot of heat energy. It is simple physics. As the decks are effectively storage heaters, the effect is immediately noticeable on the feet, but definitely drops the overall temp belowdecks a degree or two some hours later.

Every little helps, as they say.

As to the "bimini", usually a bimini covers the cockpit area and perhaps the side/afterdecks to some degree. A boat canopy generally refers to a two or more piece item which looks something like a bedouin tent, and shades the entire vessel. It is the latter which makes by far the biggest difference to onboard comfort at anchor.
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