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Old 07-12-2004, 15:32   #1
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Question So many choices... all valid. I need some advice.

Hello All,

I am purchasing a Morgan OI 41 for 3 year liveaboard/corporate work with my wife. From there, we plan to cruise as far north as Newfoundland and as far south as say... Trinidad. Also a trans-atlantic to Europe is in the plan.

Due to the age of these boats, and the fact that we will need creature comforts while working our jobs (to avoid my wife going insane), I am going to completely refit the interior systems. Because I am starting from scratch, I have an infinite number of choices as to how to get all these bells and whistles set up in the boat. Also, space isn't much of a factor on a big, wide tank such as a Morgan OI. On to the questions!

I am installing the following items because we would like them for the 3 year dockside living and working time, rather than for extended cruising. Some of these items may become less necessary during our cruising period:

*Watermaker (dock h2o lines ice up in winter)
*Hot water heater
*Stove with reasonable oven (we bake and cook)
*Circulators below the boat (Prevent ice crush)
*Strong cabin heater
*Washer/Dryer combo unit
*Standard computers/flat screen tv, stereo
*Phone

I may be leaving out an item or two, but you get the picture. My problem is that each of the above items is able to run on several power sources. I understand my total daily consumption (have a physics degree - it helps). However, I don't know which type of power is best. There are many scenarios, from wildly outlandish (but valid) to simple. Here are some examples;

1) AC Power Major Source (Diesel Generated)

Everything would run on AC. Diesel would power an AC genset which would run everything on the boat. There would be a very large genset and a huge, expensive mat battery bank capable of running an electric stove and oven for hours. Heating would be via a diesel Espar cabin heater. Doesn't seem ideal in a lot of ways, but it would work and would provide a lot of AC for hungry appliances, including hot water, laundry, cooking, etc... all on one system. Mega inverter also necessary. Fridge and Freezer AC powered.

2) DC Power Major Source (Solar, Wind, Diesel Generated)

Seems like the best system to me, but I'm not sure. Drawbacks are the need for an inverter to run washing machine. Would likekly look into the WhisperGen, even though it's expensive. While it's not an efficient electricity source, it is one HELL of an efficient source of electricty and heat. Fridge and freezer would be DC powered. Cookstove and oven would have to be LPG/Propane in order to work well enough. Drawback is also that filling propane and diesel is a pain. Is my bottle going to fit the nozzle in various countries? Will I have to purchase new gas bottles all the time? How long can you realistically exsit on LPG without a re-fill, assuming you carry a lot of it? I like the fact that solar and wind can make up a little of the necessary power we need.

3) Diesel Life

Run everything off diesel. Diesel cabin heater, diesel genset (to DC), diesel cookstove (they aren't great), diesel everywhere I can, with some DC systems, such as fridge and freezer.

4) LPG Life

Gas hot water heater, Gas cookstove, gas everything with a small amout of DC. They even make gas refrigerators and freezers. The big problem? I'd be afriad to explode one day with some gas leak.

So, in your opionon, would would be the best way to design comfort systems on a boat, given it's a fresh re-fit? Factors important to me are cost over the long run and ease of use. The less I have to repair things, the better. I can't simplify down to no systems, because we want them while living shoreside for the next few years. Since I am putting all this junk in, I would like to design a cost effective, efficient system that may last a few years before major replacements are required.

Thank you in advance, oh great wise people of the cruisers forum!

Sean
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Old 07-12-2004, 17:53   #2
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watermaker

Watermakers generally do not work very well in the cold. The lower the water tempeture the lower the output. I am not sure about water near 32F, but you would probably need a very large system to meet your needs assuming it would work at all. I would verify with the manfacture at what the lowest recommend temp.

Operating watermakers in marinas can ruin the membrane. Near marinas or commerical traffic areas there is generally a lot of fuel/petro chemicals in the water which will destroy the membrane.

What we did while living on board near Annapolis MD was to run a hose from the boat house and fill the tanks or carry a five gallon jug.

For your ice eaters get an adjustable tempature control. They use alot of electricity. Our first months electric bill was $378. Ouch!

Keeping a boat warm is tough as there is no insulation and the water is great a conducting any heat you have away.

I have more comments if you are interested. We lived aboard in Feb & Mar 04 before heading to the southern Caribbean. Our run for the sun!
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:04   #3
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Sean (ssullivan) says:
I am purchasing a Morgan OI 41 for 3 year liveaboard/corporate work with my wife. From there, we plan to cruise as far north as Newfoundland and as far south as say... Trinidad. Also a trans-atlantic to Europe is in the plan.

The Out Island can certainly be a commodious live-aboard, but probably not a good choice for a Trans-Atlantic crossing. The O/I is pretty slow, and not particularly sea-worthy. Notwithstanding, I wouldn’t have any qualms about sailing a “good” one throughout the Caribbean.

As a “working” (corporate) live-aboard, your second consideration (after the boat) might be the selection of a good Marina. Undoubtably, you will require a marina the provides:
1. Legal Live-Aboard status.
2. Adequate Shore Power (perhaps 50A 120/240VAC or 2 x 30A 120VAC).
3. Adequate Shore Facilities (phone, cable TV, showers, washrooms, laundry, parking, storage, etc).
4 ...

It’s not really practical to provide your own source(s) of power (diesel gen-set) for long-term heating and etc (as you’ve described your needs), so shore-powered electrical equipment may be your best interim choice. A moderately sized Diesel Generator (< 7.5 kW), supplementing (eventual) wind-solar chargers, will probably satisfy your ultimate cruising demands.

Cooking:
You might install a propane stove-oven, for eventual cruising use, but supplement it with an electric Microwave-Convection oven combination unit & a portable electric cook-top (hot plate).

Heating:
You imply a cold-climate location (ice-eater, circulator), so heating & ventilating will be an important winter issue.
The simplest solution to space heating would be portable electric heaters (given sufficient shore-power). Whatever heat source you select, good INSULATION will vastly improve your comfort, and reduce your heating costs.
An “Instant” Hot Water Heater (tankless electric or propane) might be useful for your DHW needs.
As previously noted, R/O Watermakers are problematic in cold waters (and marinas), so you may have to heat trace (electric heating cable) your raw-water intake (or take other extraordinary measures). You won’t be happy to rely on carrying water from a distant source, so this could be a make-break issue.
BTW: A winter live-aboard marina should be able to provide assured dockside domestic water.

HTH, and best of luck!
You are embarking on an audacious venture (Corporate Live-Aboard then Cruising)
Gord
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:16   #4
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<b>The Out Island can certainly be a commodious live-aboard, but probably not a good choice for a Trans-Atlantic crossing. The O/I is pretty slow, and not particularly sea-worthy. Notwithstanding, I wouldn’t have any qualms about sailing a “good” one throughout the Caribbean.</b>

Oh no! Back to the drawing board! The Tayana 37 (pilot house) was the other seaworthy vessel we had been considering. The difficulty here is that I had heard good things about Morgan OIs doing some long distance cruising (trans-atlantic) and was told they were okay for such a trip. There is 1 Tayana 42 that may fit our budget, so maybe that's something to look into for that initial liveaboard / corporate challenge. (got to build that crusing kitty!) Thanks for this input on the boat itself. There are still a few months left for me to keep re-thinking the best boat/equipment




<b>As a “working” (corporate) live-aboard, your second consideration (after the boat) might be the selection of a good Marina. Undoubtably, you will require a marina the provides:
1. Legal Live-Aboard status.
2. Adequate Shore Power (perhaps 50A 120/240VAC or 2 x 30A 120VAC).
3. Adequate Shore Facilities (phone, cable TV, showers, washrooms, laundry, parking, storage, etc).
4 ...

It’s not really practical to provide your own source(s) of power (diesel gen-set) for long-term heating and etc (as you’ve described your needs), so shore-powered electrical equipment may be your best interim choice. A moderately sized Diesel Generator (< 7.5 kW), supplementing (eventual) wind-solar chargers, will probably satisfy your ultimate cruising demands.

Cooking:
You might install a propane stove-oven, for eventual cruising use, but supplement it with an electric Microwave-Convection oven combination unit & a portable electric cook-top (hot plate).
</b>

Interesting. Having both systems (propane AND supplemental electric) would have tremendous advantages. Great idea!
<b>
Heating:
You imply a cold-climate location (ice-eater, circulator), so heating & ventilating will be an important winter issue.
The simplest solution to space heating would be portable electric heaters (given sufficient shore-power). Whatever heat source you select, good INSULATION will vastly improve your comfort, and reduce your heating costs.
</B>

I agree with the fact that insulation is key. Definitely. My question is regarding electric heaters. I have always read that they are the leading factor in fires aboard boats. In fact, many marinas in my area ban them specifically in their terms of service agreements. Any thought as to that? We heat our homes here in the north east US with home heating oil, so I am used to the idea of filling up the tank to heat a place.

<b>
An “Instant” Hot Water Heater (tankless electric or propane) might be useful for your DHW needs.
As previously noted, R/O Watermakers are problematic in cold waters (and marinas), so you may have to heat trace (electric heating cable) your raw-water intake (or take other extraordinary measures). You won’t be happy to rely on carrying water from a distant source, so this could be a make-break issue.
BTW: A winter live-aboard marina should be able to provide assured dockside domestic water.
</b>

Hmmm.... so it is most imporant to find a good marina. Another interesting point. Several around here are not suited for that purpose since they seem to ban in everywhere. (I'm in New Hampshire, and commute to Exeter, NH) This could very well be the most challenging aspect of the entire project. I was going to do this "on the sly" by not mentioning that I am living aboard and just doing it. Maybe I need to re-think that as well.

<b>

HTH, and best of luck!
You are embarking on an audacious venture (Corporate Live-Aboard then Cruising)
Gord [/B][/QUOTE]


Thank you so much for the informed response. I take your word as gospel, noting where you are from. (Ontario) If anyone knows winter it's you guys!

Thanks again.

Sean
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:27   #5
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Jeff H ???

Perhaps we might impose on JEFF H, or others, to offer some (expert) thoughts on your boat choices - The Morgan Out-Island 41 vs The Tayana 37 (pilot house) , and/or other suitable candidates.

I'm certain that you won't get away with living-aboard "on the sly" for 3 years. For the reasons stated (& others), your choice of marina will be very important.

Regards,
Gord
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:29   #6
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Re: Jeff H ???

All good points, Gord. Thank you. I guess I will go back to the drawing board and post something along the lines of "what boat should I cruise with?"

Thanks again.

Sean


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GordMay once whispered in the wind:
Perhaps we might impose on JEFF H, or others, to offer some (expert) thoughts on your boat choices - The Morgan Out-Island 41 vs The Tayana 37 (pilot house) , and/or other suitable candidates.

I'm certain that you won't get away with living-aboard "on the sly" for 3 years. For the reasons stated (& others), your choice of marina will be very important.

Regards,
Gord
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