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Old 26-07-2009, 19:25   #1
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Question $20K for Boat . . . + Fridge?

ok here's one for livaboards,
I am moving to the abacos in mid-November and i only have 20k to purchase the boat with. Do I have enough money to maintain a fridge system, we will be at anchor alot. Can i run the fridge from wind/solar power or will i have to run the motor for a couple hours each day to maintain coolness in the locker?

Or

should i keep it primitive due to my tight budget?
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Old 26-07-2009, 19:56   #2
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I would advise that you find the boat first, then see if it already has refrig. aboard. After you spend $20K are you going to have any money left for improvements, mo. to mo. living expenses? Will you have enough to buy a bag of ice every couple days?
Do a search for Columbia and see my article in our newsletter. Columbia 28 will cost less than 20K.
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Old 26-07-2009, 20:52   #3
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You may be able to find a boat that is already equipped with a suitable system. There are several boats already outfitted for cruising and that's what you need to look for. If you buy a boat not already set up, you'll nickle and dime yourself to death. Proper wind and/or solar power should be able to run a small fridge system in most conditions. Be aware that ANY boat, especially one for under 20k is going to require some degree of maintenance and upkeep. Clamps, hoses, bilge pumps, wiring......it all adds up. Good luck. If you choose well you should be able to make it work.
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Old 26-07-2009, 21:08   #4
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I recently priced one of the 18-quart Waeco condenser freezers at under $400. It draws minimal power. I plan to buy it soon. Of course what ever boat you purchase may have a working fridge.

I've sailed a couple 26-footers on a tighter budget which included the Bahamas. My cruises were no longer than 3 months but I don't think 8 would have fundamentally changed things. Keeping the systems simple really kept costs down for me. I even did half of one cruise with no engine after the inboard died and had no problems. A limited solar bank ran the lights, radios and autopilot (limited night use) with no problem. I would have needed to double the solar size (and increase the battery bank) to run even the small fridge I mentioned above, if I had no motor charging. You just need to crunch the amp hour numbers on that one. Personally, for 8 months, I'd make a fridge work instead of getting ice.
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Old 27-07-2009, 15:42   #5
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The short answer is Yes. Solar and wind power can provide sufficient charge for your batteries to run a typical marine refrigerator in the Bahamas. We did it for 2 years throughout the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean. But, we had 320 watts of solar panels and a KISS wind generator plus a smart charger. The cost of that kind of equipment will easily exceed the cost of running the engine for an hour a day for a year. Also, if you are going to have a hot water shower on the boat, most likely it will run off the heat exchanger which means you will be running the engine periodically anyway.

An alternative would be one of the popular Honda portable generators. You still have to feed them, but they're probably more effecient at battery charging than the boat's engine and they can power the water heater.
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Old 27-07-2009, 15:45   #6
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Thanks slomotion

So how long is the life of these solar and wind generators? and does their output powerwise deteriorate as they age?
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Old 27-07-2009, 16:01   #7
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CaptBrosnan,

All I can tell you from experience is that we had no noticeable deterioration or other problems in the 4 years we owned the boat. Our Kyocera panels were warrantied at 90% power for 10 years and 80% for 20 years. Wind generators have bearings and blades which may need to be replaced - ours never did.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:22   #8
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fridge systems BREAK ice is cheep enough to buy anywhere--do what you feel is your best option---solar panels are use able for longer times if one makes sure the connectors are clean and does mainrtenance on them regularly, i use unisolar seconds and irregulars--i was told they would deteriorate--over7 yrs there is no noticeable deficit unless the connections are dirty and require re-connecting...is no way around that--good luck. fair winds~~~~~_/)~~~~~
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