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Old 25-08-2010, 00:39   #1
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Constraints of PNW Liveaboard vs Tropical Cruising

Hi,

I'm sure some of you have come up against this conundrum before. We are planning on taking off for an indefinite (read: working) "holiday" to the South Pacific and beyond come 2014 (by which time we should have saved up a reasonable cruising kitty, as well as paid for the necessary upgrades to the boat) However, in the interceding years, we are seriously considering living aboard, likely on Vancouver Island in the Victoria area. We (generally) subscribe to the "keep it simple, go soon, go far" motto -- at least once we've left.

However, I work an office job (or at least I intend on doing so once we head to the Island) and require certain things; ie., hot showers ON BOARD. I don't feel the need for such luxuries when out cruising locally, and anticipate that I will be content with solar showers and the like once we've left.

So, how does one resolve the inherrent conflict between wanting/needing (I know, I know these are not truly needs. The idea of trekking up to the communal showers at 6am in the dead of the PNW winter still makes me cranky. Cranky in 32' is a bad idea, me thinks) shoreside luxuries with the desire for simplicity once we leave? Cost is a partial factor, though quickly mitigated by the amount that we will save by living aboard and not paying rent.

Any advice is appreciated
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Old 25-08-2010, 01:02   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serah View Post
Hi,

I'm sure some of you have come up against this conundrum before. We are planning on taking off for an indefinite (read: working) "holiday" to the South Pacific and beyond come 2014 (by which time we should have saved up a reasonable cruising kitty, as well as paid for the necessary upgrades to the boat) However, in the interceding years, we are seriously considering living aboard, likely on Vancouver Island in the Victoria area. We (generally) subscribe to the "keep it simple, go soon, go far" motto -- at least once we've left.

However, I work an office job (or at least I intend on doing so once we head to the Island) and require certain things; ie., hot showers ON BOARD. I don't feel the need for such luxuries when out cruising locally, and anticipate that I will be content with solar showers and the like once we've left.

So, how does one resolve the inherrent conflict between wanting/needing (I know, I know these are not truly needs. The idea of trekking up to the communal showers at 6am in the dead of the PNW winter still makes me cranky. Cranky in 32' is a bad idea, me thinks) shoreside luxuries with the desire for simplicity once we leave? Cost is a partial factor, though quickly mitigated by the amount that we will save by living aboard and not paying rent.

Any advice is appreciated
Hi Serah:

There is absolutely no reason not to have hot showers on your boat.

I have 4 women in my life...3 beautiful and endearing daughters and x2 that for my wife.

All 5 of us have taken many showers on our swim steps of various boats we have owned one right after the other using water heated from 20 to 30 min of engine run time from the cooling systems heat circulated through and transferring that heat to the contents of our 6 to 10 gal water heaters in those various boats..

Sure you use a on off button on the shower wand unlike at home but big deal...it is so refreshing to have those hot showers...Our new boat has 240 gals of water...we plan on using it to the hilt.....and can you say "Water Maker"?......I see one in our future.

Hot Showers?...bring it on.....I like my women clean..
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Old 25-08-2010, 02:44   #3
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Showering on the swim step sounds wonderful, but I'm thinking not so practical for a livebaboard trying to hold down a job.

My boat came with a shower. I used it once. Your 1976, 32 ft boat, and my 1973 36 ft boat, If somewhat comparable, don't lend themselves to showering aboard on a daily basis. Having said that, I'm sure that someone out there on a smaller boat is doing what your asking on a daily basis and getting along quite well.

I used to be a livaboard. Just to clarify, I didn't graduate or anything. I sailed away, put my boat in dry storage and took work overseas.

Back to my perspective on your question...

I used to shower in the marina facilities daily. Rain or shine. One day I just happend to noitice that it was never an issue. That may sound strange, but I was thinking about my former life and how I used to ooze out of bed in the morning and into the shower without having to "get dressed", grab my shower kit and step outside to head up to the showers. It just never occured to me how much I had "given up". I'm saying that it was a mind set that I never noticed setting in.

So if you're going to proceed, you will not be the first. It comes down to how much do you want it I think. You might try showering at night instead of mornings. Some people have done that all their lives of course. I can see that possibly making it more paletable. I put together one of those small mesh laundry bags (about 12" x12" or there abouts) that you put things in, zip it closed and throw in the machine. I got two plastic hooks for it, filled it with my shower debris, including a shaving mirror that is tethered to the whole thing and that has been my shaving/shower kit for years now. I have found it very handy for all my traveling. The hooks go over the shower curtain rod and everything is contained. I don't need a shelf to set things on.

Like I said, others shower on boats better equipted for it than my boat and I'm sure they'll chime in. Hope what I've said helps some.
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Old 25-08-2010, 06:08   #4
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We live on our boat in Baltimore, year round. Our first winter aboard was this past one, where we had unbelievable amounts of snow. We learned a lot right off the bat, after hoping our first winter aboard would be mild.

Showering on our boat in the winter is not an option, really. The marina cuts off the water to the docks sometime in late October, early November, depending on the temps. Besides not wanting to use the water in our tanks for showers, there is NO heat in the shower. I found that it's really not that big a deal to walk to the bath house in the winter. In fact, I'd rather walk up there in the winter than in the summer. The bath house is hot and humid in the summer, even with A/C running. At least in the winter, you stay warm in there. Bundle up for your trips back and forth. You can always do the makeup, etc. once you get back to the boat.
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Old 25-08-2010, 18:55   #5
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I'd forgotten that many marina's turn off the water when they're expecting freezing temperatures (except ours which pre-emptively turned off all the water from sometime in November through March IIRC) May be a bit of a hindrance.
I guess what we're really wondering about is as we have a relatively barebones boat now, how much should we add to make a year or two ( or three or four) living aboard locally as pleasant as possible? We go back and forth whether we really need a watermaker, hydronic heat, hot water, refrigeration etc. Yet, I can't imagine continuing to be excited for cruising while living aboard at "home" without my life's luxuries. Hot running water is but one of them.

As for the specifics of having a shower aboard the boat, we think it should work. The head has reasonable enough room to shower in (I'm only 5'1", but even Brodie who is 6'4" finds it workable. He's just happy that he can almost stand upright in a boat that isn't over 40'.) There's already a thruhull capped off for use as a drain; it should be as simple as glassing in a drain, running some hose and adding a pump.
Ha. I say that now! I know how boat projects go. Moisture in the boat is my only real concern.

Funny thing is, I lived aboard a 42' with my family as a kid. I'm pretty sure we didn't have a shower at that time. Actually I'm quite sure, as I distinctly recall trying to rinse my hair in the galley sink, and burning myself quite badly on the still hot stove right next to me. Anyway, it didn't seem weird at the time, even for a 10 year old girl. Then again, as Brodie refers to me, I was "a dirty boat child"
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Old 25-08-2010, 19:41   #6
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If the head can get wet, it can become a shower. the problem is that you will be adding significant moisture to the boat, and in the PNW, fighting moisture will be a full-time problem.

If you shower aboard in the PNW, you will need a dehumidifier. Get the biggest and quietest one you can find, and figure that it will run 24/7 during the rainy season. Your dehumidifier is your new best friend.

Keep the door to the head closed AT ALL TIMES. Never leave the shower without squeegeeing down the walls. Never cook pasta when it's raining.

Find ways to circulate air throughout the boat. The more fans you use, the more likely your dehumidifier is to keep mildew at bay.

Spend a lot of time fretting about your heating system/furnace. A space heater only heats the moisture, it does not eliminate it. You need something that will not only heat the boat, but will dry it out. Consider solid fuel stoves, or a forced-air diesel furnace. A hydronic system won't cut it if you're going to shower aboard.

Don't try to beat the laws of physics. Short showers won't introduce as much moisture aboard as long showers. If you need a luxurious 10-minute shower every morning, you need to live somewhere other than on a small boat in the Pacific Northwest. (Or you need to shower ashore.)
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Old 25-08-2010, 22:41   #7
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We shower on and off year round as liveaboards, and do a M-F professional jobs. I agree with everything Bash said, although we have hydronic heat and we do fine. You will especially like hydronic heat if you actually go sailing in the winter, as you will have hot water at anchor. But yes, the key to it all is a really good dehumidifier. Definitely squeegee, ventilation, etc., and you will get into a routine very quickly and find out what works best for you. All that said, there is a big difference between 39' and 32', not only in shower room, but also air volume to absorb all that moisture you will create with a hot shower. I probably shower about half the time aboard and half the time up at the facilities. It really depends on how lazy we're feeling and how much of a "Hollywood" shower we want!

One of the changes I made when we moved aboard as far as showers go is I now mostly shower at night instead of the morning. I used to need that morning shower, but it was really just a wake-up routine. By switching to nighttime showers, you avoid having to bundle up for a cold walk first thing in the morning (when I am the most grumpy!) All you need in the morning is a face washing with cold water to wake you right up. I say cold water because by the time you start getting warm water out of your tap you are already almost done washing your face. And you definitely aren't going to waste all that water just waiting for the hot water to make it to your sink basin!
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Old 26-08-2010, 06:49   #8
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I once knew a marine engineer who worked in Ottawa, ON and lived aboard an old converted steam tug. He was a few lbs overweight (aren't we all? (Gov't desk jockeys)). In the dead of winter here it can get to -20C for weeks on end. The challenges to keep h/w onboard an old uninsulated steel steam tug were insurmountable even for a marine engineer.

During a lunchtime conversation one day we got to chatting about living aboard and hygiene etc. and he mentioned his situation. Starting to think about living aboard or extensive cruising when we retired and how this might affect us someday. He went onto say he'd joined a fitness club complete with showers. He changed his daily routine to get up early and head to the club for a mild workout and "3S" (sh*t, Shower, Shave) before heading to work. The added benefit was he got into shape, lost some weight and kept clean much to the joy of everyone in the office who sat near him!
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Old 26-08-2010, 08:26   #9
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Sorry...I thought we were talking about South Pacific Living.at least that's what it sounded like to me so my answer was geared to that.

Yes it is difficult in winter in higher latitudes...shower on shore in winter.
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