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Old 27-02-2014, 23:22   #1
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Do I need AC?

Alright I've read and read on this subject and it's plain and simple. Most cruisers live on the hook and don't use AC. They do say however in a marina they do use AC.

I am moving aboard my boat in the coming months at a marina here in Virginia. It gets relatively hot here and humid. Is AC something I should strongly consider? Or will I be ok with fans blowing about the cabin.

Also any recommendations on what type of AC? An AC unit in the companionway just seems like too much hassle for a liveaboard.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 27-02-2014, 23:34   #2
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Re: Do I need AC?

Try living without it then decide. If you do decide to get one, get a real marine AC. Don't mess around with trying to stuff a room air conditioner in the companion way.
It's in the way and it's ugly.
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Old 27-02-2014, 23:56   #3
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Re: Do I need AC?

Buy a cheap wall mounted ac unit the square box type, usually about 500w, place it over a hatch and make triangle sides, it doesn't take any space down below and drains onto the deck. We use this daily in marina and on anchor if it's really hot (were in cairns in the tropics), other yachts leave them on the wharf when they sail. It's a bit ugly but is coat effective and works really well.
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Old 28-02-2014, 00:07   #4
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Re: Do I need AC?

marine AC take up a lot of space (which you will not have much on a 31) make a lot of noise and require more thru hulls. our raw water intake sucked up various forms of sea life and assorted sea weeds .. not good. i would try to live without one. a better option might be refrigeration. you will have to decide. good luck.
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Old 28-02-2014, 00:12   #5
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Re: Do I need AC?

Well we have no choice down here in Louisiana, way to HOT and Humidity in the high 90 % most of the summer! If your gunna use your boat even for just weekend or over nights ya need it ! But then I feel this way about AC, better to have it and not need it then to not have and really need it ! Just my OLD 2 cents LOL
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Old 28-02-2014, 00:37   #6
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Re: Do I need AC?

Pulled my marine unit out. I use a small window unit when on shore power.

Cheap and efficient and gives me more storage space. When I throw off the dock lines the unit gets stored in the truck, dock box or under the dink if marina hopping.

Winter or summer, I believe acclimation is healthier and enjoyable when possible.
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Old 28-02-2014, 05:03   #7
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Re: Do I need AC?

I also suggest trying it without AC. Also consider a sun awning over the boom (and cockpit if you don't have a bimini), covering much of the coachroof. It really helps keep the interior cooler.
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Old 28-02-2014, 05:56   #8
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Re: Do I need AC?

We never use our a/c. The inside of the boat remains at water temperature; we wear swim trunks most of the time and just get used to the weather.
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Old 28-02-2014, 06:12   #9
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Re: Do I need AC?

Those who have never experienced August in Virginia may think you can get by without A/C as a marina-based live-aboard, but they'd change their tune might quickly if they tried it. Mounting a standard window A/C unit in the overhead hatch of the saloon is a good option.
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Old 28-02-2014, 06:13   #10
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Re: Do I need AC?

Kind of like the old saying, it's not the heat, it's the bugs (and the humidity).

99% of the time I was OK with the occasional warm night and after a year in the Caribbean was acclimated to the heat. Plus a good awning makes a huge difference.

But every once in a while I would find myself anchored in a area with a bad mosquito or no-see-um problem and it would come down to two options. Keep the hatches open for ventilation and keep cool but suffer the bugs or lock myself in the boat to keep the bugs out but die of heat stroke.

The problem is, if you want AC away from the dock now you have to add a generator. It just never ends.
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Old 28-02-2014, 06:28   #11
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Re: Do I need AC?

In Deltaville we couldn't make it without AC. We made a nice enclosure for the main hatch, bought a cheap window unit and keep it in the dock box when away. We just pull it out when needed which seems to be most of July and August. The other boats on our dock all have it as well.

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Old 28-02-2014, 06:45   #12
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Re: Do I need AC?

I would agree to try to live without one. I did that for the first few weeks of August on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I finally broke down and got an AC when my g/f started complaining. Like most of the boats under 40' in my marina I use a standard small window/wall unit. Mine was in my companionway but it's a pain to get around. I'll be making a scoop for my salon hatch this summer to get it out of the way.

For winter and the rare summer day when we have wind, I toss the AC on the end of my finger dock with a towel over it. It's kind of ugly but nearly a necessity in the summer off the hook. It's also the norm down here so it's not frowned upon.
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Old 28-02-2014, 06:57   #13
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Re: Do I need AC?

During the summer I spent on the hook in the Potomac rIver the interior of my boat reached temps probably upwards of 110-120.

I suffered greatly and hope to never repeat the experience. If I find myself in that kind of heat again I'll buy a generator to power an AC...especially in the evening so I can sleep.
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Old 28-02-2014, 07:06   #14
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Re: Do I need AC?

We've also used a window unit in a hatch with a make shift cowling. What really worked well for us was to strap a box fan to the bottom of the hatch. Helped to circulate the cold air out of the cowling and into the boat.
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Old 28-02-2014, 07:08   #15
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Re: Do I need AC?

i didnt find a need for air conditioniong in fla or in louisiana in summers.... notuntil i go tto mazatlan and experienced 110 f heat with high humidity.
then i chose to buy a window unit instead of marine unit as they are much more efficient. no one mentions the efficiency, just the UGLINESS of having a window unit , which is easily dispo´d when not desired....
besides, a window unit, when installed properly, is no uglier than the lump of stuff marine units plop over a hatch or the disruption in your interior as it is installed and the question of what to do when it breaks..which it will...loli have much easier repairs...pitch and rebuy... and i have a nice protective frame for it and formosa windows..easy in easy out...then i can SAIL without it, and i can do with or with out the machine,and it stows easily beneath my bunk.
i gave this problem much thought before buying fo r140 usd a window unit, instead of paying multiple thousands and then paying for install....
i win.
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