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Old 10-12-2011, 22:24   #1
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Does One Need a Generator and/or AC

In our quest for a liveaboard boat that will spend a lot of time in Florida (Tampa), Bahamas and Virgin Islands we have found many really good deals on boats without air conditioners or generators.

I know AC is considered a personal issue but is a boat miserable without one in that area(s)?

When on the hook in the Bahamas is a generator and/or AC needed. Defining needed as: Making the trip much more enjoyable.

How miserable would we be without it?

Is there enough cool tropical breezes to where an AC is only rarely needed or is it pretty much a daily need?
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Old 10-12-2011, 23:47   #2
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

What time of year would you be there for?

I've lived in Phoenix without A/C, so my opinion might not be valid.

I would think a dehumidifier or AC would be important during the summer months. Along with shade.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:12   #3
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

We've been cruising 11 years, with AC and heat, but no generator. The AC is shore power only, and we rarely have shore power, but our experience cruising from the Chesapeake south to Grenada is that we haven't missed AC. On the Chesapeake in the summer, on hot, windless days, it would have been nice. In the Caribbean in the summer, the temperature is in the 80's most of the time, so if you anchor where there is a breeze, it's comfortable on the boat, even if it's brutally hot ashore.

The most southerly point where we used heat was Miami in the winter, but that was rare.

Look for a boat with good ventilation, and don't overlook full sun awnings. Most people living in the Caribbean don't have (or want) AC if they can have a sea breeze instead.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:48   #4
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

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Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post

When on the hook in the Bahamas is a generator and/or AC needed. Defining needed as: Making the trip much more enjoyable.

Depends on the time of the year. For winter cruising definitely not needed. Evenings are usually cool and, lying to the wind at anchor, there is generally a good breeze.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:34   #5
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

Been cruising florida for many years without ac. A good windscoop is essential. Ive made one with adjustable baffles that can be used even in the windiest wettest conditions. Closing the boat up for weather quickly becomes very uncomfortable. Buggy areas become uncomfortable when screens are necessary, but dont forget the screens.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:38   #6
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

we lost our a/c 3 yrs ago (live in fl/bahamas) and haven't really missed it. as long as we have shade (canvas) and there's a breeze (usually is later in the day) we're comfy. as far as a gen set goes, it depends how you want to live...if you can live comfortably w/ solar/wind great! if you don't have solar/wind, you won't be running alot of appliances, etc. but on the other hand, you won't have to listen to that damn genny...
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:25   #7
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

This is a personal choice depending on how comfortable you want to be. The question you should be asking yourself is whether you'd want A/C if you lived in a house in Florida or the Bahamas, not that you'd find many without them in either location. Say cost/benefit ratio.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:48   #8
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

My current boat has AC which I've never turned on because I don't have a generator. But I'm on a mooring and even when it is hot on shore it isn't too bad on the boat.

But I never can figure out what te orgnal owner was thinking, getting AC on the boat but no generator to run it. Guess they were definitely a marina slip type person.

I know when I first got into the sailing thing I thought that having AC would be a must have to be comfortable. But after 4 summers I don't really think this anymore.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:49   #9
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
The question you should be asking yourself is whether you'd want A/C if you lived in a house in Florida or the Bahamas, not that you'd find many without them in either location. Say cost/benefit ratio.

Wrong question. Living on the hook is totally different from being ashore. Especially in the Bahamas. The temperature seems to go up about ten degrees or more once you step ashore. Lack of a breeze is usually the reason. Also the land gets a lot hotter than the surface of the water. We experience this nearly every time we go ashore in the Bahamas whether it's a small deserted cay or one of the settlements.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:18   #10
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

In the West Indies, you're better off with a good bimini for the cockpit, and a rain tarp over the forward hatch if you sleep in the forward cabin. A windscoop is nice during the day, but you will be jumping up at 3 am in your skivvies or whatever to take it down and close the hatch when the ever-present 15 minute long rain shower comes through.

Also, the sun can be blinding when it gets close to the horizon, making it hard to enjoy your sundowners in the cockpit. Make up a rectangular tarp out of a woven synthetic fabric to hang vertically from the bimini as a sun blocker. The breeze is from the east so you won't be blocking it. I've forgotten the brand name of the fabric, but it comes in different "weaves" that block 75% or 95% of the sun, but you can still see through it from the cockpit. One of those little things that makes life on board more pleasant.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:32   #11
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

Mostly I think it depends on your true home port.Down the Bayou where our ashore life is,air conditioning is a must!!! so we have plenty of air on our Trawler. when running, even in the middle of summer, we very seldom need the air as the air flow through the boat cools it pretty well. But I will say it's real nice at night on the hook!! nothing like a COOL nights sleep!!(and a sound box helps a bunch) I guess if your a younger and tougher then us old folks, you can stand the sweaty nights better LOL Bob and Connie
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:35   #12
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post
In our quest for a liveaboard boat that will spend a lot of time in Florida (Tampa), Bahamas and Virgin Islands we have found many really good deals on boats without air conditioners or generators.

I know AC is considered a personal issue but is a boat miserable without one in that area(s)?

When on the hook in the Bahamas is a generator and/or AC needed. Defining needed as: Making the trip much more enjoyable.

How miserable would we be without it?

Is there enough cool tropical breezes to where an AC is only rarely needed or is it pretty much a daily need?
From about late April through October, A/C is almost definately needed in any marina in south Florida. In a marina there tends to be limited wind and with water temperatures in the high 80's to low 90's coupled with the intense sun, a boat gets pretty hot.

Anchored out, and with sun covers, a boat is much more endurable until the wind dies, tho' that is rare.

In the islands there is generally enough wind most everywhere that A/C is unnecessary most of the time--again, marinas sometimes excepted.

As for the generator, they are nice but not an absolute necessity. We happen to have a generator--4.2 KW--that will run our A/C while charging our batteries but we really only need it a few hours a day for the most part. We could live without it, but we do like having it tho' it really adds to the maintenance regime on the boat.

FWIW...
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:00   #13
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Re: Does one need a generator and/or AC

The OP is from Alaska, and near as we can tell has never been in Florida.

The best advice is to hop a plane and visit Tampa in July. You might hate it. Your sense of what is too hot may be different. Personally, I would sooner spend time in hell than in a marina in Tampa in the summer without AC. While you can dress for cold, heat is just relentless, with you all day and all night long.

To me, Florida is a winter place at best; in the summer, anywhere else is better, excepting some equally hot places. Florida didn't become a popular "paradise" until AC became commonplace for a reason.

---

On the hook is always better, but a great many marinas have no breeze.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:39   #14
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I flew from New York once in July to Southwest Florida to join my father for a cruise. I was surprised, but the weather was much more bearable in Florida than in sweltering NYC. It does really make a huge difference having water around you, instead of concrete.

I have a genset on board but no AC. A genset has many more uses than just running AC.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:05   #15
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Re: Does One Need a Generator and/or AC

For AC summertime in FL or Caribbean.

1. At a marina, YES.

2. At anchor, 95% of the time if you have good awnings, no, BUT I have spent an occasional windless night being eaten alive by mosquitoes and noseeums when it was too hot to close the hatches but the bugs too bad to leave them open. On those rare nights I would have paid double for an AC which of course then would require a generator to power it.
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