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Old 16-09-2017, 22:43   #1
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Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Hello everyone,

I just recently purchased an Islander 30 and am going to be living on it after cleaning it up a bit. I've made some slight changes to the functionality of the boat and it got me wondering, what's your favorite modification or "hack" for your liveaboard that makes your life easier or more enjoyable? It can be anything.

Partly curious and partly looking for suggestions on fun DIY projects
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Old 17-09-2017, 03:30   #2
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Must be thousand and one little things, many involving double sided velcro

A lot involves power as well, another couple hundred watts solar recently has transformed everything, no more running the genny in the morning. LED's all round essential, also loving a raspberry pi running openplotter which, with a few beers worth of sensors records everything - battery voltage, engine temperature, barometer - so if the engine is slowly running s bit warmer you get early warning. Same for the batteries, are they really getting to 100% every day? A panel voltmeter direct to the battery terminals visible from your favourite seat is also a near must do. The Pi also acts as a wifi repeater so no more having to log devices into a new network if you move.

Home made anchor light which lives under the anchor ball also a great thing, then doubly so with the addition of an auto on/off when it gets dark.

Baofeng UV5R little ham radio is a big hit as well, worth an afternoon wiring up a buck converter so it's permanently on monitoring ch16 & 72 in the anchorage drawing next to no power.

Must be hundreds more little things, little net hammocks for the fruit & veg...
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Old 17-09-2017, 05:02   #3
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

My favorite modification was the use of 3M's VHB tape to refit my portlights.
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Old 18-09-2017, 06:37   #4
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

One thing that made life more bearable in the heat of the summer and especially nights was an air scoop to funnel air into the saloon or berth area.
Summers on the Texas coast were HOT.
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Old 18-09-2017, 06:43   #5
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Don't forget mosquito nets for hatches and companion way if you are in those areas where the little blood suckers are. Get lots of VELCROŽ
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Old 18-09-2017, 08:00   #6
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Not so much a hack but... we bought a nice TV table to eat off of and semi-permanently drop our salon table into bed configuration. Add big pillows, comfy quilts and some lights and we have a great lounge. Since there are only two of us, the tv table is actually more convenient than the big table when we eat below.
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Old 18-09-2017, 08:16   #7
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

OceanAir retractable screen/shade for forward hatch.

Very expensive, but worth it. Pull one way, it's the bug screen. Pull the other way, block out morning sun. I keep the shade in place while I'm off the boat and it drastically cuts the interior temperature.


Also- extra handholds below deck.
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Old 18-09-2017, 08:37   #8
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

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Originally Posted by Taichungman View Post
Don't forget mosquito nets for hatches and companion way if you are in those areas where the little blood suckers are. Get lots of VELCROŽ
What do you use to stick your velco onto the walls with?

Sure you can sew the velco onto the nets, but then the other part needs to be stuck to something. Mine keeps coming off, the various adhesives can't take the heat.
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Old 18-09-2017, 08:49   #9
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

conachair and others have nailed most of my favourites (Including the BAOFENG! ), but I have a few others.

(caveat, we just weekend on our little boat, not liveaboards. But i also do electrical/systems work on boats and have been aboard many)
  • LEDs for all lights. In particular, LED strip lighting in strategic places, like inside/under shelving. I made a custom PWM dimmer for ours but premade ones exist too. Sexy and lower current demand.
  • A battery monitor or a really good panel voltmeter
  • USB jacks in several places. The majority of modern gizmos power from USB jacks, and you can also get some cute little USB reading lights on goosenecks (IKEA). My jacks are all dual and I hacksawed them off of discarded motherboards; I power all of our USB jacks from one 12v -5v step-down switching module which is efficient and good to 3+ amps. Also available premade.
  • I made rigid screened inserts for the full companionway and front hatch. Easier to deal with than floppy screens + velcro, and they have lasted a while
  • Additional ventilation is always good.
  • We also have something TV-table-sized - all plastic and folds thin so is easy to store. Very handy in and out.
  • Portable butane burner ($20). It's all we have, but on a larger boat would also be a great secondary/spare unit.
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Old 18-09-2017, 09:00   #10
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

One of my favorite small things is to have a swing out or tip out cabinet (usually under the sink) for a plastic garbage can. Keeps the odor down, and is easy to use. You add a shelf to the door to support the can and use a bungie around it.
I would caution doing too much until you use the boat a bit, things become clearer when you do that.
Having a voltmeter is a good project that will keep you from running your batteries flat. I usually do it with tiny 3 strand wire and an Ebay digital voltmeter. An on-off-on momentary contact switch allows you to test each bank. Quick and easy, no complication of a "battery monitor" and probably $5.
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Old 19-09-2017, 02:26   #11
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

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Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
What do you use to stick your velco onto the walls with?

Sure you can sew the velco onto the nets, but then the other part needs to be stuck to something. Mine keeps coming off, the various adhesives can't take the heat.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mike, that was in the 80's and I can't remember where I put my glasses 2 minutes ago. My wife at the time put them on; I do remember she sewed the netting on by hand but don't remember what kind of glue. I do remember that they worked well and think I would have remember if they didn't. I'll ask her if I can find her; she jumped ship in Florida. She said she was tired of camping out. Off the subject but I talked to her 25 years after that and she said, living on the boat was the best time of her life. Got to be a moral somewhere to that.
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Old 19-09-2017, 03:44   #12
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Almost 30 years liveaboard, did so much hacks that the boat is new every ten years.


I do remember the last important hack : I added a genakker on a jib pole with a roller system.


That sail is almost double the size of our head sail AND stay sail together. It allows us to sail in light winds where in the old days the engine had to be started.
Hate to use the diesel. The 330 kg clonk of iron heats up in minutes, takes almost a day to cool down. It heats the cockpit floor and the aft bulkhead. Not good in hot Greece.
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Old 19-09-2017, 03:52   #13
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
What do you use to stick your velco onto the walls with?

Sure you can sew the velco onto the nets, but then the other part needs to be stuck to something. Mine keeps coming off, the various adhesives can't take the heat.
As always, you need the surface prepared well by removing any loose materials or oils. It's a little expensive, but the 3M VHB is fantastic for cohesion.
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Old 23-09-2017, 18:30   #14
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

One extra house battery if you can fit it in. I added one more battery giving me 3 200 amps of house power.
Couple of solar panels to keep the house batteries on a float when you are not on the boat and shore power becomes "disconnected." My fridge is 12vt too.
TV
Satellite radio so you can listen to your favorite music or programs and never lose the signal. This can be part of the standard car AM/FM, CD car radio. DVD player.
Microwave.
One can never have enough inverters. They all have switches to be turned on or off as necessary/needed. I have a 1500 watt inverter that can, depending on the panel switches, power the microwave or the outlet for the coffee maker or toaster. Next a 400 watt inverter in the stateroom to run one TV and an outlet and finally an additional inverter to support the TV in the salon and one outlet used primarily to keep the computer charged. Yes, I know, I can drain the house batteries quickly but, the large loads are at best for a short period of time. It's called 'load management.'
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Old 23-09-2017, 22:14   #15
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Re: Favorite modification/hack for liveaboards?

Add a couple of those solar powered mushroom type ventillators. The ones with a built in battery, so that they run 24/7. Helps with dampness & smells a lot. On velcro, there are multiple levels of strengths of the hook/loop portion. So for things like bug nets, where you're gluing one side to the boat, get the velcro with the least grippy hook & loop bits. So that there's less force tugging at the glue every time you remove the screens.
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