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Old 17-03-2014, 00:54   #1
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What's Important, What's not.

I am moving aboard my boat the last week in April. I have a 31 foot Dufour and it's just me and will be doing a lot of solo sailing. I've never lived aboard before, however, have lived in smaller spaces while in the Army. I'm going to list my plans and would like input on what to do first, and any other suggestions on items I list or adding items and what's more important. During the summer, I will be at the marina some as my slip is paid for the year, but also plan on doing a lot of anchoring out. Note I already have an autopilot. Also will not be doing this all at once, but plan on putting the $1300 a month I pay in rent now towards these upgrades in addition to my already disposable income (I work from computer)

1) Air Conditioner. I picked up a Cruisair from a forum user. Plan on using this while hooked up to shore power.

2) Enclosure. My canvas is about ready to be replaced. I currently have a dodger and bimini. I am planning on getting a full enclosure and dodger made. I'm thinking this will help with insect problems, and in stormy weather I can still sit in the cockpit. Will have it designed where I can role up the rear and sides of course.

3) Refrigeration. I have an ice box, but do not desire to convert it. Looking at getting a small 12V refrigeration unit.

4) Windlass. Looking at getting this due to the help it gives for a solo sailer.

5) Boom Tents. To keep sun off the fore deck and under the boom to reduce heat. I do have lazy jacks on the boom though, is this still possible

6) Water Maker. Looking at getting an RO Water Maker from Cruise RO. In the Chesapeake bay, not so much, but do plan on touring the Bahamas in the winter. I only have a 35 gallon water tank, which I understand is not a lot whatsoever. I figure I can use this to keep top offed.

7) Stern Arch for Solar Power, Wind Power, Radar etc.

8) Purchasing of Solar Power, Wind Power, and Radar.

9) Windvane

Appreciate the feedback.
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Old 17-03-2014, 01:56   #2
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

If you're handy at making stuff, a chain pawl is arguably better than a windlass for a single hander on a boat that size.

Sometimes you want to get the anchor up (or more urgently, down) in a real hurry. And a chain pawl means you never have to hold the weight, plus it's more reliable than any windlass.
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:04   #3
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

On a boat that small, water maker, radar, arch all seem like way overkill. But I'm a minimalist.
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:31   #4
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

I would start with the solar and wind gen (get both) then go for the fridge (gotta be able to charge the batteries to keep the beer cold) next would be the dodger/bimini. then go for the radar.(this is assuming that you already have stuff like g.p.s, v.h.f depth and speed, ect. if not, get them first) a membership to boat us (better start with that, its better than sea tow, and for east coast membership its the best 150 you'll spend) and seeing as how you work from a computer, you might want one of those little portable Wi-Fi. if you don't have one, get an inverter too. with lazy jacks you can have a boom tent (and if made right, it can double as a rain catcher)
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:48   #5
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

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Originally Posted by fisherman.ben View Post
I would start with the solar and wind gen (get both) then go for the fridge (gotta be able to charge the batteries to keep the beer cold) next would be the dodger/bimini. then go for the radar.(this is assuming that you already have stuff like g.p.s, v.h.f depth and speed, ect. if not, get them first) a membership to boat us (better start with that, its better than sea tow, and for east coast membership its the best 150 you'll spend) and seeing as how you work from a computer, you might want one of those little portable Wi-Fi. if you don't have one, get an inverter too. with lazy jacks you can have a boom tent (and if made right, it can double as a rain catcher)
Appreciate the advice, should have specified, I do already have GPS, VHF, Depth, Speed and Boat US Tow.

I am looking at a few wi-fi extender antennas...as well as my iphone mi-fi capabilities.
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Old 17-03-2014, 05:06   #6
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

We have an arrangement using a few snap clips so we can pull our lazy jacks forward to the mast to be able to use our boom tent. You shouldn't need the lazy jacks with the boom tent up, right?
Mount the radar on the mast. The higher it is, the farther out it can "see." I agree that on your sized boat, the arch is probably unnecessary.

I'm curious about what old Bahamian hands have to say about a water maker. They are expensive, power hungry, and maintenance intensive. Water is available in the Bahamas in many places. I would consider figuring out how to add water storage capacity if you think you need more; you might not need more if you are soloing.
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Old 17-03-2014, 05:10   #7
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Some friends of mine just installed the solar stik on their 27'Island Packet. They said it works really,really well. It's not cheap, but it is a sweet set-up. Then again it'll probably run you as much as a custom made arch.
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Old 17-03-2014, 05:55   #8
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fisherman.ben View Post
I would start with the solar and wind gen (get both) then go for the fridge (gotta be able to charge the batteries to keep the beer cold) next would be the dodger/bimini.
I agree with this. After that I wouldn't get anything just because it was on a "list". I would sail etc until the "need" has happened enough to prove that it is worth having.
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Old 17-03-2014, 06:12   #9
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

I think your list is spot on. I disagree with the others on forgetting the water maker and arch. The water maker gives you freedom from worry about water and the need to run to town often. It also allows you the luxury of a REAL shower daily not just a sponge bath using a cup or two. We have a boat problem our selves and have two water makers. The smaller mono has the Cruise RO system in the right conditions it makes almost 30 gallons and hour so with your 35 gallon tank you could conceivably run it for just over an hour a day and replenish your entire supply. The down side of the cruise RO is it is loud when running and requires gasoline for the Honda generator needed to run the HP pump. I seem to recall that Cruise RO has an engine driven pump available and If they do and you have space it might be the way to go. On the Cat we have a spectra 150T it produces about 6 - 7 gallons an hour and runs on battery alone all day some times. It is quiet but with a full boat of guest runs many many hours to keep up with the demand. If you like to explore far and wide a water maker is essential IMHO. We have an arch on both boats. I went with Atlantic Towers Arch in a box because the tower looks good and the price is right compared to having one custom made for each boat. The positives for having an arch are simple. It clears space for you to move around the boat and gets the solar panel higher up and away from shadow sources. We have wind generators installed on both arches as well. I thought it would make the wind generator that used to be mounted on a single pole quieter. I was wrong. All mounting the wind generators on the arch did was to change the noise transmitted to the boats via the mount but you can still hear them. You don't mention which wind generator you plan on getting so do your research. I will say we have a AirX on the monohull and i would never buy another. Its loud and has been in for repair many times under warranty. On the cat we have a very quiet 600 watt Sunforce 3 phase 115 volt turbine that comes with a massive MPPT controller. This unit has far exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend it. West Marine carries them in their catalog but I think you can buy direct to. On low wind days it puts out between 4-6 amps in 15 kts it puts out 10 - 12 amps if you get above 15 kts it really starts producing. Yesterday we had south winds blowing steady at 19+ and we saw 20+ amps all day. There are pictures of the boats with the arches installed on our website bngsailng.com for those interested.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:27   #10
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

Sounds like a good plan. I'd second the opinion to sail and liveaboard first to see what you really need. You might find that upgrading the batteries is more important before you get that fridge (which, IMHO, is one of those necessities). Sometimes it's the simple things that are overlooked such as you need longer dock lines when you're single handing or an extra, but smaller anchor for short stops. You'll enjoy having lazy jacks and all lines lead aft. You're in a hot spot so a dodger and Bimini are going to be on your short list, too. And you might as well put the Bimini on a sturdy arch so when you add solar panels or radar, this will make an excellent mounting platform. You'll also find other projects get in the way, so don't over think it. Just have fun and sail lots!
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:42   #11
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

For the areas you mentioned I think you will find an autopilot of more use than a wind vane. You will be motoring some of the time, and also in relatively restricted areas some of the time. Easier to on/off/change direction quickly with an autopilot.
I have an Engel 12v refrigerator/freezer I'm quite happy with.
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Old 17-03-2014, 11:04   #12
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

Appreciate all the input. I think the only advice I'm not following is getting the refrigerator next, as I'll be tied up to the dock quite a bit and if I go out, I'll just unplug the fridge and use the ice box for stuff that "needs" to be kept cold.

I have not decided on the Engel 12V for the ones located in the link below.

EcoFridge 12v/24v Solar Powered Upright Refrigerator and Freezers
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Old 17-03-2014, 14:13   #13
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

When you get to it, if you want some help with low cost open source radar, quiet wind gens etc, have a look at my website, or send me a PM. Always happy talking boats!
By the way, I'd go for an engine driven watermaker every time....
Good Luck!
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Old 17-03-2014, 15:05   #14
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

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Some friends of mine just installed the solar stik on their 27'Island Packet. They said it works really,really well. It's not cheap, but it is a sweet set-up. Then again it'll probably run you as much as a custom made arch.
Looks like the Transom mounting with solar panels and wind generator will run about $6000....that is expensive indeed.
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Old 17-03-2014, 17:12   #15
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Re: What's Important, What's not.

I would start without any toys then add one at a time as you find them indispensable.

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