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Old 23-04-2015, 19:28   #1
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What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

I am a total beginner at owning a boat. But I bought a pretty well equipped one and this summer we move aboard to live (hopefully) for a year. But as I am working my way through both the budget and the equipment list, I am not sure it's well-equipped enough.

I've budgeted (on average) one night a week at a marina except for the winter months where we will likely hole up for 6 months. But now I am worried that I am missing some things to successfully live on the hook for 4 or 5 days at a time at an anchorage. We want to get up to the Broughtons or maybe even further north and get away from it all for as many weeks as we can.

The boat has:
Full enclosure
110 feet of chain and a long stern line
75 gallon water tank
35 gallon holding tank
2-10 lb propane bottles
10' zodiac with 8hp outbaord

Seaward 6 gallon water heater
Fridge & Freezer Adler Barbour 12V plate & compressor
Propane stove and oven
Webasto hydronic heater

55 amp alternator
Magnum 2800 watt charger inverter with remote panel
4 Trojan t105+ (225 amps)

The only thing I have planned so far is to replace the 33lb Lewmar claw with a Rocna or Mantus.

The issue is while we have done a reasonable amount of chartering, it's usually been travel everyday and a lot of motoring and staying in marinas. I have no idea how long 75 gallons of water or 10 lbs of propane lasts. And try as I might (because I suck at the math), until we get out there I have no idea how many amp-hours we are going to burn through on the hook.

So do I need a generator or to add some solar? Is our tankage sufficient? What is missing to make our adventures comfortable and our learning experiences pleasant? This boat is new to us and so, obviously, is ownership. Right now it is all theory and so much of it that it's not making a lot of sense

All wisdom gratefully accepted.
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Old 23-04-2015, 20:09   #2
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

How many are "we"? That will make a big difference with your tankage questions. After that, the limiting factor will be your lifestyle. 75 gallons of water is certainly doable for a week, but will limit your ability to clean your bodies and your boat. The two of us go through 80-90 gallons a week, not including deck wash downs or showers. However, that is making little to no attempt to conserve. After all, using up and filling the tanks each week keeps the water from stagnating.


As for propane, we get just over a pound each time we fill up (skinny canisters not much taller than the ones you get for a grill); it lasts the two of us up to six weeks. With two 10# tanks, you will never run out in the middle of the week.

You will need some means of topping off the batteries everyday; it keeps them happy over the long term. Do you have a good place to mount solar? Will solar work well in your area? They say clouds don't affect it that much, but three wet, cloudy days last winter and my solar Christmas lights faded fast.
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Old 23-04-2015, 20:13   #3
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

Ah yes... Just two of us (and hopefully the cat).

As far as I can tell from reading solar isn't the best option here in the PNW with all too few months of sunshine. Based on my reading my take is I should be looking at a portable generator rather than running the diesel.
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Old 23-04-2015, 20:24   #4
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

[QUOTE=Macblaze;1808541]
But now I am worried that I am missing some things to successfully live on the hook for 4 or 5 days at a time at an anchorage. We want to get up to the Broughtons or maybe even further north and get away from it all for as many weeks as we can.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
The boat has:
Full enclosure
110 feet of chain and a long stern line
75 gallon water tank
35 gallon holding tank
2-10 lb propane bottles
10' zodiac with 8hp outbaord

Seaward 6 gallon water heater
Fridge & Freezer Adler Barbour 12V plate & compressor
Propane stove and oven
Webasto hydronic heater

55 amp alternator
Magnum 2800 watt charger inverter with remote panel
4 Trojan t105+ (225 amps)
Hi there -

We've been living onboard full time at a marina on the Columbia River in Portland Oregon for almost a year now - a little further south than you're planning, but maybe our comparison will help.

We don't have a full enclosure, but have a dodger, bimini and connecting windows. We point the bow east - the most frequent direction the wind and rain come from on the Columbia river. No problem this winter or last winter - where we had almost a foot of snow on the docks.

We have 300 feet of chain, which is more than enough for the river. Not sure about the depth where you'll be anchored - 7:1 scope is recommended.

Our water tanks hold 120 gallons. The wife sometimes showers in the marina bath house, I shower onboard with a low-flow shower head in 3-5 minutes, turning the water off while soaping. We cook and do dishes daily with fresh water. (Not using marina water for anything! To many people suspected of pumping out here.) We end up filling both water tanks weekly. So, 120 gallons of water per week. Oh - the marine also supplies all our ice.

We have two 20 gallon propane tanks. Cook at least two meals each day. We have a Mariner stove/oven which works great. Use the Fissler pressure cooker to speed cooking time for a lot of things. One tank of propane lasted us nearly a year. (We heat with diesel.)

Our holding tank is 27 gallons. We have a manual Groco K head which takes a fair amount of water to flush. We motor to the pump out station every two weeks.

The BEST item onboard for comfort is our diesel hydronic heater. We use about 20 gallons of diesel each month to run the heater during the fall/winter/spring. (More if we're motoring anywhere, but it's minimal. We keep the boat comfortable during the day (70-ish)and turn the heat down at night. It also heats our water (as does the engine) so we have never run out of hot water.

Since we are connected to shore power, the fridge runs off 110. It also runs of 12 volt but no idea what the fridge's actual power usage is.

The marina has individual meters so we know our actual kW usage:
June - 16
July - 56
Aug - 116
Sep - 148
Oct- 130
Nov - 264
Dec - 351
Jan - 314
We watched a lot of movies on Netflix on the laptops this winter. Hydronic heater has fans. All lights are LED, so their draw is minimal.

We are in the process of adding four 110 watt solar panels to feed our fridge. There are several great calculator online to help you estimate usage. Fairly easy to do.

Hope this helps!
647
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Old 23-04-2015, 20:25   #5
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

I live in the PNW. I have hooked up a hundred-watt solar panel for a friend. He only uses it for LED lights and to run a small portable radio. In the spring and summer and up until about October he has enough power but in the winter he has to charge his batterie about every two weeks. He does not have a clear sky over him so in the winter he only gets about 5 hours a day of light and that is mostly cloudy. Basically it depends on how much power you need. Mac
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Old 24-04-2015, 09:28   #6
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

The best $$ spent for PNW cruising and live aboard boats regardless of your other sources of heat, will be a good solid fuel heater i.e. a wood fired bulkhead mounted cabin heater.

These make all the difference.
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Old 24-04-2015, 09:31   #7
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
But now I am worried that I am missing some things to successfully live on the hook for 4 or 5 days at a time at an anchorage. We want to get up to the Broughtons or maybe even further north and get away from it all for as many weeks as we can.

The boat has:
Full enclosure
110 feet of chain and a long stern line
For the Inside Passage you'll need at least 300 feet of rode. On our 26-footer we have 44 feet of chain spliced to 300 feet of rope. If your main rode is only 110 feet of chain, you could splice 300-400 feet of rope to it. This would be sufficient for the vast majority of anchorages.
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Old 24-04-2015, 09:40   #8
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

Contact SV Third Day on this forum and buy a small portable Honda electric generator and a small water maker. Then you'll be all set. It'll solve two problems and make your cruising lives much more pleasant and less like camping.

Unless.... you prefer the hardships and hassles of camping.


If you're going to be living on the hook and counting on your anchoring set up... get another 150-200ft of chain. Rope rode has no place on a liveaboard setup.
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Old 24-04-2015, 09:45   #9
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

I have not lived aboard in the PNW, but have been considering it seriously. So, take my comments with a splash of saltwater.

What follows is not "necessary" but I do believe it would increase the comfort factor if one is planning to do a lot of "on the hook" cruising in the PNW for an entire year of constant cruising or living on the hook.
_______________

Honda EU2000i Generator

Highly recommended by many sailors. Many Youtube videos on features and use and maintenance.

While the Honda generator is an added expense item, I would USE it whenever needed (which might be more frequent in foggy/rainy environ) and I don't doubt it will quickly sell used when you are ready to sell it.

Be aware that any generator is going to cause noise. Some generators are quieter than others. The Honda EU2000i is considered relatively quiet.

Sound Comparison with Yamaha EF2000is
Youtube Video


If you are interested in a water maker, I have been impressed by all I have seen and read about the CruiseRO water makers. They can be powered by a small gas generator like the Honda.

Here is a video explaining that:



There are some more good informative videos by Rich Boren (a CF member) here:

http://www.cruiserowaterandpower.com...ker_Videos.php

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When not on the hook, and when on shore power in marina during the winter:

Dehumidifier
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:05   #10
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

Just a few quick thoughts to add to the others. Your 6-gal water heater is probably AC only, i.e. not engine hot water heated. As such you will not have any hot water on the boat unless you heat it on your propane stove. Not everyone likes to take only sponge baths with a small bowl of hot water everyday. Some cabin heaters can provide hot water but it doesn't sound like you have that. Something to consider.

Picking a marina is more than just finding an affordable slip. It is very nice having clean restrooms with good showers reasonably close to the slip. It's also nice to have a secure marina but that's not the most important issue. Trudging back and forth to the marina heads in the morning winter dark or afternoon can get old up here. Doable but you will appreciate the nuances between marinas once you start.

An enclosure for the cockpit is not a necessity but definitely enhances the experience. It can be an extended living area and is a place to park items you bring back and forth to the boat before you get to store them. It can also become part of the storage too - something always at a premium. Of course, you have to find a place for all that when you want to go out so it is only temporary. An enclosure would be a requirement for us.

And forget the advice for a wood-burning stove. Not allowed in many (most?) marinas and where the heck do you store your fuel? And forgetaboutit when traveling.

You 1000% need good hull and cabin sides/top insulation if you don't want to live in a dripping mess inside. Condensation will form everywhere hard surfaces touch the colder outside without it. This is an absolutely mandatory item. Just try it if you don't believe it. You will believe it later. Humidity inside a boat is the bane of liveaboards. People who only go out a week at a time really don't grok the issue.

A separate storage unit close to the marina is a nice thing to have.

These are just opinions from someone who values certain things over others. So it may or may not fit your (or others') profiles.
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:22   #11
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

Hi Mike,

I've lived aboard a bit further north [Prince William Sound, Alaska] off and on for 20 years. Now we are further south in Wrangell, Alaska.

Regarding comfort, it sounds like you have all the pre-requisites. [Heat, water, fuel, etc.] One thing not often mentioned is the importance of ventilation- especially in cooler climates. If you don't ventilate [i.e., waste a bit of heat...] you will be living in a damp, moldy environment that often takes a while to manifest- so people don't see it coming until it arrives... It also helps to insulate the hull and underside of the deck to reduce condensation. But even if insulated, make sure to ventilate well... [i.e., don't close your dorades and solar vents no matter how tempting it might be when the wind is howling during the blizzard...]

Consider using a pressure cooker to reduce cooking fuel and water consumption, as well as release of moisture into the cabin...

Regarding consumption, the safe way to determine this is to live aboard at the dock, but off the grid [unplugged] as though you are at anchor. Keep your routines as you might prefer them [e.g., take daily showers, etc.] and monitor your consumption. You can always plug into shore power to charge the batteries, and turn on the host to fill the water tanks...

Some personal examples: I lived aboard for a few winters in Valdez, Alaska where the temps averaged teens above zero F, but reached teens below zero for weeks at a time. During that period I averaged 1.5 gal/day heating oil [Sigmar bulkhead heater] in my Valiant Esprit 37. Since I had to haul water and fuel on a sled to the boat [it was frozen-in at those temps...] I knew I was consuming precisely 5 gallons/day/person including lots of hot beverages and daily [Navy] showers.

When I anchored out, I had to go ashore and haul fresh water from flowing streams between cold spells.

I also spent 2 winters in northern WA state (Semiahmoo) on a 47' Tayana with hydronic heat. I averaged about 3 gallons/day heating oil there... Water consumption remained about the same.

On our current boat I dedicated one of the two fuel tanks to #1 heating oil to keep the Espar forced air heater happy [This helps reduce maintenance intervals as it prefers #1 with no additives...] I figure I can always transfer #1 to the #2 diesel tank for the engine and generator and add the correct % of Marvel Oil to it and keep everything happy.

We also are now spoiled with a water maker that doesn't seem to care about the cooler water temps. (12 Gal/hr consistently in 40F water temps.) In SE Alaska our consumption in winter is 1.5 gal/day fuel oil, and 15-20 gallons/day [for 2] water because we are also spoiled with a washer/dryer on board...

Let me add another water usage metric that may be useful for perspective: Our house in Fairbanks, Alaska is high on a hill where a well is not cost effective. Therefore many homes in this area have underground water holding tanks (ours is 2000 gallons) We have water delivered (or haul it ourselves in a 400 gallon tank in my truck...) so I know precisely what our water usage is. Over 13 years we have averaged 35 gallons/day/adult with all the usual water consuming appliances [clothes and dish washers...] and fresh water toilet flushes. We take no real water preservation measures other than to use what we need and need what we use...

Regarding ground tackle: From my experience you will need at least 300 ft of anchor rode to be safe in our often deeper than usual anchorages on the northern part of this coast. You mentioned 110ft of chain. If that is all you have, plan on more before you go out... [It doesn't have to be all chain, but that is a personal preference...]

e.g., On our present boat, I put in a new windlass with all new chain last summer to accommodate simultaneous use of 2 permanently installed anchors on the bow (5 total anchors on board) The main bower has 360ft of 5/16 G4 chain (the max I could fit on that side of the anchor locker...) attached to 100ft of 1in 3-strand rode. [The hail-mary rode to be let out in an extreme situation where we might have to cut and run...] The secondary anchor has the remaining 190ft of the chain [550ft/barrel of 5/16in G4...] attached to another 100ft 1in 3-strand... I also have 3 other 300ft 3-strand with 40ft chain in bags for deployment of other anchors as needed... you get the idea. Why? In years past I've been blown off my anchor in williwaws in the dark and I don't want to ever experience that again...

I hope this is useful.

Have fun living aboard. I look forward to hearing what you discover...

Cheers!
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:26   #12
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

FYI, I had a unit error - I get just over a GALLON of propane at each fill. They are 5 POUND tanks. This doesn't change my assessment that with a total of twenty pounds, you won't ever run out mid week.
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:27   #13
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

As much chain and the heaviest anchor you can imagine carrying.

Last summer we were southbound on our new (to us) boat along the BC coast when the engine quit on a lee shore. We let out 250' of 5/8" chain and it never touched and we were so close to shore I could smell the coffee. Now I'm a transplanted East Coaster - I thought I knew what deep was, but I was wrong! The worst never happened, but could have. Lesson learned.

Any $$ spent on anchoring equipment will buy you peace of mind. Good luck.
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:28   #14
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

cast iron dutch oven for chowder and stews.
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:38   #15
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Re: What's Necessary to Liveaboard in the PNW in Comfort?

If you are running refrigeration, and not at the dock, you are going to need more for replenishing electricity.
You can choose to add solar, windgen etc and look like a Geo satellite or get a high amp alternator and or a portable gen set.
You need a plan for this. You will likely burn through 100 amp hours ++ a day with a simple small refrigerator.
The good news is, in the PNW, you will be motoring a lot, so get a high amp alternator and maybe another battery or two if there's room. You will always have warm water with your hot water tank (if it has the heat exchanger)
In the PNW 10 gal propane would last us maybe 4-5 weeks or more.
and yes, more chain the better, the PNW has some deep anchorages.
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