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Old 05-11-2019, 05:35   #1
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Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

As if my decisions on which boat to keep and which path to take in life wasn't complicated enough, I have health issues to consider as well.

Some may remember in the spring I had posted about giving up boats. I thought I was allergic to mold. There are many days I can't breathe at all.

Thanks to one of our forum members who is a pulmonologist, I was able to figure out I'm actually extremely sensitive to particulate air pollution. It brings on fairly severe asthma attacks when it gets into the "moderate" zone and I'm outdoors. My lungs fill with fluids at those levels and I have extreme difficulty breathing.

Not being one to take medications all the time, I focused on removing my exposure to the pollution.

I went sailing. I was in long island when I struggled and made that original post. I went out to the islands in new England, Newport RI, Maine, and when I was out there, most of the summer I could leave all the hatches open and breathe. Maybe 10 days I was confined to the cabin with generator and air conditioning running. That seems to scrub the particulates that make it indoors when they are around.

I also bought a large HEPA filter device that had been great at reducing anlny particulates that get indoors when it's cool enough air conditioning isn't needed.

Note:. I'm also quite allergic to epoxy. Breathing free particles of epoxy sets off the asthma and a larger body-wide reaction.

The one thing I have determined is I need to get away from the air pollution. I can use forced air respiration and hiring help to work with epoxy.

The main question, after all that background is...

Which of the following would lead to a better quality of life away from air pollution? Note that I live full time doing whatever it is, so it's not a part time thing.


1) keep current 50' monohull - low cost
Negatives include not very fast sailing, some minor mold others wouldn't notice but still sets off my asthma occasionally when closed up with no ac, rolling at anchor, helm enclosure isn't truly indoors so it's not going to help me with pollution when I'm at the helm.

2) keep 50' Catamaran - Perfect boat, helm completely indoors
Negatives include obscenely expensive to finish fitting out. Needs mast, sails, some mods to the deckhouse, an interior build out, but is already in the water and can go places under power. Will take my life up for a couple years getting that done.

3) Do the RV thing Maybe building one out - can completely purify the indoor air, doesn't rock, things are way cheaper and easier to fix/build, financially neutral
Negatives include few peaceful places like boats can be in, mostly an indoor life, better and more peaceful places (out west) have the worst air pollution in the country. (See attached) Will become obsolete faster than a boat which can last a lifetime. Noisy, dangerous with all the crazy people and road rage, etc.

4) sell all and get an older BIG monohull - faster and less time investment, better sailing speeds and seakindliness, plenty of tankage
Negatives include hard to find a reasonable price and ok condition big monohull with indoor helm.

Which of these would be better? Better for my health?

Take a look at the global air quality. Yellow is where I can't breathe. Anything more red and purple I have not experienced but figured I'd basically die. Would probably need medical care or at least my rescue inhaler.

Thinking boats can get me away from pollution but the world appears to be a cesspool of bad air. Even where the population is low. Different times of year and changing winds change where the pollution develops. It often develops better when baking in the sun in still air.

I just want to live a peaceful life with my girlfriend away from the pollution. I notice it's not too bad in extreme northern areas. I still have work responsibilities around NYC for a while occasionally until my other business/financial plans develop more strongly.
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Old 05-11-2019, 15:04   #2
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Agree with you about the RV issues, especially with EPA relaxing standards to allow more pollution and climate change making more dusty and humid situations. Why drive for three days to go somewhere and then not be able to open the door to get out? Looking for a different 50’ mono does not make sense. It will likely have its own mold problems, and the devil you know is perhaps better than the one you don’t. That leaves you with the current boat, which seems capable if you cruised to Maine this year, even if you don’t like how slow it is, or the Catamaran to finish. Sounds like you want to go faster, despite the time and expense involved with the cat. You may have to sell the current boat to help pay for the new one, but that may also help you focus on getting it done. Have fun, either way!
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Old 05-11-2019, 15:12   #3
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Does humidity make it worse? I found my breathing issues (very minor) to be almost non existent in the Southwest US where the air is clean and dry.
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Old 05-11-2019, 15:13   #4
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

For what it’s worth, we find most of our allergies and breathing issues disappear while in the eastern Caribbean. When we return to the US we have dry skin, rashes, asthma etc. we live pretty much outdoors with hatches open. I don’t know if this would work for you but it’s easy enough to charter out of Martinique or other Caribbean places.
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Old 05-11-2019, 15:40   #5
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Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Take the current boat and clean out one section at a time and use this. Itís just sodium carbonate, baking soda is of course sodium bicarbonate, but this stuff isnít like bleach or any other chemical to cause respiratory distress, but it really will eliminate mold and keep it from coming back.
You can get it at Loweís and Home Depot etc. rent the fumigator to really get it into every little out of the way corner that mold hides it.
Best of course to gut the boat and do the whole thing, but it will completely eliminate mold, really.
https://www.concrobium.com/products/mold-control-spray/

The rest your own your own, but I know others that have developed reactions to Epoxy and some others super glue, and it never gets better, every exposure makes it worse, so your days of being around I cured Epoxy are Iím afraid behind you.

We use a CPAP at night, the CPAP machine has two filters, a course foam filter and then a fine filter to trap most everything.
Then on itís output I put a bacteria filter that really is designed for a ventilator, but I figure the three filters pretty much take everything out of the air, so at night at least we are breathing particle free air, a CPAP maintains positive pressure so even a mask leak wouldnít let any contaminated air in.
https://www.thecpapshop.com/inline-b...r-cpap-bipap-1
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:39   #6
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Which boat do you like best? From the post I guess you prefer the cat, but with your condition I would expect that the work on the cat for the most part would have to be hired out. If you can afford it, great - go with it. If the boom on the mono is high enough, you can get an enclosure made. Saw a post from someone in the PNW where they had done it so they could keep warm in the winter. It will increase the weight and windage.

I have read various posting that say getting a ozonator and running it in the boat once in a while will kill the mold, even if it is in a hard to reach spot.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:30   #7
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

To reduce mold get a dehumidifier. Living aboard adds a lot of moisture to the air. Cooking, showering and even breathing adds a lot of moisture that condenses on cold surfaces and brings on the mold. Most room size dehumidifiers have a drain option that eliminates the need to constantly dump the condensate. Plumb it into your bilge and let your automatic bilge pump get rid of it.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:10   #8
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Chotu - sorry to hear about your health issues.
I would take the financial hit and dump the cat project. Even if you hire help to finish her, you are going to have to be onboard pretty frequently to supervise, clear up questions, etc all which will expose you to construction dust, raw epoxy fumes, glass fibers. I totally rebuilt a deep keel wood sloop in my youth, and know intimately how enclosed hulls during construction retain dust and fumes.
I’d also be negative on RV-ing. Diesel exhaust fumes are notorious for large particle content. Further, driving on any road, much less backwoods roadss, raises lots of dust. You will by necessity have to be near roads, and eben if you aren’t driving, others will be.
I like A64pilots thoughts on a CPAP even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea. Using one at night with good filtration should significantly cut back on your total particulate lung loading. I would guess this would help your situation immensely. I use a CPAP for sleep apnea, but it helps my allergies (mold) appreciably.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:07   #9
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Thank you for the responses. I had lost track of this thread for a while. It’s a busy board.

I should be clear that the mold on the current boat, which is basically none, and only would really affect me, isn’t even so bad. Only once in a great while have I had issues with it. That boat would need a more robust electrical system to be able to run the dehumidifier off batteries. I am off grid all the time. Not at a dock. But it does already have a dehumidifier and full climate control. It actually already has a cockpit enclosure, but that enclosure would need more work. The sides are just snap on. The top and uprights are Fiberglass.

I can see from the responses that being stuck with this decision And having a hard time deciding it’s at least not a failure for me. It seems everyone here has a different opinion as well. There are so many positives and negatives to all of the options that it is difficult to come up with a solution.

Regarding the catamaran, yes, that’s definitely the boat I want. However the cost and not being able to do some of the small fiberglass work that is remaining is certainly a factor. Of course, I can do the other work. The systems, the furniture out of polyester, no need to use epoxy for anything other than structural hull stuff. But that is all basically done. Just a couple of modifications needed for it. Girlfriend prefers the catamaran as well, despite the fact that the mono has been very good to us.

Humidity doesn’t seem to affect the breathing very much. I do fine in Florida. It’s purely the particulates in the air. Even diesel exhaust is no big deal. Because the exposure is short. It’s all day and night living outdoors breathing the particulates made by large populations or wild fires that gets me.

I will have to look into a CPAP machine. I’m not even that familiar with what they are. I have just been filtering the indoor air with good success. Or keeping things closed and keeping the particulates out. Or a combination of both.

I do have an O-Zone generator on board. For shock treatment. When all of this was starting last spring, or at least Coming To a head last spring, I had thought it was mold initially. So I had the girlfriend scrub every bilge and every surface free of mold and we did a shock treatment of O-Zone as well. And I still had problems. It took a little while to figure it out, but it was the airborne particulates outdoors. The outdoor air was what I couldn’t breathe. Inside, the boat is essentially mold free especially for people who aren’t sensitive to it. You can’t even smell any. And you can smell some on almost every boat. This isn’t the problem. Another great feature of the catamaran is I had built it to be mold free. There are no places mold can grow. It’s also a very dry boat. Dusty bilges and all.

The post about the Eastern Caribbean, that’s kind of the stuff I am thinking. I am thinking I might need to just get away from the polluted areas. Surprisingly enough, just going a little bit offshore out to the islands away from the mainland has worked fairly well even in the Northeast USA. They were only a few days this summer that I needed to stay indoors with the air conditioner running. That’s the thing with the catamaran. It allows for better control of air quality. And that completely indoor helm And sail controls makes a big difference. Essentially, I think I’ve overdone it. I have just lived outside in these conditions too long. I didn’t know the pollution was damaging my body. I’ve lived outdoors for many decades now. I had no idea that would play the part it has in deteriorating my lung health. Since I didn’t feel any symptoms, I didn’t know the damage was being done. And that’s another thing. I also don’t feel right running a generator to make the air indoors better for me to breathe. Because I am creating more particulates for other people to breathe. There is a sense of guilt there. So I feel like if it is at all possible to just get away from the pollution, that might be preferable. Since I’m not damaging anyone else’s lungs.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:28   #10
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
Thank you for the responses. I had lost track of this thread for a while. Itís a busy board.

I should be clear that the mold on the current boat, which is basically none, and only would really affect me, isnít even so bad. Only once in a great while have I had issues with it. That boat would need a more robust electrical system to be able to run the dehumidifier off batteries. I am off grid all the time. Not at a dock. But it does already have a dehumidifier and full climate control. It actually already has a cockpit enclosure, but that enclosure would need more work. The sides are just snap on. The top and uprights are Fiberglass.

I can see from the responses that being stuck with this decision And having a hard time deciding itís at least not a failure for me. It seems everyone here has a different opinion as well. There are so many positives and negatives to all of the options that it is difficult to come up with a solution.

Regarding the catamaran, yes, thatís definitely the boat I want. However the cost and not being able to do some of the small fiberglass work that is remaining is certainly a factor. Of course, I can do the other work. The systems, the furniture out of polyester, no need to use epoxy for anything other than structural hull stuff. But that is all basically done. Just a couple of modifications needed for it. Girlfriend prefers the catamaran as well, despite the fact that the mono has been very good to us.

Humidity doesnít seem to affect the breathing very much. I do fine in Florida. Itís purely the particulates in the air. Even diesel exhaust is no big deal. Because the exposure is short. Itís all day and night living outdoors breathing the particulates made by large populations or wild fires that gets me.

I will have to look into a CPAP machine. Iím not even that familiar with what they are. I have just been filtering the indoor air with good success. Or keeping things closed and keeping the particulates out. Or a combination of both.

I do have an O-Zone generator on board. For shock treatment. When all of this was starting last spring, or at least Coming To a head last spring, I had thought it was mold initially. So I had the girlfriend scrub every bilge and every surface free of mold and we did a shock treatment of O-Zone as well. And I still had problems. It took a little while to figure it out, but it was the airborne particulates outdoors. The outdoor air was what I couldnít breathe. Inside, the boat is essentially mold free especially for people who arenít sensitive to it. You canít even smell any. And you can smell some on almost every boat. This isnít the problem. Another great feature of the catamaran is I had built it to be mold free. There are no places mold can grow. Itís also a very dry boat. Dusty bilges and all.

The post about the Eastern Caribbean, thatís kind of the stuff I am thinking. I am thinking I might need to just get away from the polluted areas. Surprisingly enough, just going a little bit offshore out to the islands away from the mainland has worked fairly well even in the Northeast USA. They were only a few days this summer that I needed to stay indoors with the air conditioner running. Thatís the thing with the catamaran. It allows for better control of air quality. And that completely indoor helm And sail controls makes a big difference. Essentially, I think Iíve overdone it. I have just lived outside in these conditions too long. I didnít know the pollution was damaging my body. Iíve lived outdoors for many decades now. I had no idea that would play the part it has in deteriorating my lung health. Since I didnít feel any symptoms, I didnít know the damage was being done. And thatís another thing. I also donít feel right running a generator to make the air indoors better for me to breathe. Because I am creating more particulates for other people to breathe. There is a sense of guilt there. So I feel like if it is at all possible to just get away from the pollution, that might be preferable. Since Iím not damaging anyone elseís lungs.
Donít fret. After a pros and cons analysis, if there isnít a clear winner, every option is as good as the rest, flip a coin. Some people are so afraid of making a bad decision it becomes debilitating. Example, 20 minutes to choose a dinner menu item, and then ask the waiter/ess to change it. Itís one meal in the 1000s and 1000s you will have, and we all know what is going to happen to it in a day or two.

In your case, this is a bigger decision, but any of the options are awesome, so if you canít decide, flip a coin, commit to the outcome, and go. Even if it ends up not working out as expected, you can only change direction AFTER the initial decision is made.

Ramblinrod quote of the day: ďIt is better to make any decision, than to wallow in indecisiveness.Ē
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:33   #11
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

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Don’t fret. After a pros and cons analysis, if there isn’t a clear winner, every option is as good as the rest, flip a coin. Some people are so afraid of making a bad decision it becomes debilitating. Example, 20 minutes to choose a dinner menu item, and then ask the waiter/ess to change it. It’s one meal in the 1000s and 1000s you will have, and we all know what is going to happen to it in a day or two.

In your case, this is a bigger decision, but any of the options are awesome, so if you can’t decide, flip a coin, commit to the outcome, and go. Even if it ends up not working out as expected, you can only change direction AFTER the initial decision is made.

Ramblinrod quote of the day: “It is better to make any decision, than to wallow in indecisiveness.”
That’s some good advice. It’s very easy to get stuck in these types of decisions. Thank you. As the decider, I always want to make the best decision. But there’s just not enough data or a crystal ball in order to get this to work I think.

And you are right. Any of the outcomes are awesome. These are definitely first world problems. If there ever were any. Thank you again. That was an encouraging post.
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Old 07-11-2019, 16:37   #12
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

I'm just glad to hear you figured out the cause, I was depressed for you reading your original thread!
I will second the idea that a dehumidifier was a major game changer in eliminating mold on my boat. It went from constant whack a mole to completely gone and stayed gone for several years now, even in the remote nooks and behind finish.
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Old 07-11-2019, 18:36   #13
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

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I'm just glad to hear you figured out the cause, I was depressed for you reading your original thread!
I will second the idea that a dehumidifier was a major game changer in eliminating mold on my boat. It went from constant whack a mole to completely gone and stayed gone for several years now, even in the remote nooks and behind finish.
Thanks. I would agree. Dehumidifiers are important on boats. Iíve had them for a long time. I am definitely able to keep the interior of a boat in good condition for my breathing. Itís once I go outside that things go sideways in certain conditions.

I have found the HEPA filter to be great for interior also. Any bit of those particulates that come in through the cracks and stuff can be filtered out pretty well with the HEPA filter. Sometimes when I go outside I wear a P 95 or P 100 mask. That also works. They are just super uncomfortable. I guess itís just an adjustment. Hoping to be able to sail away from the major pollution areas though.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:41   #14
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

keep ventilation active and get a hepafiltration system for boat.. there are small portable ones, such as nsa which are excellent. i used on eunbtil my ex stole it from me... oh well buying another one as i am finding air quality to suck and allergy pills harder to find here than hens teeth.
keep mold at bay with vinager cleaning regularly and ventilation.
epoxy?? tyvek and respirator--not masks, but respirator . there is a difference. and add hepafilter.....
i have had cough variant asthma since babyhood. everything hurts, so hepafilter is mandatory. i have lived ok without one since 1995, but time has come for another.
buy allergy pills of choice for getting over the rough parts of the repairs and crisis air pollution issues.
life is good, better when you understand your issues and have ability to work with available products for survival.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:19   #15
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Re: Air Quality - Which Option is Better?

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keep ventilation active and get a hepafiltration system for boat.. there are small portable ones, such as nsa which are excellent. i used on eunbtil my ex stole it from me... oh well buying another one as i am finding air quality to suck and allergy pills harder to find here than hens teeth.
keep mold at bay with vinager cleaning regularly and ventilation.
epoxy?? tyvek and respirator--not masks, but respirator . there is a difference. and add hepafilter.....
i have had cough variant asthma since babyhood. everything hurts, so hepafilter is mandatory. i have lived ok without one since 1995, but time has come for another.
buy allergy pills of choice for getting over the rough parts of the repairs and crisis air pollution issues.
life is good, better when you understand your issues and have ability to work with available products for survival.

Thank you for taking the time to make this post. I have never met anyone else who had the same type of problem before. This is a first. Thank you for all of the advice. Although I have been suffering with it for like a decade now, I didn’t really know what was going on. I only just found out this spring. Thanks to another forum member.

The set up for working on the boat is exactly what I was thinking of doing. I have a forced air respirator. It blows air from a remote location through a tube to a face mask. Pretty good stuff. Unless it is pulling in pollution. Ha ha so, I figured I could put that in a box so it pulls through a HEPA filter as well.

Tyvek suits are the plan also. However, most of my building was done in Florida. Tyvek suits don’t really work there. So, I’m going to move to much colder locations in order that I can actually wear the Tyvek suit and all of this safety equipment.

I may need to do a full face respirator also. The epoxy fumes turn my eyes into these crusty little red things.

The girlfriend and I are really leaning towards the catamaran even though it’s going to take a lot more time and resources. However, throughout the rest of life after this we feel like it will be something that can take us all over the place. And function as a wonderful home while we are doing it.

It’s also an exceptional sailboat, which is something I have wanted for a while. It will move in light air. And it will point. Dagger boards, fine hulls, all of that.

We have given ourselves a deadline of spring to make this decision final. Between now and then we will be doing a road trip around the United States with an RV. Just to double check that that’s not what we want to do. Pretty sure it’s not. She has never traveled around like that so it will be something really interesting for her. And of course it is always fun, I just wouldn’t want to do it full-time.
So come spring, I will probably end up putting the monohull on the market. Then move the boat up to where it’s cool and the work can be done without all of the sweating and bugs that slow it down so much. That temperature was great when it was a lot of epoxy work, but for doing interior work, not a good thing.
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