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Old 13-04-2009, 17:42   #31
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Location: A real life Zombie from FL
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The size of the boat you select is the greatest influence on what extra power and equipment you add. 40 ft and under, generally you do not have a built in generator so a Honda 2000EU is the most popular addition. I will supply about 13 amps of 120VAC to run your battery charger or a microwave or a small watermaker. Built in air conditioning is nice but there is an awful lot of plumbing and parts that always seem to break or malfunction. A cheap Home Depot 5000BTU unit for under $100 can be propped up over a hatch and with some foam boards you have very efficient air conditioning that can be run off the Honda. But again in the Windward Islands there is no shortage of good 12-17 knot breezes to keep everybody cool if you have good "wind scoop" type attachments for your hatches.
Watermakers are also high maintenance but worth their weight in gold when you have females onboard. Coupled with a Honda 2000EU you can make about 4-8 gallons per hour each night while everbody is watching a DVD movie. The 8 gal/hour units are probably the most popular. A good DC powered unit means you can make water while you are motoring to windward as you progress down island.
Jerry jugging water is fine if you are single-handing or have only "back-packer" type young adults on board. Otherwise you need a steady source of water to keep the peace. Water is available free at about half the places you will encounter and costs about 10 cents to 1 dollar a gallon at the rest. I calculated with my big boat and generator that it was costing about 20 cents per gallon to use the RO machine. So if I could buy water for that or less I could save the wear and tear of running the RO machine.
One very major consideration if you are a "marina" loving person - in the Windward Islands the marina electricity is 50 cycle not the 60 cycle we are used to in North America. A lot of equipment will not run on 50 cycle AC electricity especially air conditioners and some battery chargers. So check everything carefully. That Honda 2000EU can look even better.
Washing machines are water hogs. Mine used 17 gallons per load which is 2 to 3 hours of RO time. I have found that laundry services and especially self-service laundramats are available everywhere and normally cost about $2 per load to $5 per load which is very competitive considering the RO time, diesel and machine wear and tear. Using their water instead of your average $3.40 worth of RO time can be cost effective. And the big tumble dryers are nice for sheets. Oh! big hint, buy only dark colored bed sheets and pillow cases, not white. You can a week or two out of the dark colored ones before they "must" be washed.
Basically, your water usage and bathing habits change dramatically once you start cruising. As mentioned before most cruisers wear minimal clothing if any when onboard. Fancy clothing really doesn't cut it and getting the women to "iron" in the equitorial heat is not a reality. Wrinkle free soft and light clothing is the norm. Love of garlic increases with the increase in time duration between baths/showers and you return to the bathing habits of your great-grand parents. Stock up on authentic original "Joy" liquid soap as it makes great salt water shampoo and soap for bathing in the ocean with only a brief fresh water rinse afterwards. I am sure other folks have more "tricks of the trade-winds" for living onboard . . .
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Old 13-04-2009, 19:24   #32
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not to hijack, but another "trick of the trade"

I discovered was a pressure cooker,
the lid locks down so it won't spill when rocking and things cook much faster saving fuel.
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Old 27-05-2009, 11:59   #33
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Been hanging around the Windwards since '02 and have never seen the need for A/C. Hardly anyone uses it. No marinas available anyways!
I have 400 gallons water capacity and buy my needs. Of course, I'm usually on board either alone or with an experienced First Mate, so our use is minimal. With a family of 6, you WILL use a lot of water, even if you are careful. I'd definitely plan on a watermaker. In my area water averages about $.20 US per gallon, and is available at relatively few places. Get one with good capacity, but it doesn't have to be huge, either. Watermakers like to be run (as long as the intake supply is reasonable clean), so running it three or four times per week will actually keep it working better. (Hint: Make sure the tankage on the boat you buy is sufficient for your family's needs.) I'd opt either for a fixed gen-set or, if not an option, a portable which you can set up on deck to power the watermaker. I'd think a 50' charter boat would have plenty of room for a gen set which would avoid the hassle of hauling one around on deck and would be much quieter for tour neighbors.
So far as laundry, with enough water anything can be washed on board. I usually take my stuff ashore once per week. I can get my towels, sheets and heavier shorts washed, dried and folded for about $13-14 USD ($35 EC). I pretty much live in T-shirts and either light shorts or a bathing suit so dirty clothing is minimal. Then again, with the rug-rats you could probably multiply that by a factor of about three - so washing on board may be a financial advantage. Don't know anyone with a washer/dryer, but lots of folks have big buckets to wash in and hang stuff on life-lines or rig lines off the mast.
Have fun!
s/v La Nostra
CSY 44 W/O cutter
Located in the Sunny Caribbean
"Life's short ... Eat dessert first!"
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Old 27-05-2009, 12:33   #34
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I prefer water maker water to most any other. It just tastes...........well, it doesnt taste! it's just refreshing.... I have trouble drinking water at home... just dont like it much no matter where I am. I always liked drinking my RO water....
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Old 27-05-2009, 14:04   #35
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I would have a water maker, even if it meant a smaller cat.
And make it a Spectra.
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generator, laundry

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