Originally Posted by Drcaptain
i plan to spend most of my time at the marina using shore power
and then coastal cruising on weekends. the boat will function primarily as a living space first, sailboat second.
so my thinking was to prioritize shore power
(AC) and have the DC (battery) system as a less used option when away from the marina. i wasn't planning on a generator
, thought i'd charge batteries
from shore power or possible add green charging
systems if my coastal cruising habits aren't scratching my itch.
i'm thinking of an electric
stove to run off AC when hooked to shore power as that will be where i spend most of my time. a practical, functioning kitchen is a must. AC electricity also doesn't involve switching tanks
, or adding fuel
i had already considered the boats movement on a front load fridge. i have several options in mind to mitigate.
i just outfitted a 16' enclosed work trailer
with AC/DC systems and with hose and holding tank water
. i hook up to water
and power via RV water and 30amp hook ups when parked. i've got endless fresh water and ample power
to run microwave, coffee maker, compressor
, and whatever tools i'm using at the time. also have the option to switch my water supply from holding tank
to hose supply when hooked up to it. i installed all this in 1" thick walls so i figure a sailboat will have more room than that. these two systems will share wire, i'll only need to flip a switch to change from shore to battery
power, or maybe not at all. there may be something that switches automatically. Research
and development currently under way.
i'm aware too of structural components. i don't intend to remove any. they will be built into my final configuration. i also know that boat interiors are irregular.
i was planning on a mid 30s to 40 foot monohull
littlewing77 i'm not gutting just to put everything back. i'm going to gut and reconfigure for 2 people to liveaboard, comfortably, and with proper amenities. think studio apartment. layout is easier without having to accommodate six adults. i think you missed the thesis of my argument.
the settee for 6, the first to get nixed. its a terrible space hog.
The first problem with this plan is COST. The interior fitout is the costliest element of a cruising sailboat
. You will spend more than the cost of the boat doing a custom one. It will be a sheer waste of money
, because after you do all this, the boat will be worth LESS than when you started. If you do it yourself, you will spend years on it and STILL spend a ton of money
The second problem is that without experience you won't know those aspects of the configuration of the interior which are specific to sailboats. There is a lot of accumulated experience in the layout of sailboats -- they are not just floating studio apartments, and they are almost nothing like "travel trailers", because there are no straight lines anywhere and no square volumes and the functional requirements are different.
So I would strongly urge you to forget this plan and just look for a boat with a layout which more or less appeals to you. Even if you don't completely like it now, lacking experience, you will soon understand why this and that is done that way. You will need to at least live on a boat for a few years before you will have any chance of having much of value to contribute to the art of boat design.
And if you want to live aboard comfortably just buy a bigger boat. This is much cheaper and better than trying to rebuild
and torture a small one into a configuration you like. There are "charter" and "owner" types of layouts -- just look for an "owner" layout. In 40' to 45' you will find owner layouts with two or three cabins and one or two shower/heads compartments. For what you want, two cabins and one shower/heads is probably better, but there really isn't anything wrong with three sleeping cabins for a boat mostly used by two people -- the extra two cabins INSTANTLY fill up with stuff since there is so little storage
space on typical cruising boats and so much boat-specific stuff you need to store (you'll discover this later), and once in a while you'll invite a guest or family member
and will want a place for these people to sleep. Even on my boat, which is 54' and more than double the interior volume of a 40-footer, with three sleeping cabins (plus passage
cabin) and two shower/heads compartments, I am very happy sailing with one or two people, and the other cabins don't just sit empty -- they are full of different stuff. With four people and two cabins occupied, it's optimum. With 5 or 6 people now suddenly I don't have a spare cabin
to keep stuff in (luggage, cockpit cushions
covers and other canvas
, tool bags, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.) and it starts to be a squeeze. Get it? It means you will be very happy with two or three cabins even if you are just one or two people, and you will NOT like being on board, especially living on board long term, with only one sleeping cabin
, even if you are alone.
I agree with you about front-loading refrigerators and electric cooking
, as a lot of us do. If you look hard you will find a boat with a front-loader -- mine has one for example (and a separate freezer). You find them on bigger boats. As far as electric cooking
is concerned, induction is fantastic and a lot of people would like to have gimbled induction cookers
, but these are hard to find and bloody expensive, plus you won't be able to power it when you're not at a dock
unless you run the generator
all the time. So do what a lot of us do and live with your gas stove (learn about gas safety
on boats, too -- it's not simple, with totally different challenges from gas safety
in RV's) but add a portable induction hot plate for use at the dock
. This works great, and the combination of induction and gas is actually very good because (a) 90% of the time you will be using only one burner anyway so the induction hot plate is all you need most of the time; (b) the other 10% when you are using multiple burners at the same time, you would need so much power if you had only induction, that even shore power might get overloaded. So using a single
induction burner plus gas for the overflow cooking (and when there is no shore power) is very convenient.
Don't try to re-invent the wheel
, not even having ridden a bicycle. It will end neither well nor cheaply.
What concerns engineering systems: everything you want can be found in a boat which was built that way in the first place. A built-in heavy duty generator will give you autonomy and power wherever you are -- you can find this in somewhat bigger boats (avoid Fisher
Panda and other high speed, light duty generators). There will be AC power available all over the boat and a good AC distribution system. Read these forums
about how electrical
systems are configured on live aboard boats. You will be able to find a boat which is more or less ready to use.
As far as heat is concerned -- if you are using the boat in a cool climate, you will want to use electric heat at the dock (fan heaters or oil
filled radiators, but pay attention to safety and particularly the integrity of the electrical system
, sockets, shore power inlet, etc.) and diesel
heat off of the dock. On a bigger boat, hydronic heat is best -- Eberspacher/Espar, Webasto, Planar, etc. On a smaller one a bulkhead heater
like a Sig or Dickenson has some advantages (simplicity). Not all boats in mild climates were built with heating
systems, but these can be added without too much trouble. Good heat is important if you use the boat year round. Not just for staying warm, but for keeping the boat dry on the inside. This is a bigger challenge on boats, than with RV's/travel trailers.
Lastly: look for a boat with a washing
machine, and preferably, washer/dryer. This is key to comfortable life on board.
You are not the first person to live aboard a sailboat and there are solutions for all of the challenges. You should learn those first before you start to invent something new.