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Old 08-06-2017, 08:48   #31
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

And here's another thought on the subject:
Regardless if you have air conditioners or not, plan on shading your boat in some fashion, whether you use tarps (rain and sun) or sunshades (sun only), getting the direct solar heat gain off the deck will make life much more enjoyable and if you have AC, your system won't have to work as hard.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:31   #32
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Its not just the tropics, other places get very hot in the summer like the Sea of Cortez where air tempatures are approaching 100 degrees and water temp is 82+ degrees. On our previous 32' boat that had 10K BTU AC that we could only run at the dock, it couldn't even keep the boat cool enough.

We are refitting our new boat with a Webasto BlueCool V50 chiller. Uses chilled water sent to 6 air handlers placed throughout the boat. Variable cooling up to 50K BTU, soft start so can be used on smaller generators or even inverter systems or 30AMP shore power.

I agree with a previous poster about women and creature comforts if you want to have wife on the boat and/or stay married, make the investment.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:33   #33
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tortuga's Lie View Post
And here's another thought on the subject:
Regardless if you have air conditioners or not, plan on shading your boat in some fashion, whether you use tarps (rain and sun) or sunshades (sun only), getting the direct solar heat gain off the deck will make life much more enjoyable and if you have AC, your system won't have to work as hard.
Good point.

While several posts discuss the need, or lack of need, for AC in the tropics it is interesting to note that folks who live in the tropics as a rule don't have AC. In fact most folks world wide don't have AC.

One thing I have noticed is what I will call a huge disconnect between some cruisers and folks who live where they cruise. Often time you will hear the phrase 'first world problem' in connections to things like AC on a boat.

I do agree that AC in a marina is much more important than AC at anchor or on a ball. But the real issue is that some folks think AC is a must have while others can take it or leave it. You need to determine which one of these groups are in. I have determined I am in the group that can take AC or leave it so I don't have any on by boat; but I would never claim that qualifies me to advise you about what to do on your boat.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:34   #34
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

If you don't want to get an a/c but bugs at night are a concern you might want to consider a mosquito net. That way you can keep hatches open and a breeze blowing through the cabin while safely tucked away inside the net out of reach of the bugs.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:58   #35
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

AC is a practical necessity in Florida and south. It is not just the heat but the no-see-ems and mosquitoes. You will have evenings where you don't even want to use the rail mounted grill because of the pests. It is far from an every day problem but AC sure is nice to have when you really need it. That generally means a generator to support it. Trust me you will be glad you spent the necessary 3 or 4 thousand or found a boat with it installed.
You could go much cheaper with a large room AC unit mounted on deck but that solution is best to use at the dock only. Marine units tend to be more efficient and that matters when on a generator.
Washing machine I just cannot comprehend. Living aboard is about minimization, wardrobes of T-shirts and shorts/bathing suites do not generate much of a need and most good marinas have coin machines available when needed for linen and such. Most sailors have buckets to wash in and lots of lines to dry on if needed between ports. The limiting factor tends to be fresh water not electric power unless you want to talk water makers as in rigging for ocean passages.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:07   #36
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Please listen :-)

We had the same dilemma.

Purchased a 50' custom cat in 02 with no A/C. Decided to put a single mermaid (I think was the brand) marine A/C in the salon only, 16,000 btu.

We had no generator so it only worked on shore power.

This MADE life in marinas bearable in the tropics. No need at anchor (although there were times when it would have been nice)

It was enough to cool the salon and the cool air naturally ran downhill to the cabins. This is a no brainer decision.

Just pulled into Emerald Bay marina on our monohull after a week cruising the Bahamas in June, like 5 minutes ago! In this case no A/C even at anchor sucked and could not wait to plug if for no other reason than to dry the boat out :-)

Maybe I've been in Alaska too long!

No gen fine, self contained A/C a must. IMHO!

Enjoy!
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:17   #37
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Have the manufacturer install two AC units, one small one for owner stateroom, other unit to cover main salon. You may need both units when staying in marinas.

If you find you need AC at anchorage, you can always add a small genny that will run the smaller AC at a later date.

Make sure you get a marine AC unit that will have spare parts readily available where you plan to cruise, or that has land based supply depot that can ship to you at foreign ports.

As for washing machine, I find the orange Home Depot 5 gallon pail works best when cruising, and gets you plenty of exercise
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:56   #38
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Your question is about quality of life you desire for the money spent...

I would resent having spent what we did if we couldn't be comfortable in the climactic conditions we choose to travel and live in. We only use these items when needed, and they are nice to have.

Do we need any of it? Nope. We don't need pressure water either, nor hot water, or even an engine for that matter... It is all about where you are willing to draw the line.

For what you are budgeting for the vessel you mentioned, A/C, generator, washer/dryer, watermaker, etc. is a very small percentage of the overall. Ask yourself if saving that percentage is worth the lifestyle compromizes required. Additionally, if spending that percentage would compromise your plans, then you are already overbudget and need to make adjustments.

The previous owners of our boat lived aboard for 15 years in the Caribbean and Central and South America. They ended up installing 3 built-in A/C units- all seperately controlled. [Use one or all as needed- depending where you are in the boat.]

We also have central heat, a 10kw generator [which cannot be heard outside the boat if you are more than 15 feet away.... really...]
watermaker, washer dryer, freezer, etc.

For us it is also about how long can we stay in remote areas. [months...]

We live aboard full time, and since this is our 'house' we won't be without these creature comforts...

You have to decide what you are willing to live without, and what that is worth to you...

And if you aren't already a member, the Admiral mentioned you may get some additional perspectives also posing your questions on the women only closed Facebook group Women Who Sail.

Best wishes sorting out what is best for you.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:15   #39
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

I lived on a voyage 43 very similar to the boat you were contemplating. Five years or so under a variety of conditions.

The best single addition to the boat was the splendid washer dryer. It was mounted next to the shower so I was able to get out of the shower and put on warm clothes from the dryer on a cold day. It made watch standing a pleasure. The splendid will do about three days worth of clothes, or one king size sheet and pillow cases. Be sure you don't purchase the washer dryer that is unvented. They do not dry. It's no problem to vent the dryer out under the boat.

My boat had a single 16,000 BTU per our heater air conditioner. The reverse cycle unit was sufficient to keep the boat warm in moderate weather but required additional heaters in very cold weather. I ran it in air-conditioning mode in the marina.

My boat was not fitted with a generator, by choice. I had a 3000 W inverter facts by to 200 amp alternators and 2 55 amp alternators all feeding thousand amp hours of battery. This set up Easley ran the air conditioner and the washer dryer at the same time. It was the wrong way to do it. The complexity and the heat in the battery compartment's were just too difficult to manage when I was pulling 120 A out of the bank.

If I did it again I would air condition with the same reverse cycle Air Conditioner and the same battery bank. I would also use the same washer dryer. I would not however run the air conditioner on the batteries in the inverter when I was at anchor. To meet the minimum air-conditioning needs it anchor I would install a small, 8000 BTU per hour, Air Conditioner called the main bog only .

If your requirement was to Air Conditioner the entire boat I see no alternative but to put in a generator. Happy to help if you send me further questions.

I have charter two of the identical Boats for two weeks with my family in late June. Seems like a good book choice.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:43   #40
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

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Our plan is to buy a new boat and cast off in a couple years. We are strongly considering the FP Helia 44. My husband is a simple sailor and wants to go green on as much as possible and ditch the air conditioner and generator drama. His logic is that we could buy a portable for the berth if we need to and save the cost. I'm thinking by the time I reach 50 the AC may not be considered optional equipment if you know what I mean but it would be nice to spend the money on something else. But going down that path is a slippery slope because that probably means no washer either. We will be following the sun so heat will be a way of life generally. I mean, that's the whole idea.

These are good problems to have but any strong opinions?
Depends whether you are into basic camping or not - at 70+ we are not. Our Freedom 38 started off as a basic 2-battery boat, and now has a generator, washing machine and air-con and, the Admiral can run her hair dryer / hair tongs whenever she likes - domestic bliss! Don't forget, a generator with a reversible air conditioner can be used as a heater/dryer in winter also, along with the electric blanket.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:54   #41
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

As with many-many other things on this forum, it's all about money. People cruising/living on cheap boats get used to the level of comfort they can afford. They better like it because often there's not much of a choice.
If you're thinking to buy brand new catamaran, it's better to listen folks on boats worth $500K or more. They chose different level of comfort, and their opinion most likely will be very different.
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Old 08-06-2017, 13:40   #42
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Any decision is very personal. Lot of info and good reasoning here..

Personally, living onboard is about outdoor life.
As such, l would avoid all those areas, conditions and seasons which would force me to use AC and stay closed inside.

Maybe, by tradition, l do consider 'normal's to have heating, but not AC, and this is an unconscious bias!

To have an answer, anyone has to dig to the fundamentals and realize actual and unconscious needs. And yes, Age is a factor
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Old 08-06-2017, 16:05   #43
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly3785n View Post
Our plan is to buy a new boat and cast off in a couple years. We are strongly considering the FP Helia 44. My husband is a simple sailor and wants to go green on as much as possible and ditch the air conditioner and generator drama. His logic is that we could buy a portable for the berth if we need to and save the cost. I'm thinking by the time I reach 50 the AC may not be considered optional equipment if you know what I mean but it would be nice to spend the money on something else. But going down that path is a slippery slope because that probably means no washer either. We will be following the sun so heat will be a way of life generally. I mean, that's the whole idea.

These are good problems to have but any strong opinions?
It's a very foolish man who doesn't get the stuff on their boat that thewife wants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Probably near the top of ruined cruising dreams.
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Old 08-06-2017, 16:49   #44
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

My ACs are in sad shape due to lack of use for many years. Installed them in preparation for a year of living aboard in Texas before heading out cruising. AC is not a luxury in Texas...its life support. In a marina often was very glad to have them...at anchor VERY rarely have use for them (they can also be set to dehumidfy mode for boat storage).

Because of this we opted not to install a gen set.

On charter boats, I sometimes run the gen and ACs for guests who cant take the heat.

The only times Ive wished for a gen set to run ACs at anchor was when holed up in the mangroves for foul weather...and the wind died...unpleasant.
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Old 08-06-2017, 17:05   #45
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Re: Help us settle the Air Conditioner debate

The military spent a lot of time and money back in WW II trying to find out whether a recruit should be sent to the tropic like the Pacific or to Europe where it gets cold. Turned out that the best way was to just ask the recruit whether they liked it hot or cold.
If you frequently sleep at home with the windows open and seldom run A/C then being without is no big deal.
I know very few Floridians who don't "require" A/C to "live". If your spouse is used to A/C at home and you want them to go on the second or third trip on the boat then you better put that item on your equipment list.
If setting out to the wild blue yonder with only a hat on your head is your goal then make sure your partner is onboard too or the trips may be lonely.
If you install marine A/C and don't use it then it gets little wear and need of maintenance other than flushing at end of your season. Resale is better. The A/C is a low maintenance item normally - usually run for years with little attention except for strainer and pump.
If you stay in Northern Latitudes then I can see the question. Anchored out on a calm night trying to sleep while sweat runs down your body does little for being close to the bunkmate.
It's all a matter of personal preferences and what you are willing to put on the necessary comfort list. Sign me up for the trip that has the A/C at night when in the Bahamas in July and August. Camped out on small boats many times when I was in my teens thru my thirties - but not something I would look forward to in my sixties.

It only takes a day or two of being uncomfortable on board with little of no sleep to make sure the next trip has a "scheduling conflict".
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