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hvacfellow 01-01-2009 02:43 PM

skilled trades and cruising
Hello All,

A quick introduction: I own an HVAC contracting company and I have just begun to manage a testing department at an HVAC manufacturer (candle at both ends!). I have the requisite licenses for heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. I am also preparing to write for my Electricians ticket.

Now that that is out of the way, I am planning on selling it all and heading for open water within the next couple of years. A couple of questions that I have:
1) is there a need for skilled people (my skills: electrical/refrigeration) at the ports and marinas around the world? It would add piece of mind knowing that a revenue stream (even a small stream) could be maintained while cruising, potentially lengthening the amount of cruising we can do.
2) we are looking at various hull materials and are wondering if a steel hull is safer that a fibreglass hull against punctures and 'rubbing'
3) would a front sonar system combined with a fibreglass hull provide sufficient avoidance alarms to react to semi-submerged hazards?

I look forward to sharing our transformation from land to sea and of course I will have many questions for the knowledgable 'salts' who make up Sailnet.

Thanks in advance for your responses.


xort 01-01-2009 03:31 PM

Here's what I've learned, but no first hand experience...

You can make a few bucks, especially on referigeration. But don't count on a good flow of income unless you want to keep at it full time.
If you keep at it full time, you risk the ire of local immigration authorities. It will be very difficult to get work permits. You can do some casual work under the table for other cruisers with little risk but if you go ashore, you will need work permits.

Good, well prepped steel is great. But you need to find good well prepped steel. There is a reason the vast majority of cruising boats are fiberglass. Easy to work with and quite durable. Just stay off the reefs.

All I've read on forward sonar is they don't work well, especially in shallow water where it's of most value.

You have some time, there is tons of info on the net. keep surfing and reading. You will learn a LOT.

Welcome to the asylum!

camaraderie 01-01-2009 03:34 PM

Welcome HVAC...some brief answers. These issues have been discussed many times here so you may want to dig into the specific threads for deeper discussion using the search function.

1. You will find it extremely difficult to work in other countries as they generally prefer not to employ outsiders on tourist visas to homegrown talent. You may be able to pick up a little here and there off the books.

2. Steel comes with its' own set of problems in salt water. Also buying a steel vessel and being assured of its' integrity is not easy. Most steel boats sail like pigs. If you are worried about collision (not at all likely) with hard stuff at can get glass boats with kevlar or similar bow reinforcement and watertight forward bulkheads. Thinking back, I can't recall one pleasure boat in the last several years that sank due to a collision with a container or other flotsam...though I am sure someone will dredge one up.
3. NO...expensive and a big draw on batteries. Not practical.

Worry about wind, waves, weather, boat construction and poor maintenance...the things that will REALLY sink you. Get a raft and an EPIRB and insure the boat.

hvacfellow 01-01-2009 05:41 PM

Thanks for the info about hull material.

Also, my thinking about 'work' was to ply my trade with other boaters and to stay away from land work for the reasons that are mentioned (not to mention that I do not want full time work, just the odd job).

Thanks again.


xort 01-01-2009 06:04 PM

not too much A/C use by cruisers but plenty of refers. And they are a bit different than household systems.
surf here: KollmannMarine Boat Refrigeration Specialist
and here: Marine Refrigeration Menu
and here: RParts: Refrigeration Parts Solution

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