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1970Columbia34 01-04-2007 08:09 AM

Sailboat Air Conditioning?
Has anyone used products from Ocean Breeze. We are looking at the 18500 btu model for our 34'. Any advice?


wildcard 01-04-2007 08:59 AM

I had a carryon that came with the boat.I gave it away. Unless I was living on the boat with dock power, I can see no need nor do I want to have to make that much power. Fans work fine for me. Not sure what your needs are thou. I have seen regular ole household window ACs rigged with a down draft used on livaborads at the dock.

wind_magic 01-04-2007 09:18 AM

I agree with wildcard, sleeping directly in front of the fan works for me in any temperature I have encountered while travelling. Even in the tropics sleeping in a hot camper a fan was all I needed to sleep comfortably. I think I would be okay on the boat with a fan even without a wind scoop.

Cruisingdad 01-04-2007 09:52 AM


I noticed you have not gotten any replies on the Ocean Breeze so I thought I would chime in.

I have NOT used Ocean Breeze, so I cannot give you a specific rec there. However, I have used Cruisair on my last three boats and have been very pleased. Never had a problem heating or cooling with them. Period.

I would like to give you some thoughts:

1) 18500 is a big unit. You might be better served with a 16k or two 12s. My reasoning: The power you get on the docks is usually horrid. You might find yourself tripping the breaker in some marinas. We tripped them in the heat of the summer when our 16 and 8 (I think it was an 8) kicked on about the same time. Our way around it was to boot up the 16 first, then the other (sorry, I cannot remember if it was an 8 or not now). But, you get the picture.

2) The tendancy is to wire in to the existing dock power coming into the boat, and that may be a mistake for the reasons listed above. Put the A/C on its own shore in. Most marinas have two 110s out for that purpose. Worst case scenario, we would carry a pig tail with us. It costs a little more, but you will come to thank me.

3) Plumbing. When you plumb for the water, do NOT use the pice of crap strainer that comes with it. GO buy a large bronze strainer (the bigger the better, to a point). THe small strainers trash up so quickly (especially in the warmer waters) you won't believe it. You will be down there cleaning the strainer three - four times a week if you don't use a large strainer.

4) T-Fitting. Obviously you will put in a strainer on the outside, but we also plumbed a "t" above the T-Hull with an on/off valve above it. That way when you sick up a palm leaf or plastic bag (which you will do) you don't have to dive the T-Hull. Just open the valve above and plunge a coat hanger through it which will clear the strainer. This is also very useful for hooking up a water hose to flush the unit with clean water and priming.

5) T-Hull location. THis is very important: DO NOT put your t-hull in the stern. Put it in the lowest part of the boat. AC's lose their prime very easy and every time a sports fisher goes by you will lose your air conditioner if you do not put the suction low. This will also minimize the junk you pick up in the tropics and elsewhere.

6) Accesibility. THe T-Hull should be very accesible for clean out, or you will come to hate your air conditioner.

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you. Sorry I could not give you a rec on the Ocean Breeze, but maybe a little helpful information otherwise. Cruisair is a good product.

- CD

1970Columbia34 01-04-2007 10:00 AM

Thanks CD. Were are trying to cool our 34' Columbia. We are located in Lake Huron in the Great Lakes. We sail out of Bay City Michigan so we are not sailing in the tropics. You think the smaller 16k unit will do the job? I have a perfect place in the bottom of a hanging locker for the unit. What about the T-Hull Strainer being about mid ship. Does the Unit lose its prime during sailing? or are you just worried about it losing its prime while its operating. thanks.


Cruisingdad 01-04-2007 11:11 AM

Well, I have not lived in Michigan, but I can say that we had a 16k unit on our 320 in Texas and it did fine (where the temps will often go over well over 100 in the summer). The trick is that if it gets too hot, you can put a cover over the cabin top. I think a 16k would be more than fine in Michigan. Use a reverse cycle and you can heat the boat too. Will your generator push it, or do you have a generator? Startup on those are high. Heating will draw more than cooling, i fI am not mistaken.

1970Columbia34 01-04-2007 11:17 AM

Yeah if we hit 100 hear in Michigan its rare, but its not uncommon to be in the mid 80's. The deck is white with a light...light gray non-skid. If it were up to me i would say we don't need it but my wife on the other hand like the idea of cool sleeping conditions and even heat so we can extend our sailing season here in michigan. We just plan to use it on shore power here at the Yacht Club. You think i thin to run a seperate shore power cord just for the 16k unit though. I am looking at the 115v model.


camaraderie 01-04-2007 11:18 AM

Scott..Can't help you on Ocean Breeze either but CruiseAir and MarineAir are 2 good brands I've worked with. I think cruise air may have swallowed marine air.
Just replaced a 16K unit with this one this past year and am quite pleased with it:
CD gives excellent advice on what to look out for and I too think a 16k would work fine on a boat your size and in your location.
The loss of prime is very common during sailing even if your through hull is low. The solution requires removing the pump hose at the pump and "bleeding" which means some salt water in the sure to locate the pump in an area where this will not matter and where you can do this routine job easily in a couple of minutes. With through hulls close to the center line, I've never lost prime while running or at anchor for extented periods...but I am always SURPRISED when I have NOT lost prime after sailing! The big strainer idea is excellent and given your water temps CD's suggestion #4 is a must. I had to dive 4 times this summer to clear debris from my intake. Thankfully the water was 75 degrees...but sometimes it took quite a while to get everything out. I would hate to have to do that in 60 degrees!

Cruisingdad 01-04-2007 11:27 AM


I always have run a second. It will cost you a bit more... but who knows, maybe you don't need to??? Your decision. Easier to do it up front then pull it back apart, though. I will say that most of my experience with dock power is in a salt water environment so it is corosive on the wiring - thus, poor electrical feeds from shoreside.

80's in the summer?? Phew!! You will be FINE with 16k!!! Shoot, when it is in the 80's here (Texas) and S Florida, I am pulling on a coat and shutting down the hatches (just kidding, a little). And with the reverse-cycle function, you can heat and really extend your cruising range.

Best of luck.

- CD

1970Columbia34 01-04-2007 11:38 AM

We are not in salt water so that should not be a issue. I will have to think about what I want to do. Its not a big deal to run another shore power hookup but your right its a added cost and the need to having to haul another power cord around to other marinas. I assume you still run the new shore power cord to the electrical panel with a breaker right?


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