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Old 10-03-2008
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AC Unit Catalina 30, Opinions Wanted

I'm looking at adding AC to my '95 Catalina 30, preferably a unit with reverse-cycle heat as we keep the boat in the water year round.

I'm just starting the process of looking at different manufacturers and will have the chance to talk to some of them at the Annapolis Boat show.

I'm looking for some input on:
  • Pros/Cons/Reliability of different brands
  • Pros/Cons/Tips on installation
  • Is this a "do it yourself" job or a job best done by a pro
  • If best done by a pro any recommendations on the Jersey Shore, Northern Chesapeake Bay?
  • Proper size unit for a C30
  • Will a Honda generator provide enough juice to run the unit when anchored?
  • What are the things you don't think of until you've lived with a unit for a while?

Jim & Kathy
'95 Catalina 30 Goin' Coastal
Common sense is an uncommon thing ~ Mark Twain
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Old 10-03-2008
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I had a single Cruisaire unit on my Cat 30 years ago. It was a self contained unit but did require a thru-hull that should be dedicated to the compressor alone. Of course, you will also need an above the waterline outlet. I have had these units on three different boats and they have been maintenance free for periods of up to ten years. Cruisare can give you the size needed and the power draw. Mine was mounted under one of the side benches.
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Old 10-06-2008
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My C36 came iwith reverse cycle air/heat by Rotary Aire. I hadn't hear of that brand prior to looking at this boat, but when I looked into it, I found Rotary Aire is a Westerbeke company so I felt it was probably a good brand. We've only had this boat since July, but we are very happy with the AC.

I don't know about running it with a small genset. Even on my 36' boat I think finding space for a genset would be an issue and it would mean carrying more gas on board. Now I usually only carry a tank of gas in the dingy motor.

As far as a DIY installl, I think it would depend on how skilled you are. If you would be comfortable drilling a couple of holes through the boat and possibly glassing in a shelf to support the unit it would be doable, though I would suggest getting an electrician to at least check you work on that aspect. If you decide to use a pro, finding someone on the northern Chessy to do the install, that should be fairly easy at the boat show.
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36
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