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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-30-2010
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Air Condition Yes / No

Does it make sense to have AC on a blue water boat? I am looking to start my world cruise in about 5 years and found a couple of blue water boats with AC. I plan on spending time in tropical climates and wonder if the power consumption is worth having the AC. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-30-2010
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We have spent 2 yrs in the Caribbean and the A/C is invaluable...We only spend 10% or less of our time on docks but without A/C the heat can be brutal.

At anchor we have to run the generator 1-2 hrs a day for batteries, watermaker, washing machine and freezer. We cool the bedroom during this period if there is not much wind, otherwise the A/C is redundant. We have never run the generator all night for A/C or anything else.

In Nova Scotia we ran the heating part of the system.

If the boat has A/C and a generator take them and be grateful.

Phil
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I am now in the Carib and spend maybe one day every couple of weeks in a marina. Running the AC means also that everything gets dried out - a very good thing to do every now and then. The AC system includes a dehumidifier.

Also, the AC makes being in a marina tolerable since they are purposely located where there isnt any wind ...
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Old 12-30-2010
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Don't let anyone tell you that you're not a true cruiser if you have AC. I'm fairly confident that we went out cruising when we moved out of our house and pulled our kids out of school and headed south, and we loved our AC. We had several "true cruisers" hanging out on our boat when the wind died and the temps went up.
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A better option IMHO is to have a well insulated boat with good natural ventilation and shade. Avoid marinas.
At anchor the temperatures are cooler.
With A/C you never adapt to the local temperatures and the indoor life destroys the beauty and attraction of a new view to enjoy the sundowners.
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Old 12-31-2010
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IMHO ABSOLUTELY NOT!

You will have to be in a marina or running a generator, both not very peaceful, to operate your a/c. I suppose you might run it at sea on passage but I have not heard of anyone do this on a typical cruising boat of less than 50 feet.

Look for a white coloured boat WITHOUT TEAK DECKS and with lots of hatches (Elephants Child has 8) that open forwards, get a windscoop and buy lots of small QUIET fans. Learn to anchor out where there is a breeze. A good awning helps.

Yes you will have the odd hot night but a fan allows most people to sleep.
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Old 12-31-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
...
At anchor we have to run the generator 1-2 hrs a day for batteries, watermaker, washing machine and freezer. We cool the bedroom during this period if there is not much wind, otherwise the A/C is redundant. We have never run the generator all night for A/C or anything else.
.....
Phil
That's about it. A generator running two hours a day.

That's a question of the size of the boat and cruising style. You would need a bigger boat with bigger fuel tankage and space for the generator. I would prefer to sail on a faster lighter boat and I hate running the engine or the generator on anchor. I love peace and silence. When I am hot, I just dive on the water.

I am not assuming I am right and Phil is wrong, that's just a personal choice.

On other hand I would have a webasto type heating. it wastes a small amount of diesel, it don't needs space to install, and the cold is a lot worse than the hot temperatures, at least for me, maybe because I live in an hot climate

Regards

Paulo
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My current boat is the first that ever had AC and I don't think I will ever go back. We don't run it continuously, but when out cruising, just getting everything dried out occasionally is enormously comforting. Its like starting fresh.

I can speak in a hush whisper and still be heard if I was standing over the running genset floor hatch. I certainly don't find that disturbingly loud, nor could my neighbors possibly think so. At best, they might hear the water splash from the exhaust for the odd hour or two. I think hearing their dinghy slapping against the chop is louder.
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Old 01-02-2011
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With regards to the generator noise, get a water separator and there's no splashing - water exhausts under the waterline and fumes above. We'd be 75 feet from the next boat in a quiet anchorage and you couldn't hear our 5kw northern lights genset running. Btw - we saw plenty of boats less than 50' with gensets and AC. I guess it is a personal preference, but when it's pouring for a few days and you can't keep your hatches open (hatch tents are useless with wind driven rain, and our dorades don't push enough air), the AC is indispensable.
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Old 01-02-2011
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I have AC aboard and the only times it runs is when I'm in a marina. A poster in this thread stated "avoid marinas" but that is not always possible (I'll have to head into one in a couple of days to get my genset re-installed) and in the tropics the heat without a breeze can be stifling, particularly when one hasn't acclimated yet.
I've never run my AC at anchor, but tend to use it whenever I'm hooked into shore power whether I need cooling or not, as the dehumidifying effect on the inside of the boat is wonderful.
The downside, apart from price, is that the AC units and particularly the ductwork take up a lot of volume, particularly on smaller boats. I watched a crew remove the complete AC system from a boat next to mine (it was a 50-ish crewed charter that never had guests aboard at dock) and it was absolutely amazing how much junk was gutted from the boat.
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