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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker
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Thread: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-19-2012 09:19 AM
copacabana
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

I think AC is a waste of money if you plan on anchoring out. I live and cruise in the tropics and it gets HOT here in the summer. I keep my boat cool inside with sunbrella shade awnings that shade the whole deck. They are not expensive to make. As soon as the anchor is down I put up my 2 awnings (it only takes 2 or 3 minutes). The awnings stay up unless I'm sailing. Even in a hard rain and wind I can keep my hatches wide open to catch the breeze that comes in under the awnings. They also serve to catch rainwater. End result: the boat is always cool below decks, water tanks are always full and amp hour drain is always low. A watermaker is a more personal decision I think. Read the discussion of whether or not you need a watermaker in Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook (actually, read the piece "What we left off HAwk and why"). I think if you have big water tanks and a way to catch (and perhaps filter) rainwater it's not worth the hassle to have a watermaker. Another thing to consider is that every time to add something like AC, watermaker, microwave, TV/DVD etc. to your boat it's not just the purchase price of the unit itself you have to worry about. It will probably involve upgrading your battery charging sources and increasing your battery bank. Both cost money and take up space. It may even lead to installing a generator, with all the associated expenses, hassles and breakdowns. As you outfit your new boat for cruising you might want to think about how each new piece of equipment will increase the complexity of your boat, maintenance time, expenses and whether or not you'll be able to get it fixed in foreign ports. It's always a drag to have to hang around in a port for weeks on end for parts because you just can't sail without working AC or a watermaker or whatever. In some ways keepng your boat simple gives you the time to enjoy the places you cruise to. I have seen so many people who have become slaves to their boats- perpetually fixing, maintaining, adjusting, cleaning etc. - that they almost don't leave the boat to enjoy life with the locals on shore. Perhaps that is why so many cruisers give up after a short period claiming "it's just too much work!"

Just my 2 cents...

You can always add these things later if you really find you need them.
07-19-2012 08:46 AM
killarney_sailor
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

We have both onboard and never (as in not once) used the AC in the Caribbean and Bahamas and used the watermaker (110v) from time to time. Remember that using either of these devices likely means using your genset and that means schlepping jerry cans of fuel around, you need to have jerry cans for both water and fuel on board and some convenient way to move them on shore and from dinghy to mothership. You will rarely be in a marina (and if you are it may have 220v rather than 110V) and a fuel dock is not that common.
07-18-2012 09:16 PM
sea_hunter
Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc:898178
water maker is VERY expensive, and almost unusable in many areas (moorings/harbors/slips). you will need spares, correct tools and either use it very regularly (even pumping the extra over board) or pickle it for later use...they take up quite a bit of space and are quite power hungry.
Not quite true. Watermakers can be used in ANY water within the salinity requirements. If it's smaller than a sodium molecule its gone. As for power consumption you're partially informed as the 12V models do consume more electricity than the 110V models for water produced. Ours is a 110V - 200 GPday version we operate from our inverter. Never had a problem in 4 years. The key is by using it frequently.
07-18-2012 09:06 PM
sea_hunter We have both. Don't shop the discount aisle. You'll also need a 2000+ watt charger inverter, a 6-800 amphour battery bank and a 100+ amp alternator.
07-18-2012 06:15 PM
bvander66
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

We have AC, but find we only use it/need it at the dock. Most of the time find enough of breeze to keep it comfortable, providing we have the sun shade up. We have a large one which runs from main to mizzen and covers most of cabin + cockpit.
We have a small water maker and found it usefull in those areas where water is scarce. Used it occasionally in the Exhumas Land and Sea Park for example. Lot depends on what your tankage capacity is, we are limited with 60 gal, so that impacted our decision a lot. We went bare bones system with commercial parts and it cost us < $1100 and gives us 6 gph. Check out Quality Water Works Inc, ask for George Walker, great help to us.
07-18-2012 06:08 PM
CaptainForce
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

We use and enjoy our AC at the dock in warmer climes, but in the islands we are anchored facing the breeze and rarely miss the AC. We carry 200 gallons of water in below deck tanks and added containers that can last us a month if we are conservative,- that includes bathing in the saltwater with a small volume rinse. I don't need either one, but if I were to select one, it would be the watermaker; however, we've been liveaboard/cruising for forty years and it's not going to happen.
07-18-2012 05:43 PM
kd3pc
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by GCASKEW View Post
Thanks for the reply... So what is your simple setup?
we have the AC but use it only at the dock ala HopeFloats, everything else is 12v for the most part (fridge, pumps, tv, lights, etc) so the solar keeps things topped up. Every now and then when we autopilot and listen to music with all the instruments, we need to run the genny every two or three days.

Catchment from the bimini and the deck can be rerouted to our side water tank, the bow we keep "fresh" as best we can. Drink bottled water. No water maker.
07-18-2012 05:31 PM
HopeFloats
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

If you are going further than the Carib, I would favor the watermaker over the AC. I'm not an AC person...swinging on the hook with a windscoop does it for me. Only time I am happy for an AC is tied up to a sweltering dock.... like now
07-18-2012 04:47 PM
GCASKEW
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

Thanks for the reply... So what is your simple setup?
07-18-2012 04:20 PM
kd3pc
Re: Upgrading older boat with AC and watermaker

AC for sure, and would not be comfortable with out it. Water maker not so much...too much maintenance for the output....water readily available as well as rain water catchement. We drink only bottled water, and use the other for everything else.

water maker is VERY expensive, and almost unusable in many areas (moorings/harbors/slips). you will need spares, correct tools and either use it very regularly (even pumping the extra over board) or pickle it for later use...they take up quite a bit of space and are quite power hungry.

solar and wind are great, but then you need to really look at power usage to make them work. Honda will likely not run the "whole" boat, maybe not two of them slaved together...then there is the gas issue...

best of luck,

we went simpler, and had less problems than many of the folks we met.
YMMV
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