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post #1 of 11 Old 08-13-2018 Thread Starter
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Camp aboard

I've been thinking about getting a smallish boat to live aboard two to eight weeks for the summer. I really prefer 36,37 foot as it is easier for me to sail by myself than a bigger boat. I will probably have to single hand a lot as my wife has knee problems.

After this summer my wife has made it clear that she likes the concept but insists on air-conditioning.

Air on anything shorter than 40' is rare here I suspect folks south may have it figured out.

What would you recommend?

Being able to run it at anchor would be amazing but I suspect that would be asking way too much and may have to pony up for a dock.

Don't bother recommending getting a new wife as I have looked into that already and it would cost too much as we have been together for 40 years.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

It’s not hard to find a place for a self contained ac unit on a boat of that size. You will give up storage in a locker of some kind. It’s the generator. Some advocate the Honda 2000, running above on deck. With the proper exhaust extension and some care, it would certainly work. You need to be mindful of the amount of ambient noise and direction of the wind, to account for whether neighbors will hear it. Personally, I never sleep with a motor running, but some do. Bareboats are famous for it. To me, the most annoying noise is a loud wind generator anyway.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

There are some pretty small window units that, with a bit of ingenuity, one might build a fairly watertight housing for over the forepeak hatch. It could all be portable and stored on the forepeak bunk until needed at anchor. A small Honda could power it.
There are portable wheeled ones that sit on the floor like a radiator heater, but they require an exhaust hose and probably use considerably more power.
Of course, if you absolutely, positively gotta keep the wife and cool the cabin, but don't want a genset running, it's amazing how much cooling a fan (12 volt) blowing across a block of ice will give you. Old tech and the wife? Life don't get much better than that! lol
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

Very common to see window unit jury rigs on marina liveaboards.

But really not needed once you leave the dock.

Just because you want to keep her, doesn't mean you have to drag her along on the boat any more than she wants.

"Only with **enthusiastic** consent" is a great standard to live by!

A marine aircon unit properly installed for permanent use, plus the required genset, can cost much more than the boat itself is worth.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

It's not all that hard to have air conditioning on a 36' boat. The units really aren't all that big themselves. It's really more about how to power the thing. So you pretty much have your choice of any 36' boat you want.

Any boat issue can be fixed by the correct application of cash!

BTW - I haven't run my air conditioning since July 1 in Chesapeake City and find fans just as good in the evenings

Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

I've got an AC in my 38 foot boat. The unit takes up one storage cabinet. Pretty darn small.

But even with a 52 foot boat (previous) with 3 AC units and a generator, I rarely ran the AC at anchor. But on the dock, it's really nice. IMHO the real issue is being stuck in a hot marina at night with noisy neighbors. That's when the AC counts...but you can plug in.

At anchor, at least in my neighborhood, there's usually enough breeze, some fans, and we're fine.

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

Check out Youtube - lots of home made AC units utilizing ice , cooler, fan and some copper tubing - easy to take off boat when not in use. If the wife will only be on board for short periods of time - might work.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

Several years ago, I made an AC unit using nothing more than a computer fan, a piece of paneling and a cooler chest. It worked very well, though a bit dampish after several hours of running.

I now run a heat pump with my Honda 2200i generator with a modified exhaust extension. The Honda 2200 is very, very quiet, runs the heat pump easily and I keep the cabin cooled down to 68 degrees at night. While the generator is running, with the hatches closed, I can barely hear it. It also runs the 21-inch smart TV and charges the batteries at the same time, and powers my portable oxygen generator. These little generators are absolutely amazing, however, Honda's tend to be far more expensive than the generators one can purchase at Harbor Freight, Lowes and Home Depot. But, the Honda is the quietest of them all and very reliable.

As for the boat itself, I have more than enough room for my wife and I on my Morgan 33 Out Island, which has loads of storage, a huge cockpit, quite easily sailed single handed, and it sails very comfortably because of it's extra wide beam and full keel. If the boat heels more than 5 degrees on a beam reach with 20 MPH winds, I begin to worry if there is something wrong. It's not a racing boat - it's a wonderful cruiser that makes life easy while living aboard.

Dave, it you folks didn't live so far away from here, I would let you take it out and explore Chesapeake Bay for a couple weeks. I'm not using the boat nearly as much as I used to because of my lung condition, which is growing worse by the day.

Good luck on your quest,

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Last edited by travlin-easy; 08-13-2018 at 12:12 PM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

I have a 10k btu window AC setup. Have it setup to run off my beloved Honda 2000i when on the hook. It actually runs fine in economy mode after the compressor kicks in. That way it is super quiet and runs all night on one tank of gas. Ya just have to set the temp real low so the compressor never kicks off which if it did would make you wake up to kick the genny up to normal mode until compressor kicked in again.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-13-2018
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Re: Camp aboard

Usually a large portable fan with rechargable 18 volt batteries (using a 12 volt portable charger) from Ryobi does it for me.
Except when all closed up in heavy rain.
Always wondered if a variation of Gary's swamp cooler could work by pumping bottom water up and running tubing as a radiator in front of fan. (thinking bottom water here on LIS midsummer 68 degrees or cooler)
Cool enough to for David and Mrs. to sail into the sunset?
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