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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a recent liveaboard and I hope to glean as much knowledge from the community as possible in regards to marine electronics. This thread is not bound by any particular boat size or lifestyle, just post your experiences with what you got and how you apply it so the new guys like me can learn a thing or two from you old salts.
 

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OK , here is some tough love . Don't put too much effort into the R23 , if you are going to live aboard you will need a boat you can stand up in .
As for your list , some things I don't understand like a small projector and under water speakers . Please don't think I'm being negative , I have had a boat since 86' and I have seen more than a few people try to live on a boat with no head room, it never works . Right you want to know my electronics. First Ms. Westi and I are semi liveaboards , May to Oct . plus our house is only 2mi. away . We have 2 deep cycle flood type 12v 130 ah. group 30 batts. from Costco cost about $100. ea. Then we have a batt. charger ( electronic smart charger type ) and shore power . Mp3 boom box and a tv/dvr a small inverter runs that stuff away from the dock . Our Diesel has a 80 amp alt. ,Navlights spreader lights a bilge pump . Map GPS , auto pilot, VHF . When we are away from the dock it is usually for about 2 wks.
Whatever you decide , good luck and keep us posted . PS I think I just fed a troll . Please tell me I'm wrong .
 

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Old enough to know better
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Assuming you are talking about a Ranger 23, I would rewire the basics, to ABYC standards, but no more. I would not overload the electrical system, an electric air fryer is likely going to pull too much juice. You don't say if you will be in a slip, or on a mooring. Generally even if I were to be in a marina I would try to keep everything powered by 12 volt that I could. Further I would not install much if at all as far as electronics that I could not remove. For chart plotter, go handheld GPS unit. Use a handheld VHF, no Ham (or Banfung(SP?)hand held ham). For LEDs, just get inexpensive bulbs from eBay for the original fixtures. As to cooking I would stick to a small Orgo or Cookmate 2 burner non-pressure alcohol stove(again planing to take it with me). Why removable? Because you will want something bigger if you want to continue living aboard, and if it is removable take it with you as it will add no value to the boat. Boats like this (at least in the northeast) are almost impossible to sell at any price regardless of condition. People nowadays want standing headroom and comfort. Not many folks out there buying small keel boats, especially if it is not easily trailer-able. Keep in mind that with brand new sails, a new outboard, and fresh paint everywhere you would be lucky to get more than three thousand dollars for this boat. This was a quick boat in it's day, but never intend to carry the weight of full time liveaboard and it's performance will suffer.

Living on a boat like that is OK short term but I would think it will grow old quickly. It seems to me the smallest long term liveaboard is going to be in the 27 foot range. You will be crawling around and don't even have a head. It is like camping, fun for up to a week.

Underwater speakers? Small projector? Why?
 

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Electric can opener and attached spoon for the beans, And oh yeah, a wide screen smart tv Apparently an essential piece of kit.
 

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Old enough to know better
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OK I had a long helpful thread done, but lost it.

Basically if this boat is going to work, you are going to have to think minimalist. Living on a 30 to 35 foot boat is like living in a small camper, a 27 to 29 foot boat is like living in a tent, a 25 to 27 foot boat is like living in a pup tent and your boat is more like a bivy sack. It can be done, but will take real dedication to keeping it simple. There is simply no room for things like a projector, ham radio, underwater speakers. You will have to keep clothing in some sort of plastic bins, preferably with a locking lid that can be stacked and pushed into a corner, sorted by work, play, underwear, dress etc. So keep simple and small in mind. Want a laptop, no too big, think tablet. Tablet can double as a chart plotter. VHF just get a handheld. (Standard Horizon HX851 Handheld VHF Radio with GPS good one on sale) 12 volt panel if you are starting from scratch just get a small panel. convert any existing interior lights to LEDs from DX.com or eBay. You might want to look into AA battery powered LED lights as well. Entertainment will be from the tablet and streaming from marina WiFi, possibly an in-dash radio with mp3 player. For AC circuit you will need a panel with a main breaker and 2 other circuits one for the battery charger, the other for a single 110 volt outlet. That is it. SIMPLE. keep all device chargers on 12 volt, including tablet and cell phones. You don't have much room for batteries so get the best true deep cycle battery you can find that will fit. Current best bang for you dollar is likely a pair of 6 volt golf car batteries but may not have space.

One area to splurge on if you think you will be doing much cruising or night sailing (but since you said you don't know how to sail, this is a few years off so I would not worry about it now) is LED navigation lighting.

You will need to focus first on two things, making the boat safe and make it livable. To be safe you should have your standing rigging looked at by a professional. If it is original then just replace it. Should not cost more than $2000 to have someone come and make new and install it. If you send it off to someplace like riggingonly.com they can make up a set for about half that, but you will have to install it yourself. Keep in mind if the mast comes down and is damaged a replacement likely will cost two or three to ten times what the boat is worth. Through hulls likely will need to be replaced with proper seacocks. Port lights and hatches will likely all have to be resealed, if not replaced. There are lots of how to threads on how to do it. Just don't use 3M5200 there are only a few places it is acceptable to use on a boat. Re-bed all deck hardware. After all that with any luck you will have a fairly dry boat. Then you can look into replacement running rigging. Cajun Ropes have nice kits for fairly good prices, here is a complete kit for about $455. http://www.cajunrope.com/uploads/4/1/5/1/41516453/ranger_23.pdf While you are doing all this send the sails off to someplace like saircare to have the sails cleaned, repaired and treated with resins that will give your sails a bit of shape again if they can be saved. They charge by the square foot plus repairs.

Then you can replace bulkheads and paint inside and out. Galley should be limited to a two burner non pressure stove with a few pans, just make sure one is a pressure cooker. You won't really have room for an electronic air fryer. Then you are ready for sailing lessons.

Have fun, and go out sailing. It is a great lifestyle, but you have chosen the hard way with such a small boat. But if you don't go out sailing you are likely better off getting a camper and living in that.
 

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Hey , I forgot to tell you about SNs' own Allen, AKA The Bare Foot Navigator . You can read about his zany antics here, s/v Sookie | Art Of Hookie . He lives on a 22' boat !
Yes, but a 22 foot boat with a bow sprit and boomkin so it is big for a 22 footer, I think he has some standing headroom, and storage galore! He likely has more storage than most 35 foot production boats.
 

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The OP is a recent liveaboard, but puts a projector, food sealer and air fryer on the draft electronics list of a 23ft boat, with no head. I don't think so.

I'm tempted to ask the logic of AGMs and solar panels, with all this high voltage stuff.
 

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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter #9
I wrote up a very detailed reply for all of you but due to technical errors it's now gone so you get the condensed redux.

I'll outline my current conditions so you guys can get a feel for my lifestyle since I detected some interest there. I wholeheartedly agree that 23' is tight (4' headroom) but I am young and a minimalist and when you take into consideration that when inside a home people generally sit or recline which is what I do inside the cabin and if somebody is standing in a house it's generally in transit but most things are accessible anywhere inside the cabin so the R23 is actually very comfortable. I have a yoga mat that I lay out and sleep on with a hammock in the works. There's no bed in the v berth so I store light items up there such as my clothes. Clothing I store in a vacuum sealed industrial trash bag with a breathable bag of rice to absorb moisture (a system I intend on replicating anywhere moisture is a concern). Food and utensils along with cleaning supplies and miscellaneous items are stored in cabinets, hammocks, and under the settees, heavy items are all stored below the cockpit. I havent been cooking but with my next paycheck I'm going to get a grill to mount on the cockpit railing and an insulated bag for slow cooking ( Wonderbag ). The idea is to bring a stew to the desired temperature, then transplant it to the wonderbag where it'll retain that temperature and cook until done. I've seen people have issues keeping food on burners so I think this will be a nice solution for me, no fuel or flame for the majority of cooking time. I'd also like to try making fish jerky which an old salt of mine used to prepare underway in the Mediterranean, I'll let you know how it works out. I have solar powered lights for inside the cabin. I made a composting head for $35 out of a bucket, trash bag, toilet seat, and coir for composting. It's portable so I take it camping and there's absolutely no smell, I'm extremely happy with it. I don't have money to drop on a Nature's Head composting toilet so I built my own. I didn't pay a dude. And I liked it. I agree with you all that when equipping the boat I should fit to refit. I have a R29 lined up (6' headroom) that's very comfortable so I'll most likely make her my main residence simply because the extra space is nice for guests. I have storage on land so there's no useless clutter aboard. I have a slip and mooring on opposite sides of the bay but I'm mainly at the slip. I have a 4hp Tohatsu for mobility while the mast is unstepped (I do know how to sail BTW). I'm pleased to see many of your suggestions compliment my lifestyle, definitely getting a portable depth sounder and vhf because I can use them both on the kayak and Calypso.
I don't intend on selling my R23 but if I ever did part with her, it wouldn't be for profit. The way I see it, the real profit is in the money I save on housing expenses; that and knowledge. Because she was neglected for so long, the skills I'm learning through diy projects and the SailNet community is, in the full sense of the word, INVALUABLE. Thank you all so much.

Not to what you've all been scratching your heads about!

Projector: it's nice to watch videos on a large screen but storage space is key. I can black out the cabin and project Boatworks Today on a 60" screen while reclining on the settees, I've also heard of people projecting films onto their sails while underway at night. Power draw is minimal, size is minimal, options abound only limited by creativity. I don't see myself using it constantly and in the end it's a luxury item that will be one of the last things I equip my vessel with.

Underwater speakers: Sound transmits through water in more clarity than air. I first got this idea after hearing about the underwater music festival Key West has every July. One of the local radio stations brings out large speakers and plays music off the reefs where they have art exhibits underwater and people come out to dive and socialize. For me it's all about entertaining guests. Friends and family want to go to the beach on the boat, it'd be fun to play music sometimes when swimming but they're also portable so I can even just bring them to the pool. On a practical note, with a microphone somebody on deck can speak clearly through the water where any divers will hear in perfect clarity. It's a useful tool, but once again it'll be one of the last things to be installed. I will also be using it responsibly, I am consciousness of the ecosystem I share with my aquatic neighbors, I believe in fostering a healthy habitat. I keep my noise, light, and solid waste pollution in balance with the environment.

I won't get around to installing any electronics for another few months as I invest in tools to repair Calypso and related gear. Thankfully it's Florida so all I need are my blankets to stay warm.

Thanks for the time you all have put into your responses, I'm proud to be a part if this community. What is "feeding the troll"? Haha

Keep the advice rolling in!
 

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For what it's worth, when I first moved aboard a TV was on my 'list'. After a couple of months I realised I didn't need or want it.

Don't be too set on that list, after a couple months you'll probably have a completely different one!
 

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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ya I really don't need much. I do most things from my phone or library computer. I don't plan on having many electronics for most of the year but I would like to build the infrastructure in a few months.

Alctel, after your experiences what have you found to be the most efficient setup to have for work and play?

How about you Capt Len? Minnewaska?
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Looks like Mr. Barefoot navigator has met his match! BB could live higher on the hog for less!

Congrads on your boat BB and welcome to sailnet. Different people can live in different circumstances and I can easily see how you could be happy with what you have. My thought process was similar, though my first boat was a 31' with standing headroom, the process was really quite the same. I looked at my apartment and realized that I am usually sitting on the same spot on the couch, or at the desk or table or in bed. Got those things on a boat? Check! I started off without running water, effective heat, 110v electricity, a decent stove, or much of anything else. I realized that I was always happier when I was in a tent than in my apartment, and while the logistics of living in a tent wouldn't have worked out, my minimally equipped boat suited my needs well. I was very happy with that setup in the beginning and as I desired more, I added it.

Now I have a boat with lots of bells and whistles and am looking forward to that too.

Cheers!

MedSailor
 

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Looks like Mr. Barefoot navigator has met his match! BB could live higher on the hog for less!

Congrads on your boat BB and welcome to sailnet. Different people can live in different circumstances and I can easily see how you could be happy with what you have. My thought process was similar, though my first boat was a 31' with standing headroom, the process was really quite the same. I looked at my apartment and realized that I am usually sitting on the same spot on the couch, or at the desk or table or in bed. Got those things on a boat? Check! I started off without running water, effective heat, 110v electricity, a decent stove, or much of anything else. I realized that I was always happier when I was in a tent than in my apartment, and while the logistics of living in a tent wouldn't have worked out, my minimally equipped boat suited my needs well. I was very happy with that setup in the beginning and as I desired more, I added it.

Now I have a boat with lots of bells and whistles and am looking forward to that too.

Cheers!

MedSailor
Yea, when reading this I was thinking how does a sauna fit into a minimalist life? ;-)
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Yea, when reading this I was thinking how does a sauna fit into a minimalist life? ;-)
Yeah, we squeezed it in there somewhere. :) Note the past tense when reminiscing about how much I enjoyed living without all those things. I still fantasize about downsizing in a massive way, but I'm really fond of my wife, and she likes the boat with more stuff on it, so more stuff it is! ;)

Medsailor
 

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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter #15
Ya I always got depressed living in an apartment upon returning home from camping. The boat is the perfect balance for me. Like you said MedSailor, add as you go. I was thinking of mounting a solar panel off the transom, batteries are going under the cockpit, wire Calypso up to handle heavy loads but only add items as needed. If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing to the best standard of performance available IMHO. I don't skimp on my boat because I want to have versatility and dependability. I've seen people outfit their vessel with a printer so they have access to custom charts when sailing, I don't know that I will do such a thing but I like seeing how people customize to suit their lifestyle. I've only done daysailing and marina living so I'm trying to get a feel for what the community has found useful. Once I work through a few drafts, I'll come to a suitable system for my vessel and install it.

In the meantime miatapaul, wanna help me convert my cockpit into a functional sauna? Haha

Keep the knowledge flowing, much appreciated
Let's see some of your innovations!
 

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Ya I really don't need much. I do most things from my phone or library computer. I don't plan on having many electronics for most of the year but I would like to build the infrastructure in a few months.

Alctel, after your experiences what have you found to be the most efficient setup to have for work and play?

How about you Capt Len? Minnewaska?
My boat has a corner mounted navigation table and swivel chair instead of a quarter birth, so I have a small laptop I use to play music, watch the odd movie and use the internet with. I do the same with my work laptop if I work from home.

The problem I'd have putting in a TV would be the wall space I think - I do a lot of photography so trying to figure out where to put my 24" monitor and I can't see anywhere where it would go without being in the way.

As it turns out, if I have any free time I am either sat outside watching whats going on at the marina, sailing/fishing, hanging out with boat neighbours or fixing stuff, so a TV really would not get much use anyway. The way I spent my free time has totally changed since I moved onto a boat - and I think that goes for most people.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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973 Posts
I'm currently rewiring my boat to separate AC from DC, which are now all on the same panel at the nav station. I got an 8 slot Blue Seas panel (egads, that was expensive). The switches are for shore power to the batteries/charger and to the GFCIs in the galley (to run my cooktop), head/V-berth, water heater, aft berth/charger station, nav station, salon (mainly for the portable heater and computer) and one more that I'm forgetting at the moment. Later on, I'll rewire the 12-volt system, which will be hooked up to a windlass, VHF, radar, autopilot, chartplotter, wind and depth gauges, inside/outside lights, AM/FM radio that can play my podcasts, fridge, propane stove, diesel heater, bilge pump and bilge alarm. Eventually, I'll install solar panels and an SSB, but I think that's about it. The computer will serve as a TV as well as the inside chart plotter. To me, this is going to be really plush. Most of my racing friends roll their eyes when they hear I have a water heater and working fridge, which drains the batteries like no one's business, but I keep saying I'm a cruiser/racer. Suggest you start with basic needs first. If you do it well from the beginning, it should not be too difficult to add systems and wiring later. I'm learning that you should think about where things should be placed to make them work well; don't necessarily just replace everything where the builder originally put stuff. For example, I moved the AC panel to the aft berth. This way, it's close to the batteries and shore-side connection, so the re-wiring won't be too bad, but it's also far away from 12-volt panel so I don't kill myself leaning on a wire one of these days while changing a fuse. I'm also moving the bilge switch to a spot under the stairs so I can see at a glance that it's always powered and ready to work, whenever it's needed. Both these things were on the nav station, which I am freeing up for the things I really want there such as the monitor (perhaps on a swivel arm) and the 12-volt panel.
 

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Sail Alaska
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As a low income bout owner I fell you . I have kids boats in front yard on tralier need love but it all mine . So it all what you put in to it good luck..
 

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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter #19
You guys are fueling good ideas to be implemented, thank you. One of the first bits of electric gear I intend on installing is a 3.5gpm pump with a 10' hose and adjustable showerhead. The idea here is to mount the hose above the sink (which is relatively center of the boat) and use the extendable showerhead to moisten my composting material, rinse the deck when needed, shower in the cockpit, and for any miscellaneous tasks. Location location location! With only 23' everything aboard needs dual, triple, even quadruple purposes.
 
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