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Big Chicken Baby
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Discussion Starter #1
The boat we are considering purchasing has an after market generator and AC system installed. The problem is that the generator is taking up a huge amount of space in the engine room making access for maintenance difficult at best.

The other problem is the duct work, which has been routed through the engine room ( the previous surveyor receommended moving it, don't know what ours will say) and through out all of the storage lockers through out the boat.

Since we are planning on doing a lot of long term cruising, losing precious storage space is really an issue. We are considering removing the ac and generator and simplifying the system. We are planning on sailing the Carribean and I remember how miserably hot it was in the Yucatan in September.

I'd like your opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of going without air conditioning. Your thoughts and experiences are very much appreciated. I should note that we live in Texas so are a bit used to heat and humidity but man- the Yucatan was HOT.

Thanks.
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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If you are planning on long term cruising, ditch the Air Conditioner, keep the generator to recharge the batteries and use AC power when you need it. If the generator is taking up way to much space like you said, you might want to consider carry a Honda E2000 or Honda E3500 generator in its place.
Get a wind sock for the V-berth hatch to help funnel in the breeze at anchor. I would get a few fans for the interior to move air around like a Hella Bora 12V fan. Placing a canopy tent over the cabin will drop the temp up to 10 degrees. What you didn't mention is what boat you are planning on cruising with.
 

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I didn’t have AC but I did have an gen...I took it out..

One diesel engine on my sail boat is enough.

I'm putting in 900amhr of batteries and a big alt.

I’ll only be coastal cruising an couple weeks at a time a couple or three times a year.

I did however leave a place for one if I change my mind.
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Discussion Starter #4
I left the boat specs off purposefully, survey is tomorrow and I am superstitious and don't want to jinx anything. ;)

My inclination is to ditch the generator and ac units. The generator is in great shape so we should be able to sell it no problem. That would buy a lot of fans and screens, generators are on the spendy side even used.

I am of the opinion that simple is the way to go when equipping luxury items but I don't want to be down in the Bahamas desperately searching for a yard to purchase install the system we just took out. I suppose it makes sense to do a couple of three-four night trips in the next couple of months and see how we do without it.
 

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This is probably a stupid question, but why would you need a generator when the boat's engine can charge the batteries?
 

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The only time we use A/C is at the dock and there you don't need a generator. When at anchor there is enough breeze most of the time and fans when there isn't.
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Discussion Starter #7
This is probably a stupid question, but why would you need a generator when the boat's engine can charge the batteries?
The generators sole purpose on the boat is to run the AC units, which is why we are thinking of ditching the whole system. It takes up way too much space and was not installed in the most thought out manner.
 

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SHADE, SHADE, SHADE...it's almost impossible to get enough, but what ever you have will help immensly. We have no a/c installed unit, and in 4 years have only suffered a couple of nights wishing for it.

We do use a/c at the dock, but have those cheap window units, and foam board boxes to direct the cool air.

I used one of those wind chutes over the v-berth while in Mexico. The boar was always cool unless there was no breeze. Then the deck would boil, because we had no shade, shade, shade, shade...

We also have no generator installed, but use the Honda 2k with great success. It is rarely needed, but great to have when needed.

Storage is usually an issue for most, so if you are going to long term cruise, and even if it is seasonal. I would go with the Honda, and window a/c. The window a/c cost about $150 installed with the foam board, and tape.

I have actually sat through 90 mph winds at the dock with this unit still sitting on top of the boat during hurricanes Jean & Francis......i2f
 

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I guess I will be the sole dissenting opinion. If you got it, keep it. I can see making the case to not pay to put it in. But the issue for us wasn't always the heat. It was a breezeless day and the noseeums LOVE breezeless days. It was also the rain. WHen it rains (in s fl, for example is every day in the summer about 2:00), that boat turns into a sauna. We also ran our ac when mom and dad came to visit (because they were not used to the heat) and when we had big get togethers of other cruisers because putting that many people down below got hot on our boat.

Cruise for a while with it and if you hate it, then pull it out. I would not put a diesel gen at the top of my list of things to purchase, but if it had it, I would certainly take it. It is a cheap way to charge your batts and run power tools, hair dryers, replinish while running a water maker, coffee maker, etc. All of those items take large loads. The coffee maker, hair dryer, and power tools require a very large inverter or 110 to run. You cannot run any of them off of a "handheld" inverter. We installed, for example, a 2,000 watt inverter just for them.

Keep it - especially the ac. Because when you do go into the marina, there is little breeze, and you will be smoking hot. Of course, this goes back to what level of comfort you want (or want the option of) while cruising. And also worth mentioning, if it is not well known, using your main engine to charge your batteries is very hard on the engine, uses much more diesel than it should, and to be effective, must be properly set up with a high output alternator with MS charger. Much better to run a genset which uses much less fuel and you can propoerly load the engine (like with running your air conditioning!!).

- CD

PS I am from Texas too, but LA'd in S Fl. The humidity level between the two is night and day. That makes a big difference on how hot it feels. I am a bit surprised about FunSailtheKeys response as most of the people I know down there were very much of my opinion. Of course, he has probably been down there long enough to really become accustomed to the temps.
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the opinion CruisingDad, it is appreciated. The problem is the crap job that was done installing it and routing the duct work. It has lef tus with almost no storage room. The smaller, portable unit is appealing.

We've got a wind generator and are planning on supplementing with solar. Since my husband the ARE's specialty is subsea electrical, I am very confident that he will come up with a workable plan. I don't use a hair dryer, prefer french press and the only thing I can think of that might get regular use is the DVD player for the Cabin Girl. These are all things to take into consideration though...

A side note- I'm a native Texan but lived in Melbourne, Fla until middle school. I remember the humidity and heat and summer squalls which is why I am weighing options not just planning on ripping the system out.
Oh, and some of my happiest memeories are being with my grandparents in Texas sailing my little Sunfish with my grandfather on Lake Tyler. :)
 

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The generators sole purpose on the boat is to run the AC units, which is why we are thinking of ditching the whole system. It takes up way too much space and was not installed in the most thought out manner.

You can easily wire that into a gen/shore switch so that it can power your boat's charger too and other things. That would probably even be less expensive than paying to have a diesel genset pulled out!!! Instead you should be asking yourself how you are going to charge your batts? Do you have a large solar array and/or wind gen? Even then, you will have to periodically charge them.

Cam said that he ran about 150-160 ah/day (please review the Philosophies of Cruising thread in Boat Buying Forum). Ours was more like 160-180ah/day, but we have/had kids so it is like powering for 4 versus two. Regardless, as a LA, unless you can read by candlight and have no accessories (like radar, cp, radio, etc), you are going to go through a bunch of ah.

Most boats with 2-4d's have approximately 400ah (on the high side) total ah. You should NEVER go below 50% charge or you will seriously deteriorate the lifespan of your batts. That means that you have at or about 200 ah/day which mean that you will be recharging your batts almost every day!!!!

You can increase this time by increasing batteries or adding other means of charging. However, if you don't think you like the size of your gen and ac, try throwing a couple more 4-d's in there! And you will, even with 4-4d's, spread your recharge out by a max day-day and a half.

These are the realities of cruising as we experienced them. We eleceted, this time, to put on a large solar array to help offset the AH loss. We are almost completely off the grid. We did this because last time, as you can see, we were running our genset all the time and got tired of the smell of it. But better that than the main! And FYI, I also dropped some serious coin into a new Mastervolt Diesel Generator (and a/c). So, I am not telling you to do something I have not already done.

I also ama aware that I2F is a cruiser and take his advice well (even though he does not have a real boat - one of those quasi multi-hullers... hehe). Also, Funsailthekeys is knowledgeable so I would respect his opinion too. I am simply giving you our experience, which apparently is slightly different from theirs. Again, in full disclosure, I had/have kids. Not sure I would have done it much different even if I did not though. My wife would not have.

Brian
 

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Thanks for the opinion CruisingDad, it is appreciated. The problem is the crap job that was done installing it and routing the duct work. It has lef tus with almost no storage room. The smaller, portable unit is appealing.

We've got a wind generator and are planning on supplementing with solar. Since my husband the ARE's specialty is subsea electrical, I am very confident that he will come up with a workable plan. I don't use a hair dryer, prefer french press and the only thing I can think of that might get regular use is the DVD player for the Cabin Girl. These are all things to take into consideration though...

A side note- I'm a native Texan but lived in Melbourne, Fla until middle school. I remember the humidity and heat and summer squalls which is why I am weighing options not just planning on ripping the system out.
Oh, and some of my happiest memeories are being with my grandparents in Texas sailing my little Sunfish with my grandfather on Lake Tyler. :)

Just saw this reply. I am close to Tyler Texas right now. I drive every weekend to Lake Texoma. Not sure where you are located. I would be happy to meet you at our boat if you want to see what me and the fam have done. It is located where they build Valiant Yachts on Lake Texoma.

Regarding your husband, he is more than welcome to reach out to me to discuss the systems that we have found that worked for us (and what did not). Keeping your batts above 50% is the perpetual problem with cruisers. Of course, if I could get the kids to remember to turn off the lights... but that is another story!!!!

Brian
 

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Telstar 28
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Of course, he also looks like Skylab. :)
 
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