• December 23, 2019 at 5:06 pm#43285
    Abs & Anj

    What’s your thoughts on air conditioning on the boat, do you have it?

    How much of a resource hog would it be on espa as obviously they use a fair bit of power. Following on from the laundry topic air con by default is a dehumidifier so should help with the everything feeling damp.

    Also the big one price and unit size, does anyone know the difference between marine spec Vs domestic?

    December 24, 2019 at 10:09 am#43326

    A/C units can, as you have identified, be a big draw on your battery bank. There are developments in this area, i.e. super-conductors that can manage the big start-up pull and maintain the running of the unit for a few hours, but you’ll easily drain your batteries were you to leave the unit on all night.

    We have found that whilst at anchor an a/c unit is unnecessary. The boat always points into wind so providing it isn’t raining, leave the hatches open and the breeze you get through the boat is enough to cool you down. A few strategically-placed fans help pull in the cooler air from outside too. We have an articulating mains-powered, slow-revolving fan that we clip onto the hatch arm so that it is pointing directly down onto the bed in the cabin. At 50cm the soft-plastic blades keep a good circulation of cool air and it doesn’t use much more power than a 12v fan.

    The problems start when you are in a marina. Since they’re generally built for protection you’ll find little wind coming through or, if there is wind, it’s coming from the wrong direction. Put the boat up on the hard in the tropics and suddenly your fridge is working over-time and the hull is not being cooled by the water. In a slip or on the hard the heat can be insufferable.

    When in these situations you have access to shore power and we have purchased a number of domestic units in the past. In India we went for a proper wall-mounted job with pipes running to the compressor unit that sat on deck. This was the best solution for keeping us cool but not ideal for sailing, is problematic to stow when not being used, has to be decommissioned every time you do so, and you end up with bolt holes on your bulk-head.

    The most popular solution are window a/c units. These are all-in-one and only require a hatch for the cool air to point into the boat, a waterproof hood to keep the cool air in and protect from rain, and a hose to drain the unit off the side of the boat.

    (Image from Cruisers Forum, not our own)

    We picked up the smallest unit we could find whilst in India shortly before we left and were able to stow it in a deck locker. You’ll see window a/c units all over the marinas in the tropics and can often pick them up second-hand from other cruisers.

    Marine a/c units are expensive but if you have a generator then power will not be an issue. You’ll just have to put up with the generator running every time you want to run the unit. Not a problem if you run it during the day to keep the boat cool, but be warned: once you get used to having a/c, with the boat locked up to keep the cool air in no one will ever see you again! Stepping outside and adjusting to the  ambient temperature becomes a lot more difficult. There’s a lot to be said for acclimatising to the heat, like the locals do.

    Peace and fair winds!

    December 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm#43375
    Abs & Anj

    Hi Jamie,

    All fair comments, yeah get the idea about the power draw being an issue, I think the hatch option is a good option then again it’s just something else to go wrong, so that is a conversation we can decide on nearer the time but very useful information thankyou,


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