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Old 09-22-2006, 04:51 PM   #1
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Default air conditioning

Does anyone have first hand experience of whether air-cooled or water-cooled a/c is best for the tropics? Also good makes? Speccing out a boat in Europe and there seems to be a diversity of opinion. Thanks for any advice
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Old 09-23-2006, 01:05 AM   #2
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Water cooled is best out here. Bear in mind that in these ambient temps refrig and acus have to work jolly hard. Me, I just prefer the good Lord's fresh air and not having another system on the boat to worry about or maintain. Tony
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:13 AM   #3
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I'm certainly no expert, but...

For a below deck, built in, central air conditioning system one would have to remove the heat with a water cooled condenser... otherwise you'd just be returning the heat into a space you're trying to cool.

An air cooled a/c unit is the sort you can carry onto the boat and install in a hatch and the heat is transfered to the outside air.

Water cooled, perminately installed systems are certainly more expensive and require effort to install... but the benefits can be the difference between snuggling under a quilt with your lover or laying awake sweating onto a damp pillow.

I started with two carry-on hatch mounted units which seemed to help cut the edge off the heat in our boat before I installed a Cruise Air 16,000 BTU reverse cycling unit, which did the trick. I and have no regrets. We liveaboard in the tropics and it runs 24 / 7 while in the marina. Whenever we go out of the lagoon we live comfortably with the hatches open and fans running.

Another affordable option one could consider while marina bound is to rig a powerful home style window airconditioner on your dock and pipe the cold air into the boat with flexible insulated ducts. It looks kinda weird but it works remarkably well at a fraction of the cost of either styles mentioned above.

Stay Cool,

Kirk
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice, guys. From this and other areas I'm getting the picture that water cooled is best. I think Cruise Air is called Marine Air outside the USA, and I've been told that it's the one to go for, is that right, Kirk?

Tony, I take your point about good fresh air. I am having a 50ft sailing cat built and taking it from France to Thailand, where it is often 90+ for days and nights on end. I usually like to sleep out on the trampolines, but last time the heavens opened big time with no warning.....
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Old 09-23-2006, 08:27 AM   #5
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Building a catamaran?

I'm certainly no expert, but...

You may be opening a very heavy can of worms, Barry.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe you're gonna find it difficult to find end-berths available for your catamaran in many of the world's marinas and most owners resign themselves to living out at anchor.

Bearing this in mind... if you intend to run a power-hungry A/C unit(units?) with an onboard diesel generator - you will need to let the designer / builder know right away because they'll need to compensate for the hundreds of pounds of additional machinery.

Talk it over with your yacht designer now and maybe they can work the weights and balances to keep your dream boat on the fast track.

Better to add factory air now... than later. I've seen too many fast cats turn into slugs by adding too much weight after the launch.

See you in Phuket!

Kirk
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:28 AM   #6
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A 50 ft cat eh? Good on yer!! I've been doing a lot of large cat transatlantic deliveries lately.......

I hope I didnt sound too reactionary with my, maybe rather flip, comment about fresh air, and I lived in the Far East many moons ago so I do remember hot, sticky airless nights with sudden downpours!

Gallivanters has a good point about retro-fit and weight - best to get it sorted sooner rather than later: extra weight is death to catamarans!!

Who is doing your design work? I'd be interested to know.

Best of luck with the project - and eventually the journey!! Tony
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
I think Cruise Air is called Marine Air outside the USA
Maybe....but there was also a company in the US called Marine Air and they went belly up. It was started by two ex-employees of the Ocean Breeze brand. OB will supply parts and also sells remanufactured MA units.....'bout half price.

Popular brands this side are Mermaid and Dometic

http://www.mmair.com

http://www.marineair.com/contained/body.html

As you can see keeping track of who's who is a challenge in this business.

One thing to consider if you're world traveling is voltage......All manufacturers make 110 and 220 units.....where do you sail? What's the ruling voltage? Don't forget the 50/60 Hz issue.......
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:05 AM   #8
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Speaking purely from the point of view of low-tech add-ons, I run a $250 domestic unit through a hatch, powered by a Honda EU20i generator. This works well on a large volume 55' monohull in highly tropical Darwin. I lost interest in a custom retro fit when the engineer started talking a figure which related closely to a cruising budget for about 9 months...and this was before we started to consider the cost of installing a diesel generator.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:49 AM   #9
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Hi Guys, and thanks for the advice.

Kirk, point taken re the space in marinas, and no way would I try to have one of these in the Med. It'll be bad enough delivering it that way, and trying to park up in those tiny Greek harbours, which I had to do with a Lagoon 440 this June...... However, I do see a whole heap of big cats in Phuket, have got to know quite a few owners, have a slot in mind, and while they still have the space out there, it's worth a shot. Oh, and Memsahib doesn't do tilt at all well, so multihull it has to be!

Tony, I'm getting an Alliura Privilege 495, built in Les Sables D'Olonne. From a year or so's research, and couple of factory visits, these seem like the sort of guys who think of most things (used to be Jeanteau)and equipment well specced out. Bit of a winnebago with sails, admittedly..........

But I AM a novice sailor, the kind of person that you experienced guys dread sharing the oceans with. Well, we all have to start somewhere, and one thing I have learnt to do well - listen! And 'RTFM'-it. Keep the advice coming. Thanks again.

Barry
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:43 PM   #10
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OK, Barry, these are very straight people to deal with in my experience. I know the Privileges pretty well, having had 2 in a charter fleet I used to run and after long deliveries on two of the 435s.

Very strong, yes, a bit on the heavy side - get the add on sprit and a screacher/gennaker and you'll be OK in lighter winds.

Tony
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:55 PM   #11
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Yep, Tony, going for the genny and bowsprit, not sure yet about a spinny, may retrofit blocks for this later. It's a big bus, to be sure, but with my limited experience probably has more chance of getting there safely, if not that quickly!

Barry
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