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Livaboard conclusions
Conclusions and questions of potential livaboard
Monday,26 November, 2012
9:11 pm
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Near High Wycombe, Bucks.
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Thanks Paul for getting my posting sorted out, so here I am

 

I’m a newbie potential livaboard and below are some of the conclusions I have come to from reading the posts on the forum and the rest of the website articles.

 

1. Length 60′ maximum (will be accommodated in 57′ locks if they are double width locks)

2. Adequate storage

3. Heating: Solid fuel + gas/diesel

4. Hot water: gas/diesel + calorifier linked to engine cooling system

5. Toilet: cassette with spare cassette

6. Stern Trad., Semi Trad., Cruiser ?  Possible a Semi Trad with fore deck for sitting out and maybe a cratch.

7. Stainless steel water and fuel tanks

8. Large windows in addition to porthole type

9. Washing machine

10. Refrigerator: gas/12v

11. Microwave

12. Inverter (capacity)

13. Generator

14. Bow thruster

15. A Full pre purchase survey is essential

16. Make sure it is the vendors right to sell and no outstanding finance  agreement

 

Marina berth: check for hidden costs, electricity, wi-fi, pump out, high usage mooring charges, gas, coal, water, etc.

Will the mooring be accessible or would other boats have to move so you can manoeuvre 

 

I wish to run a washing machine, dishwasher and microwave (not all at the same time of course) when away from electric hook up. What size batteries (amp/hrs) and how many (possibly 5 ?) and what size inverter would I need. Pure sine wave inverters as opposed to modified sine wave inverters for delicate equipment such as laptops, although laptop adapters for the 12v supply are available (Maplins).

 

Heating, solid fuel: Morso Squirrel, Villager Puffin Fuel: Pureflo and  Excell briquettes and should a back boiler be used

 

Heating, diesel: Used as backup, secondary system, Hurricane pre 2010 model or one with new redesigned compressor. Mikuni seems the best, most reliable (blown air/water heater)

How useful do members think a bowthruster is ?

 

Post: http://www.boatmail.co.uk, £150 first year, £125 subsequent years.

 

I would appreciate comments and advice on all or any of the above.

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
8:00 am
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Hi Mel,

Welcome to the forum, eventually. These things are sent to try us. I’m pleased that we sorted it out eventually.

You’ve certainly put together a comprehensive list. I’m off to work shortly so I’ll comment on what I can before I go then come back to the post later in the day.

1. Length: Yes the maximum is correct, but have you decided that you are going to cruise all of the system? Many liveaboard don’t do nearly as much cruising as they would like to (myself included at the moment) so, for them, a little extra length and a little extra space is more important than having a go anywhere boat.

2. Storage is very important to me. I have plenty, but remember that the more storage space you have in your boat, the less room you will have to swing your cat around!

3. Be mindful of the fact that gas heating is very expensive to run.

5. Cassette toilets are cheaper to run and handy to have if the boat gets iced in. They don’t usually have a very good flush though so aren’t for the faint hearted when used for solid waste.

10. Go for a 12v fridge

12. Inverter: The size you go for will depend on what mains appliances you want to run. Don’t forget that the bigger inverter you have, the bigger battery bank you need and the more substantial your alternator.

14. A bow thruster is very handy for trying to get into tight spaces on a windy day (e.g. reversing into a marina mooring) however, the more technical your boat is, the more there is to maintain. In a bow thruster’s case, you will need another couple of batteries.

Time’s up! I’m off to work now. I’ll come back to this later.

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Tuesday,27 November, 2012
1:29 pm
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Near High Wycombe, Bucks.
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Thanks for the reply Paul – sorry you have to go to work. It’s not very nice working outside today (bucketing down here)

 

With regard to length, I just wanted the option to be able to “go anywhere”, together with the fact that a 70 footer would cost more.

 

So you advise a system whereby gas heating/water heating can be used as a backup and not as the primary source. Does this mean you need the engine running in order to have heating and hot water when not using gas, electric or back boiler.

 

I favour a cassette toilet as I use that system in my motor home (Pilote Reference G680). This is the method for all caravans and motor homes in this country, although we had a 5th Wheeler for 5 years in Australia where we had a drain down system for both black and grey water and it was more difficult to find facilities to empty the black water tank than facilities for the Thetford cassette. The only proviso is I would have a spare cassette and storage space for same.

 

With regard to accommodation we travelled Australia for 3 months at a time over a period of 5 years in our 5th. Wheeler. It measured 8ft. wide (14″ wider than a narrow boat) and 25ft. long and I could have lived in it full time, so with more than twice the accommodation length of a 60′ narrow boat I think I would be OK.

 

In the motor home the fridge is a Dometic with separate freezer compartment and runs off gas, 240v and 12v with manual operation, whereas the 5th. Wheeler was auto switching, although was gas and 240v only and was a full size fridge and large freezer. The only drawback was you needed the gas on whilst travelling – not a good idea in a motor home, 5th. Wheeler or caravan.

 

I’ve not seen any narrow boats  with more than 5 batteries, although I suppose you could run more than 5 in parallel providing you have the storage space. It would be interesting to know how you calculate alternator and inverter size, together with number of batteries required where you would be using microwave, washing machine/dryer and fridge/freezer Obviously the fridge freezer would be on together with either the washing machine or microwave. We have this problem already with the motor home if we run the microwave and electric kettle when on a hookup with low amps.

 

Obviously narrow boats equipped with a bow thruster are few and would cut down other considerations if this was a priority. I suppose if the other major users of power were being operated at the same time, then the size of alternator and inverter would be a consideration. 

 

Mel    

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
2:17 pm
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Scarborough
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Hi Mel and Paul

 

After reading this thread, an idea for a very useful add-on to this wonderful site has occured to me.

There are many posts in many different threads on this site asking questions, (many of which are in depth and way over my head) about boat electrics, batteries, inverters and solar panels.

It seems to me that many people, and I most definitely include myself in this,  are confused as to which of the above items and what capacity and how many of each they need for their individual circumstances.

Perhaps, Paul, you may have access to an electrical expert at your boatyard and could organise a simplified laymans guide to boat electrics, maybe with a similar spreadsheet design to your expenses idea. Perhaps where people could input their on-board appliances, their power usage and times of use and then get a recommendation of the number of leisure batteries needed, inverter size and alternator capacity required.

This would be of particular use to me as I’m considering the sailaway option now and would need these figures in order to be able to tell the boat builder what to put where.

John

Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
2:51 pm
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Continuous Cruiser
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MelDavies said
 

I favour a cassette toilet as I use that system in my motor home (Pilote Reference G680). This is the method for all caravans and motor homes in this country, although we had a 5th Wheeler for 5 years in Australia where we had a drain down system for both black and grey water and it was more difficult to find facilities to empty the black water tank than facilities for the Thetford cassette. The only proviso is I would have a spare cassette and storage space for same.

We use a Dometic vacuum cassette system so the solids are macerated before entering the cassette so have no problems with flush that Paul mentions. 

In the motor home the fridge is a Dometic with separate freezer compartment and runs off gas, 240v and 12v with manual operation, whereas the 5th. Wheeler was auto switching, although was gas and 240v only and was a full size fridge and large freezer. The only drawback was you needed the gas on whilst travelling – not a good idea in a motor home, 5th. Wheeler or caravan.

Plenty of boaters do use gas only fridges and for some CCers, the only power they use is lighting. I don’t know however if you can get a gas freezer though so 12 volt it will be. Don’t be tempted to go for 240 volt fridge/freezer via an inverter. It will hammer your batteries.

I’ve not seen any narrow boats  with more than 5 batteries, although I suppose you could run more than 5 in parallel providing you have the storage space. It would be interesting to know how you calculate alternator and inverter size, together with number of batteries required where you would be using microwave, washing machine/dryer and fridge/freezer Obviously the fridge freezer would be on together with either the washing machine or microwave. We have this problem already with the motor home if we run the microwave and electric kettle when on a hookup with low amps.

You can get get more battery storage by having batteries with bigger capacity rather than having more batteries. We have 4 off 135 AHr batteries which is equivalent to 5 off 110AHr. They take up the same floor space but are a bit taller. They may also last longer as they are not made down to a price.

Obviously narrow boats equipped with a bow thruster are few and would cut down other considerations if this was a priority. I suppose if the other major users of power were being operated at the same time, then the size of alternator and inverter would be a consideration. 

I’m glad we have one. It don’t half make reversing easy!

 

Regards

Pete 

 

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
3:41 pm
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Southam, Warwickshire
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cheeseybits said
Hi Mel and Paul

 

After reading this thread, an idea for a very useful add-on to this wonderful site has occured to me.

There are many posts in many different threads on this site asking questions, (many of which are in depth and way over my head) about boat electrics, batteries, inverters and solar panels.

It seems to me that many people, and I most definitely include myself in this,  are confused as to which of the above items and what capacity and how many of each they need for their individual circumstances.

Perhaps, Paul, you may have access to an electrical expert at your boatyard and could organise a simplified laymans guide to boat electrics, maybe with a similar spreadsheet design to your expenses idea. Perhaps where people could input their on-board appliances, their power usage and times of use and then get a recommendation of the number of leisure batteries needed, inverter size and alternator capacity required.

This would be of particular use to me as I’m considering the sailaway option now and would need these figures in order to be able to tell the boat builder what to put where.

John

Just so happens that I do know an electrical expert. I’ve emailed him to ask if your idea would work. Watch this space!

Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
4:19 pm
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Near High Wycombe, Bucks.
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Monday,26 November, 2012
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Thanks John that’s just what’s needed as you say quite a complcated subject with many variables.

 

A lot of useful info Pete in your reply. Gas does work the freezer in the motor home, although it is only about a foot high – a small freezer.

 

So looks like ideally it’s just microwave and washing machine off an inverter, with bow thruster off the batteries.

 

Incidentally what power does a bow thruster consume ?

 

Off subject: How do you get the forum to notify you by Email if there has been a reply ?

Tuesday,27 November, 2012
5:17 pm
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Southam, Warwickshire
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MelDavies said
 
Off subject: How do you get the forum to notify you by Email if there has been a reply ?

There’s a Subscribe button at the bottom of the page.

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