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Liveaboard for about 6 months; major changes to come.

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    Liveaboard for about 6 months; major changes to come.

    So I've lived aboard in New England for about 6 months on my late-80s 3888. I love the layout, and I'm perpetually amazed at how much living I can do in such a small space. I'm single, but I wanted to get something with two staterooms for when guests are over. I actually live in the smaller of the two staterooms, and there's still enough space in my room for an exercise bike! The mild winter has been helpful; it makes my first year living aboard much easier. I carry all the water I use (except for the dockside showers), and that makes it easy to be frugal with water. But I know that future winters will be harsher, and I want to make living aboard as enjoyable as possible. So what's coming up?

    I've installed a 3-housing filter system under the galley deck. With the appropriate cartridges, I'll feel comfortable plumbing that to a second faucet for drinking water. I'm still leery about just staying hooked up to city water all the time; sounds like a great way to sink my home.

    I'm looking at a recirculating shower system; it takes water from the drain, then filters it and sends it back to the shower head. Take a shower as long as you like with 3 gallons-ish of water, and reuse a lot of the heat to boot! With the right filters, it can actually be cleaner than city water.

    INSULATION. Not all winters will be mild. Diesel heaters are a common recommendation, but my boat uses gasoline, and I don't fancy installing another fuel tank (or, worse, swapping out both engines and the generator). Reverse cycle? No, the water here gets a fair bit colder than 40. I think the electric heaters can keep up just fine if I do a good job insulating. That probably means ripping up the decks and even removing a few tanks, maybe using two-part foam or reflectix. It means being very careful about not trapping moisture. But it should mean less condensation and better thermal performance in winter. It should also mean that I can keep using the potable system in winter.

    AC! With all that insulation, and reasonable expectations, AC should make summer much nicer. I'd like a central unit rather than hatch-mounted, but I'm not sure if there's a good place besides the engine room, and the engine room may not have a good path for ducts to anywhere by the main saloon.

    Wiring. While I'm ripping everything apart, I might as well replace all the 30-year-plus old wiring.

    Fiberglass. There are a series of small cracks and flaws here and there, which I'll probably hire a pro to fix (not the only time I'll be hiring help).

    While I've got the fiberglass guy, I'll have him remove the pedestal in the larger of the two bathrooms that the head sits on. If it's lowered to the same height as the deck, I can put in a composting toilet (I own a nature's head). The black water tank will be retained for the master head and use A. when the composting toilet is unavailable for any reason or B. someone isn't comfortable with it.

    Propane. I cook a fair bit, and the electric range only lets you use the oven OR the stove. Which is fine for casual users and weekends, but I LIVE here. I bought a propane range off craigslist (the seller had ripped it out of another 3888), and I'm going to get a pro to help me install it. I figure there's room for a two-tank locker in the aft port corner of the deck outside, and that allows for a good vent line overboard. Two fiberglass tanks will let me use one at a time and fill the other when it's empty. Two or three bilge sniffers, an automatic shutoff, and a convenient electric shutoff in the galley will make me feel quite safe enough. And this will free up a high-amp circuit, which will probably go to the AC.

    While the galley is being worked (the range, maybe ripping out the cabinets for insulation, etc.), I'd like to get a single basin sink. Honestly, who likes two basin sinks? If you have a two-basin, you're stuck. With one, you have way more room to work, and if you NEED a second basin...use a dishpan.

    That's about it. It's a lot, and its ambitious, and I might not get it all done the first year (or ever). But every change should make things better. Ideas? Thoughts? Criticisms?

    #2
    I’ve done a fair bit to our 1988 3818 that may be of use to you. I replaced the original Cadet electric heaters with King Pik-a-Watt. They fit, with only a bit of modification, in the Cadet can and are quieter and more efficient. I modified the end cabinet between the stove and passageway to a pantry and converted the locker under the stove to a drawer.
    I’m concerned about where you are planning to put your propane locker. I also am planning on ditching the electric stove, but I’m going to put the tank locker on the command bridge or on the swim step. Probably the latter. Your installation guy will probably tell you the same thing.
    I modifed the ladder to the bridge by essentially moving the bottom out, raising the step assembly up 11”, then added a removable step at the bottom. I then replaced the treads with 8” (7 1/2” net) ironwood. This made the ladder more like a step ladder.
    I believe the reverse cycle units also have supplemental heaters in them. I don’t know if they use electric heaters within the unit, but I believe that’s the case. They also make gasoline versions of the espar type hot air heaters. Google “bus heater” and you should come up with a bunch of viable options.
    Feel free to pm me and I’ll be happy to share what I did and how.
    P/C Pete
    Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
    1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
    Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
    1980 Encounter Sunbridge "Misty Blue" (Sold)
    MMSI 367770440
    1972 Chevrolet Nova Frame off Resto-mod in the garage
    Boating on the Salish Sea since 1948

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      #3
      Please take a moment to visit out Liveaboard site at www.liveaboard-boats.com

      KEVIN SANDERS
      4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA

      Comment


        #4
        Check out Planar heater do not get the china one.

        Comment


          #5
          Why the planar? Why not the made in China? They are the same basic design, and, going back a bit, there were threads that dis’d the planar.
          I just finished installing a Chinese version and am in the process of balancing the hot air. Admittedly, I don’t have any longevity experience yet, but I’ve been running it pretty hard while I’ve been aboard several days over the last week doing all day projects.
          P/C Pete
          Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
          1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
          Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
          1980 Encounter Sunbridge "Misty Blue" (Sold)
          MMSI 367770440
          1972 Chevrolet Nova Frame off Resto-mod in the garage
          Boating on the Salish Sea since 1948

          Comment


            #6
            Incruente,

            Welcome to the BOC! Glad you’re enjoying your 38!

            Ive done a LOT of work to my boat. Regarding insulation, I wouldn’t waste my time, energy or resources. There’s no place to hide it in the living spaces and much of the below waterline space is inaccessible. Spend your money on a good gasoline heater like the Webasto 2000 STC. https://www.webasto-comfort.com/file...tasheet_EN.pdf

            These fuel heaters will keep you warm and toasty. I have a diesel heater with vents plumbed to the Solon, mid berth, mid berth head and forward berth. If you want, that thing will cook you out of your 38 in about 15 minutes.

            Regarding A/C, I’ve seen 38’s with two units, one mounted under the down helm adjacent to the refer, the other unit under the forward cabin bed.

            I installed a large, single basin sink and enjoy it far more than the original deep, double bay sink. Another mod I believe you’ll really appreciate as a live aboard is a larger refer. I have some pics I’ll post if I can fine them.

            Lastly, are you sure you don’t want a bigger boat? I stayed on my 38 for a month once and it got pretty small.
            Jim Gandee
            1989 3888
            Hino 175's
            Fire Escape
            Fyrflyer@ca.rr.com

            Comment


              #7
              Jim Gandee
              1989 3888
              Hino 175's
              Fire Escape
              Fyrflyer@ca.rr.com

              Comment


                #8
                Jim,

                Thanks for the recommendations. I've been going through the living space systematically, trying to imagine the best kind of insulation for each spot and how to install it, and I'm beginning to think that it may be more effort than it's worth. The bilge is a bear of a problem; the lack of accessibility is about the only thing about this boat that I dislike. I've been thinking quite seriously about cutting several more access panels into the floor, particularly in the mid stateroom and the two heads. May I ask where you routed the duct for your heater?

                I've also seen a pair of smaller AC units on board other 38s. I'm looking at a decent used 16,000 BTU unit that I can get for a good price; I've been wondering about mounting it under the forward bed. I'm also wondering if I can finagle it to use the same ducts as a heater. And maybe if I run some of the heat into the bilge, I can keep using the potable water system all winter.

                I'm happy to hear the single-basin sink worked out well. Your galley looks like it's in great shape. Strange as it may sound, I've never felt cramped in the slightest; if anything, I've sometimes thought about a smaller boat. I barely use the forward stateroom; it's just for guests and a bit of extra storage, but several of the lockers are totally empty. I spent quite a few years on submarines, though, so this still feels luxurious. I even keep an exercise bike in my stateroom, strange as that may sound.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you for your service. You are not alone in your frustration with bilge access. I look at it as part of the “cost” of a fiberglass boat. With wood, steel or aluminum, access to the bilge is critical to the long term maintenance of the hull, and because of that, the bilge has to be finished and accessible. That leads to manufacturing changes like not finishing areas that are going to be closed off by interior features. It also means less access to those areas. For instance, think about the added hours to finish the bilge area under the mid stateroom, fabricate hatches then finish them. Then, since it can’t be certain that it will be dry, it can’t be “sold” as storage, in any manufacturers view, it’s best to just close it off and show off that nice flat deck.
                  In the case of my installation, the heater is located on a board about three feet aft of the engine room bulkhead hanging from a salon deck stringer. Heater on one side, raw water wash down on the other. Heater air comes in through the blower vent, through the furnace, into a wye to the salon then forward to the galley via the under deck locker. Then some fancy turns to the under sink cabinet floor, a wye for a galley vent, through the cabinet floor, forward under the floor outboard of the stringer to the front of the under galley locker, through a hole in the galley sole support stringer, a reduction wye on leg across to the mid stateroom the other going forward to the master using the same route as the black water plumbing. I plan to get some pictures later this week. No need for air conditioning in the PNW.
                  P/C Pete
                  Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
                  1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
                  Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
                  1980 Encounter Sunbridge "Misty Blue" (Sold)
                  MMSI 367770440
                  1972 Chevrolet Nova Frame off Resto-mod in the garage
                  Boating on the Salish Sea since 1948

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Incruente,

                    My diesel heater is mounted just port and above the battery box. One duct runs along the top of the engine compartment to the Solon. The other 4” duct runs forward through the midberth headboard compartment then through the midberth closet and into the head then on into the forward berth. After the 4” vent through the midberth the line pinches down to a 3” vent. Still plenty of heat.

                    As long as your boat is in the water and the hot water heater is on you shouldn’t have any worries about freezing temps.

                    Regarding hatches in the midberth floor- unless you want to look at the top of the water tank I’d stay away from that area. What will do you some good is to cut a hatch in the Solon floor directly above the storage area at the foot of the midberth bed. You’ll be able to access that roughly 3’x3’ storage area from the Solon instead of having to be a contortionist to get at whatever you have stored there. For visualization, this new hatch will be just under the down helm and about 6” aft.
                    Jim Gandee
                    1989 3888
                    Hino 175's
                    Fire Escape
                    Fyrflyer@ca.rr.com

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Here’s a few shots:
                      Jim Gandee
                      1989 3888
                      Hino 175's
                      Fire Escape
                      Fyrflyer@ca.rr.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        While I am still waiting to be a liveaboard the admiral and I have been going over a few things. I have recently been looking at the chilled water A/c systems for boats, having installed a few ducted units the lure of chilled water is very appealing to me, for one I'm a bit familiar as I maintain AA large one in a building.
                        for those of you who are not familiar basically it's an act unit that chills water, that water goes through 3/4" lines to air handlers that are basically a coil that the chilled water runs through with a fan that then blows out the cold air which means you can have one unit with a few air handlers with only having to get two lines to rather than a duct...may be something to look into if changing out your A/C.

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