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rawsondsr

So much to think about when buying your first nb

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I'm planning to buy a nb in the next 6 months or so as a liveaboard boat. Undecided yet as whether to get a mooring or be a cc with winter mooring.

I've been a fulltimer in a touring caravan for a few years now, so am well used to the kind of lifestyle, albeit less self sufficient with regards to power.  Also had several boating holidays.

Current thoughts are 

55 to 70 feet, trad stern, traditional layout. solar, travelpower/diesel genny would all be a bonus.

Current budget is up to around 60k

Regarding the battery bank i'm guessing i would need 400-450 amps, a power audit will show me what i actually need,  but am i right in thinking if the audit shows 200, then 400 is what you need due to lead acids not liking to be discharged, lithium i want to see the price come down a bit and see the safety aspects proven.  plus i'm not willing to throw 5k down the drain due to possible poor charging regimes.

Stoves - when they're by the door, do they lose lots through the door? is the middle the best place?  diesel or solid fuel?

Engine rooms, handy space or waste of space? Im thinking modern diesel over a traditional engine, purely for reliability, parts, maintenance, and water heating.  Or are there some vintage engines that would work for me?

Bow thrusters - handy bit of kit or a toy used once in a while?

Wind turbines for winter power - do these get any worthwhile power out of them?

Solar - if not installed - 3-400w or double that?

I think i would prefer pumpout to cassette, but are they as bad as people make them out to be?

I'm planning on visiting a few brokers - but am aware that some have good reputations - abnb, rugby boats to name a couple, and others are more questionable - whilton and great heywood for example.  shoukd i avoid these or go into those being aware and getting everything in writing?  I will probably visit whilton purely because of the large range they have to get a good idea of what i want, after all in theory i may want a, b and c, but in reality what feels right would be b, c and d.

 

Comments greatly appreciated, and i'm sure there'll be many more questions, and i'm off do do some more reading...

 

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7 minutes ago, rawsondsr said:

I'm planning to buy a nb in the next 6 months or so as a liveaboard boat. Undecided yet as whether to get a mooring or be a cc with winter mooring.

I've been a fulltimer in a touring caravan for a few years now, so am well used to the kind of lifestyle, albeit less self sufficient with regards to power.  Also had several boating holidays.

Current thoughts are 

55 to 70 feet, trad stern, traditional layout. solar, travelpower/diesel genny would all be a bonus.  Bigger is better

Current budget is up to around 60k  Plenty of scope there

Regarding the battery bank i'm guessing i would need 400-450 amps, a power audit will show me what i actually need,  but am i right in thinking if the audit shows 200, then 400 is what you need due to lead acids not liking to be discharged, lithium i want to see the price come down a bit and see the safety aspects proven.  plus i'm not willing to throw 5k down the drain due to possible poor charging regimes. Forget Lithium

Stoves - when they're by the door, do they lose lots through the door? is the middle the best place?  diesel or solid fuel?  Solid fuel. Locations can differ.

Engine rooms, handy space or waste of space? Im thinking modern diesel over a traditional engine, purely for reliability, parts, maintenance, and water heating.  Or are there some vintage engines that would work for me? Engine rooms are a waste of space. Modern Japanese in the back.

Bow thrusters - handy bit of kit or a toy used once in a while?  A Toy that usualy takes up valuable water storage space.

Wind turbines for winter power - do these get any worthwhile power out of them? Useless.

Solar - if not installed - 3-400w or double that? The more the merrier.

I think i would prefer pumpout to cassette, but are they as bad as people make them out to be? Cassette makes sense.

I'm planning on visiting a few brokers - but am aware that some have good reputations - abnb, rugby boats to name a couple, and others are more questionable - whilton and great heywood for example.  shoukd i avoid these or go into those being aware and getting everything in writing?  I will probably visit whilton purely because of the large range they have to get a good idea of what i want, after all in theory i may want a, b and c, but in reality what feels right would be b, c and d.

 

Comments greatly appreciated, and i'm sure there'll be many more questions, and i'm off do do some more reading...

 

 

Edited by mrsmelly

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Good luck with your search.

I'm sure you probably know what you mean, but battery bank capacities are measured in Amp Hours, not Amps, and it will avoid unnecessary debate later on on the forum if you can restrict yourself to using the right units.

I don't think stoves particularly "lose heat" through external doors, but none-the-less placement is important.  Many boats do have them at one end, and if that is your main source of heat, and there is no radiator circuit attached, you will get a pretty steep temperature gradient through the boat.  you may well have to make one end "too hot" in order to keep the other "hot enough">

A personal view that up to about 50 feet a single stove at one end can be OK, but not ideal for the 55 to 70 feet range you are thinking of.  Towards the 70 feet end of that, I'd say you really need attached radiators.

However placing the stove (say) one third of the way through the cabin space could give you a great deal better chance of a sensible distribution of heat using just a stove alone.

However with a stove in the middle of the boat, you will probably need to carry coal and ash to/from one end or the other.

Coal every time for me - diesel to expensive for full time use.

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19 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

I think i would prefer pumpout to cassette, but are they as bad as people make them out to be? Cassette makes sense.

Some people, get very existed about the type of toilet on a boat. But as you look around the brokerages and online boat sales sites you will see lots of boats that partially, but not fully meet your requirements. To my mind, toilet type is one of the preferences you can overlook for a boat that ticks most of the other boxes. 

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1 minute ago, David Mack said:

Some people, get very existed about the type of toilet on a boat. But as you look around the brokerages and online boat sales sites you will see lots of boats that partially, but not fully meet your requirements. To my mind, toilet type is one of the preferences you can overlook for a boat that ticks most of the other boxes. 

I agree. this boat has a macerator toilet the worst of all other than composting but much of it is brilliant. I never give too hoots what stern they have either as there are pros and cons to each type.

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A trip to Whilton will be of great use as they have lots of boats and allow you to look around them at your leisure. You may not want to purchase from them but you will get a good idea of different layouts and what suits or doesn't suit you.

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1 hour ago, rawsondsr said:

I'm planning to buy a nb in the next 6 months or so as a liveaboard boat. Undecided yet as whether to get a mooring or be a cc with winter mooring.

I've been a fulltimer in a touring caravan for a few years now, so am well used to the kind of lifestyle, albeit less self sufficient with regards to power.  Also had several boating holidays.

Current thoughts are 

55 to 70 feet, trad stern, traditional layout. solar, travelpower/diesel genny would all be a bonus. Trad is good for a liveaboard, TravelPower is great, it will run a proper washing machine. 70 is good for living on but won't do some very pretty Northern canals. 65 foot is the worse of both worlds

Current budget is up to around 60k. Should get a decent boat.

Regarding the battery bank i'm guessing i would need 400-450 amps, a power audit will show me what i actually need,  but am i right in thinking if the audit shows 200, then 400 is what you need due to lead acids not liking to be discharged, lithium i want to see the price come down a bit and see the safety aspects proven.  plus i'm not willing to throw 5k down the drain due to possible poor charging regimes. Need much more. I suggest 4 times your daily requirement so you can manage a day in winter without running the engine. Don't often get to 100% charge and capacity reduces in winter and with age so 2 times is not enough.

Stoves - when they're by the door, do they lose lots through the door? is the middle the best place?  diesel or solid fuel? Middle best, solid fuel best but diesels have some advantages. Solid fuel really can't go wrong.

Engine rooms, handy space or waste of space? Im thinking modern diesel over a traditional engine, purely for reliability, parts, maintenance, and water heating.  Or are there some vintage engines that would work for me? An Engine room is great. Do you want to be servicing the engine outdoors in winter? Engine rooms usually have a vintage engine but the Beta JD3 is a modern vintage looking engine. . Gardners are vintage but not unlike modern engines in many ways.

Bow thrusters - handy bit of kit or a toy used once in a while?  More capacity in the water tank is a better use of the space,but we will all get old one day

Wind turbines for winter power - do these get any worthwhile power out of them? Not much use.

Solar - if not installed - 3-400w or double that? Lots if you can find the space but it does limit access to the roof which can be important, especially if you asingle hander

I think i would prefer pumpout to cassette, but are they as bad as people make them out to be? The cassette advocates on this forum are very vocal whilst the pumpout folk just enjoy having a real bog. Get a dump thru with a big tank. Its your home, you don't want to be crapping into a little plastic box.

I'm planning on visiting a few brokers - but am aware that some have good reputations - abnb, rugby boats to name a couple, and others are more questionable - whilton and great heywood for example.  shoukd i avoid these or go into those being aware and getting everything in writing?  I will probably visit whilton purely because of the large range they have to get a good idea of what i want, after all in theory i may want a, b and c, but in reality what feels right would be b, c and d.

 

Comments greatly appreciated, and i'm sure there'll be many more questions, and i'm off do do some more reading...

 

 

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3 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

I'm sure you probably know what you mean, but battery bank capacities are measured in Amp Hours, not Amps, and it will avoid unnecessary debate later on on the forum if you can restrict yourself to using the right units.

Amp hours is what i meant, I'll remember to write the correct units as misinformation/misunderstanding can cause issues!

2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

I agree. this boat has a macerator toilet the worst of all other than composting but much of it is brilliant. I never give too hoots what stern they have either as there are pros and cons to each type.

Why do you think macerators are bad?  Not trying to say youre wrong, just wondering?  And composting as well?

 

1 hour ago, dmr said:

Need much more. I suggest 4 times your daily requirement so you can manage a day in winter without running the engine. Don't often get to 100% charge and capacity reduces in winter and with age so 2 times is not enough.

Without 240v charging from genny/travelower would it even be posstibe to get a good charge without running the engine for hours and hours on end? 12v or 6v traction?

 

1 hour ago, dmr said:

Gardners are vintage but not unlike modern engines in many ways.

Please elaborate, i'd love a low revving vintage sounding engine - can these heat calorifiers and use travelpacks?

 

1 hour ago, dmr said:

I think i would prefer pumpout to cassette, but are they as bad as people make them out to be? The cassette advocates on this forum are very vocal whilst the pumpout folk just enjoy having a real bog. Get a dump thru with a big tank. Its your home, you don't want to be crapping into a little plastic box.

 

Exactly my thoughts, i've been a cassette user for a few years now!

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In answer to my quote. Quite simply cassette or porta potti dont gowwrong and are easily emptied at vastly more locations than pumpouts and can be carried if need be to an elsan. As a for instance we have no way of getting our boat to a pumpout place for several days at moment due to flooding so if tank fills its useless. This boat has a posh macerator looks and works like a house but it aint a house its a boat. I live on a boat. I want to live on a boat. The macerator although faultless at present WILL go wrong in a big way someday and they are messy to try and fix or expensive to replace. A cassette with a couple of spares will last a couple over a week and take next to bugger all room up unlike a pumpout tank. Composting bogs are only useful if you have somewhere to store several buckets of crap whilst it composts over several weeks/months unless you simply bin the plastic bags full of crap and if thats what you do you might as well use a porta bog elsan system.

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Don't be embarassed about walking your cassette to empty it, most folk won't know what it is anyway. Just swagger gaily along with it pretending your off to the office to work and its your attache case with your lunch in it. In a way it has. :closedeyes:

  • Greenie 1
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4 minutes ago, bizzard said:

Don't be embarassed about walking your cassette to empty it, most folk won't know what it is anyway. Just swagger gaily along with it pretending your off to the office to work and its your attache case with your lunch in it. In a way it has. :closedeyes:

Yesterday's lunch.

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The wise boater has two of everything so that there is a backup when there are problems.  Two boat heaters, two water heaters, two toilet methods, two wives/spouses, etc.  

  • Greenie 1

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12 minutes ago, bizzard said:

Don't be embarassed about walking your cassette to empty it, most folk won't know what it is anyway. Just swagger gaily along with it pretending your off to the office to work and its your attache case with your lunch in it. In a way it has. :closedeyes:

Attache? its a briefcase surely, The Boaters Briefcase.

..............Dave

9 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

The wise boater has two of everything so that there is a backup when there are problems.  Two boat heaters, two water heaters, two toilet methods, two wives/spouses, etc.  

But if you have two wives then you will have big problems all the time and will need a third one for when the first two go wrong.

............Dave

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2 hours ago, rawsondsr said:

 

 

Please elaborate, i'd love a low revving vintage sounding engine - can these heat calorifiers and use travelpacks?

 

Our Gardner certainly heats a calorifier because it is water-cooled. Most air-cooled old engines will not be able to do this.

Not sure what you mean by a travel pack, so can't help you with that one.

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4 hours ago, dmr said:

The cassette advocates on this forum are very vocal whilst the pumpout folk just enjoy having a real bog. Get a dump thru with a big tank. Its your home, you don't want to be crapping into a little plastic box.

 

When you see the antics pump-out owners get up to at pumpout time (furiously rocking the boat, and poking sticks, water jets etc down the bog hole) to dislodge all the 'solids',  you'll buy a cassette!

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
Missed a bit.

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4 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

When you see the antics pump-out owners get up to at pumpout time (furiously rocking the boat, and poking sticks, water jets etc down the bog hole) to dislodge all the 'solids',  you'll buy a cassette!

 

 

So when did you see me doing a pumpout?  I thought I was one of the few with a water jet!!!!

Whenever I walk past an elsan disposal with s**t splattered all up the wall I am really glad that we have a pump out.

Actually having a small pump out crisis right now, really enjoying Chester (pubs!) and would like to spend longer here (with a trip down to Ellesmere Port) but no pumpouts at all on this bit of canal, maybe the lovely fuel boat Halsall will sort us out.

Student night at the pub tonight so was having a liver rest day, but just found a bottle of rum in the booze locker.:D

...........Dave

 

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12 minutes ago, dmr said:

So when did you see me doing a pumpout?  I thought I was one of the few with a water jet!!!!

 

When we were in Brum, about the same time as we tore up and down the straight bit testing out the K2!

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Just now, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

When we were in Brum, about the same time as we tore up and down the straight bit testing out the K2!

Ahh, that was a good few days of boating. Looks like the Flapper is doomed, demolition and turning into yet another block of flats. We are half temped to do quick dash down into Brum for a final session there, maybe late April, might you be interested?

....................Dave

 

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3 minutes ago, dmr said:

Ahh, that was a good few days of boating. Looks like the Flapper is doomed, demolition and turning into yet another block of flats. We are half temped to do quick dash down into Brum for a final session there, maybe late April, might you be interested?

....................Dave

 

 

Yep! 

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Some disjointed comments:-

Much / most of the comments above are very sensible, You'd be sensible if you take heed of 90 something %. Some comments have not been explained for me:-

Batteries

Whichever type you decide on make sure you have a large reserve of capacity. Not just for the time you have between charges, but that most types will last longer if they are not stressed. 400 Ah is too small. Double it. Triple it is better. Some sensible folks admit to having 1,000 Ah. Most boats have lead acid batteries -= so consider fitting traction batteries - because they are designed to be treated in the way that boaters use them. You might care to look at NiFe batteries as they are almost impossible to destroy by bad use. In the USA they are very popular amongst folks who live away from public electricity supplies (Remember that USA is an huge country). You won't find a boat with NiFe batteries, so it only works if you have to re-equip and have a lot of space.

Engine room / type of stern

It makes little sense if you put a modern small diesel engine in an engine room (dunno why - 'cos the extra space can be used for storage, washing machines etc). But a real engine wouldn't go under a rear deck...) I compromised (?) by having a trad stern and the space forward of that accommodates the engine, which is easy to get at and a large battery bank. I can use it to store tools etc. On a cruiser stern you'd lose that storage space.

 Sanitation.

We learned much of our boating from one hire company who showed us that, water cooled engines were best, pumpout loos were more comfortable and could be kept reasonably unsmelly. Ours tanks are plastic and fit under the pan and floor. One easily lasts a week with two people. The secret is not to use gallons of water to flush. Make sure that the suction fitting is on the roof and not the gunnel - these latter are a complete pain to use and difficult to operate cleanly.

Log burners

Many boats have their fires at the front because that's where the living area is and the only space is by the front doors. Fine for a god use of space but not good for heating the boat.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, dmr said:

 

Engine rooms, handy space or waste of space? Im thinking modern diesel over a traditional engine, purely for reliability, parts, maintenance, and water heating.  Or are there some vintage engines that would work for me? An Engine room is great. Do you want to be servicing the engine outdoors in winter? Engine rooms usually have a vintage engine but the Beta JD3 is a modern vintage looking engine. . Gardners are vintage but not unlike modern engines in many ways.

You could also look at a Russell Newbery DM2. Still available either new or factory rebuilt Ours runs well and has done for years. Works a fairly large alternator and heats water through a calorifier. It also looks great

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53 minutes ago, captain birdseye said:

You could also look at a Russell Newbery DM2. Still available either new or factory rebuilt Ours runs well and has done for years. Works a fairly large alternator and heats water through a calorifier. It also looks great

They sound good too. Don't really see them for sale that much so not easy to get unless the boat already has one. The new ones are very very expensive and I am not sure that they really are available at present.

..........Dave

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