Observations and Options
Fans: One of the best things we did off the bat was install low current fans through out the boat. We have five. They are reasonably quite, hard to clean and do wonders in moving air from the opening ports in and from the Galley out. The AC also operates more efficiently with them on. It makes it seem cooler faster, and so we use less. We found it important to install them with power plugs so they can be fully detached for cleaning. Static electricity makes them dust/dirt/grime magnets. [We have yet to solve the dirt accumulation problem. We have, however, added plugs to the fan wiring so we can remove them for easier cleaning.] [We have solved the dirt accumulation problem. We got rid of the increasingly noisy Hella Fans and replaced them with quiet, easy to clean Caframo fans. These don’t have a guard, but we don’t have kids or pets.]
Heads: The installed heads on our boat are fine. We have one forward that we have used almost exclusively, saving the aft one for off shore. Being used exclusively wore the forward head to a frazzle, and I replaced it (ugh). Analyzing alternatives, we decided to replace it with an identical unit. It lasted five years, and the costs of reworking the mounting and plumbing arrangement to accommodate a Lavac (which we much prefer) could not be justified. [We did replace the forward head with a Lavac and kicked ourselves for not doing so sooner. It was a hard job, but easier than expected and the results are delightful.]
Sleeping: The boating market place has a variety of alternatives to blocks of foam for sleeping surfaces. We were convinced to try simply placing layer of memory foam on top of the closed cell foam provided by the builder (not a cheap experiment). What a success! We may find we need to do something about dryness under the foam cushion when in the tropics, but that will be another experiment. If we have any complaint it would be the weight of the two foam layers when making up the double berth. [We have found cold weather sleeping causes massive condensation problems. A lake accumulated below the foam pad and mildew (minor) resulted. We are looking for solutions to the condensation problem.] [The solution to the condensation problem is we no longer cruise where it is a problem.]
Television: This seems to be a hot optic with pros and cons flying like superheated pop-corn. We added the largest digital HDTV designed for antenna connection we could find that would fit the space available (a tapered book nook more cosmetic than useful). We chose a TV that could easily be used to look at photos, that could accept a DVD player input, and that could be used as a backup computer monitor if need be–all three without having to shift plugs around. We added a powered antenna. While we know quite a few folks who find them anathema, for local weather alone especially when watches and warnings are up, for us, TV is definitely worth having.
[Since we switched from analog to digital TV, we have noticed two problems. The antenna power control is not sufficiently precise, and the there is a signal loss and relock problem on many of the digital channels which cannot be corelated to range. We know mast movement is an issue, and it doesn’t take much pitching at anchor to break signal lock. The solution, a dish antenna based system is not in the cards until the lottery pays off.] [We have added a KVH Satellite TV antenna and receiver and wish we had done so sooner.]