Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Au Naturel

Harnessing the wind for natural air conditioning

One of the big changes of our new life aboard Me Voy is the lack of air conditioning. We have used air conditioning aboard Tara, and often looked out from our cool bubble and wondered how people live without a.c. especially during the heat waves that sometimes descend on our city. Its one thing if you're bobbing at anchor somewhere surrounded by beautiful water you can jump into to cool off, and quite another when you're in a marina with no shade anywhere, surrounded by the filthy water of a busy harbor. The latter is where we find ourselves today.

We already don't like this new marina very much, but when it gets hot its doubly miserable. The long docks seems even longer and even Chopper doesn't want to go for a walk in this concrete jungle.  We are leaving here today to go to our old marina, which in comparison seems like an oasis of trees, and swimming holes. I wish we could anchor somewhere secluded and enjoy some quality swimming and chilling time, but the lack of a proper dinghy weighs heavily on our plans.

We have a couple of showings scheduled this weekend aboard Tara, and so the work also never seems to end. There is more painting and sprucing to do , so I suppose even if we did have all the necessary ingredients, the recipe for a getaway would have to wait.

What I wanted to talk about however was air conditioning. We have shade on deck thanks to the boomfly I made at work, and that works wonders for lowering the inside temperature. And of course we have fans, but neither of those is a miracle. Some sailors have the carry on type of a.c that we have considered. The problem with it is where to keep it when its not in use. Its big, bulky and ugly, and can only be used in a marina, or with a generator. So the question becomes, is it worth it. Have we just gotten soft and whiny, trained to accept only the most perfect of conditions? Or is it stupid to make your life harder then it has to be?

I keep thinking about this new life in terms of gain vs. loss. What am I willing to give up vs. what do I gain for giving it up.  Taking the a.c example, I have given up the comfort of chilly air in the heat of the day, for the independence of living off the grid. We are currently charging batteries with 2 135w solar panels that are temporarily installed on the deck, and running our fridge, lights and computers on sunshine. To me that feels good. Better then a cold room? For me, yes. Somehow it makes life more real.
I'm not into creating suffering, but the chase for comfort and ease has gotten us to where we are today, fat and lazy, with a sense of entitlement. No no I'm not a Republican (not a Democrat either)!  My  editing fuse is a bit fried from all this heat, and I have a little river of sweat dripping down my back. This is no time to be diplomatic.

We have a few days of heat to experience this natural living, as the temps are only going to climb in the next four days. Lots of cold showers, and baths for all of us, and hopefully a day of doing nothing but hosing ourselves on deck and laying around in the shade of the boomfly. I'll also be monitoring the gain vs. loss meter and keep you posted.


s/v Skylark said...

Living aboard in a marina can get very hot, especially when you work aboard as well. I had to get an AC just to keep the computers from powering down from overheating. Unfortunately, Skylark did not have a built in unit, so I opted for a free standing room ac that I keep on my port quarter birth. It works great and makes those 100+ degree Florida days tolerable. Not a fan of sweat running down the back. :) Stay cool and good luck with Tara.

jomomma said...

OFF THE GRID!!!! Awesome! We may hit 100 tomorrow. Our humidity here is the hard part, we've got to have A/C.

rob said...

a few changes of suitable clothing, a deck shower for when you need it,(yes, and wet clothes hence the several changes hang the others out to dry) lots of wind driven travel and little time in Marinas. Oh, and those beautiful wind scoops (with fly guards), for when mored close to land. You guys have lived in the desert, so you will get comfortable soon I`m sure. Your on a roll now, enjoy! without the expense of AC.Great job too.