We recently received an enquiry from one of the subscribers to our website, Tim, who specifically asked if we have air-conditioning onboard Lady Roslyn and whether we think it is necessary in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The quick answers are YES and YES, but that would make for a ridiculously short and uninteresting post for other potential Saba 50 owners, so I will elaborate a little on the set-up on Lady Roslyn and why we are so adamant in our love of having air-conditioning onboard.
We have an owners version Saba 50. The main saloon and the 4 queen cabins are each fitted with their own, individually controlled, air-conditioning units which can both cool and heat when needed.
The boat can only run the air-conditioning when we are connected to shore power or when we have the generator running. Our Cummins-Onan genset is located in the starboard engine bay.
As we are currently located in the Mediterranean, we don't have experience sailing Lady Roslyn in particularly humid conditions where an air-conditioner has the dual benefit of cooling and drying out the boat. What we can confirm is that the Med can get HOT, damn HOT, in the summer months.
When you have found yourself that perfect anchorage after a day in the baking sun and the wind has died off, there is nothing like switching on the air-conditioner in your cabin for 20 minutes before going to bed just to cool the area down.
This year, in late June and for the month of July, we sailed Lady Roslyn from her home base in northern Italy down the coast of Croatia as far south as Korcula and back. We arrived in Italy on 24 June and the temperature outside was a smoking 34° C - Score 1 for the air-conditioning as we switched all of them on just to cool Lady Roslyn down so we could step onboard to unpack and prepare for the trip.
For the next 23 days we had sun, sun and more sun and I could not have imagined what life would have been like if we did not have air-conditioning fitted, not to run all the time, but to cool the boat down as needed.
We plan on sailing in Greece and Turkey in 2017, so Tim's question on the temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean is relevant to us. Having chartered a number of catamarans in both Greece and Turkey in the years prior to having bought Lady Roslyn, we know first-hand that temperatures in the Eastern Med can be even hotter than in Croatia.
Here is an Average temperature graph for Turkey. You can be sure that if the chart averages in July and August are showing 33-34° C the actual temperatures on some days will be closer to 38-39° C. Score 2 for having air-conditioning onboard.
What about the downsides of the air-conditioning on Lady Roslyn? Well, there's only one as far as we are concerned and it's only in one of the cabins - the starboard stern cabin. When the generator is running it can be quite noisy in that cabin.
Having sailed southwards from Italy for 10 days in late June, we picked up 8 family members in Trogir, Croatia for 2 weeks of sailing with us in mid July. For their first night onboard we ran the generator and air-conditioners all night and my brother and sister-in-law, who were sleeping in the starboard aft cabin, woke up the next morning looking like this....
The port and starboard forward cabins are particularly quiet and dampened from any generator noise, and Catherine and I have no problem sleeping in the master cabin on the port side. Everyone else onboard had slept like babies but Richard and Margie looked shell shocked!
A day later our generator stripped a number of blades from its raw water impeller and would not start. As bad luck would have it we did not have a spare generator impeller onboard and could only get one 5 or 6 days later. This trip was about finding quiet anchorages and avoiding marinas which are both expensive and crowded in Croatia in the summer, so no shore power + no generator = no air-conditioner.
Suffice to say we have now properly tested a Saba 50 in the middle of summer in the Mediterranean without air-conditioning. Even though we had the cabin fans running, the nights were VERY hot down below. By the time we managed to get the new impeller for the generator this was pretty much how people looked onboard.......
As soon as I had installed the new impeller we started the generator and ran the air-conditioning throughout the night from then on.
Score 3 for air-conditioning - everyone on board was delighted and the vote was unanimous - better a boat WITH air-conditioning that you don't need than one WITHOUT air-conditioning when you do need it.