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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


My friend on Sparrow was able to get Comments back for me. They are still wonky and soon will be perfect. I have faith, and LOVE comments. Thanks are due to Ken and his feline crew consisting of Princess and Thunderfoot otherwise known as Erin and Lessa. I am very grateful for their efforts... Thanks Ken. See you on the waterways.

Princess & Thunderfoot

Date: 10 July 2016. Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak.


Note: This is the follow-up article regarding my quest for cool. Part One can be found in Air Conditioning the article.

It's summertime and it is HOT. Blazing hot. Like many, Seaweed is on a tight budget. A couple years back I bought the least expensive 5,000 btu air conditioner I could find. The problem was this: It was ugly. The a/c unit was not attractive to my eyes. Installation looked ragged and not at all nautical. The solution came from a company called Moby-Cool.

This is a Before picture.

My a/c unit was tucked into the bottom of the starboard side pilothouse door. Scrap 1/4" plywood covered the rest of the doorway. Though the a/c was affixed it looked shabby. Quite frankly I love having a cute boat. Though being cool is very important, other factors come into play as well.


The doorway
installation had problems:

  1. The boat looked junky. She resembled something a boat bum would live on. I love my boat and aesthetics are important to my happiness quotient. I want Seaweed to look nice.

  2. Having an a/c unit positioned there blocked exit from the starboard side of the pilothouse.

    At first I had the a/c mounted in the forward cabin hatch. My bunk became an icebox. The rest of the boat was miserably hot. A huge box fan placed in the doorway to my cabin pulling cold air out did not work incidentally. Argh!

  3. Coming into docks I was restricted to port side landings. I tie up the boat from the pilothouse doorways. There are large cleats that I use for my mid-ship attachment.

    Side note: Boaters know that once you snug up a line at the middle of your boat the vessel is not going anywhere. It's a good way for soloists to have great control of the boat. Once you have that center line tight you are safe and secure.

  4. The wood over the rest of the door meant I had zero view.

  5. The inside of Seaweed was much darker. The bleakness got to me.

  6. I need to see out and that a/c unit installation prevented that.

  7. Plus it was ugly.


A friend told me about the air-conditioner cover he'd seen advertised in Southwinds Magazine. I took a look at the photo and was intrigued. If I could put the air-conditioner on the roof of Seaweed she'd look spiffy again. I wanted that Moby-Cool cover.

The first thing I did is make a phone call. (407-435-9733) Scott is the designer/builder and seller of the item. He is an interesting character, a former sailor and now a land cruiser.

The Moby-Cool a/c cover was
just what I didn't know I needed!

I called, paid and had delivery of my custom sized package in about a week. You'll need to know the dimensions of your air-conditioner when you phone.

My Moby-Cool cover arrived in a flat box. The fiberglass panels are nice, fit together perfectly and the build quality is good. An instruction sheet comes in the box along with self-setting screws. Also included are foam window stripping and a custom cut piece of 2" thick foam. That thicker foam fits between the cover and the air-conditioner on three sides.

Although the box contained screws I opted to use my own stainless steel 1" nuts, bolts and washers. For the curious, size 6 fits the pre-drilled holes. Everything lines up perfectly.

Seaweed has exactly zero insulation. The fiberglass air-conditioner cover did not have any insulation either. Though the owner of Moby-Cool assured me that it would work well as is, I opted to do a bit of tweaking. I wanted to insulate the cover.



After much research I bought Duct Insulation from Home Depot. Though not the least expensive, it was the best value. This is a part of my continuing work towards improving the infrastructure of Seaweed. I'm glad I bought it.



This Duct Insulation is made by Frost King. It has a very sticky backing that adheres well to the fiberglass Moby-Cool cover. $20 bought me a 15' roll.

The metal side is about triple the thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil we use for baking. You can cut it with scissors.

First though you need to figure out how to cut the 15' length. I wanted to maximize the number of layers insulating my hood. Plus I was determined to use all of it for my project.




Side Note: I also opted for Professional Grade Duct Tape, not the cheap stuff. That tape was $15 for a roll. Ouch!



These are my notes.


I have 15' to work with.
That is 180" of material.


My sizing will probably be different than yours. I have a 5000 btu air-conditioner that uses just 455 watts of electricity. That means it will run off a Yamaha1000 whereas larger a/c's require bigger generators.

  • The two side panels are 25" long by 12" high

  • The center cover is 33" long by 20" wide

Because the top is 33" long and 20" wide I chose to put three 12" by 20" pieces of insulation crosswise on that panel. Fewer seams should mean less loss to air drafts.


I had some leftover packing paper
 and used it to make my pattern.

First I cut out the curved side pieces. There
were bits and bobs of insulation everywhere.

With sticky side up, this job had to
be completed before bunk-time.

If you decide to follow in my wake so to speak, don't forget that the left and right side of the Moby-Cool cover are opposites. Thus, when you cut the insulating foam be sure to flip over your pattern for the opposite side.

Where the curves were, I kept those pieces and used them too. Nothing goes to waste aboard Seaweed.

As you can see in the previous photo the fiberglass sides have umph. They are not plain flat and boring. The design gives this solution a step above anything I could have created by myself. That it is fiberglass (sturdy/good quality) should mean a long-lasting product.

I do not mind (much!) spending money
 for value. I expect this cover to last.

I covered the cut-aways from the curvature
of the sides with the main foam insulation piece.

The Frost King product sticks well.
Be careful of the edges though. They are sharp.

The flat top panel received three overlapping
 strips, each 12" by 20" laid crosswise.

Next we wanted to insure the stick-um would stay stuck. I had on hand a piece of Delrin two inches wide. My friend Edwin was a Big Help in putting it all together. He understands angles, and all sorts of other things too.

The Delrin is attached at the holes that hold the top to the sides. It secures the insulation.


Edwin was a Big Reason this job got finished and looks so well too. Putting it together is a two-person job. Edwin did me a great favor in helping. Thank you Edwin.

I really Really did not like the look of the a/c unit in the doorway. It was a sore spot for me aesthetically so having help was wonderful.



Side Note: Scott is the designer of the Moby-Cool air-conditioner cover. He said that insulation is not required. Online his install shows a hatch opened. That would offer a level of separation between the outside heat and the inside air-conditioning.



Just because I opted to make this more complicated does not mean you must do so.

One of my many failings is that I over-think and complicate things. I can take a five minute chore and turn it into a three day project with ease!


In a day or so I'll show you the finished result. I am very pleased. Seaweed once again looks like the spiffy little ship she is.

Edwin is doing some measurements for the final
install aboard Seaweed. Isn't my cover pretty?!?

Life aboard Seaweed is progressing nicely. More and more my home is all I dreamed she would be those many years ago. Actually she's better than I imagined. Life is great afloat.

I am becoming the Queen of Decadence and loving it too!

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak page.

Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations,


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thank you.


Pets of the Week: Patches
aboard M/V Manatee

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

Coming soon ...

VHF aboard Seaweed

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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