Date: 10 July 2016. Moby-Cool a/c
is the follow-up article regarding my quest for cool. Part One can
be found in
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. There was a problem: 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
June 2023. The
current best option for a 5000btu air conditioner with
mechanical controls is (in my opinion) the Rovsun. The thing
is, these will run off an inverter, albeit for not a long time
without running down the battery bank. In my opinion
mechanical controls is a critical component for me.
Mine did run on my 1000 watt
Aims square wave inverter. Aims inverters are available at
Rovsun 5000BTU ac with mechanical controls
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.
installation had problems:
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.
a/c unit positioned there blocked exit from the starboard side of
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
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
Side note: Boaters know that once you snug up a line at the middle
of your boat the vessel is not going anywhere. It is a good way for
soloists to have great control of the boat. Once you have that
center line tight you are safe and secure.
over the rest of the door meant I had zero view.
of Seaweed was much darker. The bleakness got to me.
I need to
see out and that a/c unit installation prevented that.
Plus it was
A friend told me about the air-conditioner cover he had seen
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 would look spiffy again. I wanted that
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.
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
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
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.
King Duct Insulation
Duct Insulation is
Frost King Duct Insulation. It has a very sticky backing that adheres
well to the fiberglass Moby-Cool cover. $20 bought me a 15'
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 I needed 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.
Frost King Duct Insulation foil and fiberglass
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.
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.
Affiliate links for generators:
I had some leftover packing paper and used it to make
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
If you decide to follow in my wake so to speak, do
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.
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
I do not mind (much!)
spending money for value. I expect this cover to last.
I covered the cut-away portions 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.
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 will show you the finished result. I
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!
I'd love to hear what you do to stay cool in the
And, are you living on the hook or at a dock with plenty of power?
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Moby-Cool a/c cover Installed
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