Things to make a Seawind 1160 into a Liveaboard vessel

We have lived aboard XTsea since early 2014. A Seawind 1160 is a very capable vessel, but living aboard is a bit different to going out for a sail for a few weeks. Here are a few of our learnings to make an 1160 into a comfortable home.

They are listed in order from most important to least.

1. Sun/Rain protection of the sleeping cabins.
Some might think this is a strange choice for the top of the list, but we thought long and hard on this. Sleep is quite important to us, and the ATN DORCAP is in our opinion vital to enjoying a good night’s rest. The DORCAP allows any puff of breeze to be funneled into the cabin, keeps rain from light to moderate showers from entering, and keeps the sun from pounding through the hatch all day. Unless we are out to sea, we usually sail with the DORCAP installed as our genoa sits above it, however when we want to clear the deck it is a quick and easy task to remove it. It needs four press-studs and a couple of low-profile strap holders mounted, and guy lines at each corner tie to convenient points.

2. An anchoring system you can rely on.
Again related to sleep, an anchor you can trust to hold your boat in place helps make your life much less stressful. We swear by our Excel Sarca #5 which is manufactured by a lovely couple in Melbourne and is a brilliant anchor. Deploying the anchor and feeling the lurch of the boat when the anchor grabs means we can pretty much forget about dragging. 

3. Lithium Batteries.
Before we had lithium batteries, I would have put the importance of batteries after other electrical items, but now that we have them, they really are life-changing. We no longer keep close tabs on our state of charge, can quickly pump massive amounts of power into the batteries without the bottleneck of acceptance rate, and with the battery voltage so consistent all of our electrical gear runs as it should. Weight saving is also nice.

The technicalities of dropping lithiums into your boat are not quite as easy as that because all of your charging systems need to be looked at holistically, but they really are fantastic. Thanks to the lithiums, I gave away our wind generator and reduced our solar panel array by 2 panels. We used EV-Power GLB Cells and we have 2x200A/h packs totalling 400A/h of usable capacity which is plenty for us.

The choice of lithium is even more important if your 1160 has outboards rather than diesel inboard engines. Outboard mean that you will not have the ability to add a beefy alternator and will be much more reliant on solar. 

5. A decent tender.
Your tender is often the only way to get yourself, your guests, and your provisions to and from the boat. Your tender needs to be big enough (at least 3 metres), powerful enough to easily plane (15Hp) and importantly, light enough to be able to be hoisted onto the davits. We chose a Highfield 340 classic with a 15Hp Yamaha two-stroke.

The fuel tank and anchoring gear sit in lockable enclosures which keeps everything neat and tidy, and the enclosures act as steps to help get in and out. The floor is nice and solid. We did have to add another mounting point to allow it to hang on our davits without needing to change their position.

We considered plastic tenders, but they were just too heavy. They would have been preferred as they would handle the oysters better, but the weight is just too much.

A necessary addition is a set of tender wheels. The ONLY ones that work are the Beachmaster wheels. They are pricey, but they are the only ones we have seen that do the job.

4. Solar, solar, and more solar.

Sunshields to the saloon windows
Webasto Thermotop Z/C diesel-powered heater
Refrigeration. Upgrade the standard fridge!