Julie and I have been living on the boat for the past week and a half, all snug in our San Pedro slip. After a few bad days adjusting, she is getting to like it. I don't know what you have to do to get your wives on your boats. We had to have the inside of the house painted. Julie has compromised pulmonary function and the dust got to her. So we camped out on the boat which is on the upwind side of the LA harbor.
Now there is a lot of distance between what you need for a day sail and what you need to make a woman happy, especially one who is fussy and can't breathe or walk well. I'm on the second iteration of boarding steps, which seems to have resolved most of those issues. Then the boat had no 120 volt power or functional battery charger. While a couple of extension cords would have worked for most people, I have modified the area under the port salon settee to take two pair of golf cart batteries with a 1500 watt Costco inverter close by. I put a trusty Newmar 30 amp ferroresonant charger below the alcohol stove and in back of some cabinets. Who wants a battery charger taking up valuable lazarette room? Anyway, we have lots of power to run a microwave and a blender. I appreciate the difference between a new three-stage whiz-bang charger and an old ferroresonant. For my application, my boat, I'll take the simplicity and robustness of a ferroresonant with a stainless chassis. I'm still trying to figure out whether complex charging algorithms buy you anything but slightly faster charging. The way I see it, any way you get the electrolyte to 1.25+ is ok.
[January 2008: I finally get why people abandon ferroresonant chargers. A modern multi-stage charger that recovers your batteries quickly yet does not "gas" water out of the battery is a must. The trusty ferroresonant charger is no longer aboard my boat. In it's place is a ProMariner 20 amp, three stage charger.]
I'm reading "Living on 12 volts" and the other Ample Power stuff and find it quite sensible even now. I think I'm going to publish a commentary, however, to point out where the argument becomes hocus-pocus polemic, which it does often enough.
I started out fine-tuning sails and have made a timely switch in emphasis to creature comforts. The head works well. There's a nice solar vent fan in the head compartment and fluorescent lights popping up all over. I used to dislike fluorescents because of the color. I have learned to forgive them because of their efficiency. Its a lot of light for the watt. LEDs just aren't practical for area lighting at this point, besides the incredible expense. Also in favor of the fluorescents, a customer decided to replace all of his "old" fixtures with bright, shiny new ones. So these old ones were essentially free.