NICE2HAVE KIT - Washer and Tumble Drier
Doing laundry can be a real chore. Things have improved immensely, around the Med, but good marina laundry facilities are still scarce and heavily utilised. In many areas you have to leave your stuff with a town laundry and hope you get back everything you sent in. It really is worth making a note of what you leave with them.
Choose clothing that is not too fussy about how it is washed or you may have to hand wash them yourselves in a bucket.
Consider installing a small Washing Machine on board to make domestic life so much easier.
In the summer months it's easy to dry and air clothes in the Sun but in Winter a Tumble Drier is a useful alternative. After the storms on our Biscay crossing several of the crew had damp clothes so we just rinsed them thru and popped them in the tumble drier while the GenSet was charging the batteries.
We have a 3Kg compact washing machine which runs perfectly fine off the Inverter without needing the GenSet. It only draws 45Amps at 12v when the drum is actually turning for a few seconds in each direction. The final spin draws 80Amps for the minute it is running so still OK.
The3Kg tumble drier does need either shore power or the GenSet due to the 2kw heater.
Even a compact washer, on an economy setting, still uses around 45 litres of fresh water per wash so you really need to have a water maker to keep up with demand. Alternatively keep some water in tubs on deck specifically for this purpose. Before I plumbed the unit in permanently I tried hauling a tub about 10 feet up the mizzen to create the necessary water pressure to activate the inlet valves and I've also tried a dedicated sump pump dropped into the water tub to supply the water. Both worked quite well although plumbing-in is neater and easier.
The waste water from washing machine is not good for the environment, we can capture this water in the holding tanks but usually we will do the washing while offshore on passage rather than in a marina or bay and use the soapy waste to wash the decks down and then rinse afterwards. At least the water gets well used before it goes over the side.
Many long distance cruisers wash in salt water then just rinse in fresh at the end of the cycle. You can buy special soaps for this purpose.