04/06/2014, The Cruising Family's Worst Nightmare.
Having a sick child at sea is every cruising parents worst nightmare, but thanks to the California National Guard and US Navy...the family is safe.
04/05/2014, The Rant of a MadMan or Live Aboard Cruiser?
It's only taken me 6 years to address, but the days of struggling to have enough power on SV THIRD DAY are about over. We left for Mexico with two 125W (250W total) solar panels and a dream of living off the grid on clean free solar energy, what we found was an endless nightmare of low batteries, running our 40H Diesel engine for charging and then daily runs by our beloved Honda 2000 generator. Oh you can try to act like I was the exception to the rule, but season after season we met cruisers that were struggling to keep up with their power demands. Rather than the exception our power shortage was the rule.
Last month we added 170W to our 250W for a total of 420W, which is more than most cruising boats we have seen. But you can't have too much solar. So strapped to the top of my Honda CRV at the moment is my solution: Four 240W solar panels or 960W. Once these babies are installed we will have a mind blowing 1380W of solar which will be able to put up to 80A into our battery bank on a sunny day and since we are living in Morro Bay, we will even be able to get around 30A on a foggy day! At 6 hours of good sun per day, that could produce 480 Amp Hours of 12v battery power. All these numbers can be a little hard to follow, especially if you are not into the nitty-gritty of solar power and battery banks, so to illustrate just how big a deal this is, let's consider our Honda 2000 generator. When running the Honda we can power a 75A battery charger, so in 1 hour of Honda running we can put 75 Amp hours into our battery bank. 4 hours of Honda run gives us a total of 300 Amp hours. So we basically have the equivalent in solar panels to what our Honda 2000 generator can produce in 4 hours of run time using a gallon ($4) of gas. That is a huge deal!
The problem now with solar isn't the cost, but finding the space to mount it. We already have 420W mounted on top of our pilot house and the nice thing about that is you can't really even see it from the side profile. But there is no real way to hide four 240W panels. Two panels will be mounted on the dinghy davits and one each on the port and starboard rail in a way that will let me fold them down while underway and up in the horizontal position while at anchor. I'm looking forward to running our washing machine from solar and our trusty Honda 2000 will then only be needed to run our 30 gallon per hour water maker and hot water heater until I find the time to install the water heater heat loop through our diesel heater....projects, projects, projects.
The next Big Thing will be to get rid of our 675AH lead acid batteries and install a 400AH Lithium Ion Battery bank. More to come on this exciting project but going with this cutting edge battery technology should be a total game changer to how we make, store and use power aboard.
When I was talking to a friend about all projects I had going with the boat they asked me why I was doing all these upgrades just to live aboard in Morro Bay. I smiled and said, "future plans amigo...future plans".
04/03/2014, The Texas Road Trip
In short, we loved Texas.
We loved the food.
We loved the people.
We loved the area around Kemah and I can see living there.
There is just a differnet feeling to the State of Texas and both Jason and I loved it. Gas was a dollar per gallon cheaper and did I mention the food? We ate BBQ at least once per day and on a few instances twice. The only negative I can find about the 12 day trip was that I gained 5 pounds! I had just lost 25lbs before I left on the trip and I guess all the BBQ scauce was a shock to my calorie depribed system...so back on the diet I go.