Re: All that stuff hanging off the stern-- Gel batteries, solar panels and inverter - an experience

Eric Freedman <kimberlite@...>

Hi Bill,

I like what Ian Jenkins did with his boat . When I am in the Caribbean this season, I hope to be able to have the

A similar dodger made with solar panels.


With respect to fuel independence, we can carry 325 gallons all in tanks.


Fair Winds


Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376


From: On Behalf Of Bill Kinney
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2021 12:42 AM
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] All that stuff hanging off the stern-- Gel batteries, solar panels and inverter - an experience



I have read your article several times, and it is really a touchstone for me. The conditions you went through are worse than I have ever had to sail in, although I did get pounded pretty hard (for many days) on a trip back across from Hawaii to California. I saw several times the "submarine boat" you described. It was an educational experience.  Especially the time I was working to sort out a problem with the furling gear at the bow when the boat disappeared... We had rail mounted solar panels (folded down) that took a hit from waves hard enough to break stanchions. Fortunately just broken metal, not ripped fiberglass. Another lesson learned.

I once expressed an opinion that I thought having a dinghy on davits was a hazard offshore. We have seen a boat limping back to harbor with totally twisted and mangled davits when a wave filled the dinghy hanging there. A very popular internet guru responded that he had an Island Packet 38 with REALLY high freeboard and just could not image a wave large enough to poop his dinghy while it was hanging on davits... I was kind of flabbergasted. As if the ocean cares how good your imagination is...

We have decided that an intermediate approach fits our risk/benefit equation.  A simple arch with only solar panels.  No davits, no other attachments.  If we ever really expected to be in serious survival conditions offshore, I'd cut the whole thing away without a second thought.  Total cost of replacement, about $8K.  Peace of mind:  Priceless.  

I don't worry about it at all with wind, it had no issue with winds of 70 knots in Hurricane Dorian.  Waves: A totally different story.  If we were ever in a situation where waves were large enough to impact the solar panels in any way I KNOW the structure would be compromised.

I know and understand that our choice is not the best from all perspectives.  But I know that the value of having a solar system that supplies half of our power needs is significant.  Not just from a cost perspective but extending our self sufficiency, and off grid fuel independence is really a major addition to our boat's capabilities.

Bill Kinney
Sm160,  Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA

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