Topics

Solar Panel Arches


Jose Venegas
 


I am in the process of ordering an arch for Ipanema.  After personally seeing the aluminum arch made by Atlantic Towers, from Lulu and Creamy Puff I was very impressed with the quality,  how light they were, and more importantly by the very affordable price.   However,  both owners (Marc and Mark)  mentioned that the arches were somewhat wobbly, but that was corrected to their satisfaction by adding cables or an extra-strut in a corner.  Although I have seen some very nice arches made to order, their cost , I think, is typically 3 to 4 times that of an Atlantic Tower and they seem to be much heavier.
My questions are for those who have installed arches:
0) if they were from Atlantic Towers, were they wobbly?
For this who installed stainless arches: 
1) do you have an idea of their weight? 
2) how wobbly are they when underway both with and without dink?, 
3) did you have to add extra struts or cables to make them stiffer?
4) What was the cost of manufacture and installation?
5) Can you provide a pix of your system?

Greatly appreciate your feedback
Jose
Ipanema SM2K 278
Still freezing in Boston Harbor but hopefully not for too long.


Ian Townsend
 

We have the Atlantic Towers arch and are very pleased with the unit. We installed a 1 1/4" stainless corner strut from the aftmost leg of the arch and down to the deck in order to minimize the lateral motion. After four years and a several thousand miles, we believe it was the right thing to do. I will add a picture to the forum tomorrow.

Ian & Margaret
S/V Loca Lola II 
SM153
Exumas, Bahamas

On Mar 13, 2019, at 9:29 PM, Jose Venegas via Groups.Io <josegvenegas@...> wrote:


I am in the process of ordering an arch for Ipanema.  After personally seeing the aluminum arch made by Atlantic Towers, from Lulu and Creamy Puff I was very impressed with the quality,  how light they were, and more importantly by the very affordable price.   However,  both owners (Marc and Mark)  mentioned that the arches were somewhat wobbly, but that was corrected to their satisfaction by adding cables or an extra-strut in a corner.  Although I have seen some very nice arches made to order, their cost , I think, is typically 3 to 4 times that of an Atlantic Tower and they seem to be much heavier.
My questions are for those who have installed arches:
0) if they were from Atlantic Towers, were they wobbly?
For this who installed stainless arches: 
1) do you have an idea of their weight? 
2) how wobbly are they when underway both with and without dink?, 
3) did you have to add extra struts or cables to make them stiffer?
4) What was the cost of manufacture and installation?
5) Can you provide a pix of your system?

Greatly appreciate your feedback
Jose
Ipanema SM2K 278
Still freezing in Boston Harbor but hopefully not for too long.


Craig Briggs
 

Jose,
I personally, with the owners, did two installations of the Atlantic arch. The key is in pre-tensioning the arch by cutting the upper cross members long-ish so the legs are wider than their mounts. You then pull them together when you put them in place using ratchet straps or the like. The instructions from Atlantic Tower have been updated to emphasize this.

The last one was Kent's and I'm sure he can chime in on wobbly-ness.  It was very stable when we finished the job. 
I'd recommend you do the job yourself so you get it right - I don't think there are any "professional" Atlantic Arch Installers (except me :-)

Cheers, Craig


James Cromie
 

Jose - I asked these same questions of others who have installed various arches on their Super Maramus.  Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that a heavier stainless steel arch was most appropriate for solidly supporting two 315W panels as well as suspending our dinghy from it .  One of the important aspects in my decision was how the arch is secured to the hull structure.  
The Emek arch is designed to transfer force at what seem to be the strongest points on the stern.  

In addition, my opinion is that the Emek arch is the most attractive looking.. of course I’m biased.  (no offense to others!)

I continue to receive frequent compliments on the arch and the high quality workmanship (including the Newport welder who helped me).  The Welder in Newport, RI stated that he couldn’t fabricate the same arch for anything less than $15000 most likely .  It seems to be the primary arch offered as a custom design for this boat.  

The drawback of ordering the arch from Emek is that shipping internationally is a hassle, and there is a significant amount of work involved in properly fitting the arch perfectly to the hull.  Every boat has very slight variations in geometry, and so the arch will not fit perfectly as though it were fabricated on site.  Indeed, it comes as a kit that requires some limited welding.  To ensure a proper fit, I built up epoxy footings where the arch feet met the hull per the recommendations of others on the forum.  

The actual tray that carried the panels was not fabricated to the exact measurements that I sent to Emek.  I was able to rectify the problem without too much difficulty, and Emek followed through in reimbursing me for the additional costs required for that adjustment.  

The arch has two cross struts made out of stainless steel pipe that are anchored at the midpoint of the stern just behind the midline removable stanchion.  Some have elected to omit these from the installation, but I find these to be critical in providing absolute lateral rigidity and stability.  In addition, I find that they provide a great handle for boarding the boat or simply grabbing on to something when working at the stern.  

The overall weight - with panels - probably around 200 lbs, though I’m not certain.
I have no movement or wobble in my arch - even when the dinghy is suspended, though I do not keep the dinghy there when making any passage.

The cost may be more than the Atlantic Arch, but I am very happy with the Emek arch, and I would do it the same way if I had to do it again.   I will try to post some photos, though it looks essentially the same as others who have posted on the forum.  

(I did the installation myself, though hired a welder to weld the 6 joints required for full installation - which cost an additional $1000).  In all, the total cost for arch, shipment and installation was around $7000.  

Good luck!
James
Soteria SM2K 347
Culebra

On Mar 13, 2019, at 9:29 PM, Jose Venegas via Groups.Io <josegvenegas@...> wrote:


I am in the process of ordering an arch for Ipanema.  After personally seeing the aluminum arch made by Atlantic Towers, from Lulu and Creamy Puff I was very impressed with the quality,  how light they were, and more importantly by the very affordable price.   However,  both owners (Marc and Mark)  mentioned that the arches were somewhat wobbly, but that was corrected to their satisfaction by adding cables or an extra-strut in a corner.  Although I have seen some very nice arches made to order, their cost , I think, is typically 3 to 4 times that of an Atlantic Tower and they seem to be much heavier.
My questions are for those who have installed arches:
0) if they were from Atlantic Towers, were they wobbly?
For this who installed stainless arches: 
1) do you have an idea of their weight? 
2) how wobbly are they when underway both with and without dink?, 
3) did you have to add extra struts or cables to make them stiffer?
4) What was the cost of manufacture and installation?
5) Can you provide a pix of your system?

Greatly appreciate your feedback
Jose
Ipanema SM2K 278
Still freezing in Boston Harbor but hopefully not for too long.


Jose Venegas
 

Thank you, James, Craig, and Ian for your thoughts.
James, nice to know that the Emek was only twice that of the Atlantic, I thught it was much more.  Also important to know that the wobbliness is an issue for both the Atlantic and the Emek arches that needs to be corrected by extra cables or struts  
James and Craig,
after several e-mails with the engineer of Atlantic discussing the direction of the pre-tension leg-in or leg-out, I concluded that the leg-out pretention should result in a stiffer and stronger structure than the leg-in pre-tension. This is both due to geometrical and structural considerations, too long to include here but that I would be happy to discuss offline.
So, at some extra cost, I have asked Atlantic to add lateral stiffness to the structure by reinforcing to the forward arch in the same way that they do for the aft arch.  That may not still be good enough and I may have to add a strut or cables to the structure.  It is not that I plan to carry my dingy on long passages but that I want to make the structure as strong as possible in case we are exposed to bad conditions.

Jose
Ipanema SM2K 278
Boston 
 


Craig Briggs
 

That sounds great, José, that Atlantic will add stiffeners. And, yes, leg-out pre-tensioning is what I did and what Atlantic's instructions said - a ratchet-strap is needed to pull the legs together to get them into the preinstalled deck mounts, although that's a finicky process and a rubber mallet helps.
Good luck with it,
Craig SN68 Sangaris


ngtnewington Newington
 


I had this stern arch made by Nick in Grenada. (TechNick Ltd SIMS Boat Yard) I showed him an example of the Emek arch and we discussed it. We tried flexing it by hand and it wobbled a lot. Nick said that if you use a twin tube design it will be much stiffer. This is like foam sandwich construction on a hull rather than single skin, which is vastly stiffer (although with hull design there is water ingress between the skins to worry about, but that is a different story). Nick built this arch for me and it is great and does not wobble at all, even in  rough weather  or in between the islands in a solid wind with dinghy hoisted. The point is that the twin walled pipe is connected one to another with short little struts. In my opinion it greatly stiffens the whole structure.

Nick 

Amelia (Aml 54 019) currently  ashore in La Palma Canary Islands but sailing to Greece this May.

On 14 Mar 2019, at 16:17, Craig Briggs via Groups.Io <sangaris@...> wrote:

That sounds great, José, that Atlantic will add stiffeners. And, yes, leg-out pre-tensioning is what I did and what Atlantic's instructions said - a ratchet-strap is needed to pull the legs together to get them into the preinstalled deck mounts, although that's a finicky process and a rubber mallet helps.
Good luck with it,
Craig SN68 Sangaris


Jose Venegas
 

Craig,
I am sorry I was not precise enough.  What I meant was to make the arch shorter and stretch the legs out, EXACTLY the opposite of what you did and what Atlantic recommends.    What you did and they suggest makes the arch weaker and less stiff.
Sorry
Jose SM2K Ipanema
 


Jose Venegas
 

I agree Nick, the double tube makes the structure stiffer.  It is precisely what the reinforcement of the Atlantic arch does. The design with top angles >>90 degrees should also help but I could not convince them to do it without cranking the price quite a bit.

Jose SM2K Ipanema 


Craig Briggs
 

Well, Josè, you're the guy who 'splained why we should put the "C" drive shaft seals on opposite to what Amel prescribes. With the Atlantic Arch it sounds like you may be batting 1000 !  The proof is in the pudding!
Cheers, Craig


Patrick McAneny
 

Jose, I was the first one to buy and install an Atlantic arch,it is my boat on their website. We have sailed thousands of miles and make short passages ,between the islands with dingy and outboard on the arch and it handles it fine. I had to stand in the dinghy to clear fish line from the wind generator for an hour ,no problem. I think it’s important to brace any arch laterally and also hoist the dinghy with diagonal lines and lines pulling it in tight to the arch. In rough seas our dinghy does not move in any direction,reducing shock loads. I built my own davit and solar platform from s.s. tubing,very robust . 
Pat
SM Shenanigans
Nevis


Ian Townsend
 

We were the second SM to install the Atlantic Towers unit. Many thanks to Pat for taking the plunge and helping set dimensions. We used the Atlantic davits and solar panel supports. I agree with everything Pat says about the lateral support and crossover dinghy lines. We prefer to put the 10' dinghy on deck and the 9.8hp outboard on the rail for longer passages and/or in rougher conditions.

Ian & Margaret
S/V Loca Lola II 
SM153
Exumas, Bahamas

On Mar 15, 2019, at 8:32 AM, Patrick McAneny via Groups.Io <sailw32@...> wrote:

Jose, I was the first one to buy and install an Atlantic arch,it is my boat on their website. We have sailed thousands of miles and make short passages ,between the islands with dingy and outboard on the arch and it handles it fine. I had to stand in the dinghy to clear fish line from the wind generator for an hour ,no problem. I think it’s important to brace any arch laterally and also hoist the dinghy with diagonal lines and lines pulling it in tight to the arch. In rough seas our dinghy does not move in any direction,reducing shock loads. I built my own davit and solar platform from s.s. tubing,very robust . 
Pat
SM Shenanigans
Nevis


Jose Venegas
 

Pat and Ian:
Thank you both for your input reassuring that everyone that has installed the Atlantic arch seems to be happy with it.  Also from what I hear, everyone has added some lateral support of the arch, whether or not you are carrying the dink. 

I don't plan to carry the dink on the arch during passages but believe that even without it, the greater its stiffness the better it will be in the case on faces very bad weather along the way.  

Perhaps when we meet along the way we can test if, and by how much, the lateral stiffness is increased by the prestressing the arch pulling the legs apart compared with that bringing them closer. 
Thanks for everyone's comments
Jose
SV IPANEMA SM178
Boston 


Arlo
 
Edited

I used thickwall stainless tubing with lateral supports at the bottom. 400 lb dink and engine and no wobble in any direction. I worked on the solar from inside the dink and I weigh 200 lbs... I uploaded some pics of the arch in the album section - Do a search on the word Seaduction and it will show up.



 


ngtnewington Newington
 

Mine is by TechNick in Grenada
No wobbles
No extra bracing required
Weight unknown
Cost  US$7000

Nick
SY Amelia Aml 54 -019
One more picture attached from side on

On 15 Mar 2019, at 17:04, Arlo <svplanb@...> wrote:

I used thickwall stainless tubing with lateral supports at the bottom. 400 lb dink and engine and no wobble in any direction. I worked on the solar from inside the dink and I weigh 200 lbs...


On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 08:29 PM, Jose Venegas wrote:

I am in the process of ordering an arch for Ipanema.  After personally seeing the aluminum arch made by Atlantic Towers, from Lulu and Creamy Puff I was very impressed with the quality,  how light they were, and more importantly by the very affordable price.   However,  both owners (Marc and Mark)  mentioned that the arches were somewhat wobbly, but that was corrected to their satisfaction by adding cables or an extra-strut in a corner.  Although I have seen some very nice arches made to order, their cost , I think, is typically 3 to 4 times that of an Atlantic Tower and they seem to be much heavier.
My questions are for those who have installed arches:
0) if they were from Atlantic Towers, were they wobbly?
For this who installed stainless arches: 
1) do you have an idea of their weight? 
2) how wobbly are they when underway both with and without dink?, 
3) did you have to add extra struts or cables to make them stiffer?
4) What was the cost of manufacture and installation?
5) Can you provide a pix of your system?

Greatly appreciate your feedback
Jose
Ipanema SM2K 278
Still freezing in Boston Harbor but hopefully not for too long.

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