Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Solar Project is DONE!

Dawn and I did end up missing the SSCA gam due to a couple of unforseen events. First, our local welder wunderkind Caleb had the long-awaited solar panel frames all ready to install on our solar/davit arch, needed my help to do so, and wanted to get it done this weekend. Secondly, Dawn's childhood friend Cindie decided to make a last-minute trip to the boat. So sadly, we missed the gam. Erin & Kara on Vela say it was a good time. Hopefully we'll still make a couple days of the Annapolis Boat Show.

I did some work on our teak decks over the weekend (replacing/rebedding screws & bungs, epoxying splits) and I should finish that up in the morning, but completing the solar panel project was the main objective. And as of tonight, it's 100% done. We now have 520 watts of solar power: 200 watts in 4 PV panels on the Bimini top and two 160-watt panels in the gleaming new frames on the arch. Together with our wind gen this should meet our daily electrical needs a good 90%+ of the time.

We did manage to get Windbird off the dock yesterday for a nice easy, slow upwind sail across the bay. I had no idea Windbird would go upwind in 5-6 knots of true wind, but she does albeit at a stately 2.5-3.5 knots. We didn't even care, it was beautiful out and the apparent breeze was just enough to cool down a hot day. We anchored at Lowes Wharf just after 5:30pm and took the dogs to land (we're dogsitting Leo for our friends John & Trina on S/V Next Place). Turned out the popular beach bar there is closed on Mondays but they were ok with us walking the dogs there. We had a beautiful, quiet night on the hook, and were anchor up early today to get Cindie to DCA to fly back to Minnesota. We sailed for a bit and motorsailed at reduced power for the rest, wing-on-wing dead downwind to Deale. Once again backing into the slip went very smoothly. We're finally getting the hang of that (he said just before trying it in real wind & current!).

We spent a lot of time today doing planning for our next season. Obviously many of the places we planned on visiting have been devastated by hurricanes Irma and Marie, including the Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, Spanish Virgin Islands, USVI, BVI, and St. Maarten. We're still planning on going but our focus will be much different as we're going to try to volunteer as much as we can in the rebuilding effort (particularly in the BVI, which got absolutely destroyed by a direct hit from Cat 5, 185-mph Irma). I'll post more about that later. Tomorrow I'm heading out on a seven-day international trip that will take me to both London and Paris, among other places. 


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  2. So glad you got your panels on and Cindi was able to visit. Looks like Leo is enjoying his time with you guys! Hope you have a good trip, Sam!