Tony, sorry to jump in late on this. In my opinion, I think you should take both vacations. You can use your time on the ICW
to unwind from all the stress a three week trip to Italy is going to bring on. Anchoring
is ever so theraputic!
With regard to your house battery
bank, I think two batteries is severely below what is necessary based on the circumstances you described. On my 28 footer, I have three group 29 house batteries and they are adequate for a weekend on the hook. The battery mainly powers the refrigerator
, lights, toilet, tablet/cell phones, stereo, coffee maker, toaster oven
(used sparingly), and skillet (also used sparingly). It is perfect for a weekend outing. But beyond that, I'd seriously consider increasing battery capacity.
You have a much larger boat than I do; and more space to add additional batteries. Assess your needs and add accordingly. I'm guessing you'll need to double your battery capacity.
This leads to my next suggestion. I highly recommend purchasing
a battery monitoring system before you spend a single
dime on additional battery capacity and the addition of solar panels
. Xantrex makes a great system and it is very affordable given what it provides. You will be able to use this system to not only tell you how much battery capacity you have available, it will tell you exactly how much you are using...and accordingly how much capacity you need. For $200 and some change, it is a great (and necessary) investment.
Brief answers to your other questions: Yes, a charge controller will be necessary. No matter how much attention you pay to your charging
, it is very easy to overcharge and damage your batteries. And as others have noted, the shadow of the crane will have an impact on your charging
. If you can relocate your solar panel away from the crane, it would help considerably. The problem with moving it is you will be doing this constantly as your boat moves according to tides and as the sun's position changes. The shadow of the crane is going to end up being a royal pain, in my opinion.
Keep us posted on how it's going.