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Old 22-04-2011, 19:31   #1
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Preparing to Cruise: Electronics

Ok we have done it. We've bought the boat (not the most ideal boat for blue water cruising but its what we can afford, it's strong, it's paid for and we can make the upgrades it needs before we go).

We have one year to refit this boat and get it ready to sail from Seattle to New Zealand.

We need a solar panel and/or a wind generator (can we have both?) and where is the best place to get them. We want extra deep cycle batteries as well. Any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 22-04-2011, 22:47   #2
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Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

Yes you can have both but the mounting and wiring becomes more complex.

Look at Atom Voyages | Voyages Aboard the Sailboat Atom - The Atom SolarTracker adjustable solar panel mounts for sailboats for a solar mounting system to track the sun maximizing panel output.

For a wind generator look at http://www.naviclub.com/Test_compara...nes_marine.pdf for a comparison done by Practical Boat Owner. Output aside, my feeling is that the concensus is that quieter turbines are better for good relations with neighbors be they ashore or anchored nearby.

If you keep your electrical usage under control a couple of solar panels should keep you in juice quite well going thru the tropics, possibly even with a small, well insulated fridge. I don't know how well you would do in NZ, sitting out hurricane season. Given that that is the southern hemisphere late summer and fall, I expect you would do fine, but not sure.

If you mounted solar panels as above, you would start having problems mounting a turbine too given that most of the stern would now be taken up with panels and windvane. If you skip the windvane in favor of an autopilot then you really would need panels and turbine to keep up, autopilots big enough to last offshore are powerhogs.

Wind turbines present safety issues beyond the electrical. Specifically in high winds they need to be feathered then lashed so they can't overspeed and burnout or worse start throwing blades (read flying daggers). Even in usable conditions if a line or other item impinges on the turbine disk broken blades and jagged flying pieces are a risk. I don't know how big a risk, but I have heard enough stories to know it is not a remote risk.

My quick read from this thread (Wind vs. Solar? Recommendations?) is that people out there are 3 to 2 solar vs both. Nobody seems to be saying wind only.

My plan is to go with solar panels and a small (1kw or 2kw) Honda gas generator. These are very quiet, reliable and comparable in price to a wind turbine. The fuel would put the generator behind the turbine cost-wise, but there would greater flexiblity of use, and it would be easier to use power tools or to run a battery charger to top the house batteries up.

For a discussion of batteries read Systems. Keep in mind you are not going to want to add more batteries to your system, you need to replace the whole bank all at once unless the existing batteries are very new. All the batteries need to be the same size too or some will be consistently overcharged and some undercharged.

The most basic thing you can do to make all your power generation options easier to impliment is to cut your usage:
First and foremost is lights, flourescent or LED inside and LED navigation and anchoring lights outside. Motoring lights can stay incandescent as you will have power to burn while motoring.

Next you need to decide on things like watermaker, radar and autopilot usage.

My suggestion is to read Nigel Calder's cruising book which has a whole big section on balancing all your power uses and supplies.

On a different topic what boat did you get?
What is your planned route?
What part of WA are you from?

The wife and I are planning a cruise to NZ in 8-10yr when the kids are old enough to get something out of it. We are probably going to get a Cal36 in the next year or so.

I am a Seattle boy and miss it terribly, grey skies and all.
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Old 22-04-2011, 22:58   #3
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Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

do you have an idea on what you are looking for? my distributor for renewable energy products are in CA. If you want anything in particular i can have them drop ship them to you.
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Old 24-04-2011, 18:58   #4
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Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

We live in Port Angeles and we have a restored Columbia Defender. We still have to install hand grips on the outside and inside of the raised deck. Cover the huge windows with Plexiglass and get the electronics upgraded. This is really a coastal boat but Mike Keers did open ocean in his Defender and gave us some pointers on how to upgrade ours so we don't have the same problems he did. It's a 29.4 footer.
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Old 24-04-2011, 19:26   #5
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pirate Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

Get youself the top range Aerogen.... its all you'll need... but if your worried get a single 130w panel as well.... as for complications electronically... forget it.
All you need is the correct regulator... the wiring up is so simple a 7yr old could do it.
The above is what I got for a 'Bene' 331 with fridge/freezer, vhf, cd, wheel pilot, and the usual lights, fans etc.... fitted them and wired up myself... its a piece of cake if your IQ's over 100....
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Old 25-04-2011, 16:13   #6
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Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyegret222 View Post
We live in Port Angeles and we have a restored Columbia Defender. We still have to install hand grips on the outside and inside of the raised deck. Cover the huge windows with Plexiglass and get the electronics upgraded. This is really a coastal boat but Mike Keers did open ocean in his Defender and gave us some pointers on how to upgrade ours so we don't have the same problems he did. It's a 29.4 footer.
Port Angeles, one of my favorite places to cruise to, nice little working town, just a little of the touristy crap, home of Swains.

The Defender should be feel nice and spacious below with the raised deck. How is the deck to work on when it's bumpy out?

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Old 26-04-2011, 13:51   #7
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Re: Preparing to Cruise: Electronics

So far so good but we haven't been out in open ocean on really big waves. The Strait can get a bit hairy and we haven't had any trouble there. It is really roomy inside with the raised deck although I hear that's more room to fall all over the place. LOL Yes, P.A. is a nice working town with some over zealous town councilmen and mayor trying to make the place a tourist trap. It gets quite boring living here if you are not old and glued to the rocking chair.
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Old 26-04-2011, 16:30   #8
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Re: Preparing to Cruise: Electronics

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So far so good but we haven't been out in open ocean on really big waves. The Strait can get a bit hairy and we haven't had any trouble there. It is really roomy inside with the raised deck although I hear that's more room to fall all over the place. LOL Yes, P.A. is a nice working town with some over zealous town councilmen and mayor trying to make the place a tourist trap. It gets quite boring living here if you are not old and glued to the rocking chair.
I imagine the old folks glued to the rocking chair are the people that are most bored. At least you can take the boat for a spin weekends and evenings. Or is the boat layed up for outfitting?

What's your itinerary and route to NZ?
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Old 26-04-2011, 17:09   #9
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Re: Preparing to Cruise-Electronics questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyegret222 View Post
We live in Port Angeles and we have a restored Columbia Defender. We still have to install hand grips on the outside and inside of the raised deck. Cover the huge windows with Plexiglass and get the electronics upgraded. This is really a coastal boat but Mike Keers did open ocean in his Defender and gave us some pointers on how to upgrade ours so we don't have the same problems he did. It's a 29.4 footer.
I was the foredeck man (here pictured by the hatch) on my Dad's Columbia Defender (Seeadler) in the 1960s, here pictured with San Francisco in the background. She was a stiff boat, with about 50% of its gross weight contained in the lead keel. We presented the cake to Dad on Fathers Day when he was 90.

Never fell off from the foredeck even when handling the spinnaker.

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Old 26-04-2011, 20:58   #10
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Re: Preparing to Cruise: Electronics

Awesome Cake. Yes, the Defender can be somewhat stiff but she's a solid little boat and so easy to sail. She's in the water, I am living on her now getting used to living in a small space.

To the other question about our route to New Zealand. It depends on when I leave. I'm traveling with my two dogs. I just moved here from Hawaii and they still have all their Hawaii records which are good until 2013. I'm hoping with the Hawaii records, New Zealand won't quaranteen my dogs. I'm hoping to leave and get to NZ before their records expire.

We will probably sail down the coast to Chili then head across to the Marquessas and on and on. Not sure really. Got any ideas?
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Old 26-04-2011, 23:24   #11
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Re: Preparing to Cruise: Electronics

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Originally Posted by snowyegret222 View Post
Awesome Cake. Yes, the Defender can be somewhat stiff but she's a solid little boat and so easy to sail. She's in the water, I am living on her now getting used to living in a small space.

To the other question about our route to New Zealand. It depends on when I leave. I'm traveling with my two dogs. I just moved here from Hawaii and they still have all their Hawaii records which are good until 2013. I'm hoping with the Hawaii records, New Zealand won't quaranteen my dogs. I'm hoping to leave and get to NZ before their records expire.

We will probably sail down the coast to Chili then head across to the Marquessas and on and on. Not sure really. Got any ideas?
Given their fragile ecosystems both NZ and Oz have implimented the most draconian importation restrictions on animals (pets included) in the world.

Don't count on your HA records counting for much if anything. My reading is that there are a whole slew of tests and treatments that need to be done within the last year before arrival. See links below for where I got my info. If things go well you can quartantine the dog for 30d after arrival, on your dime. Option 2 is bonding ($1000) the dog on your boat. The boat is required to be anchored out in the same port of entry for the entire stay, officials visit the boat at least weekly to check, on your dime again, the dog is not allowed off the boat. Violations would forfeit the bond and possibly other unmentionable consequences. Option 3 involves quarantine for length of visit. Option 4 is unmentionable.

The cost is going to run to the thousands of dollars.

MAF - Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. A New Zealand Government Department.
Your Pets | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
Dogs and cats arriving on a yacht | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
Importing Dogs and cats on yachts from specified countries | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand

The time horizon for our trip is 8-10yr, gives the kids time to be old enough to get more out of it and to have learned a little bit of caution. The dog we have will have died by then, no replacements til we return. The cat may still be alive. If so, don't know what we'll do, I'm rather attached to the little trouble maker.

Route-wise you will want to start down the coast March or April at the latest. Past about Costa Rica you will be in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, very light winds punctuated with squalls til you get past Equador. Better option might be to go to SA via Galapogos or Marquesas. I haven't really researched this much.

Our route is going to be Marquesas, Samoa, Tonga, maybe Fiji, NZ. Layover 4mo in NZ for south Pacific typhoon season, Australs, Tahiti, HA, CA.

My wife's sabbatical won't start til late June so we will be leaving late for the Marquesas, we should leave March/April to avoid tropical storm season in the north Pacific. It may be that I go early with the kids and a friend and she catches up. In the Marquesas we will be near the tail end of the weather window so we son't be able to daddle, though I don't think we will be rushed either. Once we get to Samoa we should be in the early/middle part of the weather window with wiggle room.

I would suggest 'World Cruising Routes' by Jimmy Cornell ($50ish), 'Ocean Passages of the World' by British Admiralty ($100ish), and the appropriate Atlas of Pilot Charts by NGA (free download at Maritime Safety Information, or hard copy for $60ish N&S Pacific)

It's a bit of money but I would get both books, and use them together, they have complimentry info. On a shoestring get an older edition of Cornell's book, and get BA chart 5308, world sailing ship routes.

SeaOcean Book Berth in Ballard is the best source for used nautical books in Seattle, and Captain's Nautical Supply is the best chart source on the West Coast. On-line may be cheaper than both of these.

I find that working backwards along my route works best to figure out timing. I looked up the distances for the major legs, assumed a 100mi/day speed and used a spreadsheet to calculate arrival and departure dates and passage times. If you want I can send you the sheet and you can modify to suit.


The NGA also has a bunch of other downloads of very useful publications at Maritime Safety Information.
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