As a cheap
cruiser myself, I know how we all love to run the numbers on our buying
decisions to help support or dissuade our specific gear buying
decisions, but some decisions are not made entirely by the numbers.
There are many reasons for this, and Mike brought out a good one about solar...some boats just don't have the room. I have 1380W of solar aboard which is much more (maybe double) than the average cruising boat we see in the anchorages
but I have the room on this Barge of mine. I tried getting buy with less, first 260, then 480, and finally I'm living large at 1380!
I have a KISS up on the Mizzen mast
that when there is wind and no sun, I still have plenty of power. If there is no sun and no wind....I fire up my Honda
2000 and charge 75A into the battery
bank. Too rough for the Honda
, I use my 8K genset and put 150A into the battery
is down, then I fire up my Ford Lehman
120Hp beast and charge with my 160A Alternator
. The point is a full time cruising/living aboard boat can't have too much power or too many ways to make it. You just don't hear people in anchorages sitting around at cruiser pot lucks talking about how they have too much DC power, too much solar, too much wind, too much battery storage
, etc. Its the opposite, they want and need more.
Having the ability to put 150AH or more into the bank on a sunless day or night just from the wind is nice and some people want that option, so they buy a wind generator
. Now why would someone pay $1495 for a wind generator
(plus the mounting expense) when they could pay $950 with free shipping
for a Honda 2000 generator and charge at 60A with a $450 battery charger
. Heck, keep that line of questioning going. Why would anyone put in a Diesel
genset when they could have a Honda 2000 or even two of them chained together if they needed more power?
The answer is because Cost isn't always the deciding factor...and we know that to be true, or else NO ONE would ever really NEED a water
maker, they would shower
with a hudson
sprayer once a week and jerry jug water
for heavens sake.
At $4395 for a 20 gallon per hour water maker, that is a LOT of jerry canning my friends. But Convenience and quality of life is why people buy water makers, wind gens, solar panels
, 12v DC expresso makers, and 12v vacuum cleaners. And despite those that would say otherwise, there is nothing wrong with it if you have the money!
The goal in outfitting a cruising boat is options....how many ways can you make power and keep your lifestyle from having to change due to your battery voltage meter. I know even saying this nuts up the purists, but they are the loud vocal minority. The silent majority of cruisers these days want the comforts of home on the boat which means having POWER. No sun for the week due to the storm but it is blowing 25-30kts....heck....I don't care that my solar is useless, because the wind gen takes care of me. No wind...then the next device down the line takes care of me.
Now I totally agree that FIRST you put all the solar you can on your boat and you have a high output alternator
Those two are a given to me and I think should be for everyone.
Then you start talking options...Honda 2000....Diesel Genset....Wind Generator...etc to fill in and make your live more comfortable. Run out of money
at Solar and Alternator...then screw it....you Go cruising, don't let the options stop you from going...but if you have the money
the Options sure can make your life out cruising more comfortable!