Originally Posted by Feral Cement
Where did you get that stern mount? I was think of putting a rotating stern panel on my Catalina
27, between two "davits" with knobs to tighten the panel into the best pivot position. Sources? Thanks!
In my years of boatbuilding and/or repair, I have found SS shops to be one of the biggest bargains.
I wanted my solar panel installation
to be as light as possible. (We trimariners are like that, we even tear redundant pages out of books!)
The rack was just SS tubing like bimini
top frames, (of the thicker wall). I described it to the guy at the canvass place, and he bent it up for me. (4 bends) I mounted it to the rear sternrail stantions with 4 of these little SS hose clamp "saddles", but intended to double up the hose clamps on each one. These saddles are really cheap
@ West Marine
. (Forespar I think).
I ALWAYS spend the extra bucks for the AWAB type all 316 SS clamps.
After mounting, I found it to be too shaky, so removed it, had a pair of horizontal and vertical gusset rods of 5/16" SS welded on, and remounted it.
The rack was now ABSOLUTELY rigid, but VERY light! I could easily dangle from it!
Then I had a "panel" frame welded up, to drop the solar panel in. it was a rectangle, just larger than the panel, made of 1/4" thick, 1.5 X 1.5" angle aluminum
. It has 4 @ 2" wide cross bars under it, made of 1/4" aluminum
"flat bar". These are to mount the tubing clamps to.
This was mounted to the SS rack's crossbar, with 4 of those marine store "Starboard" tubing clamp mounts, (with the black thumb screws). They are made specifically for mounting things to SS tubing, and the tension is adjustable.
Next I dropped the 110w panel into the frame, with 1/4" thick spacer nuts under the panel. It bolts down firmly, without the panel sitting in or on the frame. (No sitting in a bed
I have two VERY thin Kevlar retainer downlines. One on each side, for hurricanes only. Otherwise, the tension on the mounts keeps the panel where I left it, with no adjustment to the thumb screws.
Like my other panels, (all 14 years old), it has been through a number of hurricanes, including category 4 winds, gusting over 150 MPH! I have never removed them, or had damage.
My rack & frame came out about as light as the windvane
that was drawn in the plans, (and I opted not to use), and cost between $200 and $300 for materials and welding labor. The solar panel itself was $1,000, but they have gone down...
I have mostly cruised in predominately East winds. More often than not, when anchored out, the tilt feature can really add to the Amp Hours gathered that day. I rarely use the tilt feature however, because 95% of the time, my batteries have been full for hours, by late in the day. It is still a good feature to have available.
I'd have to say, it has been one of my biggest successes!