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Old 16-05-2012, 09:32   #91
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
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Re: Solar Panels - Bimini or Davits - Pros and Cons of Both

1) Have you read my posting here in this thread from just a couple weeks ago (#67 on page 5), and viewed all the links I provided there????

And, have you read the article I wrote (and viewed all the photios) about my above-bimini mounted 520 watt array???
Solar Panels

Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
I have the same concern as voiced by others about Bimini mounting. no davits, but seriously considering putting my 2 panels on the rail.
2) It's been my experience the reason some have concerns about "bimini-mounting" of solar panels, is primarily because of:
a) the various designs / construction of bimini tops.....
b) their experiences with light-duty "bimini tops", etc. rather than those designed and constructed stoutly, which can quite easily do the job....

Please understand that I mean no offense to anyone, nor do I wish to put words into others is just that, it has been my personal experience that once someone sees the type of bimini that I'm used to dealing with (the type I have on my boat), their "concerns" fade away....

This doesn't mean that an above-bimini mounting arrangement is what I'd recommend for you, NorthPacific, but just that YOU should make that choice based on YOUR application, YOUR desire, YOUR budget, etc.
And taking into account both, how your current (or future??) bimini is designed/constructed. as well as how much solar are you in need of....

For more details, please read my post here in this thread (#67) and my article(s) linked....
such as this one... Solar Panels

3) As for rail-mounted panels....some here have had good results, especially those that have them off the stern....

And, while I have no personal experience rail-mounting panels, I have read of some who found it troublesome....
a) Ironicall, some find the shade caused by their bimini tops to be a real pain to their energy generation...
b) Some have also written of waves / boarding seas being a serious issue when at sea....(although the percentage of time at sea may be small, energy use when on a passage is usually critical, so some consideration of this should be made...)
c) If you tie up alongside a dock, pier, wall, or warf, etc. be aware of potential for damage to your panels.....(I even saw a guy who had rail-mounted panels fending off another boat, who was med mooring next to him in Gib a few years back...)

North Pacific, I do hope this helps you some...

s/v Annie Laurie

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Old 16-05-2012, 10:24   #92
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Re: Solar Panels - Bimini or Davits - Pros and Cons of Both

Yes I did read the thread. As my boat is much smaller than many in the thread, some of the suggestions in the thread are not options. Therefore as perhaps my boat $ available is also smaller, compromise is a reality I have learned to live with.

Hence my question about rail mounting panels. The idea of mounting on top of the Bimini, I find irksome as it effectively creates a cabin roof over my small cockpit. With the enclosed cockpit canvas I have inherited it does take away from the Sailing feeling at the moment. But at the moment I can fold forward the Bimini and then have the ability to see what is coming! I would loose that ability if I had the panels mounted high.

It does appear that one rail mounted poster has had some success. Which is encouraging:-) I don't like ice cream so I am OK to have a smaller set up :-)
solar is one of four amp generating options on my 35ft boat, so each one has its place in the grand scheme of things.

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bimini, davits, solar

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