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Old 11-02-2004, 06:32   #1
sjs
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All Is Well In BVI

Just returned from a charter in BVI and have a few thoughts.

This was my first experience with a refrigerator on board and I now understand the references I have heard about the tyranny of the refrigerator. The charter company recommended three hours engine time every day . . . whew.

Boat was a very pleasant floating condo that sailed very poorly, a design compromise for the charter fleet to be sure, but also blown out sails and running rigging that could easily have had a better layout for better performance. We had small craft advisories for 7 out of 8 days and I could not get her to make any distance good against the wind. Needed two reefs in the main, the genny furled way in, and she would not point at all into the 20-35 knot winds and 4 to 6 ft steep and close seas. Even under engine she barely made way into the weather. Nonetheless, with a little judgment we managed to stay safe, get to some great places and had a tremendous time and it broke our hearts to leave. My thought is, as others have noted many times, it is better to be out there cruising in a less than ideal boat than to be waiting for the perfect boat.

This was my only experience in BVI so I don't claim any extensive knowledge about the area but it is all it was cracked up to be and I will go back as soon as possible.
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Old 11-02-2004, 10:57   #2
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Hi sjs.

What boat and which charter company?

As for tyranny of fridge.....

I can sit for 5 days running fridge/frezzer and all withou starting engine.
2 75 watt solar panels take care the load...(On sunny days, overcast, cut the time in half or less.)

Cold beer taste good in a quiet anchorage.......
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Old 11-02-2004, 16:04   #3
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Howdy,

I did not know solar panels had come so far since the last time (long ago) that I looked into them. Cold beer is indeed a good thing. I have to get up to date on those things.

The company is Sunsail and I am very impressed with them. But when you consider what they have to do to stay in business, including maintaining a fleet of somewhat newish boats that get heavy usage by a changing group of skippers of widely divergent skills and knowledge, you have to expect them to lean toward the floating condo- low performance end of the spectrum. Everything is rigged for ease of use, which does not necessarily equate to efficient use. Their maintenance, support services and organization are impressive. If you need to charter, you expect compromises and I recommend Sunsail highly.

The boats are made by Benneteau for the charter trade, have big tankage and are spacious below, and this particular boat was an Oceanis 331. I spoke to other skippers with larger charter boats, up to 50 feet, and size did not seem to matter. Everybody had the same problem dealing with the conditions. While I don't actively seek small craft advisory sailing as I did in my youth, a boat from 30 to 50 feet ought to be able to handle it with competent crew. By the way, these boats were manageable on a reach or run; but I think charter boats get their sails blown out early due to heavy use and/or inept use and sailing close hauled is tough when the camber has gone south.

By the way, tried out a new beer down there, its called Carib, and I sort of liked it . . . well, actually, I liked it a lot.
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Old 11-02-2004, 21:24   #4
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Yup, konw about Caribe beer....Not quite the same thing as we grew up with in the old country, but any cold beer on a warm day is better than, uh, a warm beer on a cold day.

Solar panels....Well, don't know that they have come a long way, just add real-estate and them amps come a-pumping in.

My Cool Blue fridge/freezer burns 40 amps per day in the summer and 25 in the winter.....Them solar panels pump out 50 on a good day with the sun overhead...As in the summer in the tropics.

On my 33' ship I have 440 amps for a house bank....Perhaps I burn 70 or 75 per day, all included....Then get 40 or 50 back from the sun-Gods...Net loss, 30 amps per day or so,
times 5 days....Less than half the capacity...
Never go below 50%, it will shorten the life of them deep-cycle batteries.....70% and no less is better..Trying to stay at that level.

Never been a problem as I usually haul anchor and motor away before the 5 days are up....A theoretical limit anyway..3 days are probably more in line with the truth...
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:52   #5
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Hey CSY Man, since you mentioned it, and since I'm still on island time and too lazy to look it up right at the moment, you mind a few questions? Like . . .

how much real estate? (I'm guessing you mean large panels, so how large and how many?)

with real estate it's location, location, location so where are the panels located?

how fragile are they? (e.g., dropping gear on them, stepping on them, etc.)

how much less would you burn without the freezer, but with the fridge?

how much less would you burn without the fridge but with the freezer?

how well do you think they would work for a boat kept in the upper Chesapeake which cruises the ICW, including sometimes overcast New England?

or, if these are too many questions, open a beer and tell me to get off me bum and look it up myself, and I probably will, when I get back on mainland time.
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Old 12-02-2004, 21:11   #6
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Hi s.

Well the real estate is 2 X 75 watt Siemens panels.

They are over the aft end of the bimini top..Very protected except from the sun.
Also aft of the split back stays, not much shadow from a stay there except if the sun is low and from forward.

How much amps from fridge or freezer only...?

Not sure, it is all connected on my ship...One compressor with a spill-over system.
Oversize cold plate in the freezer with a few small opeings to the fridge box.
Very simple and low maintenance.
New England or Chesapeake?
Not sure, but there is a formula, or rather a graph somewhere on the net where ya plug in yer latitude and the time of the year to get the output of the solar panels..

My panels are rated at 4.4 amps per hour, in the lab or at the equator....I have seen a max of 4.0 in Florida with a good sun..

Therefore, take of at least 10% of what they claim, up North, 20 or 30.....

Hope this helps.

CM

Works great in Florida/Bahamas.
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Old 13-02-2004, 06:08   #7
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Thanks CSY, I'll try to locate that formula/graph.
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Old 13-02-2004, 07:45   #8
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Try this site here: http://www.cosolar.com/

This is were I have bought my panels...These folks are helpful and the prices are about HALF of what West Marine is charging.

I surfed their site right now to find that graph, but did not.
I may have seen it on Siemen's web site, but they just got bought out and the panenls are now called Shell Solar.
Try their page and look for output/latitude or whatever.

Again, it is all aabout angle....If the sun is overhead like at the Equator, ya should get full output....Then gradually move North and the sun is lower and lower, less power....BUT ya can always angle the panels right at the sun to overcome that problem.

I choose not to since I am really sundrenched here in Florida and the Bahamas and the installation would be quite a bit more involved.

Will look for a pic of my panel setup.

http://cockpitforum.com/6/ubb.x?s=98...&ul=4586097115

Try this one..It is a picture on a different forum...I have a different name there, but same outstanding character,,,,
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Old 15-02-2004, 07:28   #9
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Thanks again CSY Man, couldn't get your picture but got the solar site and there's lots of useful info there to get me started.
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