Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Skylark is Going Green

 Yup, you heard right, Skylark will soon be off the grid and just a bit closer to self-sufficiency. I do like the sound of that. By adding a 75w panel, I should be able to produce all the power I need without running the engine or the generator. At this point, I really have very limited power needs not having a refrigerator, but if that changes, I can just an additional panel to make up the difference.

For the panel, I came across a great deal for a brand new Siemens SP75 on Craigslist. The specs are here. As of now, I will probably mount it on the deck until I have an arch or a set of dingy davits to mount on top of.

In addition to the panel itself, you need to have a charge controller to manage the flow of current to the batteries. The controller will make sure you don't overcharge or inadvertently discharge your batteries.  I went with the SunForce Charge Controller. It can handle up to 10Amps of current and up to 150 Watts. They have good a deal at Defender.

I will post pics of course once everything is installed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Little by Little Progress is Made

I got back to the cold weather on Sunday after spending a week down on Skylark. The weather was fantastic and it was really nice being in the warm sun after a few weeks of freezing temperatures. It actually felt like spring but I know the cold stuff is still on it's way. Between now and then though, there are a few things that are in the works and I hope to have it all done by the end of  January.

Good Old Boat Shirt Pic
As I mentioned previously, the engine work is basically finished although there are a few things that still need to be tweaked. That should be wrapped up this week though and I can officially cross the Atomic 4 refurb off the list. Skylark already seems happier that her innards are back together. She sits so much better now that the 400 or so pounds are back where they belong. When the engine was out, we bobbed like a cork in any bad weather. But between the engine and a full fuel tank, she is so much more stable. It's amazing what adding a little weight to a boat will do to her feel. 

In addition, my buddy Trevor will be painting the deck, an item on the to-do list that desperately needs to be done. I have decided to go with white on white since the light blue got so hot in the summer, it was crazy. So after a recommendation from someone who has cruised all of the Caribbean, white on white it is (thanks Ralph.) I am really excited to see how she turns out. The hull had recently been done right before I bought Skylark and still looks good, so once the deck is clean, she will look real great.
On top of that, the fresh water tank will be fixed or replaced, so my water woes will finally be behind me. If all goes to plan, the next time I get down to the boat, I will be ready for the first cruise of the year. I know you can't see it, but I am smiling from ear to ear. Trevor and I have already figured out a few places to buddy boat  while running sea trials. It's been way to long not being on the hook. I can't wait.

I also got lucky and found someone selling brand new, in the box 75w solar panels for a great price, so I picked one up. I don't have a cold plates at this point, so my power requirements are really low. A 75 watt panel should do me just fine until I replace the refrigeration sometime later in the year or next. I will post pics once it's installed as well as the type of controller I go with. Something simple should work for now.

So that's the update. I will post more pics of everything once I get things a little more sorted. 
Fair winds...