Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Marathon

Hi Everyone,
Before we left the boat in Marathon we installed a 210 watt solar panel across the stern posts to help generate power to the batteries (it only took a couple trips up to Miami), however, we're getting a shadow from the radar dome and have to re-arrange the panel to get it out and producing like it should. Hopefully we can just rotate it 90 degrees and run it fore & aft. You can see the shadow cast across it in the picture below.
This was an adventure in itself as we rented a car for the trip to Miami and had no idea where we were going ..... Bought this huge panel (65" X 37") .... stuffed it into the trunk with a 1 foot overhang sticking out and drove home to Marathon. On the way back we discovered that RON forgot to measure the distance between the posts where we were going to mount it. As it turned out the space was 1 inch more than we needed.
You should have seen us at 11 o'clock at night loading this thing across the top of the tender (and it took up the whole front end of the boat) for the trip out to Wind Warrior, then lift it onto the deck without losing the whole works, and us, into the water. Finally, we had gotten a very rare night where the wind wasn't blowing.
We finally have the windmill generating power when the wind blows. The problem there was a broken wire inside the post.



Scott hadn't shown up yet by the time we left so we have another friend Eric looking after things for us. Wind Warrior is in good hands. Eric's going to make contact with Scott to help out while he's there.

The problem with our batteries seems to be a faulty thermostat in the fridge that is forcing it to run 24 hours a day at 5 amps per hour. We removed it when we left and are taking it home for repair or most likely replacement.

Other than that, the boats' in good hands while we're gone and Eric is keeping us up to date on her. He's doing a great job.
Nothing else to report for now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Marathon Florida

The boat is in the hands of a friend we met in Marathon.
We're still having a lot of trouble keeping the batteries charged so it makes it very difficult to even turn on a light at night. The problem seems to be that the fridge will NOT shut off which is drawing 5 amps per hour and between the wind generator and solar panel we're only recharging at about 3 amps per hour during the day so the barrel is getting empty.
Hopefully it's just a matter of replacing the thermostat in the fridge when we get home so it'll shut down when it gets cold.
I also found out that a solar panel cannot have any shadow over it as all the units are hooked up in series and that a shadow really cuts things down, so now it's a matter of rotating it 90 degrees to get it out from under the radar shadow. Hope that works.





Well, the blog probably won't get updated again until after Christmas for those of you following it.
See you in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Miami to Marathon Sailing




FANTASTIC SAILING !! We left Miami in about 25 knots of wind and 5 foot choppy seas, but after 10 miles we were into the Hawk Channel on the outside of the Keys, which is protected by a barrier reef, and the seas died down to 1-2 feet but we still had plenty of wind. We sailed down to Marathon all the way through the Hawk Channel. For all you armchair sailors who dream about sailing in the Gulfstream....... if you look at the horizon in the video you can see a thin strip of darker blue water. The "Stream" was 1-2 miles outside of us. Poor tender getting dragged along at 7-8 knots all day. Marathon is a great place with plenty of moorings and plenty of stores. We're still trying to get the lay of things down here and are getting real tired of not having enough battery power to run things all day, so yesterday we jumped in the rental car and drove back to Miami where we bought a 210 watt solar panel and a 2000 watt generator (for when the sun isn't out). We also have to get the wind generator working properly. Now for the big job..... off to West Marine to buy enough material to "create" an arch to mount the panel on up between to radar mast and windmill mast. Oh yeah, the panel is 65 inches long and the space between the poles is 66! Perfect fit. When all is said and done we'll be lighting up the whole anchorage with cold beer in hand.
By the way... the sunsets here are spectacular...... and we don't have a tan... hehehe.
video