Saturday, May 30, 2015

We LOVE our Solar Panels

Last weekend we anchored out for two nights. While we were there we tested our new solar panels. They were a big success. We had just three out of four of them installed. We made a rather last-minute decision to go out (more about that later) and George couldn't find the last connector before we left the dock.

No problem, the batteries were fully charged by early afternoon using just three 100 watt panels. Granted, it was a very sunny weekend but we were still very happy. George decided that I should make lapel extensions for two of the panels. In spite of all of our careful measurements the lapels for two of the panels did not fit over the connectors. (You can see that in the first photo.)

The smart controllers seemed to do a good job managing the voltage and amperage going into the batteries. There were times when the solar panels were putting out a voltage higher than 14 volts. The controllers would reduce the voltage to 14 and thereby increase the amperage going into the batteries. No wasted electricity!

The weather couldn't have been nicer while we were anchored. It was in the upper 70's, sunny and with low humidity. Since it was a holiday weekend we shared the anchorage with quite a few other boats. The Trippe Creek anchorage has plenty of space to spread out so there was room for everyone.

The boats in this raft-up maxed out at 14. All but two left later in the evening. There were eight or nine boats around us each night.

While we were there George tried out his new ATN Mast Climber. He was able to hoist himself up to the spreaders to measure the length of line he will need for burgee halyards.

We also tried our new cockpit shades. They help make the cockpit much more comfortable in the early morning and late afternoon.

In the evening we used our Luci Inflatable Solar Light. It holds its power for a long time and puts out a lot of very nice light.


I mentioned that we made a last-minute decision to anchor out. Since I received my breast cancer diagnosis we have had to work around two biopsies and several other appointments prior to my surgery. I had my second biopsy last week and wasn't sure I would be up to going out for a sail. At the last minute I decided I would be able to sail.

I am writing this post as I recover from the lumpectomy I had yesterday. Since I had some trouble with both of the biopsies I want to be sure I don't do anything too strenuous after the surgery that will impact my recovery. I am hoping it won't be too long before I can get out on Breeze On.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sometimes Things Don't Work Out As Planned

We have had the most beautiful, warm spring weather here lately. So why aren't we out sailing? Well, first of all, we didn't have our sails. At the World Cruising Club seminar in March we heard a sailmaker's presentation and we liked him and what he had to say. We asked him if he would be able to add a third reef point to our main sail and a UV strip to our jib. I have wanted a third reef point so that, if we encountered winds over 30 knots on our anticipated passage to the Bahamas in the fall, we would be able to reduce the sail enough to manage that much wind. The sailmaker said, sure, it could be done and he could add the UV strip to the jib to protect it from UV damage. He said his schedule is about a month out, which would have meant he could finish the job around the end of April. George just picked the sails up yesterday and put them on today.

Another issue has been that George replaced the hose that goes from the aft head to the holding tank. All last season I smelled an odor coming from the aft head. I had read on Women Who Sail that odors can permeate the hose and when that happens the only fix is to replace the hose. To test whether the odor has permeated the hose, wrap a damp cloth around the hose and leave it there for a few minutes. If the cloth smells, the odor has permeated the hose. I did the test and the cloth did smell. George worked for three days to remove the old hose. Finally with the help of his friend, Ray, and Ray's Dremel tool they were able to get the old hose off and replace most of it with new hose.

Last, but certainly not least, I recently learned that I have breast cancer. The diagnosis has not prevented us from sailing but it has made me more impatient to go out while I can. My surgery is scheduled for May 29 and after that, who knows? The good news about the cancer is that it is relatively small (<2 cm) and slow-growing. The bad news is that I will most likely not be able to participate in the DelMarVa rally at the end of June. I was looking at the rally as a stepping-stone to give us the experience and courage to make the passage to the Bahamas in the fall. Sometimes, despite dreams and careful planning, things just don't work out as planned.

On a more positive note, the bimini with all of the solar panel lapels is installed. George sprayed 303 Fabric Protectant on the bimini to make it more water resistant. After that dries the solar panels can be installed and hooked up to the wiring. It will be fun to see them working.

Another positive development is that the crew at Generation III finished the rub rails and they look beautiful. They will make docking so much less stressful. Here's hoping I get a chance to check that out sooner rather than later!