Quote Originally Posted by GRG55 View Post
Yowsers! Twin diesels!! Mega will be suffering heart palpitations.

Very cool! Your sentiment about auto racing and boating also applies to personal aviation. I have a pilot friend who owns a lovely Mooney (a cosy but very efficient high performance personal airplane). He drives a Tesla with a sign on the back "I own an EV so I can fly an ICE airplane"...a similar thought process it seems to yours when it comes to power the non-propulsion systems on the boat.

Am I to understand you are permanent live-aboards? Or is this a seasonal lifestyle with extended sojourns back to landlocked New Mexico?

Some here will recall I am a sailor (not uncommon among aviators I've found - after all it's about controlling "the wing") and have chartered boats in numerous places over the years living in North America and abroad. The interior volume of a power boat is materially greater than the same hull length in a sailboat, thus offering a more convenient/comfortable live-aboard experience I suspect.

Another aviator acquaintance, a professional medivac pilot and skilled floatplane owner, has just chucked "the American Dream" to live aboard a Mystic 30, a classic cutter-rigged New England boat. He's trying to figure out how to live "off-grid", and is now dealing with similar challenges to those you are tackling.

BTW, as you are probably aware, there's quite a bit of work going on to figure out increasingly better ways to power the smaller (sub 40-ft) keelboats with electric auxiliary motors using a combination solar/wind/shore power recharging instead of the traditional diesel Yanmars/Volvos/Perkins. That just seems a no-brainer given the advantages.

The invitation to rendezvous in Montreal is tempting for a number of reasons. More later...
Mega thrives on palpitations, the Volvo engines are, I’m sure, close to the bottom of his concerns. And I agree, airplane pilots and water craft pilots are wired very similarly. I wouldn’t included racing as it’s only your life you’re putting on the line, not your friends and family. I take calculated chances on the track I would never take on the water. We spend as much time planning a trip as taking the trip. I’ve several friends who pilot a plane and they do the same.

Time is also an integral factor. When a friend has agreed to go with you in a plane or boat, (especially in open water), they’ve made a commitment that requires them to continue to trust you even if they’re a bit uncomfortable with the situation. On the track, you can adjust speed to accommodate anyone who wants a ride along. After a few turns you can ask, faster, slower or about right? If they want to take a turn at speed, it only lasts a few seconds and you can recalibrate if they realize “at speed” was nothing they’d considered possible.

We’re planning about five months aboard in 2020, as we have commitments here until almost June 1. Also, we’ll still have properties to manage in Santa Fe and some planned building projects, so probably three years cruising north in the summer and south in the winter and working in the spring and fall.

I have some ideas about how solar will be useful on a cruiser. For me it’s more about being able to anchor out or use a mooring ball for a few days without needing the generator. I can mount marine rated thin film panels on a 12’ square Shade Sail and easily roll out 1,280 watts of solar once anchored, (8x160 watts). The trick will be sizing the lithium ion battery bank correctly so the system will work for 3-4 days in cloudy weather without diesel backup.

As an example, you could use 8 lithium batteries, (23 lbs. each), with a 1.3kwh capacity per battery for a total capacity of ~10kwh. The panels weigh 6.2 lbs. for a total weight of ~55 lbs. and the output will average 4-5kwh per day, (not in Canada, sorry, I’m not in charge of that issue). I think six panels providing a 1/3 daily recharge would be more than enough. Cost is about $10 a watt. Would be $12-13 a watt if you need someone to do the work. Like anything else on a boat, there’s no financial payback, just more peaceful time away.

An interesting outcome of this experiment will be the possible complete non-use of the generator. If we don’t need the generator, the batteries have a very logical home in the engine room, (fire suppression pre-installed). It’s going to be a fun experiment. I could geek out further and tell you why a generator makes perfect sense for an off-grid home but much less sense on a boat but I have to stop and prep for a meeting.

Getting back to the thread, it was actually the Canadian housing bubble, apparently with no end, that pushed us in this direction. Now for the same cost we’ll have a house wherever we want in Canada and move it to the Bahamas in the winter. Job done.