Pedro Del Favero, Santiago, CHL
Subject: Solar energy
Congratulations for your fascinating achievements, I have
follow your voyage and your way though our country too. My brother and
me own a N46 28 sail rigged and we have heard that you have solar
panels on Egret and wanted to know of your experience, if it's good
enough to maintain batteries charged while at anchor or when you don't
have shore power, you must have experienced that in our country we do
not have to many facilities for sail & powerboats.
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Pedro, congratulations on buying an N46. In your country we had snow on our solar panels at times during the winter. The panels didn't work particularly well during those times. To answer your question, Egret has four (4) 150-watt solar panels. During sunny days, particularly in lower latitudes with the sun high overhead and not a shallow angle like in higher altitudes, the panels maintain Egret electrical needs during the day and even recover some of the night's usage. The entire key to how much energy you need is how much you use. Your refrigeration is your biggest user of amps. If you have had your boat a while you already know about light conservation and limiting how much power is used to convert 12 volts to A/C current.
I would recommend three things. 1. Add as much solar as will fit on top of the pilothouse (I assume you don't have a flybridge because you are sail rigged). 2. Add a Balmar Smart Voltage Regulator. We wrote about that in a VofE in detail last December or January just guessing. 3. Add a Xantrex Link 2000, or an old Link 10 if you can find one (what Egret has) battery monitoring system. All three will be money well spent.
While in Puerto Montt, Chile we tried to buy AGM batteries with no luck. If during your travels you have a chance outside Chile, and particularly if you make it to the U.S. and it is near time for batteries I would buy Lifeline AGM batteries.
By adding these items you will achieve overnight what it took us years to learn the difficult, and expensive way.
Good luck with your cruising. Juan de Fernandez Islands (Selkirk) in your plans? There are two moorings in Cumberland Bay and both are sufficient for your boat. It would be a great adventure for you and your brother.