Voyage of Egret Forums

Lee & Carna Robinson, Port St. Lucie, FL asks:
Scott & Mary...This is my first time reading about your "trip of a lifetime" and while I was looking at your photos, I saw that you have solar panels on the top of your bimini. I want to have a Nordhavn 47 built for us down the road and I have always thought that it would be very wise to have solar panels put up on my hard top bimini! I think that we would have as many panels as we can fit on top. How much energy/power are you saving with your panels and do you think that they will pay for themselves in 3 to 4 years? My wife & I plan to spend at least 4 to 5 months a year on our 47 and much of that time will be spent in Florida & the Bahamas, the Gulf & the Sea of Cortez/Mexico (Cabo San Lucas). Also, do you have a website that you would recommend that I can go to for this and other questions about solal power and interaction with trawlers? Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you on this subject...Be Safe!!! Lee & Carna

Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Lee and Carna, we LOVE our solar panels. In the temperate areas where you will be cruising we have found Egret's 600 watts of solar power (4X150) give us approximately 50% of our daily battery replenishment. Most Nord owners run their generator for two hours in the morning and again in the evening. We run Egret's get roughly 1.5 - 2 hours in the morning. We charge to 95% on the Link 10 meter. By the end of the day our batteries are at 100% because of the solar boost plus maintaining our daytime usage. However, there are many variables such as cloud cover, rain, etc. We bought our panels from an internet site selling Kyrosea panels. We have them wired into two banks of two panels with a regulator (VERY important) on each pair. An N47 has a higher daily amp usage than Egret because of a second freezer, etc. If you have room, 900 watts would be ideal. One unique installation we read about is placing panels under your dinghy. When under way you will have your panels turned off. After anchoring you will launch the dink before shutting down. (4 on top, 2 under the dink - 3 & 3 would be better to remove more high weight) Not bad, eh?

I would do an internet search for solar power and browse through those. Also there is a good all around boating workshop manual, Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Calder that has good coverage of solar power. An excellent trawler website is Passagemaking Under Power (PUP) where you can receive further information on solar from other cruisers.

Stay focused on your plans. Those plans will change your lives. If you take the time to read through Voyage of Egret you will see how it changed the lives of a couple early retirees from your ex-neighbors in Ft Lauderdale.

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