Back, Deaf and …Alternative!

Good EEvening (as in Alfred Hitchcock)

Back… Yup, I’m back to work after summer vacation. I could go on and on how dumbass it is (hence the “demoralized” blog heading) but that has “nuthen” to do with this blog. In short… I love my job which sucks!

Deaf… Well, not really. Last Wednesday I stopped the antibiotics and thoroughly enjoyed a nice cold beer. But the ear still is annoying even today 2weeks later. It also hurts at work which sorta gets my client out the door earlier 🙂 . Tomorrow I’ll have it checked again. Hey! I’ll ask the Doc for a “Sick Slip” and get a month off. Now THAT would be COOL!! (just dreaming…)

Alternative… That’s right madams and gents (and back to the good stuff), Zoot Allures is on alternative energy… at last!! I got a really good deal from a recommended dude Vasilis who works at cool little company called Photovoltaics really close to my home (err.. my city home… I’ve been mostly living on ol’ Zoot 2 months now). I would have gone for a 130Watt but it’s dimensions don’t work and will need an arch, so I went with a 50Watt to begin with. It’s a SolarWorld Sunmodule polycrystal 68cm square, rated to put out 2.75amps peak. I’ve experimenting where to to put it temporarily with ropes  and tilting with a fender. (Cabin top not a good idea, could be stepped on or covered by a dingy. My life lines are too short so I’m going for the dog house roof for now. I can easily get the boom to the side to avoid shadowing.

Of course I got a controller, A Steca. I spent a bit more for the LCD model so I can monitor the numbers (another engineer fetich). Also got a 15amp model so to be able to add more panels to it. The Steca got (temporarily) installed next to the fuse panel in the doghouse over the battery (to keep the cabling short) and only opened one new hole for a screw. (I plan on doing alot of re-wiring this winter, hence all the “temporary).

Some tech stuff… the panel puts out a voltage to charge you battery. The controller monitors your battery state and “controls” how much goes in so you don’t “boil” the battery. My house battery is what I use for lights, fresh water pump and charging my phone through the car lighter thingy. The past 2 weeks I had been running my diesel engine for half an hour to do some charging put it wasn’t enough, plus too windy to go for a ride. I could barely keep the battery at 75% (12.4volts) and was pretty much killing it. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s how it went. Got to the boat Thursday (after work) with the panel, controller and cables. Normal wires (4mm2) cause this is Greece and you cant’ believe what I went through looking for “tinted” boat wire. I shall catalog shop from abroad (sorry Gr economy, but you suck!).  My sea neighbors Dimitris and Fedra (badass coffee Paulas’ sister) had just got back from their summer cruise on Argo (27ft Dromor) so we had to chat. Then I proceeded the controller and wiring installation and by the time I was done…… It was f%@$& dark!! (flashback to when I finished the anti foul paint job and peeled off the tape… in the dark).

Anyway, the stuff works fine! The next morning the panel started putting out it’s stuff. I left it on the cockpit floor and hurried off to work. On my return I started pointing it to the sun and really enjoyed watching the amp meter rising from 0.5 to over 2amps. The battery “state of charger” as Steca puts it, was 55%. Not good. Hopefully I’m not too late to save the batt.

Saturday some guest didn’t come so I had lunch and cuz Helen and Sot. Had sword fish, steamed mussels and gavros (little fish) and ouzo. And at at he same time I was getting them amps and the SOC was rising. Solar power is cool. Period!

Sunday… a full house. Alexandra and her brother Vagelis came. Also at last Percules and Sandy came. Having a grand time, then Dimitris and Fedra and a Spanish guest of theirs and my other neighbor Alex came by…. Zoot allures totaled 9 souls aboard!!! And the Steca showed the panel putting out 3.2amps!! (is that possible with a 2.75max spec?) Anyway Zoot Allures had a rocking Sunday and was steady as a rock. Over the weekend I produced 52Amp hours and my state of charge is 80%.

You’d think I should go sailing… and your right, and I feel like an idiot not doing so for 3 weeks. Of course 25knot winds, ear infections and an unlawful amount of people on-board doesn’t help. This weekend…. I’m going sailing.

Stay tuned

Capt Pete

Ps… blogging on a computer is so much better than on an iphone

pss…. how the hell am I gonna attach the panel to the boat so I can tilt it when needed. I need consulting and am open to remarks and advise

pss and ss and ss…. I have using very little energy. I haven’t even been listening to music. Back here in the city it’s easier for now. For you listening pleasure.


About Sailing Zoot Allures

A demoralized mechanical engineer/ bass player/ sound engineer/editor seeks Freedom
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3 Responses to Back, Deaf and …Alternative!

  1. Pete,
    Welcome back. Don’t want to sound like a prophet but, as I said before, the first time cruising is like “placebo” (not the real thing), you know, no gloss, just somebody else’s crumpled logbook.
    Had an adventure with an engineless boat sailing north a couple of weeks ago, as poorly described on my site….got home and told my woman that “I absolutely need more adventure!!”
    Do you need more adventure? To everyone who is spending time on Twitter, do you need more adventure?
    Hey, you bought a solar panel, so you must still be in the game.
    Cheers from Portugal….also home to a “Greek Tragedy” by way of taxes, cutbacks and &%#heads at the top stealing our money.
    But life if still beautiful.


  2. Horacio!! Life is beautiful… it could just be a bit “beautiful-er” if we weren’t being screwed for our hard earned cash. Rude is a word that comes to mind but still doesn’t justify the situation.
    Yes, I read about your adventure. Great fun, eh. I’ll pass on it though for now. I’m sure I’d probably freak if my engine died and never sail again (paranoia setting in). But it was great reading and seeing you back out on the water! More, more! (I still cant comment on your blog(?)).
    And yes, I’m still in the game. The solar panel was something I’ve been dieing for. There are other upgrades I’d like to do but are on hold for winter haul out (changing the fresh water plumping, a junk rig??? Now that would be cool! I’m reading A. Hill’s “Voyaging on a Small Income” again for the 3rd time!).
    The winds have settled down, the sun isn’t as abusive, it’s beautiful. Why the hell am I at work waiting for a client who’s late and probably doesn’t know the difference between his ass and a hole in the wall. Ah yes… the tragedy!


  3. Pete, I think I discovered why nobody leaves comments, I didn’t have the comment form box activated.
    Hey, I’m a translator not a “form box man”.
    Thanks for letting me know.


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