Installing Solar on our boat

We finally finish installing solar power on our boat - so that means completing the solar arch and wiring up the solar panals. We also sail to Conwy and meet friends in the pub.

We had been in Liverpool for a good while, we had seen family and friends and now it was time to go. Of course the weather did not play ball with us, so we stayed in Liverpool for a bit longer. When we can't go anywhere then we, catch up with stuff, for Beverley that means editing videos, while I write our blog, work for a variety of clients and generally keep myself busy.

At last there was a break in the weather, so we prepared Salty Lass and got her ready to leave, our destination was Conwy which because of the tidal gate on the other end of the journey takes a minimum of 9 hours, of course that would mean that we would be getting in when it was dark, but we have quite a few night hours already under our belt and a few more would be fine. It was well after lunch that the lock opened so we ventured out one hour before High Water. That way the tide would not be too strong against us, but we would at the entrance to the Rock Channel at High water, giving us plenty of depth to cross the drying sands to Conwy. We have done a more detailed look of this passage in Navigating Liverpools rock channel to Conwy but we still needed to get the tidal information and weather report for this passage.

The weather was very pleasant for the passage down the river. Liverpool if a great city and it has some really fantastic buildings. We made a quick detour to look at the clubs moorings. This was for two reasons, we like to keep an eye on them when we can, but they were also our refuge, if things did not go according to plan. The weather was still in our favour so we crossed the sands with no difficulty. Once we had room to manoeuvrer, it was time to hoist the sails and turn off the engine. At this current time we use the engine more than we would like, but with all things we are getting there.

We managed to sail quite a way, tacking as we went, but when we were head to wind going through the wind farm, we decided to drop the sails. Then the wind rose to force 6 followed by force 7 as we went around the Great Orme, eventually getting into Conwy after midnight.

The next day we slept, we always find it very tiring, especially in a passage where we are unable to take naps. We had navigated our passage beautifully, because despite having really strong winds we had used the land to break the swell and if we ever do a video about using the land to improve your passage then we will include this passage as an example. After a day of rest, it was at last time to return to the construction of the solar arch. We had decided to come to Conwy to complete the task, because in comparison to Liverpool, we hardly knew anybody which meant that we might get enough time to actually compete the job.

Completing the Arch

The first thing that Beverley did was take out all the little grub screws and drill a pilot hole in the metal, so that the screws would go a little deeper. Once that was all done, Beverley made a sling to lift the top section and we got the arch into place. Next came the job that Beverley hates and that is drilling holes in Salty Lass, this time in the transom. We decided that we would add some backing so I found some suitable wood and we cut that to complete the job. While Beverley was on the outside, I was on the inside of the transom, holding the wood in place. Once we had got the frame in place we realised that we should of bought some extra pieces of pipe as cross pieces. So we used some of our dog ropes to rig a brace up to see it that would work. It did so we swooped the dog ropes for dynema, which Beverley had to watch one of our videos to see how you did it. For more information on the arch read our solar arch for a Bavaria 36 how to.

Adding the Solar Panels

While Beverley completed the installing the arch at the back, I looked at the electrical system. We had bought 10m of cable that was already made up. Now that sounds like a lot, but it soon became clear that we were going to be short. After ringing around the local suppliers, I called Bluepoint in Liverpool and got the guy there to send me the extra cables. Next I looked at the cable glands that we had been sent and realised that they were not good enough for our requirements, so we bought some cable glands from the local chandler to sort that out. Once I had sourced all the extra stuff we needed to complete the job, I went outside to help Beverley. We looked at several solutions with regard to mounting the solar panel onto the perspex that we had bought, the most elegant of which I have outlined in solar arch for a Bavaria 36 but we would of needed to take the frame apart and cut each pipe by a couple of mm for that solution and we just wanted to get the job done, so we put bolts up through a piece of wood, the perspex and ultimately the solar panel adding marine flex between the piece of wood and the perspex we had bought. Once the marine flex had dried we were able to attach the frame to our solar panels, with the use of P-clips.

Once the arch was up, we were able to complete the electrical instillation and I have created a more detailed explanation of that in adding solar power to a yacht, so you can find out what we used. The main thing that we had been advised by the 12v boating group from Facebook was to have the positive on one side of the battery bank and the negative on the other, so we choose to use red to port. This did mean having a lot of fun running the cable, but we did it.

After a long day, working on the boat, it was a question of going to the pub to talk to friends. They gave us lots of advice on what to add to our videos, so hopefully we will use that advice in future.

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Raising money for the RNLI

We were only on our third sail in our brand new boat to us and we had to call the coast guard for assistance. That assistance came in the shape of a RNLI boat from Portpatrick, so we have decided to raise money for the RNLI through our Damsels in distress page on just giving, that way you know that any money goes straight to them. We have set ourselves a target of £500 and we would like to honour our pledge, so if you like our videos then please give a little to those who rescue people in the seas around the UK.

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