Power.

Electrical power that is.

The major expense this month was in buying a 180 AH battery, its an absorbed glass mat (AGM) and completely sealed (and very expensive) that exactly doubles the available battery capacity on the boat which gives me a lot more confidence to use things like a tillerpilot which will be this months big expense on the boat.  The new battery closely fits the available space that side of the centreboard case under the cockpit with just a bit of packing and the straps from the old battery to keep it in place.

My power management strategy now is that most of the time the battery will be only charging from the single 20w solar panel but that when i am in a marina (rarely) i will hook up to shore power via a smart charger and give the battery a harder hit. I was pleasantly surprised though that the solar panel seems to be working well even in the low winter sun.  In time i will add a second solar panel to the opposite side of the cabin roof aft so that one of them should get some direct sun at some time during the day.  I did ask about having a charging/lighting circuit added to the outboard but the general impression was that its not worth the cost and effort but rather save that money towards a new motor at some time : i must admit that an 8hp motor would be more useful on the boat so at some time i will get a new one with a long leg, saildrive and charging all in one go.

I don’t as a rule use a lot of power hungry kit, most of the time it will only be the GPS/VHF some of the time and then the tillerpilot as and when i get one.  I would even dispense with that idea and have another windpilot but first thats a big expense that i haven’t got the budget for and to fit one i would have to go through the same process as we did with the Frances which is that we had to make a ‘flash’ of the stern and use that to make a model of the mounting and then have that fabricated : i seem to remember that job took most of a season from start to finish.

Most of the time my self-steering is a piece of scrap line over the tiller !

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