Green Horizons-Blog 3 – Almost There
Three years has gone by since our dream to convert Valhalla to a sustainable ocean friendly vessel, and we are almost there! In the past three weeks we have made big changes while focusing on the detail to make it over new obstacles and hurtles.
After months of researching electric motors for sailboats and finding all the parts and components from wiring schematics too gear reduction. Plus setting up new mounts for the motor, controller, batteries and all the components to the system. With everything level and flush the motor slipped comfortably into its new home.
We are using four 290-watt 24-volt solar panels with over 80 square feet of surface area. All the panels together will run at 30 amps in full sunlight. They are divided into two banks and series together with two 48-volt outputs charging our 8, 6-volt batteries. Plus one extra 190 watt 12 v solar panel that will run our 12v house system. A total of ten 6 volt batteries and 5 solar panels! The hardest part was coming up with a plan to mount the five panels to the boat. We had to make a strong foundation for them with each panel weighing in at 50lbs and the sheer size of them 3’ X 6’. We modified an extension from our existing bimini and dodger. Using over fifty foot of stainless steel tubing to frame and mount the solar panels over our heads and out the stern onto the davits. This process was a true test to our engineering minds.
With all the new changes happening to the boat we have to see the big picture while focusing on the details. Every piece is crucial, so we go over the boat with a fine toothcomb. Rigging holds up all the weight of the mast and stress of the sails, so if one thing is faulty you can have a serious disaster. Even the most miniscule pieces can deter the process especially attempting to locate a 30-year-old sailboat rigging part that needs replacement. (A thanks goes out to “Sails by Morgan” Who helped us Locate the part!)
We push on to work over the hurtles with an evolving to do list. Multi-tasking through the snags we keep the momentum to achieve the end goal, to get back in the water as a mean green sailing machine. We couldn’t of done all the electrical computing without the consultation and help from friends. We are grateful for them willing to share their valuable time. (Thanks Rody, Rich, and Paul!)
Valhalla has a fresh look, with five solar panels over head, an electric motor under foot, clean rigging to hold the mast true, and a repainted haul; ready to quietly cut through the water to far off destinations. This next week will be crucial as we pick up the last piece of the puzzle! Green renewable energy batteries that will store all the energy we gather! Hopefully Valhalla will be back in the water soon and ready to be put to the test!