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809Re: [j4x-owners-group] Re: Adding Solar Panels & wind generator to J-42

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  • Frank Flannery
    Apr 4, 2013
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      We've been cruising the Caribbean for 8 years on our J/40, so we have
      some experience with this.

      First and foremost, before considering adding charging solutions, you
      need to reduce your usage. Refrigeration and computers tend to be the
      biggest draws, based on our experience. Make sure your fridge top is
      VERY well gasketed and your compressor is well ventilated. Better
      yet, get a keel cooler for the fridge. Next, get a netbook, since
      they draw significantly less power. Probably 1/4 the power of a
      normal laptop. Finally, upgrade your lights to LED and CFL. Also, an
      amp meter is a must.

      For charging, we have 290 watts of solar, mostly mounted on the
      bimini, This was about perfect in the sunny E Caribbean, but in the
      west, it is not always enough. We have a honda 2000 that can put 100
      amps an hour into the batteries via an old Hart Freedom 20. A high
      output alternator is great, but if your engine has a turbo, it will
      wreck it eventually. The Honda, while noisy, will put in as many or
      more amps and not heat up the boat interior, making your fridge work
      even harder.

      Finally, as for loading down your J-boat, yes it sucks, but it is the
      inevitability of cruising. Of course we all try to keep the weight
      down but it isn't going to happen. We have raised our waterline twice
      and are laden with too many toys. That being said, the boat still
      sails great, especially in light air. The other day, we were beating
      into 10-11 kts doing about 6.4. I think the bigger penalty is in
      breeze upwind in seas, hobbyhorsing really kills the speed. Luckily,
      we work hard to avoid this for lots of reasons. You will also notice a
      hit in under 8 or 9 and well. J boats are great caribbean boats
      because we can sail island to island while everyone else is motoring.
      When the seas are 8-12 ft, nobody is thrilled to be out there, but in
      10-12 kts and 3-4 ft seas, we're sailing and they're motoring.

      One suggestion on weight is get a 9.5 Aluminum AB dinghy and 15 horse
      enduro. The weight combination is very good, and the dinghy is big
      enough for all cruising purposes. If you put a 10 inch pitch prop on
      it and some water wings, it will even plane 4 adults. The 9.5 fits
      perfectly on the foredeck of a j/40, so I assume it will also fit the
      42. It was one of the best purchases we've made.

      Also, do the math on the weight of some panels vs fuel weight planning
      the run your engine two hrs a day times 10 day passage. I think the
      panels will win.

      Good luck, Frank

      On 4/4/13, Paul Lever <svjeorgia@...> wrote:
      > On my J/37 while cruising Central America I had stainless bars weld from
      > the pushpit to the lifeline gate entry. Then mounted smaller solar panels
      > on the rail on Magma rail mounts that were tiltable. This let me put them
      > up during normal conditions and fold them down when they might be in the
      > way. Total of 350 watts solar using 4 panels. Figure on most days at least
      > one panel would be shaded. Handled all onboard electric when the weather
      > was good. Required using the Yamaha 1000 genset when it was cloudy.
      > Paul
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