Re: Roll-up solar panels
Seems to me that the flexible panels are more appropriate for short term cruisers and people like the Fasters who are primarily racers. Having a major structure over our cockpit to support our panels I can well understand why a racer would not want that.
Otoh our previous boat had them out over the stern which for mine is a better position rather than over the cockpit itself. Even so windage for a racer must be a consideration and the ability to roll panels up when not in use would be the winning point I'd think.
Full time liveaboard power from solar alone ? Not if you have serious power usage and/or live anywhere with high percentage of cloud cover. In Sydney we do pretty well, probably 90% of the year off solar plus what the engine provides. When it rains for more than a few days we are relying on engine plus wind for generating what we need (we are very rarely hooked up to shore power). In most cases, if you want hot showers then chances are you'll need to run the engine an hour a day and this of course does help top up the batteries.
“Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.” Terry Pratchett