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post #1 of 5 Old 12-27-2008 Thread Starter
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bought my first boat- in Africa, far from any West Marine....

After growing up sailing with my family on the Chesapeake, then living in various 3rd world ratholes for public health work, we've landed here in Dar es Salaam, sailing paradise. So although I can barely change a lightbulb, and my husband is not interested in sailing, I bought a 1967 Westerly 28 and am spending a lot of time reading these forums and googling "fiberglass repair" and "what is an amp?" It's amazing how much I don't know, and how little is available here, but the sailing is wonderful.

A specific question- who can give me advice on using solar power only for charging batteries, without having an engine/alternator as part of the system? my inboard was DOA so am putting a 15hp outboard on a bracket.

Thanks to all who have provided so much wisdom and practical advice- W
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-27-2008
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Wow, what an adventure!

Welcome aboard; just don't tell us your husband is being held hostage by the junta and you need our help freeing him by helping to cash his inheritance check in exchange for 10% of the 300 million dollars, LOLOL

Definitely keep us posted on your progress.


I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
..... Gordon Bok
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-27-2008
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As far as solar panel advice for fully charging batteries...
There are two aboard daily use vs. charging during the week to allow weekend cruising.
For the first you need to know how many amp hours you will need for your average daily needs and select batteries that are rated at LEAST twice the amp hours of your usage and preferably 3-4x your use. Then you will be running them down to 1/2 capacity. Your solar panels will need to replenish that 1/2 capacity.
Example if you have a 400ah battery bank which you use 200ah's of that you need to replenish. In a day of good sunshine with a good mppt regulator solar panels will deliver 1/3 of their rated wattage in amp hours. So 600 watts of panels can deliver 200amp hours of power stored on a good day. 300watts can deliver 100 amp hours etc.
That is a lot of square feet of panels and totally dependent on good weather...which is why many go for solar and wind power since the wind is 24x7 and not sunshine dependent.

If you are just looking to top up the batteries and keep them charged between occasional uses...generally a 40watt panel can do the job nicely.

No longer posting. Reach me by PM!
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-27-2008 Thread Starter
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thanks for info on solar

yeah, my lectric needs are low since I have almost zero systems- no pressurized water, frig, radar, etc. We mostly go off for one-two nights to local islands so need running/anchor lights, depthsounder, & VHF (although I keep a handheld charged.) Have a 140 watt BP panel but it doesn't seem to be putting out more than 6v according to the local Masai fundi (workman.) Hope I don't have to buy another one, have already bought two regulators since the first one didn't work and you can't get your money back on stuff which is mostly poor quality.

I've sailed on other people's boats to Zanzibar, and up towards the Kenyan border, but am still getting my boat solid enough to do longer distances (e.g. repacking spreader roots, re-doing forestay, replacing rope lifelines, etc.)

It's challenging cause although there is plenty of cheap labor here, it's also pretty unskilled. Luckily we have a few liveaboards here coming from all over and they are a fount of info although not available at 11pm when I am pondering stuff.

I look forward to reading more info but the rain has stopped and now the sun is setting over the harbor full of dhows. Can't believe I get to live here!
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-30-2008
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I'm presently on the Chesapeake, up by the Susquahanna.
Since you have Internet go to West Marine Dot com and view the West Adviser for good info. Even though your out of the way, you can still order and ship.
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