Hi, I've recently joined these forums, https://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera.../topics/315978
, and wanted to start a discussion here about just how [self] sustainable sailing can be.
I'm sure that many of the traditionalists will immediately dismiss many of the ideas here, but the world has changed and technology has improved drastically over the last decade.
First off power. Solar has improved in efficiency drastically with some of today's panels able of around 19% efficiency, batteries have also improved in energy density and keep coming down on price. Who would have thought 10 years ago that we would have viable electric cars! So we know that we can run all house systems from solar and battery, there are even 12 volt aircons, https://evapolar.com
. though how about electric motors to get us away from our reliance on fuel. I know there are companies offering turnkey electric motors at a price and a good discussion on a do it yourself here. That was from 2013 when range was still a concern, I'm wondering if this is still the case? I wonder about the weight and why no own has thought of building a keen to contain batteries?.
Given enough money anything is possible, but is it actually worth it?
We live aboard, mostly on the hook, in the Caribbean. We have wind and solar power generation and it mostly keeps up with our
daily needs, unless it stays cloudy or windless for a few days, which happens more than one might think. However, just as an example, our a Rutland 914i windgen averages less than a quarter of an amp per hour (6 amps per 24 hour day) annually. The reality of both systems on a small cruising boat (under 65') are a far cry from what you might imagine. Add a watermaker, a decent size fridge and freezer, a couple of computers or a TV and there are going to be plenty of days when you will need an auxiliary charging source.
12 volt air conditioning is not going to be a possibility when you really want it; a hot and windless night. As for climate control for growing things, well I doubt that would be economical even ashore, unless it was a commercial operation.
Not many edible plants grow well in the salt environment you have on a boat. A few herbs and perhaps a small tomato plant will survive for a while, but eventually in my experience, they all succumb to the marine environment, in the tropics.
Of course, with a $15,000+ bank of LI batteries, several (expensive) charging systems capable of replenishing them at a reasonable rate, one might be able to achieve what you propose. But, as all the parts of this very expensive system require maintenance and repairs, I'm not at all sure that you'd save any more money than if you had a conventional diesel generator and bought your produce from a market.
Lastly, I'm not going to put a composting system inside
my home, and it sure wouldn't work if it got salt water in it, being on deck. So that one is a no go or this sailor, period.