Today i woke up early, gaining the opportunity to see the sun rise. It was still fresh, nobody on the dock. Just me, my cuppa, and the lake (ah, there were geese as well):
And then, there it was. Right behind the bridge and the deactivated-turned-park gas factory. It was the beginning of a beautiful day:
While some folks worked their oars hard, it was time for me to get working as well. One key “project” for today was to check some of Pesto’s sails. And i needed to do it early, before the breeze picked up during the day:
The first one up was the Staysail. Even though this piece of canvas is over 15 yrs old, it has NEVER been used by Pesto’s previous owners ( ! ). This sail will be key in our inventory – it’s small, easier to handle, built of robust material. The sail of choice when the wind freshens:
Next up, Pesto’s working Genoa. I was anxious to hoist this one. I had not seen this sail yet (it was in a storage) and was looking forward to assess whether it could be used for our cruise. It also has some 15 years on its back, but has been just lightly used.
The only challenge was that it was still inside the cabin. This thing is huge, and very heavy. I had tried a couple of times during the last two weeks to move it outside the cabin just with my arms and hands, but could hardly lift it off the floor. So, I resorted to Pesto’s winches and halyards to get the job accomplished:
By the time the sail extravaganza was over, it was past 8AM and I turned my attention to the second project of the day – to polish and wax Pesto’s cabin exterior. The fiberglass was oxidized, and I was told that polishing not only would make it beautiful, but also extend the durability of the boat – strong enough an argument for me to enlist for the job. Problem is, it is already 1PM, and I have just finished the polishing (first half of the job). There’s been a lot of moaning and cursing on deck, and as a form of mutiny, the crew decided to take no pictures of it.
But coming back to the title of this post, I wanted to introduce another important component of Pesto’s arsenal. As mentioned before, Pesto has a number of systems and many of these systems feed on electrical energy. Electricity comes from Pesto’s batteries. And the batteries need to be recharged. Typically batteries are recharged either via the engine when it is on (same process as in a car), or when the boat is on a marina, it can be plugged on to the city’s power grid. However, during spring we added a new key element to this equation: an array of super-cool solar panels:
With these panels, we will be able to stay away from marinas and ports for longer if we want. It also enables us to burn less fuel, which is very good. In a way, it also reinforces our connection with nature on this journey. I estimate these panels will supply at least 50% of our electrical energy needs onboard:
In fact, I did a test unplugging Pesto from the power grid and checking on the battery monitor gauge. The small arrow pointing up at the upper-left corner is saying that the energy collected by the panels is being enough to power up the refrigerator, the freezer, the water pressure system, my computer, and still recharge the batteries – quite good!
Another thing we did to add to energy efficiency onboard was to replace all light bulbs with LED. This form of lighting is becoming more mainstream now. Energy consumption is a fraction of their bulb cousins, they don’t generate heat, and the light emitted has become quite acceptable:
Well, I guess that’ll be it for today. I had promised myself that I would write this post when I finished polishing the cabin. Polish was done, the post os over, the batteries are solar-charged, and that means only one thing – it is time for the waxing now (and more moaning and cursing on deck).
Have a great Sunday!