Friday, December 28, 2012

If you had to pay someone

by Brian
If you had to pay someone for everything you needed to do on a boat you would go broke.  I’m not saying that things break all the time, they don’t.  However when you look at all the things needed to keep a boat in safe good running condition it is staggering what you will need to know or pay some one who does know. 
First we wanted solar power.  Not a big deal right?  To install two panels some wire and a controller.  Wrong!   First you need to find someone who has done this and learn from them. This part was easy as I have Gary Bratton fellow boater and solar savvy.  You then look on the web for solar because it seems no one has a store you can just walk into.  Then you will need to drive half way across Florida to pick up your equipment from the supplier.  Then you will spend many days looking at how other people have installed theirs.  In some cases you will see ways not to install.  The next thing is to go to a salvage yard for boats, in our case Don’s Salvage in Clearwater Florida.  The reason is you can find your stainless framework,  although used it will polish up like new.  I spent around $250.00 instead of $800.00 or so buying new at West Marine.  012
The biggest issue with solar is it has changed so much so fast in such a short time.  We chose newer type high voltage panels over the regular 12 volts as well as a new style controller that regulates the power to the batteries.  Better regulated voltage means more power to the batteries.  So far the average cost for someone to come out to the boat is around $80.00 to $100.00 per hour.  Now I am slower and new to this but these guys don’t rush.  As it was I put around five days or a 40 hour work week in this project and the results are amazing.  We installed two panels of 230 watts and have seen almost 20 amps of electric power on a perfect day.  It is a lot like having a free plug on the wall to plug into.  Sun Electronics in Miami was the place for us.  Great service and free advice.
While there I looked at a wind turbine for around $750.00 not including mounting.  Again back to Don’s salvage for some more pipe and bolts etc. All told solar panels around 40 hours and 20 hours for the wind turbine  at a cost of solar $1400.00 and the wind turbine $1100.00. 002Sounds good so far right?  I had an estimate of a full week to install with two men. A full week is a 40 hour week times two men is = 80 hours x $90.00 per hour. WOW!  $9000.00 Ya right  I think We did a good job.


  1. Brian, well written and so true! I finally got my facebook organized and so the link to here is easier than ever! have a great crossing!

  2. Brian/Sally,

    Greetings! Reading your Blog it appears all is well. Today is New Years Eve and we are still in Key West having a great time. We Hope to meet up with you again some day. Till then, fair winds,

    Kurt & Sharon


About Us

Brian, Sally and Cricket the cat sailing on our 41 foot Morgan Classic sailboat. In October 2011 we sold our house, quit our jobs and set out for Florida in search of a sailboat. We found her in Madeira Beach Florida. A 1987 41 foot Morgan Classic. Our plan is to sail for a couple of years. First to the Bahamas, after that...who knows.