Andy Laurence, who runs our internet site, is now the proud owner of a 1968 Cutlass 27 which (after sailing her up from Pin Mill this past May) he is now slowly bringing into the 21st century. The list is long and includes a new Yanmar engine, purchased but not fitted yet, new electrics inc replacement LED navigation lights and the fitting of a solar panel to help keep his tiller pilot running. Andy has now fitted one of the Spectralite semi-flexible modules. The advantages of this style of panel include the fact that they can be flexed 1cm per 30cm for fixing to curved solid surfaces such as a coach roof, they can be walked on with deck shoes (not sure however if they are claw proof) and as shading cannot always be avoided they have been designed with two distinct halves of separate parallel strings of cells, if one half is shaded the other half continues to deliver its full half of power where some other makes fall away below battery charging voltage. Andy’s dog Max, however, has not been trained yet as I write to lie fore and aft as against athwartships, call it work in progress!
On our Mystery 35 where it is also still work in progress, Jenny insists that when we finally get her in the water we should always have a supply of ice when cruising the Ionian. To top up our power consumption we are fitting a Spectralite semi-flexible module on the curved sliding hatch garage and either slung over the boom or attached to the bimini one of their TX-solar modules with LOXX fasteners, they enable the panel to be instantly but securely attached to a bimini or sail cover meaning power is available on the move, at anchor or tied up to a jetty. If you leave your boat you can, if you want to, simply fold it up and take the TX-module with you. They are available with up to four wings depending on output required and are easy to transport or stow below deck as each module comes complete with its own carry bag. The appropriate base parts of the Loxx fastener/hole punch are included to make it child’s play to securely attach but easily remove from your bimini or sail cover. Sunware TX-modules can also be supplied with 10mm eyelets if you prefer to lace it to say your pushpit.
Andy has recently added to our site a range of portable Solar Power battery maintainers, they have a durable water resistant casing, are reverse polarity protected and come with a 12 Volt DC power plug and battery clips, prices start at £24.95 for the smallest unit which is suitable for a battery up to 50 amphours (great for our Sports boat battery) the other two will help maintain a battery either up to 100 or 250 amp hours!