Water, Sun and Diesel…Learning to cruise

So we are trapped in Tomales, too much wind and waves for a comfortable trip to Pillar Point, our next stop. Meanwhile we run the boat. Like managing your own metropolis. Will there be enough water, electricity, how’s the sewage doing? A lot of it is out of your control. When you need the chart plotter, you need it, so the 2 amps are necessary. The sticky wicket comes with water. Water that we take for granted on shore, pour all over our veggies, water the garden, fill the hot tub or take a long shower. Off the grid there is an equation that relates water to our energy consumption.
If you get bored easily, now’s the time to check out ;-). Just be sure to enjoy the picture at the end.
Our solar panels can produce about 40 amps per hour (AH) in strong sunlight, The Solar panels can produce roughly 40 amps for 8 hours of strong daylight or 320 AH per day…as long as it’s sunny.
Keeping food cold takes about 8 amp hours for 24 hours or 192 AH per day.
So after refrigeration we are left with 128 AH from solar.
Our boat is blessed with the ability to make fifteen gallons of water per hour. It needs 15 amps for that hour (15 AH) to do that, or one AH per gallon. If we use 50 gallons per day we need 50 AH per day for water leaving 78 AH for everything else. Chart plotter is about 24AH per day radar another 15AH.
When you think about it, the item we have most control over is water. So how much water do you need to wash your hands, or a radish? Should you rinse the cutlery in one big wad, or fork at a time?
This is important because when we run out of AH from solar, we have to run the generator.
The generator produces up to 125 amps per hour, usually while it’s powering something else, like a hot water heater, and burns about ½ gallon per hour. If 40 percent of the diesel output is used to recharge the battery by putting more AH into the bank then each amp hour needed to make one gallon of water, takes about 1 teaspoon of diesel.
A gallon of water would not be usable with a teaspoon of smelly diesel floating on top. I wonder how my equation compares to the one we had on land. I never really thought about it. It was too easy to just turn on the faucet.
Out here we are going to work at not washing things with diesel.

OK, we are not trapped any more, publishing this on the way to Monterey when we should have another update.

Sunset Padddle

Sunset Padddle

3 thoughts on “Water, Sun and Diesel…Learning to cruise

  1. Dennis Olson

    Very interesting post, Michael. It seems counter-intuitive that to untie from land and conveniences taken for granted would heighten the awareness and details required to have simple things like water, refrigeration, and basic electricity.

  2. Mom and Dad

    Looks like sooo much fun, Michael and Lisa. Wish we could join you. Alas, cannot meet you in Mexico. For one thing our passports have long since expired. Can we see the boat actually sailing? A “boat-selfie”?
    Love, Mom and Dad.

    1. Michael Britt Post author

      When you are the photographer, its hard to get a icture of your self. At some point someone from another boat will take a picture. WE actually have a photographer in our BaJa haha crew and hoped to get pictures. but while she was with us in Tomales it was windless and overcast. after she left…stunning.


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