We have had to wrestle Anui again. She keeps reminding us she is an 18 year old lady which was starved of TLC for a couple of years. Mainsail replacement, A frame replacement, re-bedding of the Perspex on all the hatches and now replacement of half of the flexible solar panels are some of the unexpected tasks we have had to tackle.
Since acquiring her, we have spent somewhere between a fair amount of money and an awful lot of money. Once you start, you have to keep going! So no “adventure” post yet, more “boat maintenance” posts. We were hoping to take off for Lord Howe Island on Sunday with a weather window of north-easterlies, but it won’t be happening quite so soon! So let us describe our latest woes.
Although the A frame has been constructed, it has yet to be anodised. Our rigger Scott at SK Yacht Rigging has done a great job. It has a wider base, stronger frame and rounded rollers where the mooring ropes pass. It might be ready to install early next week. Scott calls it the seagull striker – which at least made us smile. Not much else does at the moment!
Next big hassle: the electrical problems. We noticed that lately we were not producing as much power as we should have. Unable to figure out why, we got an electrician, Dean of Electech at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to investigate. He found that some of the wiring to the power board was loose, two of the circuit breakers got fried as a result which could have easily started a fire, and two of our flexible solar panels were dead.
Dean installed two new circuit breakers and tightened up all wiring connections. However we were still left with the dodgy panels.
The failure of two solar panels is particularly disappointing since we had a brand new bank of flexible panels “professionally” connected in January. There is very mixed feedback about flexible solar panels amongst yachties and the electricians told us in no uncertain terms they are totally unreliable. The previous owner of Anui had problems with them and now we too are having hassles. On one hand we like their thin, lightweight and flexible profile that follows the curve of the roof without the need for a bulky and heavy mounting frame. But on the other hand we can’t afford to keep having to replace these with all the associated marina costs. We need reliable power generation, so changes are afoot.
Typically you see traditional rigid solar panels installed on a targa bar on the back of yachts. Wade likes them, but big frames at the back of a boat are one of my pet hates. We had one on Take It Easy and I disliked it a lot. These are heavy looking, put weight at the back of the boat, block the view from the saloon and change the overall look of the boat. Not what we want for Anui.
Here is what we have decided. Currently we have eight flexible panels, four on the cockpit roof, and four on the cabin roof. We are going to remove the four flexible panels from the cockpit roof, and have two large and more powerful glass panels installed in roughly the same space. The flexible panels we remove and are working fine will be fitted where two of our failed ones are on the cabin roof, and we will end up with two spares if or rather when the others fail. Over time, we probably will end up with four glass panels instead of the eight flexible ones. Not as sleek looking, but we will gain guaranteed efficiency.
So we are at the RQYS in Manly for at least another week. I am not crying, just got something in my eye… It is lucky Cut Loose‘s pen is still available. They too are spending more time at the shipyard than expected! We have to be thankful for small mercies.