Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Boat - New Solar System - Part 1

Our new catamaran already has a fairly adequate solar charging system--about 400 watts of solar panels and 2 20-amp Morningstar charge controllers. Should be OK, right? NOT!

We've gotten spoiled with Soggy Paws I's fantastic solar system. We spent about a week debating whether to cannabilize it off the boat we have for sale and move it to the new boat. But because good new panels are available in Davao at a reasonable price, and it would be a fairly huge project for Dave to swap systems, and we didn't want to devalue what have in Soggy Paws for Sale, we have opted to start fresh on the new cat.

Checking out the New Solar Panels

After 3 trips into Davao to look over what's available, we had 4 200-watt solar panels delivered by Solazone Philippines. They are affiliated with Solazone Australia, and so have a pretty well-rounded offering of panels and support equipment. The panels they sell are SiMax panels, made in China. We took a pretty good look at the panel construction, back and front. They are SIGNFICANTLY better construction than the cheap chinese stuff that is for sale down in Chinatown, and actually come with a 10 year warranty. And we got a great deal--200 watt panels for about $200 USD each. A dollar a watt is a great price. You can't get that price in the US unless you buy a pallet load of panels.

Then we needed a new solar controller. We debated whether to buy another Outback MX60 MPPT Controller. Our existing one has been pretty much flawless in 8 years of operation, and we have had reasonably good customer support. Should be no question, right? Well, I figured we should look around a little to see if the state of the art had moved in the last 10 years. It seems to have.

New Morningstar Tristar 60 MPPT Controller On Order

With Optional Control Panel

After a good bit of research, we ended up buying a Morningstar Tristar 60 MPPT Controller instead of another Outback. It even cost a little bit more. Hopefully we won't regret switching from a proven product, for a few more bells and whistles. You can buy it on, among other places.

We took delivery of the solar panels at the end of September. The Morningstar regulator has been ordered and we'll ship by slow boat out to the Philippines. We won't be able to install the system until we first build a new hardtop for the cockpit (when we get back to the boat in January).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Schlepping Our Stuff From One Boat To Another

Most of the last few weeks have been occupied by trying to unload all our "stuff" from Soggy Paws I to Soggy Paws II. This has been our #1 priority, so we can get the interior refurbishing underway.

Piles of Stuff to Put Away

For about a week, we hired 2 guys from the marina labor pool to work with us for an hour or two a day, to help with the manual labor of "schlepping". Dave and I would spend an hour or two filling all our available moveable containers (mostly bags) that we own. Then "the boys" would spend an hour carrying it down the ladder, into a trolley, down the dock, and into Soggy Paws II's cockpit. Then Dave and I would spend the rest of the day trying to get enough stuff put away that we still could move around in our cabin.

Where are we Going to Put it All?

We quickly realized that the beamy hull of the CSY holds a LOT more stuff than the fairly narrow hulls of the St. Francis Cat. So all of our guest bunks are now filled with "stuff" while we continue to sort, put away, and purge.

Do We Really Need this Stuff?

We understand the downfall of loading down a catamaran too much. So we are trying really hard to break ourselves of our packrat habits. It's difficult!!

This Stuff (Medicines Expired Over 3 Years)
Is Too Good To Throw Out!??

I spent 2 days sorting through our medical chest and the medical supplies that were left on Blue Moon when we bought her. I trashed a bunch of expired or damaged meds, and gave a whole bag of stuff to another boat.

There is a "Free Box" at the marina, and anything put in there gets a good look by everyone. The marina workers usually get there first. They have also been known to "feel up" trash bags and tear into them looking for anything of value. (Stuff we think has no value appears to have a lot of value to them.)

Our Pre-Flea Market For Sale Flyer

We have a bunch of big ticket items on a "For Sale" flyer on the bulletin board, and Dave has organized a flea market here at the marina for next weekend.

I am trying to "rip" all our CD's and DVD's to a hard drive (or two), to get rid of the big heavy notebooks full of plastic media. These will all be on sale at the flea market. (DVD's are a great trade/gift item in the out islands, so we'll probably put them in our "trade" box--we DO still plan to get "out island" again!).

We also have a "take home" pile that is growing pretty big. Good thing we didn't give away that extra suitcase we brought back with us from the U.S. in January!