My solar panel order came in. I bought a nice little 30 watt mono crystal solar panel with a charge controller. A bigger panel might have been better, but my sailboat is small and there’s not a lot of good places to mount panels. The 30 watt panel will fit on top of the cabin hatch, so that’ll work out well enough.
The boat’s little 6 hp outboard has an alternator, but I don’t want to have to run the motor just to charge the battery. Often, we sail all day without using the motor at all. The solar panel fits with my general alternative energy philosophy. It also fits in with my sense of frugality (I hate to buy gas) and my laziness (I won’t have to make as many trips lugging jugs.)
I’ve never been a big fan of the cabin hatch that came with my Oday 19. Rather than mount the panel to the crappy fiberglass hatch, I’m building a plywood one. Today I went down to the lake to see how well my new hatch is going to fit. It almost fits -some minor tweaking and it’ll soon be ready for the solar panel.
Of course, since my lovely wife and I were down to the lake anyway, and the sun was shinning, and the wind was blowing, we had to sail around the lake a few times.