Us heading out
That's us, heading out!.
George Marcotte took this photo off the coast of Cal. some time back.
Note: George is now (Oct. 2004) in New Zealand, after sailing his Nor'Sea to Hawaii, then on to Oz.
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We are underway!
On this page you can read a copy (with photos)
of our addition of new solar panels 


Solar Panel Addition

We do not normally put projects in this set of WEB pages, but we thought it would best fit here, at the same time we did our 2-year gear report.

It became evident during our first summer in the Sea of Cortez that we were lacking enough passive power generation to keep up with the demands.  During the intensive heat in the Sea, with the air temp over 100-degree F and humidity over 80%, and constant water temperature over 95 degrees F extensive demands were made on our systems. When the engine room temperature rose so high, even with the doors off that the alternator would shut down; we knew we needed to make additions.

Our goal was to add solar panels to bring our generation during the height of the day up to or above 20 amps. With that in mind, we went about searching for a set of panels that could generate the power and still fit aboard our 27-foot boat.

What we have come up with is a set of panels that can be set up when required and be safely stored below when not needed.

NOTE: All Watts and Amps stated here are per the manufactures specifications.

We will keep our 4 UniSolar flexible panels and use them as we have in the past. They put out 32 Watts or 1.94 Amps each for a total of 128 Watts or 7.76 Amps.

We placed on order, and have received 9 new solar panels. We delt with Alter Systems ( , 1-866-568-5579.

We will permanently mount one panel, a Kyocera KC-85, on our aft rail. It will fit between our split backstay and our Monitor wind vane. This is in the clear sun almost all of the time and can work even if we are sailing. Granted, a following wave COULD take it out, but we will live with that. It puts out 85 Watts or 5.02 Amps of power.

The remainder of the 8 panels will be mounted in pairs, 2 to a set (panel assembly). This will provide 4 panel assemblies. Each assembly will fold in the center so that the actual solar panels will be protected on the inside when in the folded position. With the panels in the folded position I believe we can still sail in calm weather.

Each of the 8 solar panels, Duralite model GPDL-20, provides 20 Watts or 1.2 Amps of power. Each assemble will provide 40 Watts or 2.4 Amps. Therefore the 4 assemblies can provide a total of 160 Watts or 9.6 Amps.

Our total solar generation capability will be approximately 373 Watts or 22.38 Amps.

During the recent summer we were able to obtain 4 lower power Amorphous Silicon solar panels to use as a “proof of concept” test. In the following photos you will see these panels, not the final setup.

First, understand our normal cruising style. We tend to get to an anchorage, and if we like it, we may stay for a week or more. So it is not a problem to anchor, then set up panels, fold them over night and then re-set them again in the morning.

We contemplated mounting larger panels on the bow pulpit, but saw this as a major problem. Without putting ridged railings on instead of lifelines, they would not mount on the side. I might add, we found ridged rails to be visually objectionable on a Nor’Sea.

The one place we do have to mount a panel is on the outboard side of our pin-rails. We have had pin-rails on Guenevere since we have owned her. They are wonderful in keeping our halyards quiet during a blow, and generally keeping our lines in order.

We used snap hinges. These hinges allow us to securely hinge and item to the pin-rails and still enable us to remove it as needed to store it below when the weather pips up or for extended storage when at a marina that has dock power available.

 Pin-rail with half hinge
This photo shows half of the snap hinge in place on the pin-rail.

Hinge half
A closer view.

Panel mounted
This is a close up of the panel mounted to the hinge half, In the down position, or reefed for the night. A Bungee around the stay keeps it secure even in moderate winds.

Two panels mounted
This shows two panels in the stowed position.

Two panels up
Here is a photo of two panels in the up position and ready to be connected to provide power. In this system, I used small lines with small shackels from a ring on the upper stay (that also holds our boat hook). In the final version I will be looking for a way to support them from below.

Hinge of up panel
Here is a closer view of the panel hinge with the panel in the up position

There you have it. This is how we will power our systems with 13 solar panels and without running the engine so often.


Our last Position

When we send an E-Mail from Guenevere, our system automatically reports our latest position. If we have sent an email with the last day or so, you can call us up on  a map and see where we are! To do this just click on the a link I have placed below...

Position Report - Where we are now