14 April 2014

FAQ: Solar panels on bimini


We have had fairly regular questions from readers on how we mounted the solar panels on our bimini. Unfortunately, when we mounted them I did not take a good picture of the installation (for shame!). Recently we removed our bimini and dodger to redo the stitching with a UV proof PTF thread (we chose Tenara by Goretex) because we had access to a sewing machine. While the bimini was off, I snapped a picture (above).

P1020501The stainless steel tubing was installed on the bimini at the time of fabrication by Iverson. I bought some aluminum bar stock to attach to each solar panel so that the main point of contact was between similar metals (aluminum solar panel frame and aluminum bar stock) to reduce corrosion. Because of the two different sizes of the panels (outer panels are the same but inner is different to maximize the available real estate for amps), the bars are mounted differently: port-starboard on the outer two panels and fore-aft on the middle panel.

The panels were then mounted to the frame with u-bolts with wing nuts (for easier removal in case of a tropical storm), with starboard spaces.

The details of the panels and the controller are here.

11 April 2014

Postcards from Mangareva (3)


09 April 2014

Postcards from Mangareva (2)

We often post photos closer to “real time” when we have internet on our facebook, instagram and twitter accounts. If blog photos feel familiar, and you follow us on one of those outlets, that’s why.




The mankini was for you Dana!

07 April 2014

Postcards from Mangareva (1)





04 April 2014

Boat Yoga: SeaMaker 20 Installation on a Pretorien 35

P1010831TThis is not an installation guide (the installation instructions from CruiseRO are clear) but I thought I would add a few photos to identify “where in the heck we fit the parts” for a 20 gallon per hour SeaMaker watermaker (AC) on our 35’ Pretorien.

Our Honda 2000 lives (when not in use) under the helmsman seat in the lazarette, on top of a three jerry cans of diesel which are on top of the main diesel tank. More on that (per request) later.

The main pump and membrane fit in the drop bin just aft of the fridge on the starboard side of the boat (the location requiring Carol’s advanced yoga skills).


The boost pump was mounted to a floorboard cut out in the inboard cubby just forward of the sink (the one with the opening hatch to the walkway at foot level).


That’s it. Those are the 4 main bits. The rest was running tubing and electricity. Our intake thru hull is port of the keel and was installed by a previous owner.

02 April 2014

Packs of Wild Tweeners

P1020712One thing we love about cruising is the frequency with which we become embedded in a gang, and the energy that those gangs brings to our lives. We’ve had awesome gangs in BC, Mexico, and multiple times in French Polynesia.P1020690

It often starts when we have met another like minded boat and we are enjoying their company and another boat joins in (or maybe we are this boat that later joins in), and maybe another boat and suddenly we have a gang, we have group momentum, things are happening, other boats are joining in, there are inside jokes, much later nights than normal, and earlier mornings, P1020685practical jokes, nicknames for people, nicknames for the group, we egg each other on to do more, to play more, to live more.

There is a mixed sense of loss and relief when the gaP1020796ng splits up as, in the cruising world, it always does. These people become the close, local substitute for the best friends we have left behind, and the family we have moved away from. There is a wrenching feeling when we separate from them that echoes the feeling of when we left N America.

P1020665At the same time, gangs are barriers to meeting other people – perceived or imagined – locals or cruisers. Sometimes people get grumpy about gangs. There can be strange double standards about invitations/greetings aimed at gangs, where gangs are blamed P1020846for a lack of invitation/greeting by people who have also not offered an invitation/greeting. People will be people I guess.

While part of a gang, we have to work hard to meet other people (and we do) in ways we don’t have to work when we are traveling solo. When we leave a gang, we go back to activities and routines (and relaxation) that we often didn’t have when ensconced in the energy of the gang.