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Intro and intentions

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Certeza, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Ah, I see the issue. I keep forgetting that yachts are horribly inefficient when it comes to heat load as compared to the buildings that I build. I just installed a 6kW solar system on a 6,000s.f. home and it supplies all the electricity needed, including a/c in the Utah desert. A 70' yacht has much less load in terms of lighting and electronics, but it doesn't have r-50 insulation on the roof and r-23 in the walls. I would guess that even the best insulated yachts are about r-15 and they have excessive amounts of glass.

    So yeah, I guess you would be looking at a 6kW system for a 70' yacht. That would be almost 400s.f. of solar panel. Pretty much the entire main deck.:D
  2. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Would love if you could expand on that suggestion. I'm completely unfamiliar with requirements for Master rating.

    Also, I'm not against the idea of devoting time to getting this master rating before starting my adventure if there is a school or organization that I can hook up with.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Watermakers being nreliable? :). I always to replenish the tanks before they get below half full...
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Try to replenish and do replenish before you get to half a tank is not always a possibility. There are many times in the Bahamas where I've held off on turning the watermaker on because we're sitting in a marina and running off metered shorepower and then running to another island the next day on generator with clean water beneath us. Or you don't want the noise through the boat (like at night)

    Or I ran one trip on a 75' MY that had a 600 gallon water tank and a 30 GPH watermaker......Well we had 7 guests plus 2 crew and between the showering, cooking, and laundry (towels from snorkeling etc)......I go to fire it up when we get to 1/2 tank and it wouldn't switch over to produce.....I had to bypass the salinity sensor with a air hose fitting of all things (lol), to get it to produce and it was making good water......needless to say that poor thing would run 16 hours a day everyday as we were on anchor.......and the guests were doing water activities everyday.

    But watermakers almost always tend to be the least used and least properly maintained piece of machinery on most yachts below 80'. They're either never flushed often enough, or not pickled, or even ever turned on for months on end........
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    You don't hear about them because nobody can make it work except sailors with minimal loads.

    You wont run the boat down south on 1kw worth of panel... Most boats in the 50 to 75 range run 12 to 20kw gensets.

    I ve done the math on solar and it doesn't add up. In weather where AirCon is not needed, we can run the 70 footer off batteries and inverter for about 18 to 20 hours a day, and run the genset 4 hours a day or so. That s 4 gallons of fuel or about $15 a day these days

    Based on actual real world output, it's going to to 12 to 15k worth of panels which means about 1000 days on the hook to start saving money. The average boater probably spends no more than 30 days a year anchored without using the genset for air con or without getting underway (and recharging the batteries with the engines). That's 30 years to pay for the panels.

    Anyone wonders why Solyndra went under with $500M of tax payer money? :)

    Of course for some people it may be feasible, and indeed many sailboats rely on solar (and wind usually). But these guys live with a couple of dim lights, no AC and limited electrical stuff.

    Right now, we're anchored out and using about 50amps of DC power alone (at 24v) plus another 12kw of AC from the genny... Solar would be useless!
  6. 'RoundTheHorn

    'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

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  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I remember Marlow Yacht putting out a Green solar attempt. Big money system. Showed it off everywhere. Then Never heard another thing about it.
    Anybody remember it, know any details? Still holding up?
    I'm a believer in Gen-sets and inverters, just don't think a solar field can make enough wattage to be of much help. Your on a relaxing trip, You want A/C and Ice.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    It was a picnic boat style if I remember right and it was at the Miami show in 2009, about 40'. The entire hardtop was electrical panels and I think it had electrical propulsion. I have not heard or seen anything about it since.....

    I do know there are several Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi's and they've been running diesel electric for years and seem to do ok with that. I have no idea what fuel consumption is compared to traditional drives.
  9. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Modern electric drives are not as efficient as I.C.E. The reason for this is that the generator used to produce the electricity still uses an I.C.E. and then there is power loss after that.

    IMO, solar is the only realistic alternative option for electric power both short and long term. Most people don't realize how far it has come during the last few years. Dramatic increases in efficiency. Just a few years ago the standard 3'x5' panels were producing 95-120W. Now those same panels are typically 240-280W. That is still only 15% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity so progress is still fast. I would expect the next 5 years to see something closer to 450W (30W/ft^2). After that, progress will slow down due to the law of diminishing returns.

    That still wouldn't be useful for a yacht with A/C though. But for anything not running a/c, it is very viable. We have a 9,000sf cabin that runs off a 4kW system on batteries. Can go for 3 days of complete overcast before backup generators have to kick on to supplement. But the cabin doesn't have a/c just fans, and is heated by fireplace/propane.

    But cabins are a whole different world than boats.:D
  10. Talon

    Talon Senior Member

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    Whilst you have a Captain you can still build up your 'In Command' hours for your own log (Shows distance, locations and times).
    If you look for RYA Yacht Master Ocean and Offshore you will find that you can learn modules at your leisure then take the exams.
    What is an RYA Yachtmaster?? | Exams | Learning | Courses & Training | RYA
    It is expected that you should have at least 50 days / 200 hours under your belt to do this.

    You can look up other similar course according to your location, but most go along these lines.

    Jay
  11. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Thanks Jay!
  12. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Boat Show

    If you're looking for a really quick education you should head down to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of next month to visit the Boat Show. It is a great venue to see as many different types of boats as exist (mostly) in one location.

    My suggestion would be to start a dialogue with a reputable broker who can help you to narrow your criteria and then steer you in the right direction. I'm sure you could find one who would spend the entire show with you, but I think you'd be best on your own (with your wife, of course) to begin with. As questions or revelations come up, perhaps you could meet or speak with your broker each day.

    If you're not in the market right now, that's OK. If you find the right broker, they will let you do things at your own pace- just be honest with them about your intentions.

    If you need some help finding the right broker, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who will help. I would suggest that be done via PM so as to keep this thread on track.
  13. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    So if I'm understanding all of this correctly, it seems that the following might be a good plan of attack.

    1) Spend the next year getting a good idea of what type/size of yacht will best fit our plan/budget/expectations.

    2) During 2013, purchase study material and training courses for Yachtmaster Ocean exam. Devote sufficient time to learning required material. Also complete necessary radio, first-aid requisites.

    3) During winter 2013/2014 begin looking more intently at available yachts and narrow down choices to a few acceptable vessels. Begin to line up financing and insurance.

    4) Spring of 2014, begin looking for a Captain and begin intently locating a yacht.

    5) Once yacht is purchased and Captain is hired, spend the first two months with Captain on board training me and fulfilling the sea-time requirements.

    6) During third month, complete Yachtmaster Ocean Certification.
  14. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    Add this to your notes...

    Your hired captain can be an RYA instructor teaching you both, theory and hand's-on, which means you can get the boat of your dreams once you locate it. Many instructors can instruct you for SSB radio and even engine maintenance which will add to your benefit.

    Good luck.

    P.s. Utilize all the boat shows you can attend to be sea-trialing boats, not just look at them at the dock, you have to build the feel for the kind of boat you are looking for, also check all yacht clubs in your area, many clubs have events that will allow you to pay little money to share a day ride with boaters from the club, some even have longer events. All this will stiffen your sea legs and pave the road towards your sea stripes! Cheers!
  15. Scottbee

    Scottbee Member

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    I just want to say that I have found this (and other threads) to be exceptionally enlightening.

    I am in a similar "boat" to Certeza, and am pondering the life-decision regarding doing a vector toward yacht ownership in the near future. I am blessed by having a family member who is in maritime management and has already secured some of the requisite Captain certifications..... but I will have to slog my way through the education myself (all of my hours/years are inland lake on smaller craft).

    Looks like I need to cash out some travel points for a trip down to Ft. Lauderdale....