Broad Reaching with Andrew Cross

Energy Matters

The blades of our wind generator softly whooshed through the air above me as I steered and our two solar panels soaked in the bright summer sun beside me, spread out on either side of the cockpit like wings. We were heading north for a new anchorage and despite a constant draw from our chartplotter and instruments, and the intermittently running reefer throughout the day, our battery bank never dipped. When we reached our anchorage, dropped our hook and turned on the lights, the wind generator kept chugging along.

Alternative energy sources on a cruising boat are a beautiful thing. Over a spring, summer and fall of cruising we burned less diesel and put fewer hours on our engine due to the assist from our wind and solar. And while at the dock we made a conscious effort to unplug from shore power to let them take over when possible. The result, a miniscule quarterly power bill from our home marina. Sure, the initial cost of setting up a wind and solar system can be high–we were fortunate to purchase a boat that was already fully equipped–but the proof truly is in the pudding.

Enjoy this week’s edition.

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