To me the joy of sailing, is that opportunity to unplug from all things electronic. To go back to using the laws of physics in the simplest sense, the time in nature, and the companionship that a shared experience creates.
We aren’t parent’s who are big on screen time for the youngling on a day-to-day basis any way, so it has always been pretty easy for the boat to be a screen free environment.
While it still is this way, for the little guy….we’ve noticed screens encroaching more and more into our adult lives on the boat….well, frankly it’s just one screen in particular. It has always caused much discussion, speculation, anxiety and joy but we realised recently, that it was really starting to take over our time on the boat. More and more often, it was the focus of conversations. We would find our selves thinking about it, while we weren’t looking at it, and lingering too long by it, wondering what was going to happen next.
The screen in question is this one:
Yup, it is the battery monitor screen.
You know…I can actually hear you laughing at me right now.
We really do spend a lot of time thinking, watching and debating this sucker. We’re constantly analysing our usage, trying not to waste power. Trying to squeeze an all important extra day at anchor before we have to move the boat just to charge the batteries. Last year as we sailed around Vancouver Island, power was our biggest challenge. On one notable occasion, we motored instead of sailed because we were that low on power….that sucked…and don’t get me started on what happens to ‘she who must be obeyed’ a.k.a the refrigerator when the battery voltage gets too low.
So we decided to fight back against our screen addiction. How? ….well like this.
We now, have two lovely, flexible solar panels attached to the top of the dodger. Now we can create our own power while we are sitting at anchor, we can sail and we can be free of the tyranny of the evil, diminishing boxes on the battery capacity screen.
This weekend we went to lovely Bowen. It’s pricey to moor there so we opted to try the panels out and didn’t plug in for the weekend. That saved us a whole $10!!! Whoot, that’s approximately one free drink! Which I immediately volunteered to drink, triumphantly, savouring the accomplishment for the entire glass.
Yesterday it rained all afternoon yet we excitedly found our selves glued to the monitor watching the ‘filling’ arrow dart across the screen showing a whole 0.1 amp of power being generated. Wow! We could barely contain the excitement as we worked through our board game selection and debated the finer rules of Cluedo.
This morning, we awoke to blue sky. Within minutes, I had leaped out of bed to see the screen…..4 whole amps…and one of the panels was still in shadow. Wow, far too much excitement before my first cup of tea of the day!
As we sailed back in broad sunshine, and a lovely 15 knots of breeze from the starboard quarter I will admit to leaving the deck ‘just a few times’ to go check the screen….5 amps and the instruments were on which would reduce the number…..
On reflection, I’m not sure that we’ve quite found the solution to our screen addiction, but we certainly have given ourselves a whole other level of nerdy fun to have with it… however, I’ll bet we’re not the only boaters with this kind of battery monitor obsession. Comment below if you are a fellow member of this noble club.