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off grid luxuries of solar, heat and ac on a sailboat

Getting Back Modern Day Luxuries

Modern-day comforts like electric-powered heat and cooling aren’t just for those who live on land.  Thanks to our solar and lithium batteries, we have added some serious off-grid luxuries to our floating home.

We’ve never been the kind of people who only seek out perfectly sunny 75-degree days.  We love all seasons and some of the world’s most extreme landscapes (and life) are in the most extreme environments.  Which means we need to prepare ourselves for a wide variety of conditions.

Now, there are plenty of opinions about how one should go about life, travel, adventure, and everything in between.  Variety, it’s the spice of life.  It’s not one size fits all.

As for us, we like to travel with the comforts of home.  We believe boat life and comfort can, and do, coexist.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other.  There are plenty of challenges between dodging wild weather systems, navigating bureaucracy, searching out safe harbors, and learning how to fix anything.  No need to wake up with a heat rash in the tropics or with icicles on our noses in the higher latitudes.

We’ve done plenty of both over the past decade and agree it should be avoided if possible.  Our home is our vessel, and for us, these upgrades help make long-term travel more sustainable.

 

Surfshark VPN Discount

All our off-grid info

 

Flexible Solar Panels

Just a direct replacement for the 6, 100-watt Flex Panels that were damaged in the storm.  Flexible panels are the only way to go for the hardtop because they allow us to walk on them to get to our sails, the reefing lines, and the traveler.  These panels are built to withstand the marine environment, they can curve up to 30 degrees, and are 82% lighter than framed solar panels (plus you can’t stub your toe on them).  The latest version (come out mid-2022) is 110w with a super heavy-duty ETFE coating.

 

Off-Grid AC, Heat, Dehumidifier

We installed 2 (1 aft, 1 forward) Webasto FCF Platinum 1600 btu units with Easy Start & Easy Touch Control Display

The Easy Start device (made by Micro Air) is what allows us to run the AC without having to run a generator or being plugged into shore power. It’s a beautiful thing!

The compressor on an air conditioner has a huge power spike as it starts up.  Because of this spike, it requires a lot of power to start an A/C, typically a large generator or 30-50amp shore power supply.  But the Easy Start does exactly as the name implies, it eases the start.

EasyStart is a custom-developed soft starter for single-phase motors. It can deliver 65-75% start current reduction as compared to a compressor’s LRA (locked-rotor amperage).  In other words, it eases the start enough so we can run it through our inverter to power our AC off our lithium batteries.

Here is a video where we share the installation of the Easy Start on our old ACs right after we bought Curiosity, and some fun testing showing how the easy start works.

Easy Start & Easy Touch Discount Codes!

Go to MicroAir.net to purchase

  • $25 off Easy Start: GWTW
  • $20 off EasyTouch Marine Touchscreen Control Displays: GWTWDISPLAY 
  • $75 off EasyTouch Marine Control Displays Kit: GWTWComplete

A note from Micro Air:  These are non-stackable codes.  A customer can order 3 EasyStarts in one order and each one is discounted. But add a different part, and the system won’t accept a second code.  In other words, you will need to make separate orders to garner the full value of all discounts.  It’s a function of our eCommerce platform.  Shipping cost is based on weight so you are not taking a financial hit on that front.

 

🎥 CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO

🎶 MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO

🙏 THANK YOU!

Ups, downs, and all around, we share it all. If you like what you see, there are lots of ways you can show your support.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (17)

  • Henry & Eve Gaudreau

    Dear Jason and Nikki,
    I am so impressed with your spirit. Thanks for taking us on your adventures.
    My wife and I bought a Catalina 380 last November, it’s on the hard in Chicago now. I’ve been “going to school” with your videos for the past several years and we’re about to start our boat projects adventure. Our hope is to take a wrong turn and mistakenly find ourselves in the Gulf of Mexico as we adventure around the Great Lakes. We’ll see. I’ve learned so very much from your videos, many, many thanks.
    As for the polyp surgery, it’s not as bad as you think. I’ve had it done twice. (Be aware they may come back.). But somehow I don’t think this will slow Nikki down for more than a day.
    Take care, be safe,
    Henry & Eve
    S/V Wanna Do

    reply
  • Pam McClure

    Still loving your videos so much. And ick to sinus surgery. Is it being performed in New Zealand? Thanks again for creating the videos.

    reply
  • Kathleen Smith

    Did I miss something? What happened with your refrigerator and freezer replacement?

    reply
    • Doug Davey

      I have the same question about your water maker.

      reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Wow. Another great, informative video ready for Sunday viewing. I love it.
    Jason is doing so many technical, electrical things and projects it is amazing and a long way from the RV days. 👍
    I have noticed a decline in comments lately. Not sure why. Perhaps people are traveling and adventuring? I always leave a positive comment.
    Thank you for your weekly time and effort.
    Anchors away…

    reply
  • Kathryn

    Thank you for all you!

    Nikki, I’m in love with your hat! Would you mind sharing about it? We’re new boaters and I would love one for the summer!

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      I believe she got that in French Polynesia (maybe Bora Bora?) from locals who make them for sale. She’ll correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t it great? You might be able to get one in the Bahamas, where they make a lot of similar articles from palm fronds.
      Curious Minion

      reply
      • Kathryn

        Thanks for the info. I guess I’ll have to go back to Bora Bora to shop for that cute hat! 🙂

        reply
  • Marcus

    It took me sometime to work out that Cork was… 🙂

    Thanks Google:
    Silicone Plastic. Cork belongs to the wood-based materials classification, while silicone plastic belongs to the thermoset plastics.

    reply
  • Steve john Gibbons

    Your smashing the To Do list and a great example of team work. Time for a cuppa and Nikki can sit in front of the heater

    reply
  • Grace

    I am so impressed with how you two work with each other and the knowledge you have gained over the past few years you have been sailing. Always fun to see your videos!

    reply
  • Pat

    Great to see more projects finished

    reply
  • Michael

    See, water-based heat pump is the right choice, because it can heat or cool and you have an unlimited source of relatively consistent water temperature to draw from. It is always the best option. Good to see it working out for you. And utilizing the easy-start mechanism is just icing on the cake. Well done!

    reply
  • ClownBoy

    Good info ⚡🔌💡🔦

    reply
  • Don S

    I have a 36 foot motorhome. What are the disadvantages of the flexible solar panels when compared to the frame mount panels? I’ve been following you two for quite some time and admire your attitude and perseverance. Good luck in your continuing adventurers.

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      The technology is changing all the time and flexi panels continue to improve, so if you’re ready to buy I suggest going down the research rabbit hole for the latest & greatest. But, in a nutshell, flexible panels are slightly less efficient than tradition panels for 2 reasons: first is that a cooler solar panel is more efficient than a hot one. Mounting a hard panel on a frame lets air circulate around the panel and keeps it cooler. Flexible panels can get so hot that they “cup” and develop depressions where dirt & water can collect, which makes them even less efficient. Second, the surface of flexible panels isn’t as durable and they can haze over, which decreases their efficiency. But surface treatments for them are improving all the time, so this is becoming less of an issue.

      So in general, frame mounted rigid panels have the edge over flexibles, but for certain situations (like a curved Airstream roof) they’re an obvious choice. Hope that helps!
      Curious Minion

      reply

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