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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Date: 16 July 2018. Generating Power.



This is Part Two of a multi-part series on decadence. Okay, really it's about how to have a refrigerator off-grid. Today's piece is Generating Power. It focuses on powering the reefer. Here's how I do it.

Part One is available here:
Refrigerator Power Requirements.



#2) To run my life of decadence I need to generate power. Here's how I do it:

Aboard Seaweed I have two ways of creating power. Having more than one method means that I have contingencies in place. If the wind blows my batteries are charged. When the sun shines, I get still more power.


Information on my
Wind Generator and Solar Panels:

Affiliate link

(similar model -- I have an Air Breeze)

 Sunforce 44444 12-Volt 400-Watt Wind Generator


A wind generator was my first purchase for life at anchor. It powered my off-grid power needs. On the east coast that was an okay decision. Here the morning sea breezes simply don't happen. Now don't let yourself think I would not buy one again. I would because at night or during thunderstorms (cloudy weather) the wind blows.


In retrospect, I should have
started with solar panels.

Affiliate link

 2pcs 100W Mono Watt 100W 100Watts Off Grid 12 Volt 12V RV Boat USA Solar Cells


Renogy is my choice for solar panels. Aboard Seaweed I have on 75 watt panel ($150 in 2010), two Renogy 100 watt panels from Amazon ($330 in 2013) and two 85 watt panels gifted to me by Larry and Eva. That totals 445 watts of solar. Unless there is a long stretch of overcast days, I should be okay.


2 Renogy 100 watt panels on pilothouse, 2 85 watt
 panels over galley and one 75 watt panel over cockpit.

An Air-Breeze wind generator is mounted on
strong thick-walled stainless pipe above the cockpit.

When underway every engine I know has an alternator. Seaweed is no exception. Except mine does not do anything. The alternator is not wired up (at all) thus I get no benefit from the power made by said alternator. Argh.

At the St. Pete Boat Show I
spoke with Rick of Beta Marine.

Beta is the marinized version of my Kubota.

One of the best parts about attending a boat show is meeting the vendors. Rick was in the booth representing Beta Marine engines. Because Betas are built on a Kubota base I was hoping I could utilize his expertise.

To his credit Rick of Beta Marine did attempt to help me understand how those wires attach. It all seemed so simple at the time. Then I got home my mind drew a complete blank. What is particularly frustrating is that I know that at one time I would have comprehended it all with ease.

Such is life. Getting old is not for sissies!

I have a great engine. She starts every time. That makes me happy. It is such a blessing to be able to start the engine and know all will be well. I can be underway in just a few minutes. I am very fortunate.

Gulfport at dusk... the anchorage is just off the pier.

Unfortunately the alternator currently on my Kubota does not charge the batteries. I don't know how to set that up. Yes it has been explained to me. More than twice. And no, I still don't have a clear understanding. Thus, when I am underway I'm not doing a thing for my batteries.

I told you about the alternator fiascos in the
Upsizing the Alternator - My Mistake article.


The 15 amp alternator was originally mounted to the engine with a single bolt. Then I improved things until I broke it.

Because I do not know how or where the wires from the original alternator attach, they aren't hooked up to anything. Instead the alternator is mounted so the fan belt will drive the raw water cooling pump. This is of course not ideal. But it works.

Were money no object I'd have a serpentine belt too...

Yes, life is truly wonderful aboard Seaweed.

I went over to the Madeira Beach
American Legion to enjoy the sunset.

Though I wish the alternator was wired, I do have both wind and solar power charging my batteries. Life aboard Seaweed truly is wonderful.

Thanks for reading Part Two. The final article in this series will be posted on the 18th.

Part One:
Refrigerator Power Requirements
Part Two: Generating Power

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Generating Power page.

Categories: Characters, Gear, Locations, Recommendations,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I appreciate that more than you can imagine.


Pets of the Week: Patches
aboard Manatee

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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