Date: 16 September 2021. Power to
Obtain Freedom (penguin request)
When I first bought Seaweed she had potential. That means she was
bare-bones with many improvements necessary to support my long term
life aboard, especially when at anchor. For me being able to observe
wildlife in remote spots is important to my happiness. The desire to
live away from the dock means I need a way to power the
accoutrements of my now decadent lifestyle.
I am well past the half century mark. What would have been tolerable
and even enjoyable a few decades ago simply won't cut it at this
point in my life. I enjoy the niceties, and have managed to acquire
same over the past dozen years. This was not easy, nor was it quick.
Though initially I was satisfied with minimal power, I knew that
more would be better. Thus began my quest to ensure adequate power
I wrote about this in the
Solar, Batteries and an Inverter
For folks not aboard boats, the primer
Solar, Batteries and an Inverter
is a great place to begin understanding the how's and why's of
power when away from civilization. What works for me can
indeed be scaled up for small homesteads, folks who worry
about power outages, and others who prefer life off-grid.
Seaweed is 23' long. She carries enough solar panels
and a wind generator to power my life at anchor.
folks need to understand is that when I purchased my boat all those
years ago, she had zero solar, no wind generator, and was a basic
boat. The improvements I've made over the years have been
deliberate, planned and executed as the budget allowed.
Of course it would have been grand to have had the
resources to add everything immediately. For most of us, we start
with what we can afford. Gradually we make improvements. That is
what I have done. Having the patience to live with less than ideal
circumstances is pivotal to achieving success. My goal is an
independent comfortable life afloat, with a level of decadence that
meets my desires.
I was indeed fortunate in having little money. This
forced me to choose with much deliberation.
Quite frankly, Seaweed is
smaller than most could imagine living aboard full-time. That is
okay. She is similar to the tiny homes that are so popular
nowadays, except my home floats. The life I lead is terrific. I am
For the record, yes, I do have the latest edition of Calder's though
I have not yet taken a picture of it.
Life aboard Seaweed is
indeed wonderful. That is not to say there have not be problems.
As I wrote in the
article, having friends is beyond helpful when starting out. If you
have no one, you're going to need the preeminent reference book for
cruisers. In that regard please read and purchase
A New Calder's (2015, 4th Edition)
This book (Calder's)
is truly one of the best investments you will ever make in
your life afloat. When things go wrong, and they will, pull
out Calder's. Turn to the appropriate pages and read. For me,
it takes more than one read-through before I comprehend. It is
my firm belief that anyone who is capable of learning can make
a success of life afloat.
Calder's 4th Edition
As a side note, I did
purchase the Kindle version of Calder's. That one I returned. It was
too hard for me to navigate. I need to be able to open my book,
thumb through, and add notes regarding my own situation, etc.
words, you do not have to "know it all" before buying a boat and
moving aboard her. You do in my view NEED to own a copy of the
*latest edition of Calder's.
Previously I had considered an old Calder's
adequate for older boats. As
so much has changed, I now believe the best option for all cruisers
is the newest version available. I seldom recommend paying full retail
prices, however for Calder's I make an exception. When mine was
loaned out an not returned I bought another. It is that
What I'm hoping you will understand is that even if your first boat is
bare-bones like Seaweed was, she can be improved upon. It is
critically important that you have the basics though. Having a plan
is helpful too.
Adding solar panels is one way to provide power.
Thus, having a flat space is important.
Some opt to hinge their solar panels, which is what
M/V Freedom did on their flybridge.
As Seaweed is my Last Boat having her able to protect me is
critical. I want to be able to live off the dock without a change in
my comfort levels. The ability
to generate power, and store same is one of the core components
to a successful life off-grid. Over the years I've made a lot of
changes that enable me to enjoy a great life without an electric
Now, recently a reader (thank you again kind Sir!) made a
donation to me via
PayPal. I purchased an additional 100 watt solar panel.
The plan is to mount it above the new Dometic Penguin II High
Capacity W/Heat Pump (13.5K BTU though a 15K BTU is okay too)
... I prefer white, though black is acceptable because I am
HOWEVER, I have spent literally days on the phone trying to locate
such a beast.
I am hoping a reader can find the elusive Penguin of my dreams, with
a heat pump. The heat pump is important too. This is a major
infrastructure improvement and I would rather wait than "settle" for
the wrong unit. So, can anyone out there help?!? If so, please write
so I can secure this unit for my Seaweed. And, thanks!
That's it from the water. I thank you for reading.
Addendum. 17 September 2021. Rob
found the ac unit of my dreams and I bought it today. Thank you
In this article I expressed my frustration at not being able
to locate a Penguin II rooftop RV air conditioner made by Dometic. I
specifically desired the heat pump version. A kind reader named Rob
found one in white (my preference) and it is here awaiting
installation. I am SO THANKFUL to have acquired this item.
Of course this is going to
complicate my life because at anchor I might want to power said ac and
at present have no means to do so long term. Not yet.
Does anyone have any experience with the Penguin II ac unit with a heat
And, is there anything I need to know before installation?
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