An Off the Grid Father’s Day
I hope everyone had a good father’s day. I drove up to Jacksonville last weekend to give my dad a hug. Talk about going off the grid. My parents have just started living on a sailboat. It’s a 40-foot Erwin docked in Green Cove Springs Florida. The boat’s power comes from a bank of three batteries under its “living room” floor. It also has diesel tanks to get it on its way. Another great perk of buying this boat was that it came with its own wind turbine.
Wind energy might not work well in an inland city like Orlando but it’s perfect in a beach community or at a marina. It’s very appropriate for a sailboat that harnesses the power of the wind to do almost everything. This turbine will replenish the batteries without costing my parents more in electrical fees. Some reassembly was required. My Dad and I love to put stuff together. We got to work on it right after I came aboard.
Putting Together a Wind Turbine
The wind turbine is pretty beat up. Its logo has chipped off with the paint so I don’t know too much about its manufacturer. The design looks like an All Power America product. I thought about buying one for my last house in Orlando. It might spit out as much as 300 watts. I never bought one because a wind installer told me Orlando is a bad place for wind turbines. To set up a whole system with the inverter, charge controller and battery you need about $500.
We only needed an adjustable wrench and a socket to attach the three blades to the metal plate that spins the generator. The blades appeared to be made of carbon fiber. One of them had split and broken off a shard from the blade. We attached it with gorilla glue and duct tape and we’ll buy a replacement fin soon. Most wind turbines start producing electricity at 7 to 10 knots.
I’m really surprised Mom and Dad seem to be enjoying life aboard Andiamo a lot. My Mom started her own blog about her experience if you’d like to follow their story. Andiamo means “let’s go” translated from Italian. My parents bought the boat used and they’re still fixing little things here and there. As they continue to renovate it my dad is planning to rig a solar array to Andiamo’s deck.
It was a pretty relaxing weekend. I sat on the ship, enjoyed the wind and the waves and played a little guitar. It’s nice to finally have a job that doesn’t make me come in on the weekends.