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An observation… installing a solar panel above your dinghy davits is not an easy 2 person job. Rebecca and I started out working on the project with just the two of us and by necessity, we got quite creative with how to hold the panel suspended while fastening it to the boat (lines, boathooks). There was just no way we could have done it without some help though and thus were happy to receive some assistance first from our friend Chip, from s/v Cara Mia and later Bill from Knot Tide Down.

What am I doing taking pictures while those two are holding up the panel?
And an even bigger question, why is Chip flexing his biceps in this photo?

Mod 1 with a center brace.

Our Mod 1 design had the panel attached to the rail in the center of the boat and then supported in the middle. The center brace wasn’t our first choice. We had intended to run angled pieces from each rear corner back to the rails but we couldn’t figure out how to get the pieces of angled aluminum to mate properly. This design was OK, meaning fairly stable but the corners could flex a bit and we were all concerned that in heavy weather this could be a problem.

Bill and I were just about ready to go purchase some fittings to bolt into the hull to add 2 more additional supports when we decided to make one more run over to view the other PDQ 32 that we saw in the marina near us. Dog House has a solar panel about the same size attached to the rear of it and we had already been over to scope out how it was installed. This time however we looked a bit closer and were surprised to see that their panel was not centered on the boat! Instead it was off to one side. A light bulb went off for us and when we made our way back to the boat, we determined that we could do almost exactly the same thing, improving our install with no extra parts required and equally as important, no holes drilled into the boat.

The Mod 2 design is much more stable.

To help prevent galvanic corrosion, all aluminum and stainless parts are isolated from each other by nylon washers.

Here you can see how the panel is not centered. It works very well though!

Sadly, when we made the final connections it was late in the day and cloudy. Tomorrow, after we have a day of sunshine to test it, I’ll try to write about the electrical stuff and how the system works.

20 Comments

  1. Looks professionally installed! Good job Rebecca, we all know who really was the mastermind behind this endeavor!

    Jokes of course, great job. Whats next?

    Jim

  2. Nice job guys (and gals)……..Very clean looking install…..Is that a standard bracket that came with the kit or did you have to order special……..Will one panel serve all your needs

    • Thank you John. One thing I have come to learn is that even on a production model like a PDQ 32, there is no such thing as “standard” anything on a boat. The panel came with the black aluminum frame that you see in the pics. Everything else (angle aluminum, stainless clamps, bolts, etc.) was purchased and pieced together.

  3. Very Nice! And after Rebecca makes up a Sunbrella cover it can double as a buffet table.

  4. Nice… perfect.. my brain couldnt think of offsetting it.. so weird that our brains have to keep things square..keeping us from thinking outside the box..

  5. Great job – hope today brings sunshine. Peter’s number one rule is to always have clamps – but then again he doesn’t live on a boat at the moment.

    Have a great weekend!!!

  6. Mike & Linda (II the Max) - Reply

    R & M,

    It’s great to see you making such good progress, it was 20 degrees F last night at CYC, but we finally got a break from the 20-30Mph winds for the last 3 days. We can keep up with your site and cruise vicariously as I ponder shrink wrapping II the Max in the next weeks to save our Bimini for another season.

    Enjoy, best to both of you,

    Mike & Linda (and pooches)

  7. Very well done , nice job I must say, Now I know where to come for even more tips. AGAIN “thanks for sharing it all”

  8. Looks like a good install. With this, and your other two panels, you should have AMPLE electricity.

  9. Nice work!

    (Putting my money where my mouth is, I just purchased 1 KW of 6″ x 6″ solar cells for $350. Now we’ll see what I can do with them…)

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