As life afloat progressed, the desire to make less of a ‘carbon
wake’ became a higher priority for many reasons. Living in an environmentally conscientious manner was already a big
inspiration for us, but we also wanted to be self sufficient and free of the demands created to maintain the energy craving
lifestyle of the average US citizen. With the AGM battery upgrade in place, we decided it was time to turn away from fossil
fuels and draw on the wind and the sun to recharge them.
Remaining aware that traditional energy sources and valuable environmental resources are used to make solar
panels and wind generators prompted us to choose the most efficient, enduring products on the market – preferably from
small business owners. We spent considerable brain energy on research and concluded that a Solar Stik with a Kiss wind generator mounted on top was the best configuration to meet our criteria.
Re Metau was due for a new bottom paint job, and having the chance to install our eco-power while her stern
was over dry land minimized the risk of feeding expensive components to the deep blue sea. With the help of Brian Bosley,
the chief architect of the Solar Stik, we were able to overcome our analysis paralysis caused by devising a viable installation on our Hans Christian’s canoe
stern. We planned to mount the Solar Stik’s mast to our stern rail’s vertical support, but upon closer inspection,
we discovered a very chilling state of affairs. Rather than a solid connection, the vertical rail was simply resting against
the back stay’s chain plate. The stern rail was holding our dinghy, davits, outboard engine, and often both of us with
nothing more than the horizontal rails and oblivious levitation.
Given the task of drilling though two ¼” thick stainless steel plates,
correcting the connection was the most difficult task of the overall power plant project. With pictures and PVC pipe templates
in hand, we took our Solar Stik support arms to a local marine fabricator for bending. Using a lot of pantomime, sketching,
and spare parts laying around, we described our engine lift design to Dave, who implied it would be very difficult. “Sailboats
are made of unobtainium!” he responded with a grin and once the definition of this new word registered, we laughingly
agreed. Although not impossible, obtaining parts for our oversized rig was often challenging. Dave accommodated our needs
for aluminum plates, swiveling foot pads and welds, and we fashioned a lift at a fraction of the cost of a manufactured product.
month we brainstorm ways to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet; however turning to green energy with this project was
one of our most rewarding actions. It is incredibly satisfying to look up and see our Kiss wind generator purring quietly
while our solar panels soak up powerful light from sunrise to sunset. With our frequent cloudless days and sea breezes, we
very rarely turn to alternate forms of electric power generation. We are officially off the grid!