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Energy on board

In Europe, we used one bottle of gas per month (5 kg of propane or 6 kg of butane), and reviewing what the gas is used for - one discovers that this is boiling water for most of the time. For coffee, tea, washing the dishes... That is why we bought a water boiler, and an electric cooking plate as well, so in marina's we cook "for free". 
We don't do this to save money, but more because we don't want the hassle with the gas bottles, and the question if they can be filled at all... Impossible in most European countries (U.K., France and Spain). In Portugal you can fill up at some road gas stations, but this is dangerous as the quantities are not controlled. You will be succesfull again oy on the Canary islands, the Cape-Verdians and in the Caribbean. By the way, once arrived in the tropics, gas consumption lowers drastic. Cooking results into more heat in the boat, so you'll eat out more often. And in the tropics, this costs next to nothing; in fact eating out is often cheaper than to cook by yourself!

If you have enough money to spend (and if you feel like it!), you can spend your nights in marina's where electricity is the most important shore line to many sailors: the plug into the electricity unit on the pontoon.
Initially we thought that we would spend maximum 5 nights per month in a marina, but for instance on the Canary islands one is obliged to spend more time there. It is not too bad, you have to be selective and the big advantage is: electricity is included!

Where do we get it?
We try to keep our energy stocks high by using the following equipment:
- a generator on the engine, supplying 90 Ah (so when we use the "iron mainsail" we top up our batteries in no time)
- a solar panel (brand: BP); this one generates ca 55Wh, almost 5 Ah
- a towable generator; generates 5 Ah at a boat speed of 5 knots
- wind propellor conected to the generator of the towing unit; to be hoisted in the fore triangle but is only productive as of 15 kts of wind.
Anchoring on solar energy
For a long time we used a simple garden lantern as an anchorlight. It contained a white LED and a solar cell on top which charges two AA-batteries. 
You take it easy for the price of 12 euro's because you hoist the lantern in a sunny spot, switch the lantern "on" and when it gets dark you have a nice anchor light. At sundawn, the lamp switches itself automatically off.

Updated 09/2006
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