Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life on the High Seas?

Not really, its life on Middle Harbour actually...but you get my drift! Aha ha ha...I crack myself up (and we're not drifting, we are securely attached to one of the d'Albora swing moorings in Pearl Bay at The Spit - and enjoying the scenery).

My head is still spinning (I am losing considerable amounts of hair actually...not so good), and we have many, many things to get done before we leave....but it has not all been hard work and no play for the crew of Lucey Blue (well, not for some of us at least).

One of the recent highlights for Emily and I was a lunchtime visit to Ormeggio at The Spit, for a 'Meet the Masterchef' lunch. We both had a delicious meal and got to meet Executive Chef and owner, Alessandro Pavoni, and one of his top apprentices, Alex Keene...both seen recently on Masterchef Australia.

Emily had spied them both at Ormeggio on many of our day-to-day excursions off the marina and when we stopped to indulge in some of their yummy kiosk food, but we hadn't had a chance to sit down and eat there yet, so Nick suggested it might be time we did!

We also got to try one of their specially prepared desserts, L'uovo nel nido or 'Egg on the nest'....a scrumptious milk chocolate shell, filled with light coconut mousse and a centre of mango sauce, all sitting on a nest of fairy floss. YUMMY....my mouth is watering just thinking about it (and I all but licked my plate clean ;-).

I'm thinking we may need to go back there for a Bon Voyage lunch!

Ryan and Dad got some takeaway from the Ormeggio kiosk, and kept working on the boat (such dedicated troops they are). Ryan didn't mind one little bit though, as he scored an enormous serve of chocolate gelato in the process, the cup in which it was served also having been licked clean I believe...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We officially live on Lucey Blue now!

Sorry to have fallen off the grid. It has been a rollercoaster ride getting ready to leave the house and move up here. We finally finished cleaning the house (OMG what a HUGE job that was) around 11 am yesterday (Monday 16th), and after several side trips for various bits and pieces we arrived at The Spit at 6pm.

Numerous dinghy rides later, tired, hungry and with slightly damp bottoms, we were installed! We have spent the day trying to find space for all our STUFF...

I will be back soon with more on where we are at, we aim to leave Sydney in early June...
That ol' countdown-o-meter must have been referring to when we would leave Canberra...not Sydney, and in that respect...we were only a day late. This is my story, and I'm sticking to it ;-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sanyo HIP-210 watt solar panels and Outback Power Systems FLEXmax 60 Amp MPPT regulator:

Well it’s been a long time coming, but we have finally installed the 420 watt solar system on Lucey Blue. Nick decided to use Sanyo HIP-210 Watt solar panels as they are hybrid solar cells created by combining amorphous silicon and crystalline silicon, which means they are highly efficient and work better in dappled shade and at higher temperatures than ordinary mono-crystalline panels. We also noted the success Linocat had with large “connect to grid” type solar panels.

The first step was to find a suitable location on Lucey Blue. We searched high and low, but ended up settling on the top of the dinghy davits. Nick started the job of modifying the davits on the boat, but it soon became apparent he would have to finish the design stage at home.

After a bit of playing around on the front deck he finally had the design sorted out and templates ready for the stainless steel fabricator.

Canberra tradesmen are really good and after a few days Nick headed back up to Sydney with the stainless steel extension rails to install the new improved dinghy davits with help from his father. The job went incredibly smoothly and before long they had the external half of the solar system in place – no drill bits were broken drilling through the stainless, no parts were dropped overboard and no one went for a swim!!!

The next step was to run the wiring and install the Outback Power Systems FLEXmax MMPT regulator. The solar panels remained covered during this stage of the installation process to ensure they were not producing any electricity. Nick and his father spent a bit of time modifying the electrical locker to maximise space and improve the natural ventilation. Again everything went smoothly and they soon had the whole solar system up and running. On the first day – light rain and overcast – the system pumped out about 13-17 Amps at around 13 volts. On a typical sunny day we have seen up to 30 Amps, but it all depends on the day, state of the battery banks and charging phase.

We are extremely happy with the solar setup and now only have to run the engines if we want to make hot water for our showers. We have also replaced the Trojan T105 675 Amp hour house battery bank. The new electrical system – solar, battery bank and alternator smart regulators - is so much better that we might start selling power to neighbouring boats ;-)...