Monday, 19 December 2011

What do I actually need?

The Golden Cloud 19/12/11

And so the Christmas season is most defiantly upon us. I'm sat now curled up in a blanket on mums rocking chair, sat by the fire while the dogs sleep to either side of me. It's so nice to be home and the Christmassy homely feel is definitely what the doctor ordered.

I spent the first few days after getting home doing a RYA Powerboats License. I sometimes find myself doing something fantastic like this. I spent 2 days courtesy of my job at uni, spinning around in a high spec. powerboat, doing over 35knots, racing ferry's, the rib's equivalent of a handbrake turn, j turns, 8 turns and donuts! FANTASTIC. Apparently this will also be something that will help the work I do, and will mean they give me more hours. What more can I ask for!?!

I've come back in the evening and spent my spare time reading the various books I've bought off amazon as reference material for the project. Many things have caught my eye, from chutneys and jams, to fish traps and lobster pots. Fingers crossed I'll have the time to try them out.

One particular book has been fascinating bedtime reading; Low Cost Living by John Harrison. One chapter that has captured my thoughts Energy.

Energy on The Golden Cloud is something of a critical point. The boat is designed to run on 12v produced by the inboard 10hp diesel engine. However, this has a number of stumbling blocks. 1st  the previous owner was in the middle of an electrics refurb, as a result the boats internal 12v circuit is incomplete and not operational. 2nd if the electrics were operational I will not be going to sea for the foreseeable future, and as such, the diesel engine that charges the batteries will not be running to charge the battery, the battery will soon run dead.

Now I also have a number of decisions to make with regards to energy. I could a) run off the extension lead that I will be supplied with from the boatyard, on metered mains 240v, at ~15p per unit. Or b) spend some of my years savings on a solar panel or wind turbine to charge the battery, and then set up the 12v circuits, with the free power from the sky!

The answer that slaps me in the face is GO FOR THE RENEWABLE, after all I want to be sustainable, and this will also be adding value to the boat. However, going down this route will cost me ~£500 for a set up for a 100watt panel, or £700 for a 500watt turbine. 

It will also limit me in the wattage I can use onboard. Yes I will not use all my electrical items all the time, and yes by producing my own energy I'm more likely to be careful with what electric I use, but it does mean I need to work out what wattage is a want and what wattage is a need.

So I wrote it down and worked it out. If my heating comes from the wood burner, and my cooker runs on gas. I'm left with the fridge (optionally works on gas) ~50w, the Laptop ~30w, phone charger ~5w, lights over the cooker, bed, forward cabin <10w each. Total under 100w. Other things I may need are optional extras, they're wants, not needs, The TV, the PS2, I really don't need in all honesty, I don't need lots of lights. Its also more than likely that I will only have the fridge, the laptop and a light on at one time. If I find I need something that I haven't put down for, worst comes to worst I can use the extension lead supplied.  

In a lot of ways this final bit of the blog is more of a survey than anything else. Other than light, laptop, phone and fridge is there anything anyone can think of that I will need electricity for?

Merry Christmas.


  1. Hey Joe
    Really Lovving these blogs mate, and if u let me know when i'll deffo come and help with anything u need. As for stuff to run off electric, you have pointed out that many things a wants not needs. but i would say is your fridge just a fridge or fridge freezer? because obviously with fishy, hunting and gathering means you have a bit of leeway with stuff and less waste. Apart from that sounds like everythings accounted for.

    Merry Xmas mate

  2. I like your blog :) you need pretty photos though!!! Although maybe that's a bit girly! I need to take a leaf out of your book on sustainability though :) I do buy my veg from the market here- locally grown and all that! - be proud! Won't you need electric to heat water for a shower? Lol! Are you going to become a forager? I saw a program once on a guy who literally foraged for food and caught pheasants and fish etc and grew his own veg! Pretty amazing really considering how much we spend on our food shopping each week! Hope freebie and meg are well. X

  3. Thanks for the comments guys!

    Zoe the photo's are to come when I have something to photo at the moment i'm the best part of 300 miles from the boat! hence no photo's
    Fingers crossed I will forage as much as possible hence the "each months food bills must be cheaper than the month previous" bit... its easier to forage in the summer!
    Shower for now is sorted ... Part of the rent at the boat yard (£14 per week) is the use of shower and toilets. For when I set sail I plan to use a shower on deck, either a solar shower, or I will use excess electric from the turbine/panel for heating water.
    We both know I've always fancied sustainability, but then always liked technology too, fingers crossed I can mix the two!

    Meg and Freebie are all well thanks!

    Good point on the fridge/freezer bit, To be honest, what i need is a Freezer not a fridge (I watched a program the other week which showed a lot of things actually keep less well in a fridge than just in the cupboard, and nothing has its life massively extended) I'm having a look at a fridge/freezer at the boatyard that they have which I could have, but Im yet to see how good that is. The help would be greatly appreciated, any time from the 8th January onwards really! I don't know which job to do first, probably insulation and draft exclusion, or fitting cookers and wood burner. Help with anything will be great! The spare bed is ready and waiting!

    Love the difference between man and woman comments! Woman - You need shower and more photo's, Man - You need freezer incase you kill too much stuff!!!!

    Merry Xmas!

  4. Drop me ure number mate. mines 07545947760. i would probs say fitting burner and cooker coz then if u need to do anything in cavities its not full of stuff u just spent loads of time putting in. yh i was gonna say just go all out large freezer coz for example Mackerel. . . dead easy to get like 2 months of the year and bloody aweful rest of the time so it means u can spread a catch out over atleast 6months and thus get a balanced diet coz obvs in winter foods gonna b harder to get hold of. ( Fridge u can always use waterproof bags and a bucket of water to be honest lol)