The electric plan: Shorepower

In my previous “The Electric Plan” I haven’t mentioned “Shore Power” (ie plugging your boat into a mains power supply when in a marina).

The reason is simple. We don’t plan to have a shore power connection. There are several, fairly obvious reasons.

  • Less is more. The less we have installed the less it costs, the less there is to go wrong and the less weight on the boat (hence, we sail faster)
  • There are a few dangers with shore power. Without a fully isolating/blocking transformer it can cause corrosion due to the interaction between the shore power, boat power and salt water. Faults can cause current to go into the water and it takes a surprisingly small current to kill someone who falls in (apparently a number of deaths of people falling into marina water may be due to electric shock rather than heart attack as previously thought).
  • If you use shore power it is highly unlikely that the Marina electricity supply will be from renewable sources (at least for quite a few years). That takes away from the ability to live sustainably with zero fossil fuel use.
  • We don’t want to spend much time in marina’s anyway. So our time and money will be much better spent on improving the renewable generation as that will useful all the time, not just in marinas.
  • Our plans for solar will allow us easily have all the panels in use when in a marina (either over the top of the mizzen boom or by removing it and laying them on the aft cabin top).

Having said all that, when we are in the boatyard at the moment, we are using their mains power, at least in part because we have neither batteries nor solar installed. Given we will be sleeping aboard whenever we visit throughout a North Wales winter we might need more power than we can generate in order to stay warm. What we have is a camping site cable with circuit breaker and 4 sockets at the end of it, designed to provide mains power into tents.

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