Add solar panel to your trawler

How to add solar panels to your boat

By Dave Osmolski and Peter Jenkin

For this article, I’ve invited longtime friend and coconspirator, Peter Jenkin, to share his experience adding solar power to his boat. I have known Pete since high school. He’s the only other person ever to ride in my canoe, which leaked in gallons per minute. Former sailors, Pete and his wife, Nancy Miller, now cruise Long Island Sound and coastal New England aboard a 26-foot trawler.

As a new convert to the “dark side,” I had a lot to learn about my new old boat, a 26-foot Nordic Tug. Unlike my old sailboats, it doesn’t have an icebox. Instead, it has a refrigerator like one you’d find in a college dorm room.

We keep the boat on a mooring, anchor out when cruising and never go to marinas. After five to six hours at anchor, the refrigerator would start to die. This happened even with two new group 31 AGM batteries in the house bank. After a few weekends of this, I solved the problem by going solar.

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