Today was solar panel day, at least for the most part. The epoxy in the holes I'd prepared on the previous day has hardened, so I cut the tubing flush on the decks and to a shorter length on the inside and also cleaned the installation area again in preparation for Andy's arrival. The winds were still gusting a bit, and I was worried about the two of handling the flexible panels but Andy had brought his wife, Marie, and with their expertise we soon had the 3M 4200 sealant applied to the first panel and fed the wires through the tubing with hardly and problems at all. The second panel went in without a hitch and we taped the edges of the panels to ensure that nothing could move until the sealant had begun to cure. The next task was sealing the edges with a silicone sealant, Andy had brought his tools for that but wanted to wait for the sealant to set a bit before attempting that task, so both he and Marie departed. I suppose that they had other more pressing tasks the rest of the day, as they did not return - but there was no hurry (and no rain) and I'm sure that he'll come by on Saturday to complete the work.
After they departed I began the task of hooking up the electrical connections below decks, a task made simpler because I had already pulled the wires through the boat. Soon I had the two MPPT controllers attached and the crimps completed and it was with great pleasure that I could see my batteries being charged even during periods where clouds hid the sun from direct view. When the sun came out I was seeing about 12Ah going into the batteries and that was using just 5 out of the 6 panels. This will go a long way towards being self-sufficient for daily electrical consumption!
After the electrical part was complete I had to get my boat put back together, as I'd removed all of the headliners in the forward cabins in preparation for the installation and converted my salon table into a workbench, strewing tools and supplies all over the boat. This took appreciably longer than sorting the electrical connections out, but after a good workout for my arms (holding and shifting the ungainly panels overhead) I had the headliners re-attached to the underside of the decks and, surprisingly, had no missing or extra screws after I was finished. Drilling the holes had created a bit of tailings, which the wind had distributed around the cabins, so I had to clean up for while and used the time to give the starboard forward head a work over. During the passage from the BVI the slamming of waves forward had popped the stopper out of the sink and then sprayed salt water all over the head; I hadn't noticed this until several days later and had only done a cursory job of cleaning up. I needed to remove all traces of saltwater before it started attacking the stainless fittings.
The anchored Canadian boat behind me, into whose space I had encroached since it was the only area I could find that was deep enough, finally had to depart so I lifted my anchor and motored around while he manually pulled up his chain, once he was gone I re-anchored twice as the winds shifted and I was too close to my neighbors the first time.
By the time all of this was finished it was time for a shave and shower and then off to the 17:00 bridge opening at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club where I met Mark and several others; we talked for a long time before I repaired to Barnacle's for my reserved portion of ribs which were fantastic. Rather than remain there, I returned to the boat (somewhat inebriated) and had gone below for about 10 minutes when I heard noises outside and when I went topsides I saw, much to my dismay, that I was very close to the boat behind me and that they even had a fender out to cushion any potential impact. I am certain that I hadn't dragged since there was little wind at the time, but the direction the wind was coming from had shifted and so I had to weigh anchor and choose a better spot. Rather than attempt to reset my anchor between the other boats in the dark after having imbibed a bit too much alcohol, I re-anchored a bit downwind with a lot of scope in the secure knowledge that I was going to swing into the channel used for the big mega yachts at Palapa; but I'd sort that out in the morning.
I didn't sleep well as I did keep an anchor watch and I was now quite close to the Soggy Dollar Bar at Palapa and their impressive sound system which went on, at full volume playing bad music, until after 3AM.

Wires soldered to rear of panels The leads coming off the back of the solar panel are quite small solid metal tabs and I soldered normal wire to the ends and used shrink wrap to seal the connections.
(2015-03-13 08:46:45 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/60s] ISO 160)
Wires soldered to rear of panels
Solar panel wiring underneath deck The clear plastic tubing is epoxied on the deck and then goes to a thicker marine cable for the long run to the MPPT charger and from there to the battery bank.
(2015-03-13 11:33:45 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/60s] ISO 160)
Solar panel wiring underneath deck
Marie and Andy of Five Start Yachring Marie and Andy from Five Star Yachting, wo did the solar panel installation work aboard Zanshin.
(2015-03-13 09:45:21 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/80s] ISO 160)
Marie and Andy of Five Start Yachring
Solbian panels glued on deck The leads of the solar panels come out underneath the panels and go through the hull. These panels, once the adhesive cures, can be walked on; although this part of the deck doesn't see much foot traffic.
(2015-03-13 09:43:19 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/13.0, 1/200s] ISO 160)
Solbian panels glued on deck
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