Electric V’s Propane

Before we got Can Knot Agree (CKA) in 2021, we did some research into galley options to think about a course of action we wanted to follow once we had our own boat & soon decided that we wanted to go electric & would likely remove the propane. We didn’t get to the point of full removal of all propane items on CKA, but we did manage to become no longer reliant on using any of those items & learned a lot though the process.

For those who don’t know, propane is very popular on sailboats, in part because you don’t need any electricity to run a propane stove. I also have a theory that it has something to do with it being cheaper to throw in a propane stove these days & call it done.

Using propane & doing short sailing trips isn’t too much of an issue, but when you get into longer distanced sailing & travel from place to place, it can get a little tricky. Adapters can differ between islands/ countries & finding places to refill can be an adventure in itself. Even here in Canada it has been a bit tricky for us, requiring a car each time we have had to have our little 5lb bottle refilled, which also helped in our choice to go electric. Yes, we really are looking for an easy ride. 😂

On CKA, we installed 250 Watts of solar panels and 200 Ah of lithium batteries as storage and a 2000W inverter. This allowed us to charge laptops and phones, or run either the toaster oven, kettle or induction cook top at once. We even managed proof of concept with running a Starlink dish & this past season added a little rice cooker, very important for sushi making, as I like to do.

Being able to generate our own power & workout ways to manage our power consumption to make it work, has been a game changer for us & is a big part of why we are now getting ready to set out on the adventures we have planned. Now, armed with some real time experiences & Geoff’s talent to execute the plan, we have been working on ways to get the new boat up & running too.

Working on refitting the boat in Martinique has not been an insignificant task to date though & not just because of distance. There have been some issues in finding ways to get some items over to Martinique, or even a way to get them to several of the islands in the chain, which has been frustrating, but that is life on the islands too, so you just have to work with it. A big component we need, is the lithium batteries. Despite a lot of effort over the last few months, it seems the ones that we need (that fit & have the specs we want), are unable to get to us in that part of the world.

However, it hasn’t all been bad, my trip to Martinique at the end of August, means that we now have most of the 110V kitchen appliances that we want to use on the boat already, including a little oven, induction cooktop & our rice cooker. Not to mention Starlink is sorted as well (we just need to mount it).

Solar panels we are able to source there & will hook up to the current lead battery bank already on the boat, not the most efficient, but it will do for now.

Given issues to secure some things required, like the lithium batteries, our current plan is perhaps take a trip up to the US coast, to acquire & install there, then continue on our way. Not exactly the plan we had in mind originally, but it is a viable solution. Timing of that trip will dependent on a lot of factors though & as we don’t tend to rush, it might be a while.

It is what it is though, & we will make it work.


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