Our Albin Vega, Velocir, has been worked on over the past 4 years.
Past Blog Posts About Velocir Modifications:
– Making the Dodger
– Electronics Panel
– Modifications Update
– Albin Vega Stern Push Solar Panel Mount
– Vega US Documenting Numbers
– Velocir’s Albin Vega Sail Design
– Cost of Outfitting and Cruising Albin Vega Velocir
More Detailed Systems Information About Our Albin Vega Velocir:
(based on emails and comments we have received) Please comment below with any questions and we will add more info to this page.
- We have two 85 watt solar panels. This is the max size we could fit on our stern push. They provide us with everything we need and more! (Keeping in mind that we are only powering LED lights, LED navigation lights, computer, charging phones and small electronics, VHF radio etc.)
- An upgrade to all LED is huge in a solar plan. We found the Sea Dog line not quite as expensive and good quality. Leaving the lights on is never an issue, it draws so little it doesn’t matter! We have also talked about adding a refrigeration unit that would only draw about 3 amps and think it could handle this as well.
- The solar panels are then run to a power controller that regulates the charge. We bought the morningstar charge controller.
- We have two deep cycle batteries, with a battery combiner and a battery monitor for each one. We went with Clipper Compact BM-1 battery monitors (cheaper than others) and they have been great.
- Twice during our trip the battery monitors have reported charges that were obviously incorrect. (17 volts in the battery, or nothing when we knew there was something, etc) We have no idea why this happened, but we simply detached the solar panel power controller and connected it again. It seemed to “reset” itself we guess and the monitor readings were accurate again.
- We also have an inverter. We have not been happy with our Cobra 1500 watt inverter. Sometimes it works great but other times it senses too much voltage and will beep loudly. Our super old backup works fine! We only use the inverter to cut hair with trimmers, or for tools like a dremel or backup drill.
- Our spotlight, drill and vacuum (which I love) are cordless. It is the Ryobi One product found at most hardware stores like Home Depot. It is reasonably priced and the charger unit can be purchased in a 12v version. We have two batteries, so this way we are just charging them every so often and never pumping power from the boat for these things.
- ALSO, about the Garmin handheld 76CSx we use for navigation. We tried using it with a USB power connection, which it claims works. It would say it was plugged in but always discharge the AA batteries it had very quickly and then not work on simply USB power. We now use rechargeable batteries and this works great, and the batteries seem to last longer.
Storage and Cleaning:
- The 50/50 vinegar spray is a real thing. Vinegar is really cheap and is a light acidic. Not harmful to humans. My main use was to spray food to kill possible bug eggs. (Carrots do not like this) I also use it on counters, but it doesn’t cut through grease on my stove very well, so I keep around a bottle of heavier stuff for that.
- We LOVE those disposable counter wipes Clorox and Lysol make. They clean up stainless really well on my stove.
- We keep eggs unrefrigerated. I use one of those egg carriers they sell for camping. Sometimes eggs are too large for them, so I try to buy medium. I read a few books about food on boats before we left. Some people say they rotate their eggs daily to keep the yolk in the middle. While I have never tried to keep eggs more than a few weeks, I went with another book’s idea that I liked better. Her theory was that the boat is rocking and the eggs will move themselves enough. I only had bad eggs once, and that was right after I purchased them so they were just bad.
- Let’s see, what else? Lots of ziploc bags and storage containers that screw on, not pop-off. (Because if they fall there could be a mess, and harder for bugs to get in).
- We use the Garmin76CSx. It is pretty dependable, but never exact. We use it as an easy reference underway but go by what we can visually see and the depth sounder. Luckily, it came with the Bahamas Explorer digital charts, which was nice in a few cuts where visibility was tough.
- The Garmin device was a pain for us to upload charts to. It will only take proprietary Garmin charts that can be very expensive. So we bought the maximum micro SD card it could handle, 2GB, and put everything we had on it before we left.
- We also have a Toshiba netbook NB505. It is a super small low-power computer we use for navigation and internet. We use the chart software OpenCPN, a free program you can download online coupled with a $30 usb gps antenna. It works great but takes a while to get used to. Most notably it is free. We can’t really compare it to other programs, but it has a lot of features including working with our AIS receiver and adding waypoints and courses easily. It is a million times easier than calculating miles on a paper chart. We just click from one place to another and it figures out the miles and how long it will take at what speed. I’ve entered all of the popular anchorages plus more from Annapolis to Lake Worth, now when we go back the information is all there.
- For AIS we have a small AIS receiver that hooks up to a vhf antenna on our stern arch which can also be used as a spair vhf antenna if we lost the one on top of our mast.
- Then, NOAA has free US charts to easily download on their website. OpenCPN “quilts” these charts together to use in it’s program. Unfortunately, NOAA charts of the US are the only ones that are free and easy to use. Some cruisers trade bootleg charts. There are a lot of help forums on getting proprietary charts to work. They usually do, just Garmin was a pain. We never got our Garmin charts to work on OpenCPN, just the handheld.
- We have all paper charts for everything as well. In the Bahamas, everyone is right when they say get Explorer charts. It is probably best to buy all three books before you leave, because they are even more expensive if you have to buy them later in the Bahamas.
- We love them with all our heart, but a word of advice: they say they are waterproof but this is debatable. Avoid getting them wet!! They are like a sponge and will not tear or bleed ink, but they will never dry unless you towel dry every page individually multiple times. Even after this, some pages will stick together and literally pull off one side of the page image onto the other page.
- We used second-hand Chartbooks for the East Coast ICW. They piece the ICW together well and are large format. You can also print charts from NOAA’s website for free, they have even formatted “booklets” of certain areas for this purpose. Also, I wouldn’t worry about the date of your charts for the ICW. We used some charts from 1993 and there were minimal corrections that didn’t matter because when traveling in daylight you can see the marks all the time anyways. Our up-to-date NOAA digital charts on OpenCPN aided us if there were any discrepancies.
- We use a SSB reciever unit. Ours is a Target Nav-fax that we got used for a good price. We haven’t been thrilled with it and hear that a $100 Sony SSB receiver and FM radio unit works just as well. I think that is a better choice because it is battery operated, no wiring.
- In the Bahamas, EVERYONE listens to Chris Parker’s weather forecast Monday-Saturday at 0630 and 0830. He has a website for more information. He also offers detailed passage weather for people who subscribe with him. We always heard someone call in near us, usually going the same place.
- We don’t have a Kindle (the ebook reader), but we were told by numerous people that older versions come with a free 3G network for life. Cruisers were picking up 3G in the Bahamas and were able to load weather pages and email.
- Weather pages we like: www.windfinder.com, www.passageweather.com
- In many busy cruiser areas like the Abacos and Georgetown, Bahamas, there is a daily VHF net in the morning where someone gives weather.
- As you may know, getting weather in the US is not a big deal. It is on the VHF constantly, and we have a “smartphone” with some free weather apps, like radar, that help us throughout the day.
- Finally, we have an internet booster called the Ubiquiti Bullet. It picks up open wireless networks and has been amazing for us. In the Abacos and Eleuthera, and some places in the US, we get good internet and check the weather.