Going Solar

We wanted to be able to increase the time between charging the house bank while away from the dock.

After some research, we decided to add a solar charging system for the boat.

A bit of background.
We do not have an “on-board” generator. We use a small 2000W portable when needed. It works but we hate the noise and in quiet anchorages we feel guilty that we have to run it. So in most cases we don’t.

We have 8  6-Volt Golf Cart Batteries in the house bank. They are US Battery 2200’s

Here is the link to the electrical upgrade we did a few years ago.

After some research and discussion with a few friends that added solar we set out to design and install a system.
We do not have a place on the boat to permanently mount the panels so we decided to look at panels that we could temporarily place up on the Bimini when we need solar charging.

After some price and brand shopping, we purchased 4 -100 Watt Flexible panels from  Amray Solar
These are Sunpower panels and flexible but not “roll up flexible”

Testing Solar Panels

Here are the panels being tested outside before taking them to the boat.

They have grommets built in. I tied them  with zap straps and they hinge together into a bundle.
Peggy made a “Tote” bag for them that keeps them neatly protected and fits under the upper helm in the brow.
They are flexible but do not roll up. They weigh less than 2 lbs each.

We “deploy” them (for lack of a better word) and slide them up on the Bimini, then tie them down with bungee cords. It takes about 5 minutes to get them in place and connect the wiring.
They are quite secure up there. We did experience some gusty winds one afternoon but the panels stayed in place quite well.

We don’t travel with the panels up there unless we are just going a short distance at slow speed with no wind.

Solar panels deployed on bimini


I am working on tightening the Bimini so the panels sit totally flat.




Back to the design and install.

We ran a 10G duplex marine wire from the upper bridge console, down the back side panels and directly to the charge controller then to the House Battery Bank. The wiring is concealed inside the boat.

I know it’s common to “backfeed” through a fuse bank or other existing wires but I wanted to:
1. Dedicate a fused circuit or wire run JUST for the solar direct to the house bank buss.
This would allow the solar charge to show up on the LinkPro SOC meter as well.
2. Maximize the wire size to cut down on any power loss .

For a charge controller we went with a Victron MPPT 100/30
It got great reviews in the solar world and has a cool feature of Bluetooth so you can monitor the performance of the entire system on your phone or ipad. The app shows you in real time what the panels produce and what amperage is going into the battery bank. You can also see the past 10 day performance.

The charge controller is mounted in a side cabinet in the cockpit just above the battery bank.
I added 2 circuit breakers at the charge controller and a 30 amp fuse at the connection to the battery bank.

Here is a screen shot of the Victron app showing a 25.0 AMP charge going into the battery bank! This was the maximum that I saw but I am very pleased with that amount of charge.









And here is the LinkPro showing fully charged. I was surprised to see this as I did not expect to be able to reach a full charge while being “on the hook”






Here’s a better picture of how the panels look on top of the Bimini.
(I am going to tighten it up and get them to lay flat.)


On our recent 17 day trip to Desolation Sound we had GREAT weather with lots of sunny days. The system performed beyond  expectations and we never plugged in or used the generator once!
Very pleased with that result!


When we are just out for a few days and do not have the Bimini up, we just lay the panels on one of the fly bridge seats. I am surprised that even this gives us lots of charge!

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Heading for Home

We started for home on Sunday.

Leaving Melanie Cove

Our good friend and tour director heading home aboard the Nola-Dene II









The skies were still very smoky but the water was calm as we headed down Homfray Channel and around Sarah Point









Along the way we stopped by Savary Island to remember my Father Bill

Savary from a distance in the smoke

The house on Savary that my Grandparents built



We had hoped to anchor for a bit and walk over to the house but we’ll save that for another time.

Jolly Mon

Briar Patch heading North






We continued South and just off Westview we spotted good friends and fellow Tollycruisers Jolly Mon and Briar Patch who were heading North to Desolation Sound.






Briar Patch on AIS



Smokey Cruise

We carried on through the smoke stopping at Secret Cove for the night and made our way home the next Morning.

And so ends another Desolation Sound trip










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Melanie Cove and the Concert in the Smoke

We left Tenedos and headed into Refuge Cove for a few supplies and some water and then headed to “Downtown Desolation Sound”

Prideaux Haven, Laura Cove and Melanie Cove were starting to fill up probably due to the free floating concert that weekend.


We tried for our usual spot in Laura Cove but it was taken and the rest of it looked a bit tight… so we rafted in Melanie. It was just fine when we got there but very quickly became PACKED!

It’s a great spot but a bit too busy this year.

Melanie Cove starting to get really busy

I guess we knew it would be busy as the Floating Concert has become popular and has been published in a few cruising magazines.

We didn’t quite know what to expect but it was truly a lot of fun !!






This year the concert was dubbed “concert in the smoke” because of the forest fires that had been burning for several weeks.



It’s hard to say how many dinghy’s were there but maybe 150 or so.

We rafted with a few other friends in their dinghy’s and soon others joined us.





Leaving Melanie Cove



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Tenedos and 5 Fathom Bay

Another return anchorage for us is 5 Fathom Bay in the North West corner of Tenedos.

Tenedos and 5 Fathom Bay

A quiet spot away from the “main” anchorage it is very shallow and a bit tricky to get in and out of but it makes for a great anchorage.

Thanks to our more experienced friends again for not only showing us these spots but for doing all the heavy lifting of anchoring and stern tying.






Of course we dinghy’d over and walked to Unwin Lake a few times for human and canine swimming. Too much fun!


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Pendrell Sound

This year we anchored about half way up Pendrell sound on the North side in the bay just outside “The Lagoon”

Another great spot, although this location can be subject to the wakes of transiting boats. Most are respectful of the 5-7knt speed but then there are some that are just plain rude!
( MV Nugget you owe Graham a few dishes!)

Entering the anchorage


Pendrell Sound Oysters on the BBQ.

The crew from Hat Trick relaxing on the bow






The view from the flybridge

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Walsh Cove 2017

We left Octopus Islands and headed to Walsh Cove

We traveled through “Hole in the Wall” (another slack tide)

We crossed Calm Passage, through Raza Passage down Pryce Channel before turning down Waddington Channel. The scenery is spectacular and we had a perfect day for it

Walsh Cove is another great spot. Quite and very Scenic

We will definitely be back


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Octopus Islands 2017

After some local cruising this Spring we ventured North to Desolation Sound on July 20th.

We stopped in Pender Harbour and Gorge Harbour before getting to our first anchorage at Octopus Island.



The Octopus Island Marine Park is a great spot.



















To get there we transited through Beazley Passage (above picture). A slack tide is required.






This is Tolly trying to become a black dog like his friends Maddy and Roger!

From the head of Waiatt Bay we hiked to Newton Lake, about a 45 minute trip. Great swimming for the humans and the dogs!

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Tolly Roger underway

Here’s a short Video of Tolly Roger underway in Desolation Sound this Summer


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Wallace Island

We stopped by Wallace Island for a visit last week.














We added our Tolly Roger sign





We’ve been to Wallace Island before and really like the history behind it.

Recently our friend Steve Monrad posted this short video about the island.


We also signed the Tollycraft Burgee in the shack!


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2016 Cruising

Summer Cruising 2016

We started at SUCIA for the Canadian May long weekend.
We were quite surprised that Fossil Bay was not very busy.


We’ve walked from Fossil to Shallow many many times and I’ve never really looked at this tree stump. It must have a story behind it.



Fossil Bay









Seems like a tradition to have the first boating weekend at Sucia every year .



The next cruise was the annual “N DOCK” Pirates Weekend ….
great fun but a a bit hard on my liver!
















Next we were  out for a couple of weeks at the end of July with our good friends in their “new to them” Tollycraft 44 now named  “HAT TRICK” (it’s their 3rd Tolly) but actually if you include their dog, who’s name is Tolly, it’s their 4th Tolly !



We traveled first to Reid Harbor, then to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island.
We like it there. Great hikes!









Of course we had to make the annual shirt purchase!











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Turn Point Light Station is a great hike. This year we had a tour of the small museum and the caretakers house that has is hosted by members of the Turn Point Lighthouse Preservation Society.
























There is an unmarked path (maybe trail is a better word) that leads from the Lighthouse to another Viewpoint that looks to the NorthWest.
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We travelled to Tod Inlet for some warm water swimming and a few walks.
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From there we headed to Pender Island and Poets Cove.

We dinghy’d over to the beach at Beaumont Park and hiked the trail to Mt. Norman.

The trail winds around the back side of the park and then ascends through the forest and then up a steep road to the lookout.


The lookout

It’s a good hike and definitely got the heart beating!
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Along the way we found time to explore some beaches in the Dinghy’s



















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Lots of fun and soon another Summer Cruise was ending.
We finished off the cruise in Shallow Bay back at Sucia


Roger That


Shallow Bay Sunset

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