Racha Noi and Our New Solar Life
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
We love our new solar panels and davits! We went from running our generator three times a day to not needing it at all on sunny days. 1290 watts of solar is enough to meet our basic needs while there are only the two of us on board. We also lift our dingy out of the water each night with minimal effort and maximum enjoyment. No more after dinner drunk fumbling around with the engine and dingy or deciding it is too much hassle and then having to clean slime off the dingy after doing that too many consecutive days.
Our Victron 150/70 charge controller has an app called Smart Solar that allows us to view the battery specs. Our first morning out we were up for the sunrise and watched as the wattage increased with the sun. We keep our fridge and freezer on, so we are typically drawing about 6 amps. When we have devices plugged into the inverter it’s a bit higher. With our new solar system, we try to go to bed early and rise with the sun to save energy. Any excuse to start drinking at 3pm!
We were interested in going somewhere remote and beautiful now that we have our solar panels, and the weather was looking perfect for Racha Noi. That morning, we stocked up at Villa Market, careful not to buy too many extravagant imported goods like the 1300THB (42USD) truffle sauces we mistakenly bought a few months prior!. We were ready to have a sailing sushi lunch, a bbq for dinner, and make mouthwatering salami sandwiches the following day. One day we would like to make our own sushi on Skylark with something we catch.
We arrived at the perfect anchorage. The sun was shining, the water was clear, and nobody was near. Nothing to fear! (Well, maybe lightening like we had last time at Racha Yai!)
We decided to anchor and back our stern to a mooring. This kept our nose mostly into the swell so it was a lot more comfortable and we felt super protected knowing we had a mooring and our 30-kilo Wasi anchor keeping us in place.
That afternoon, we went to the beach and we felt like we were in the South Pacific. Not a soul in sight, we felt at peace. We played chill house music and sipped ice cold beer.
In sailing, there are extreme highs, like this experience, and extreme lows (I.e. rolly anchorages during a storm, wondering if we will be hit by lightening). We try to appreciate the moment we are in when times are good, because we are at the mercy of the ocean.
That evening, we had another BBQ with jalapeno cheeseburgers and prayed the wind would stay as forecasted so we could have a pleasant sleep in this spectacular location.
The night was calm, as planned, and we had an amazing sleep and felt energized and ready to swim! We were super excited to see our hull's Dreamliner was looking even better underwater. She was even attracting some fish. I was also pleased that with the new bottom paint. I was able to touch the hull without cutting my hand open from the sharp barnacles.
The day was spent reading, cooking, swimming, and enjoying the high output of power from our new solar panels. Clouds were the new enemy, risking our generator-free streak. Thankfully, we had lots of sunshine and we made it another full day without having to charge the batteries with the generator.
All good things come to an end. On our second night, the wind changed and the seas become rough. In our experience, Skylark usually starts rolling the worst around around 3am. This is when there is not much we can do about it other than be miserable in bed tossing around.
Around 5am we decided to get out of bed. Chris looked over at me and said in a southern drawl, “Lets just get up now, we ride at dawn, bitches,” referencing that meme with Big Bird riding a carriage. (Not to be confused with our bike named Big Bird). I couldn’t find it again on facebook, but the caption of the meme below read, “no airline pilots are flying and cargo pilots be like…”.
We have found any anchorage that does not have 360 degree protection is always at risk of an unpredicted wind change, bringing swell and discomfort. Somehow, if it's a beautiful anchorage, we are willing to take that risk and put up with a lower quality sleep. It is like that hot-crazy matrix where the hotter a girl is, the more crazy a guy is willing to put up with. Perhaps we need to have a beautiful anchorage-terrible sleep matrix. For example, if we didn't have such good sleep next to Chalong Pier (fairly industrial anchorage), we would never visit.
Fortunately, the sun rises around 6am here, so we just got up early, had some coffee, and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. It was a beautiful morning and we sailed off to smoother anchorages to explore more!