Thirteen Ways To Gain Power

We purchased Fayaway in a relatively unadulterated state. She had very few accessories. No autopilot, windlass, sailing instruments (wind, speed, direction), canvas, and not even a cooking stove. Just the bare necessities, and yet two items were quickly removed upon her acquisition: central air conditioning and a dorm-type (110V) refrigerator. She was a dock queen -perhaps intended primarily to serve up icy beverages on a sweltering Florida evening (not that there’s anything wrong with that ;-). We were surprised she was equipped with a VHF radio and anchor – albeit with barely adequate rode.

Nav station – pre-purchase survey photos

Fortunately, her condition of being clean and basically-solid was the deciding factor for purchase. Many boats we looked at throughout 2016 appeared attractive in the broker’s listing, but under the surface had years of owner-installed (often hacked) additions, maybe well-intended, but resulted in bird’s nests of wiring and overall lack of organization, being difficult to decipher by a new owner.

Fayaway had none of that, and her surface finish (above and below) had been painstakingly restored to an almost factory-pristine state without any clutter, giving us the opportunity to upgrade and add all the “goodies” that we wanted, and just the way we wanted them to be installed. More toward the point of this post, many desired accessories were electronic or required some type of electrical power. Feeding the existing loads was a breaker panel that had been “updated” to current ABYC standards, but without room for addition. Among our priorities, we also wanted Fayaway to be well-found and comfortable to live on. So back to the power… how would we control and protect the new refrigerated cooler, water-maker, auto-pilot, navigation instruments, stereo, windlass, etc.?

So, with intent to install most of these accessories during the next couple years (2017-2019), we started Year One by updating the recently-updated power and electrical distribution systems. Foremost we decided to add thirteen additional load circuits by expanding the panel. And then where would this expansion fit physically? The factory-original switch-gear had been sandwiched tightly into a 3/4″ bulkhead behind the navigation station (see photo above), and we didn’t like the idea of cutting more out of this structural area. A difficult decision to cut into her beautiful teak joinery on the port side. Measure three times – cut once. And so let’s now cut to the chase (hee hee):

Panel circuitry initial update 2017 using King Starboard. Note hole left in aft bulkhead from original panel

We gained the new circuit functionality along with increased capacity of new batteries (2018) and a new place to mount and connect future accessories further forward.

2017 initial panel upgrade – used throughout 2018 cruising season

But, we still weren’t happy. The panel didn’t look quite right to us. Maybe it was because most everything else was teak, and still not supporting future accessories? A new project was born (like we needed another one!), and we added another post-it to our Spring ’19 project list.

The end result is below – completed in early June. The newly expanded teak panel gave us back some of the aesthetic wood “feel”, and added real estate for VHF, stereo and future SSB.

3 thoughts on “Thirteen Ways To Gain Power

    1. Thanks Jon. All a bit scary to me when cutting into or drilling holes in the boat. At least the wiring aspect is the simple part of the project. I’ve replaced and added hundreds of feet of marine-grade wire, relative to all the aforementioned load circuits and electrical add-ons. I’ll discuss details of many of the add-ons in future blog posts.

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