Thanks Uncle Sam!

I can’t believe that it has been more than a month since my last post.  I’ve  been crazy busy with Pandora along with Salty Dawg stuff.

And, to make matters worse, I have not had Pandora off of her mooring at all since she went back in the water following the installation of the new prop +++, save a single run on the river a day or so after she was re-launched.  The good news, at least a little bit of it, is that I am heading out for a week beginning tomorrow, Thursday, with my friend Ken, who I haven’t sailed with for many years.

I don’t know where we will head but just about anywhere south of The Cape seems doable to me given the fact that I am used to sailing thousands of miles.  And, with most anywhere we might go less than 100 miles, it’s just a day sail anyway  Right?

Actually, that is ironic as it seems like just yesterday when we had a 20′ Cape Cod Catboat and a 15 mile run seemed like a very long way.  Not so much nowadays.

Along with the above mentioned distractions, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the gardens and lawn.  I have also spent a lot of time helping Brenda with some of her weaving projects and doing chores to help her prepare for some teaching in the fall.  If it looks complicated, that’s because it is.  Over 1000 threads and that’s why Brenda was watching me to be certain that I didn’t mess things up.  And, with that in mind, she wasn’t always smiling. And, of course, working hard to be sure that there is a way for her to bring meaningful projects aboard Pandora for the winter.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only a short time until I bring Pandora to VA to prepare for the run to the Caribbean.  I have made a reservation near Hampton for the month leading up to our departure events that will happen the last week of September as well.   As we get close to departure, I will move Pandora over to Hampton proper.

Fortunately, I booked space in Hampton, VA back in March for the fall rally departure, as that most of the marinas are nearly booked solid for the week leading up to departure.

There are a number of projects that still need attention like a new waterheater and re-bedding some hatches as I think that some of the leaks in the forward bunk are probably coming from under the hatch frames themselves.  I still remember when I was negotiating the purchase of Pandora the owner pointed out a spot on the end of a window and proudly said “that is the only leak on the boat”.  HA!!!  That’s like someone saying “I never get seasick”.

I have also been working on a project to upgrade my large 290w solar panel over the davits.  Last summer I replaced the four 80w panels over the bimini that were on the boat when I took delivery, increasing the capacity of that part of the bank from 320 watts to 600 watts, nearly doubling the output on that portion of the array.

I have also decided to replace the 290w aft panel with three 150w panels.  Amazingly, combined they only are a few inches larger than the current panel and yet will increase output to 450, an increase of over 50%.   Over the last few years manufacturers have figured out a way to shove greater output into the same footprint.  I had no idea and this suggests that anyone with solar panels that are more than a few years old should replace them.   And the cost of panels today is so much less than even a few years ago.

Overall, the combined capacity of the array went from 610 watts to over 1,000 watts and all that in only a slightly larger footprint.   And, to make this even more appealing, these new panels are only about $1/watt, a huge decrease in cost verses just a few years ago.

All of the upgrades to lithium, panels and wind generator along with the labor to put it all together was hugely expensive and as I was preparing to do my taxes this year, I explored the option of declaring the upgrades and see if I could get a rebate on my taxes.

As Pandora is classified as a second home, I discovered that I could indeed declare all of these expenses under the Inflation Reduction Act and get 30% back as a cash credit.   As I wrote in earlier posts, the cost of the entire project really spiraled out of control so we are talking a substantial amount of money.

My accountant is a straight arrow and even he, after protesting at first, checked into the details of the program and agreed that I was right and was able to factor in the deduction.

So, this realization has saved me more than a few boat dollars.  And, that’s good as the whole installation probably cost about double what it should have.  Well, if that’s correct, with a 30% rebate, perhaps I only paid an extra 20%.  Not buying the logic?  Me neither but I’m goin with that anyway.

Here’s the current array and the one big panel to the back will soon be made up of three, mostly same, 150 watt panels like the four shown here.   The one in the back is actually almost the same size as three of the 150s in the foreground, combined. The new panels just came today and when installed will be oriented fore and aft. The total width of the three panels will be about 4″ wider and the length, just under 6″ longer.   With the new panels the array is huge relative to the space available when compared to what was possible just a few years ago.  And with the overall increase in capacity, plus the output of the wind generator, it’s an amazing upgrade.

And, to make it even sweeter, Uncle Sam paid for 30% of the entire job.  Yahoo!

Thanks Unk!  Hope to do business again with you soon.

There must be a spot for more panels?  Hmmm…

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