Mastering OFF-GRID Living: 4 Key Things Every Sailor Should Know ️ Sailing Vessel Delos Ep. 441
(bright upbeat music) - For the last 14 years, we have lived on a 53 foot sailboat, and sailed around the whole globe. - And most of it has actually been in places like we are right now. This is Tahanea Atoll, it's uninhabited.
There's no stores, there's no food, there's no people, there's no communications, there's nothing. And in today's video, we are going to talk about the systems and the technology behind the scenes that make it possible to stay out here off the grid, not only to survive, but also to do it comfortably. When we're out here away from the civilization, we rely entirely on ourselves, our boat, and the systems that we've set up. We need to be our own electrician, plumber, mechanic, and much more.
And while we can't control what curve balls come our way, we can set ourselves up as best as possible to adapt to the challenges that this lifestyle presents. But for all the adversity we face out here, the payoff is like nothing else. - I love not knowing what's around the next corner.
Beaches with no footprints, crystal clear water, just the boss nothingness. It's so, so special, and it's very rare to find anywhere else, unless you go with your own boat. - It takes a lot to make it happen, and it's a huge challenge, and I love it. (waves splashing gently) (gentle music) (waves splashing gently) (keyboard typing) (waves continue splashing) When I think about taking a sailboat off grid for a long period of time, there's four things that pop into my mind that we've learned over the years are the most important. Number one, electricity, number two, food storage, number three, the ability to make your own fresh drinking water, at number four, communications and entertainment. So today we're gonna be talking about how we've set Delos up over the years to really improve for systems.
You know, Delos is quite an old boat. She is a year 2000, so she's now 23 years old, and I have owned Delos for, what is it like 14 or 15 of those years? So it's been quite a long time. When I first got Delos, she didn't have very many of these systems.
I mean, she had electricity, she had a desalinator, but over the years I've improved her. In fact, when you look at the original owner's manual for AMEL, it states that you should run the generator four hours a day. So like two hours in the morning, and then two hours in the afternoon for a- - [Kazza] Really? - total of four hours per day. Yeah. - That's a lot. - It is quite a bit.
Over the years, my goal has been to wean us off that generator usage, and we're there. We're gonna dive into some of the details, how we've set up the systems, and how it all works, and what's possible. (gentle upbeat music) (lightbulb buzzing) It goes without saying, that power is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle when it comes to thriving out here. We use it for necessities like our navigation systems and making fresh water, for comforts like our fridges, freezers, and fancy flushing toilets, (toilet flushing) for work, like powering our laptops on our satellite internet, and for luxuries like an ice maker, espresso machine, and our trusty smoke machine and strobe light.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of our setup, I want to quickly explain the basics behind how it actually works. The solar panels on Delos convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity generated first goes into a charge controller, whose job it is to make sure that the batteries get the right voltage and don't get overcharged, which could damage them.
The electricity is stored in lithium batteries, which provide direct current electricity to power most of the boat's systems. (gentle piano music) Things like our lights, fridges, water pumps and navigation systems all run on DC electricity at either 12 or 24 volts. (gentle piano music) The power in your house, however, is alternating current at much higher voltage, like 110, or 220 volts depending on where you live.
The job of the power inverter is to convert the DC supplied from the batteries into AC that can power all of our appliances, our induction stove, bread maker, electric hot water kettle, toaster, computers, and anything else we plug into the outlets runs on AC power. And lastly, before we go further, let's quickly talk about how we will be quantifying the amounts of power we generate and use. (gentle piano music ends) So I'm talking about things in terms of kilowatt hours because I think it's a much more useful term than amp hours, which are normally used in boats, and I thought it would be cool to relate it to some common household things, so you can know just how much energy a kilowatt hour is. So, this is our hot water boiler.
You might have this in your house. This takes two kilowatts when it's running, 2000 watts. So if you were to run this for an hour, it would take two kilowatt hours. The water maker takes about 1,400 watts, so 1.4 kilowatts. So if you run that for an hour, that would be 1.4 kilowatt hours,
and the toaster is about 800 watts. So if you run that for an hour, it would be eight tenths of a kilowatt hour, 0.8 kilowatt hours. Now you probably never run the hot water kettle or the toaster for an hour, but over time, if you're making a cup of tea, and then you're doing toast, and then you run the stove, and then you're running the water maker, and then you're flushing toilets, ice machine on, refrigerators on, like all of it day after day, it just accumulates all these small bits of electricity over time, or power consumed over time accumulate into all the energy uses for the boat.
- As this week's video is about how we live in very remote places for long periods of time. I think it could be cool to talk about another aspect of this. So as you see in our videos, this sailing lifestyle comes with lots of very high highs and very low lows. Like a few weeks ago when we were hard ground, it was really stressful.
I'm quite an anxious person, and the best thing that I have done for my mental health over the years, is to talk to someone. That's why I'm happy to say that "Better Help" is the sponsor of this video. They are 100% online, and have over 30,000 therapists in the network now. To get started, it's easy. Just fill out a few quick questions, then you get matched with your therapist, in most cases, within 48 hours or less. Have your therapy session as a phone call, as a video chat, or even via messaging if you prefer that, whatever is the most comfortable for you.
If you think you might benefit from therapy, we have a link in our description below, or visit betterhelp.com/delos. You'll be connected with a licensed therapist who is trained to listen, and give you helpful, unbiased advice at a time that fits you. If the therapist you match with doesn't feel like the right fit, which can be common, you can easily switch to a new therapist at no additional cost. Mental health is super important.
And if you feel like this might be something for you, visit betterhelp.com/delos, or click the link in the description below, where you can get 10% off your first month of "Better Help," while supporting our project, and at the same time, connect with a therapist to see if it can help you. Okay, back to the show. (lively upbeat music) - Alright, this is where we actually get the bulk of our power, from the arch on the back. We've got the wind generator, which we'll talk about in a little while. There's actually not enough wind to spin it up right now, for now we're gonna talk about the solar panels.
These are three SunPower Maxeon 410 watt panels, for a total of 1,230 watts back here. They're great panels, not a lot of shading. You know, we get some shading from the wind generator, and from the Starlink antenna on the other side, but these guys pump out the majority of our power. I went ahead and pulled the history from the charge controller for the last 29 days, which includes like days like today, cloudy days, sunny days, and everything in between. So it's not just the rated power, it's what you actually get in a real world environment, which I think is pretty cool.
So over the last 29 days, we generated 132.3 kilowatt hours of energy. That means 4.6 kilowatt hours on average per day just from these panels.
And then what I did, is I divided the wattage into the total amount of power produced, to get the watt hours per rated watt of solar. So just because it says 400 watts, doesn't mean that it's making 400 watts because of a ton of variables. But that number actually comes out to be 3.7 watt hours per watt of solar.
So we're gonna compare that number to the other panels. So this is the second set of panels we're gonna talk about. These are the SunPower Flex Panels available from SunPoweredyachts.com. Also the big ones on the back I just showed you, also from Lyle and Katie @ sunpoweredyachts.com. They're awesome. They're very, very knowledgeable. So if you're looking for your panels, go ahead to the link.
I think we'll just pop it below, our affiliate link, and they'll definitely source you out. They're sailors, and their cruisers, and super cool people. Okay, so these bigger panels are 170 watts each. We have two of those. And the smaller ones are a hundred watts each.
We have two of those. So the total rated power there, is 540 watts between all four panels. The only problem is, you get a lot more shading because of the location. So you can notice how there's this shade across from the rigging, we've got the boom in here, we've got the mast.
Right now, it's like high sun. The sun is directly above us, so the shading is at a minimum, but these get a lot more shade than the back, so we get less efficiency out of them. So it's a total of 540 watts in total. And over the last 29 days, we got 46.7 kilowatt hours, or 1.6 kilowatt hours on average per day. These are 2.9 watt hours per watt,
so it's a little bit lower. I think the flexible panels by nature are a little bit less efficient, and because of the mounting location, they have a lot more shade affecting them. So that's why they're actually putting out less power per watt, but still getting 1.6 kilowatt hours per day.
That's quite a bit of energy for otherwise space that we just wouldn't be using anything for it. Okay, so now let's look at the third setup here. Okay, so this is the third group of panels. We have two more of the Sun Power 100 watt panels on the four deck.
And then we have two of these longer ones that we're trying out from a place called Bouge RV. They're 200 watt panels. And so together, the solar power on the four deck is 600 watts. We get, over the 29 day average, we get 31.1 kilowatt hours,
or 1.07 kilowatt hours on average per day. And if we divide up that by the 600 watts capacity, we get 1.8 watt hours per rated watt of capacity. So these produce the least amount of power per rated watt of solar panel.
I think there's a lot of shading up here, because the boom goes right over it. Like right now we have laundry hanging out. The dinghies up here, sometimes the main mast shades at all the rigging, but still it's adding just over a kilowatt hour per day. So if we add all those up, we get on average over 29 days, sunny, rainy and cloudy weather, and sailing and everything, we get 7.27 kilowatt hours per day in perfectly free renewable solar energy, which is actually enough to run our boat. We only run the generator now maybe about once a week for a couple hours to fill dive tanks.
Or if the weather is terrible, and we don't get any solar for a few days, then we need to run the generator. That's our fallback plan. - [Kazza] That's pretty amazing.
- It's pretty amazing. It's a huge difference. (upbeat music) - The other thing that you obviously can't be without is food.
(laughs) So we do have a lot of storage on Delos on both sides and also in the floor. I have to confess that I am definitely a food hoarder. (laughing) We got a lot of cheese. So much cheese. Do you think that's enough cheese? Am I a food hoarder? - Yeah. (laughs)
- I like to have a variety of food, and I like to be able to look at the recipe and be like, "Oh, I have probably 70% of these ingredients." (laughs) So first things first, provisioning. (mysterious music) So before we leave like a big port, like before we left Mexico to sail across the French Polynesia, we did a huge provisioning.
Before we left now for Tahiti, we did a big provisioning. And I have a base list that I go from, and then I kind of just like go through all the cabinets, go through all the food, see what we have, see what we need to buy, and then we just take it from there. Shopping for food might not sound that tricky, but it's definitely an art that's tougher than it looks. Shopping in foreign countries can be full of surprises and adventure. The quantities needs to last for months at a time, and can be staggering, and often require multiple trips.
Transportation between land and water means lots of loading and unloading multiple times. And then of course stashing it all away in the limited space on the boat is a huge job in itself. We try to get as much fresh fruit and vegetables as we can possibly fit, which we store in one of our two fridges, in the hanging nets, or in whatever extra room we can find.
This was our hole before leaving Tahiti about three weeks earlier, and this is what it looks like now. - [Brian] We got the fresh stuff department. - [Kazza] The fresh stuff. - [Brian] We still have a few things. - [Kazza] We still have a few things.
We still have tomatoes. - Those tomatoes are starting to look sort of suspect though. - [Kazza] Yeah, this, ooh, that one is definitely not good.
(Kazza laughs) - [Brian] That stuff's starting to get weird after three weeks. But these things do well. Onions, garlic keep well. The fruit and apples are keeping well.
- Yeah. And it's a few things that I do to like kind of keep things fresh. Like I always go through it. If something goes bad, I remove it or cut it away.
Like we have a stash of eggs. - Oh, show me the eggs. - Yeah. So if they're not refrigerated in the store, you don't have to refrigerate 'em.
But we keep them like this, and every like week or so I turn them. It basically prevents the yolk from getting stuck on the shell, or on the outside of the egg, and that's when it starts going bad. So if you turn them, the yolk doesn't get stuck on the side as fast, and it lasts longer. One other thing too, is that I'm very strict with like keeping potatoes, and onions, and apples separately.
The more separately you can keep stuff, the longer it lasts, basically. - [Brian] I think the gas from some things as they ripen can make other- - Yeah. - things ripen quicker. - I bet other people know way more about this, and maybe can educate us. (static hissing) - Ethylene. It is a gaseous element released from ripening or injured fruits.
From these ripened fruits, remaining raw fruits will undergo ripening by ethylene gas distribution. (whimsical tone) (static hissing) (keyboard typing) (light Caribbean music) - As we already showed you, we have one fridge about the size of a mini bar fridge, and another large one, which is under the couch. Then on the other side of the couch is actually a freezer, which is really handy for storing meats, and allowing us to enjoy the fish we catch for a lot longer.
When we get to the dry goods, that's where things start to get interesting. One thing about sailboats, is that storage has to be maximized in small spaces. So we got places to stash food literally everywhere.
- [Brian] That's our oils, canned foods, canned foods. What's in, what's in there under you? - [Kazza] This one we have drinks. - Oh, so this is drinks. So this is mixers. There's Kazza's Red Bull. She loves a good Red Bull and vodka.
Moonshine down here, 96%. Of course the whiskey, the scoth whiskey mix, that's amazing stuff. And a lot of different lactose free milk products for Kazza. (Kazza laughs) And then all of these are storage as well. - Now we have canned stuff, hard breads.
- And sauces. This one over here is my favorite. Mexican section, my coffees, Kazza's teas. This is her rice and Asian noodle section. This one is just pastas, beans, lentils.
This is baking supplies like- - [Sierra] Yeah, bacon! - [Brian] Flour, sugar, chocolate for making cakes and stuff. (upbeat music) (keyboard typing) So every nook and cranny is filled with something. - Yeah. We also, you know, have these yogurt packs,
where we make our own yogurt. We also try to catch as much fish as we can. We've had, we've had pretty good luck. We've caught some really big fish in the last couple of months.
- [Brian] Being able to freeze it is key. - Yeah. And I'm able to freeze it. - [Sierra] Yeah a tuna! - And then... Yeah. - A Wahoo too. - Yeah, and Wahoo. - What's your favorite fish?
- Tuna! - Tuna? - Yeah. - And we do coconuts. We could pick crabs. No, catch crabs. - Catch crabs. - Catch crabs. Yeah. But Brian is making this sourdough right now.
- [Brian] Ooh. That starter is bubbling over that thing. - Ooh. It's really sour. - Somebody's gonna have sourdough bread for breakfast tomorrow. - Yep, excited. - Hey. (Caribbean music) - So for me, I personally love fresh water. - [Brian] You love fresh water? - I love fresh water. (laughs) - What do you use it for?
- I mean drinking obviously. - Obviously. - Like we could not be out here without drinking water. - Yeah. I mean the water maker's super critical. - Yeah. - You can catch rain. We have in the past when the water maker's broken. - Yeah. - But,
it's not dependable enough. And if you really want to be comfortable- - If you wanna live on a boat for more than like a few years, I would say like- - Yeah. - If you don't wanna be camping, you need a lot of water.
- Yeah. And just even showering off. Like we get salty so much, and like the few times when the water maker have been broken, and you bathe in salt water and stuff, like my skin, just, it's like I'm getting bit. And also, you know, being able to wash clothes. - Uses quite a bit of fresh water, but it's a lifesaver. - Yeah, that's really amazing.
- The toilets. They flush with salt water. - Yeah. - So we don't use, we don't flush fresh water down the toilet. - Yeah. - So yes,
drinking, bathing, washing. (bubbles popping) (keyboard typing) (gentle music) We use a machine called a water maker, or desalinate that turns salt water into fresh drinking water, using a process called reverse osmosis. But first, let's look at plain old osmosis. It's a naturally occurring process in which a liquid spontaneously passes through a membrane. The membrane allows some molecules like water to pass through, but other molecules, like the majority of salts, are unable to pass through.
The flow of liquid through such a membrane occurs naturally to try and even out the salt concentrations between the two sides. In reverse osmosis, we're applying pressure to the salt water side, to force it through the membrane in the reverse direction, letting the pure water pass through, and stripping the salt and other impurities on the other side. And voila, just like that, we've created fresh, drinkable salt-free water.
So there's a pump in the engine room back there, and it basically puts high pressure water through a couple of tubes, it strips off the salt, and then the fresh water goes into our water tank, which is in the keel. I can actually go and turn it on. I'll show you how it works. So the pressure comes up, we turn on the high pressure pump, we wait about 30 seconds for the system to stabilize.
You'll hear it turn on pretty soon. We turn up the pressure to 800 PSI, and boom. Now we're making fresh drinking water right from the sea. Pretty cool. And it's all being done off of the batteries and the solar power right now. (brassy upbeat music) Last crucial part is what I would categorize as like communications and entertainment.
- Yeah. - And it's changed over the years. Like when so much, when we first left, we had the SSB radio. Could use it for like emails that was super, super, super slow.
- Yeah. - Like 300 BPS, less than dial up modem slow, like takes 20 minutes to send a text message slow, till where we are now, which is actually pretty amazing. Satellite based internet. So we've, the first satellite internet we got in the Caribbean was Viasat with the big dome. - And that was a game changer.
- That worked great. That was game changer first us. - [Kazza] And it was before Starlink came out. - Before Starlink. - So it was like, yeah. - But now we are in the Pacific, and we do have Starlink. - Yeah. - The service runs us about 250 bucks a month.
- And for our business, it's- - It's absolutely crucial. - Yeah. Otherwise, like we couldn't- - I mean we are in the middle of nowhere, and in order to do that and still work, and still maintain our business, we need connectivity. We've also used it to contact doctors from time to time to do like consultations, or to do online visits, or if Sierra has a problem, we have a pediatrician that we can call on Facebook.
- Yeah. it's such a safety thing, right? - It's a safety thing. We use it for research. - Yeah. - We use it for weather. - Checking weather. - Although we do have iridium backup just in case the Starlink stops, we can still send basic emails and check weather through that.
(Sierra screaming) - Okay. I gotta go and help Sierra. You can talk about the, talk about the power, maybe. - The Starlink, it ends up consuming about 50 watts of power while it's on, which is the equivalent of, it's like about the same as one of these Danfoss compressors for one of the fridges. Also entertainment. Like, we like to unplug and be offline.
It does have a power switch. We can turn it off when we like. But it's also nice to keep up to date with like, you know, Sierra this morning was running around with your phone, talking to Mor Mor in Sweden for like two hours. - Yeah. - They get to- - Yeah. Spend time together.
Even though it's a line. - It's not the same. It's still, it's still at least something. And then in the afternoon or the nights, you know, I like to watch my shows.
We have some series that we like to watch. I don't think there's anything wrong with being out here and streaming your favorite series from time to time. Or if you want to settle down at night, with a little bottle of wine, and watch a cozy movie, you can do that. It's a luxury. - Sweet. Yeah. - I feel like I'm very close to you.
- You're very close to me. (Kazza laughs) That's okay. - All the time. - Those are the topics we wanted to cover.
We hope you enjoy it. If you'd like to see more topics like this, please let us know. It's really interesting, because we've never been this close to filming footage.
I mean, there was at one point in time way back in the day where we were like 18 months, a year and a half behind, and were like, "Oh, my God." Like it's so different than now. We're literally filming this, we're editing it, and then it's gonna be released right away on YouTube.
So we have zero margin for error here, and the production line is very, (mimicking cutting noises) so we gotta get straight to editing. But that also means that if you, if you'd like to know about a topic like this then, and you think that we might actually have some knowledge about it, drop it in the comments below. - Yeah. - Send us a message on Patreon.com/svdelos, and we'll see what we can do for you. - Yeah, that's awesome. - That's it.
Thank you very much. If you're new to the channel, or you haven't already, please subscribe. - Yeah. - It really helps us out. Subscribe, like, (bell dings) comment, all those things that people ask you to do, there's a reason why. - Yeah, for sure.
- We thank you in advance. - Awesome. And otherwise, we'll see you next Friday. - Alright, bye. - Bye. - Sierra wants to say goodbye. - Bye-bye. - [Brian] Bye-bye.
Say, "See you later." - My baby too say "Bye." - Bye-bye. - Sierra, can you say, "See you later?" - See you later. Boom. (Brian laughs) Woohoo! (Brian and Kazza laugh) (peaceful upbeat music)