solar panel 1

Secured on deck, the solar-cell panel gathers a charge while underway.

A 110-volt electrical outlet is hard to find while sailing coastal Carolina. Sure, if you grab the corner seat at the Big Trout Marina Café in Engelhard you can use the outlet there, or leave a tip at the ice cream shop on the Beaufort waterfront to use their power. But when anchored out on a beautiful creek, your camera battery weak, the phone battery about to die, you’re out of luck. My solution is to bring power along in the form of Goal Zero’s Sherpa Solar Kit ($409.97), which includes the Nomad 13 Solar Panel ($159.99), a Sherpa 50 Power pack ($199.99), and the Sherpa Inverter ($49.99).The solar panel, compact, portable, and weather resistant, is meant for camping and backpacking. It works on small boats, too. Folded for storage, the panel measures 9″ x 10.5″ x 1″ with the junction box and cables stores neatly in a mesh pouch on the side. On my boat SPARTINA, a 17′ Welsford yawl, the panel fits in a Pelican box along with the power pack, inverter, and battery chargers.

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