Even though Catsaway came with great supplies - more than we were expecting! - we still need to prepare her for our journey. Here are the things that we plan to upgrade this summer.
Update #1: Solar Panels
Catsaway has two solar panels that are original. They are about 20 years old and we believe they are 8watts (trickle chargers), that will not meet our existing power needs. Luckily, the price of solar has gone way down, especially with so many Canadian makers and distributors. We decided that 500W solar would be plenty. We contacted Nick from Astral Power Solutions who agreed that 500W was ideal. He has also agreed to let us do some of the installation work so we could save money on labour. Great deal!! More on this to come.
Update #2: Refrigerator
Catsaway has a newer fridge (3 years), but it is a dometic propane/AC fridge. We don’t want to be sucking up all our propane especially when we hit warmer climates, so we want to replace it with a DC model fridge. Apparently DC models are cheaper than DC/AC models, and we’ll be running it off DC for the majority of the time anyways, with our new shiny solar energy system.
Update #3: Dinghy and outboard
Catsaway was used to a 300lb dinghy - which is far too heavy for us. We will be purchasing a lighter, inflatable dinghy. We decided to purchase an electric outboard, which will be quiet, smooth and less maintenance than a petrol powered one. To be honest, we would love to outfit Catsaway with an electric motor as well - but with the CDN dollar the way it is, that plan will just have to wait.
Update #4: Electrical
Catsaway has an older inverter which we're looking to replace. We also might replace some of the light fixtures with LED bulbs so we're more energy efficient in the future.
Other than these three major upgrades, there are a few housekeeping things to do - replacing the anchor chain, replacing a few cracked pulleys and fixing the door latch. All in a day’s work!