Friday, November 2, 2012

Denied (by my Wife!)

I was in yachtie heaven.

This was the week that "replace batteries" made it to the top of the job list.

(I know, that doesn't sound like "yachtie heaven".  We'll get there.)

A little bit of reading online revealed that the selection of batteries, and figuring out the proper setup for charging them, is a topic that sits right in the double-negative zone for my personal Venn diagram of Unpalatable Boat Stuff.  Buying batteries is both expensive and complicated - two qualities I deal with poorly, especially in combination. 

There's a huge range of battery and charging technologies available for sailboats - so much so that this is one of the favorite realms for that (large) part of the Anglophone sailing world that mostly sees the life afloat as engineering school for rich people.

I'm not trying to pick on the wonderful people on Morgan's Cloud, and I readily admit to drawing on their excellent site now and again for some engineering help.  But really, if you hang around a certain type of full-time sailor long enough, you quickly find yourself wondering if all the technology on their boats serves them, or if they serve it.

I suspect the latter.

So, imagine my joy when I found the online price in the photo above.  (This is the "yachtie heaven" part.)

Those are golf cart batteries, in case you're wondering.  And golf cart batteries are my kind of boat gear.  Let other people clog up sailing chat forums with stories of how their fancy-pants AGM batteries did or did not charge properly, did or did not keep their watermakers/toasters/microwaves/water heaters/cocktail blenders going.  I was just going to buy some old-fashioned flooded lead-acid golf cart batteries, series them together to get 12 volts, save myself eight hundred bucks or so, and move onto the rest of my life.

But this is where the denied by my wife part comes in.

I explained my find to Alisa, and told her how we'd just have to get a couple of new battery boxes fabricated, and build a shelf in the locker right behind the nav station to take the two batteries that wouldn't fit into our current battery locker.

Alisa says "no" to me so rarely.  Which is why, I suppose, we've been living on a boat for five and a half years.  

But this time she did say "no".  Said it gently, but said it.  Firmly.

She reminded me of the times she's had to keep the kids out of the cabin because I've been blowing off sulfuric acid fumes while equalizing our flooded batteries.  She reminded me of how long it took me to build a new battery box when we bought flooded batteries for Pelagic.  She let me know that super expensive, fancy-pants AGM batteries sounded just fine to her.

So that's what we're getting - four 6v AGMs, at a hundred and five pounds each.  And I must admit that the simplicity of installing them - no battery boxes, no shelves - is pretty attractive.  And I promise not to write anything on the blog about charging them, etc.

Unless, of course, "charging them, etc." ends up providing an insight into the endlessly fascinating topic of Marriage Afloat...


  1. Yep, precisely the reason we went with an all-AGM set up. The batteries are located under our daughter's berth and even when not equalizing, any non-AGM options emit gasses by design--gasses we didn't want in that environment. Michael

    1. hmmm... but p'rhaps a little gaseous energy under the kiddies' bunks would have an upside?? Sailing kids must be getting their renowned smarts somewhere, and as near as I can figure, it's generally NOT from their parents. So maybe some sulfuric acid osmosis at work??

  2. Alex says: I can just picture it. Mike talking himself into the Corinthian and cheaper option; Alisa being pragmatic. How come girls are like that? Dontcha just luv it?...swings and roundabouts, Mike.

    1. I know it... though I think she may generally be more Corinthian than meself.