Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

powermonkey extreme 12V battery and solar charger for dinghy cruising

Question: how do you charge an IPAD when on an overnight dinghy cruise away from any habitation or friendly pub?

Obvious answer: don't cruise in remote areas away from pubs! Silly boy!

I have had a Powermonkey Explorer for a few years now and boy do I love that bit of kit. It charges my mobile two or three times from one charge quite easily and although slow to charge up using the solar panels (well we barely get sun in this part of the world frankly), it does hold its charge very well if you charge it from the mains before you leave.

But on extended coastal voyages or overnighter's I am now carrying a camera; an IPAD with navigation charts and GPS programmes on it; a GOPro Hero 2 action camera which chews through batteries at a rate of knots; a mobile phone; and of course a marine VHF radio

So how do you keep all of those charged up?

Well the PowerMonkey Extreme 12v will. And I have just taken delivery of one. Sadly my Gran passed away at the beginning of the year and she left each grandchild a small sum of money. I put mine towards things for sailing and some towards a family holiday. I know that would have made her happy as she liked to see us doing fun, active things and getting the most out of our lives.  My new Kiakoura PFD was funded this way.

I had read many reviews and most were very positive. I saw one in action recently on an extended camp on Dartmoor and over the course of a weekend, it charged iphones, ipods and one ipad. It was quite impressive.

Now it isn't the lightest bit of kit I've ever taken with me but I think it will earn its place inside Arwen's lockers. I can probably leave it charging via solar panels for much of the day on nice gentle sails as long as I periodically adjust its position so it doesn't fall in to the shadow of the mainsail.

I chose a bright yellow one so I could find it easily. I've already tested it on most of electrical things I carry and so far, it works just fine which is good to know! I have even managed to get it to charge my wind up radio. Brilliant news!

I also managed to get a good discount price on it as well plus the aquastrap which helps make it waterproof thrown in for free as well. That was a one off deal and the dealer made sure I knew it.

So the upshot is that over my weekend cruise in a few weeks time I should be able to charge the ipad up 50% x once; charge the mobile phone x 2; and charge the VHF x 1 - all from the same battery pack and there should be enough to charge a GoPro battery as well.

I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime if you want to know more about it here are two website reviews.


PS talking of nice little pieces of kit - I love what Steve has bought over at 'Log of Spartina'. Go check it out at      Look for the solar light pillow. I love it!


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