Shore Power

In his book, The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat, John Vigor writes, "...when you cross an ocean, you must be self-sufficient in your electrical needs. You have to be able to generate electricity and store it- and that's when things start to get interesting. If you haven't done so already, you're going to spend a lot of time thinking about electricity."

Shore power is the easy part. Drinian was not wired for AC which meant that dockside power entered the boat via an extension cord. This produced clutter, interfered with closing off the companionway, and presented a certain risk since the extension cord is of lighter gauge and poorer insulation than a 30 amp power cord. The installation of AC power is fairly straight-foward. Starting at the dock, the needed parts are, 1) a power cord (30 amp), 2) a power inlet receptacle, 3) a distribution panel with circuit breakers, and the individual circuits. In keeping with our minimalist requirements, we only needed three circuits. One for a hard-wired battery charger, another for three outlets, and a third for future expansion. To make the whole task easier, electrical distribution panels come pre-wired so the task of matching components has been eliminated. It is a matter of choosing a product to match specific needs. Marine catalogs presented a range of choices and I was able to get on that met my requirements exactly. It had a 30 amp input with distribution to three 15 amp circuits. There is also an indicator light to warn if dock power has reverse polarity. These panels seem expensive until you price the individual components and consider the compact design of a single unit rather than multiple smaller breakers and meters. I decided to place the panel near the nav station, and this would also be the location of one of three outlets. This outlet would be the "master" for the two others. By this I mean that I installed a ground fault interrupter at this first location and wired the other two on the the same line so that all outlets would have the same protection against shock. Of course this meant that I would be able to work the distribution panel and the outlet into a module. A picture will explain it better:

On the left you see how the two components will look in the cabin. The back of the unit

reveals the wisdom of buying a pre-wired panel!

Since this will be going into a open cavity, I added a "back" to prevent an accidental short! (Okay, it's a

refrigerator storage container, but I think it will work!) Note: the wiring in this picture is not complete

and I will have to cut small openings in the plastic to allow for the passage of the wire.