Living and cruising sustainably are an important concern for me. With this goal in mind I have been seeking for the last few years to make my sailboat more energy self-sufficient as well as environmentally friendly.
At first sight one might think: Well, cruising on a sailboat must be environmentally friendly per definition. After all, we just need the wind... Yes, but... is the answer in this case, too.
For sailing the wind needs to blow from a certain direction and within a certain range of strength. Or else you have to change course, stay in the harbor altogether, or you start the engine. This happens more often than maybe expected. Over the last few years we have used our diesel engine for about 45% of all distance covered at sea. Well maintained and driven responsibly our diesel engine uses about 3,5 l/h or about 1 US gal.
On a sailboat you must produce all electricity yourself. On Moira we have added some 450 Wp of solar panels worth. These charge the batteries during the day allowing us to run instruments, fridges, autopilot, and lighting. Conserving electricity is hence paramount, which is why we changed all the halogen bulbs on board to LED.
Further we have a desalinator on board to always have enough fresh water. The power for its high-pressure pump is produced by a small diesel generator. This means we do not need water and electricity when in port, which are sometimes scarce on land as well.
Moira is a vegetarian boat for the most part and we offer you a vegetarian challenge for your time aboard. But of course we also consider the needs of our guests.
We shop at open markets where possible and leave as much packaging behind at supermarkets. What does not come aboard, does not to need to be disposed of later.
In the galley we separate waste and recycle when in port. Sadly, this is still not possible everywhere.
Once offshore compostable waste gets cup up and disposed over board. This hold true for toilet waste as well. Most harbors do not have pump out stations yet and at least in the Mediterranean a lot of raw sewage still goes straight into the sea!
We chose biodegradable soaps and cleaners where available. When fueling we take care not to spill diesel into the water.
The underwater hull must be protected from growth with antifouling paint containing biocides.
In the last few years there has been commendable development of less toxic paints. Many of these still need to withstand field testing. For this year we have opted to use a conventional antifouling for several reasons.