As with all modifications, this one has been a few steps forward and a few back. Fabricating the plates to support the panels and the wiring went fairly smoothly, and I must recommend Online Metals.com. The pieces I ordered came quickly and precisely cut so that I could focus on fabrication rather than clean up. It was very pleasant to have each plate fit as it should after having mass drilled and trimmed the six of them.
Of course, the plate-clamp arrangement for the forward and aft panels had to be custom fit on the boat with the panels in place. This was not easy, and the heat reflected from the panels and the dark blue Sunbrella Bimini, made work between 1300 and 1700 unwise. So this relatively straight forward task took me the better part of two and a half days.*
The pictures show the results. But now, it all has to be disconnected (though not removed) to do the wiring properly. I still believe we will be off-grid by the time we winterize, and truly hope to get at least a few days under sail with the panels in place so I can understand any further reinforcement issues with the frame. My fun meter is still in a good spot, but the $$ meter continues to climb beyond my initial estimate.
*In 94°F weather, the underside of the exposed Sunbrella was 146°F. In the area shaded by the solar panels it was 109°F. While still warm, this will help with cockpit temps. I have some foil and bubble insulation I have been thinking about sewing into canvas packets we can put under the heated Sunbrella to further reduce temps. It’s not a high priority…