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Liveaboard life: self-sufficient with solar, sails, VHF radio

When Teresa Carey is sailing she knows just where all her energy comes from and where it’s going. “My solar panel charges my battery monitor and I have to keep an eye on that battery monitor because when it reaches a certain point I have to start shutting things off.”

She has just a 130 watt solar panel – about 30 times less wattage than the average household- so she keeps electronics to a minimum: a VHF radio (for communication), an icebox (no freezer), a computer, a GPS and a boombox (for sunny days only). Besides solar and her sails, she uses some non-renewable energy: diesel for a small engine and propane for her stove.

She pumps her own water for use (and it’s cold). She takes overboard, or bucket, baths (in the video she washes her hair for the first time in 16 days). She fixes things when they break. But she doesn’t complain, in fact, she prefers it this way. “It’s more authentic.”

In this video, Teresa shows us how she meets her basic needs: water, energy and reading the elements (tides, wind, storms) in order to stay alive and reach her destinations (in this case, the Bahamas).