Being able to share the experiences of customers who use Battle Born Batteries in their systems is always a great feeling. Brandon Keepers can significantly improve his sailboat, a Beneteau Oceanis Center Cockpit, as it’s now powered by our trustworthy LiFePO4 technology. As a friend of our longtime Battle Born Family members Brian and Karin Trautman of SV Delos, Brandon knows that he can get out there and stay out there on the sea for the adventure of a lifetime!
With a background in web development, Brandon and his wife, a Ph.D. student, have been living a nomadic lifestyle for the past 3 years. Originally living a stationary life in Michigan and Chicago, the couple wanted to travel but always envisioned themselves heading to Europe. On a whim in 2018, they joined a sailing club called Third Coast Cruising, and feeling inspired, the two embarked on their first big adventure on the water. Spending the summer sailing the Great Lakes, through Chicago, along the East Coast and into the Caribbean. They instantly fell in love with an off-the-grid lifestyle and the ability to work anywhere in the world.
At this time, they sailed the seas and lakes on a Catalina yacht type of sailboat and felt that it was comfortable for the two of them, like “being in a camper together.” However, when Brandon’s niece came to stay with the couple for 6 weeks, it became a challenge to give everyone their space.
That’s when they found their current rig, a Beneteau Oceanis Center Cockpit, and sailed it to their current location in Puerto Rico. Brandon said they connected with Brian Trautman, a Battle Born Family member and captain of SV Delos, in the Bahamas during the height of the COVID lockdown. He noticed that a lot more people jumped into the sailing trend during lockdown, including a friend of his that learned to sail at the same time.
What’s in the Sailboat?
Before upgrading, Brandon had to be careful about power draws like the television or kitchen appliances when running them. He also said that he became super conscious about the little things, like where the water flowing down the sink goes. Now, he’s stopped checking the battery monitor as he just knows there’s always plenty of power there. Their top components on board that they can’t live without include the ice maker for cold drinks, a rice cooker, and an immersion blender.
“We have a lot of essential devices packed away in storage, so now we’re curious to see what we can and can’t bring aboard,” said Brandon. “Our capacity onboard has truly changed so much!”
Here’s what Brandon is running in his system:
There’s also 650 watts of solar on the boat, along with a backup generator. If you’re looking to power your boat with a similar system setup, check out our sailboat bundles on our online store.
“We tell people about our batteries all the time,” Brandon said. “It’s a nice upgrade from the previous system since we can be more self-sufficient and independent. Whether it’s being able to turn on the water heater for a hot shower or cooking rice any time of the day, we can enjoy our rig.”
Brandon notes that there’s lots of work that must be put in in order to be comfortable, especially when you don’t have an electrical background. He didn’t spend a lot of time on boats before living full time on one either. Though he’s constantly growing and learning how to design an electrical system and fix aspects of the boat on his own.
One recent challenge Brandon was able to overcome was the breaking of their anchoring system, a Windlass. “If there’s a problem, I’m able to trace where it’s coming from,” he said. “You really learn to work with different materials and what to do in different situations.”
Brandon advises would-be sailors to join sailing and cruising clubs. They can be helpful, especially when first starting out in the world of sailing. Learning the different steps, whether it’s techniques or taking on a mentorship role for sailors young and old, is something that Brandon believes is essential.
While searching for a boat, Brandon felt inspired to create an online marketplace for sailboats to assist with those interested in getting their own rig. At Sailboat.guide, it’s easy for people to browse what’s out there, and Brandon is confident that it’s a great way to help. It allows users to also browse based on the different makes and models.
Brandon and his wife will be docking the sailboat soon and heading back to the United States for the rest of the summer and fall. Riding in an RV, they’ll visit family and friends, and attend weddings, all while seeing the sights across America that they’ve had on their bucket list. They know that there’ll be some challenges ahead with the system, such as learning to get used to boondocking, dumping wastewater and potentially having to run a generator. Not having LiFePO4 batteries in the system is something that Brandon is not looking forward to either, as he has experienced issues with lead-acid in the past. A call to our sales and tech team to purchase our batteries is something certainly in his future!
“I still talk to people who think it’s crazy to live a lifestyle like this, but it’s easier than most people think,” said Brandon. “You still can be connected to your property, family and friends while out on the sea. It’s also cheaper than living in a big city and paying rent, since the only thing we need to pay for is maintenance.”
With our batteries, Brandon is glad to get out there, stay out there, and know exactly where his power is coming from. Last year, he and his wife only spent 5 nights anchored in a marina and are proud to have spent so much time on the move. They currently have no end date in sight, so they like to live by the common sailing mantra of “as long as it’s fun!”
Brandon is always on the go, so to learn more about him and his adventures, follow the adventures of S/V Ada Lovelace on Instagram!