Well after yesterday’s big day today has been one focused on rest and relaxing. There has been very little to be done on the sailing side so I slept in and enjoyed some R&R.
One thing that is of importance is my power/charging capabilities.
As some of you may know I am trying to complete this record 100% "Eco Powered" as such I have a combination of 8 Solbian flexible solar panels supplied by Solar 4 RV's, 2 'silentwind' wind generators and 1 hydro generator. In most scenario’s this is a great combination for continualincoming power however, when I am in bad weather I find that my batteries always run low.
To counteract for this I have a huge 600-amp Lithium battery on board. The benefit is that you can use between 20% and 90% of the battery rather than a standard lead acid where you are only using part of the battery. My Lithium battery normally sits between 70-80% but this morning after the strong winds yesterday the power was down to 35%. Whilst I still have plenty of power available I needed to start getting the storage up.
What I find is that in bad weather it is normally overcast so I struggle to get much solar. The wind generators have a built-in breaking system that normally kicks in when the winds are above 30 knots. This break slows the blades and prevents charging as a way of protecting the system, so no wind power coming in.
Finally, I have the hydro generator pivoted down over the stern of the boat putting in charge all the time. With the B&G Auto Pilots working harder to combat the big seas my power draw is greater than the output on the hydro generator alone. This means that while I still have several days of power I am no longer topping up the batteries.
Once the storm has passed I isolate all unnecessary times off the switch board and minimize my power consumption until I have had the chance to top the batteries back up again. So….. that was today.
I tend to nick name this technique running the boat at 'dead ship'. A term that normally applies when a boat has no power. I just use it in this scenario as I feel it fits. I have no instruments on so maybe I should call it a blind ship...
I do have other options for power. Should the scenario occur when I can’t go dead ship due to traffic, ice, or even if the storm persists…..and I can’t get the right amount of charge in, then I still have a further 2 days of power stored in the original lead acid battery system as a backup. I also am still carrying the main engine and a generator that came with the boat. If I use these though, I won’t be able to say that I completed the trip 100% eco powered. I tend to think of them as last resort options.
Anyway, I will be dead ship again tomorrow and then the batteries will be full again. With normal conditions I often find that I have too much power and am needing to manually isolate the hydro generator or the wind generators so this situation of low power really only occurs after a few days of bad weather which, I can live with.
Apart from that the winds have moved back to the west and I believe will stay there for the next few days, I have not really needed to do anything sailing wise, not even a gybe however I did go on deck early this morning and furled a bit more of the jib away. I had put some more out in the lighter winds the night before and as I was now sailing in 30 knots instead of 10 knots I furled it almost all away again.
I am chewing through the books. I am slightly concerned that I will run out of reading material before I get back... I believe I have already polished off 13 books and it hasn’t even been two weeks yet. I am not use to the sailing side being so easy. As there is no land near and no shipping, I find I do relax more than I ever would if coastal. I am not complaining though, there will be plenty of hard days ahead so I will take this time while it’s available.
I haven't seen or heard a ship since I left Albany. There was one that passed within 4nm off me 4 hours after I started and that has been the only ship I have seen. I wonder if the first ship I will see will be when I sail back into Australian waters...
I have now completely left Australia behind and am well on my way to New Zealand. I also past one of the first big landmarks of the trip. The South-East Cape. There are 6 great capes as you sail around the world or in my case Antarctica. You have the South-East Cape of Tasmania, The South West Cape off New Zealand, Cape Horn off Chilli (also known as the Mt Everest of Sailing), Cape of Good Hope of South Africa, Cape Agulhas also off South Africa and the lucky last will be Cape Leeuwin of Western Australia. I have sailed past all of these capes at one stage or another on my adventures expect for the infamous Cape Horn. I just can’t wait to get there.
Just had a quick chat to Lisa on the phone. She is happily settling into her routine and loving the isolation. No one to answer to, every choice is her own. If it goes wrong, she has no one to blame. She said that she understands completely when Jessica said, "that being alone on her yacht for such an extended period was one of the best times in her life".
Lisa said that when she set off she did have that niggling doubt of “can I actually do this?”. Now she is completely comfortable, relaxed and just getting it done…….this is where she is, this what she chose. She is enjoying every moment.