What fun times I have been having drifting in the wind... Or lack of wind... After yesterday’s tiring day of listening to the auto pilot off course alarm going off I was so looking forward to a bit of sleep.
I was expecting some wind, even if it was just a little bit, to come through in the night, so I was trying to stay awake so that I could get the boat on course and trim the sails. At around Midnight I had had enough. The constant beeping was driving me nuts. I decided to just lash the helm off. This way I could shut off the auto pilot and get some sleep. I was drifting around in the ocean at the extreme speed of 0.2 knots... Record breaking, I know.
Once the helms were lashed and the auto pilot shut off there was the most amazing blessed silence.... Ahh. I dove into bed and set my alarm to wake me in 2 hours. There were no clouds on the horizon and no indication that there would be wind any time soon so I figured I would go for sleep.
Just after 2am my alarm work me up to the most unusual feeling…….. It was the boat moving. I jumped up on deck and set about getting the boat on an NE course and sailing... I had a nice 10 knots of wind from the SW so with the jib out and 2 reefs in the main I started moving forward at 6.5 knots.
By 3am I had crawled back into bed and slept most of the morning away. I was trying to catch up from the last 2 nights of minimal sleep. By 9am the winds had backed around to the SSW so I needed to put a Gybe in. When I made my way on deck it was to a lovely 15 knots of wind and sunshine... Gybe done I wasn’t wasting any time…. it was right back to bed for me.
This avo I have been working on reading some of the manuals. Apparently, I can set the wind generators to a higher amp hour. Basically, it will run at higher speeds in a storm and hopefully this will make the difference with my power management situation.
When I initially decided to go 100% eco powered it was with the 3 systems that I have, wind, solar and hydro plus one other, a Fuel Cell. These are a silent generator that takes Methanol and splits the hydrogen out and puts that through the generator and trickle charges the batteries. It’s perfect for giving you power in situations like yesterday when I wasn’t moving so I had no wind, or hydro and there wasn’t much solar as it was a rainy overcast day. I couldn’t in the end afford one as they are around $15,000 to get but it would have made a huge difference to this power struggle that I am having. I do have the genset but I would really like to see if I can make this trip without needing it. Only time will tell. My batteries finally started to get some charge into them last night but it will take a few more days before they are full again.
I have New Zealand on the horizon and the South West Cape is just short of 400nm away. This will be the second great cape once I pass. I am thankful to have such moderate conditions for this section as there is a large shelf to the bottom of New Zealand that I will be going over. The depth of the water goes from 5km deep to 400m so a rapid increase in the depth.
When I sailed around here in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race just south of Stewart Island is where we saw the largest seas of the whole trip. We tried to guess how big they were but it is really hard to tell. Put it this way…. when we were in the trough looking back at the face of the next way it looked like it was higher than the mast... The mast of that boat was 90 feet high, so just monsters. I however, am sailing in a very relaxed 3m swell and don’t expect a massive change any time soon although there is some heavy weather due towards the end of the week.
Anyway that’s it for now enjoy your evening everyone…. dinner calls.