Well today dawned with 5 to 7 knots of wind from the South. Not a lot to move in. I was hoping that it was a temporary change so I left the 2 reefs in the main sail and put out a bit more jib instead. I wasn't too keen to shake a reef as I would most likely need to put it in shortly after and I was still tired and thinking of my bed...
I had next to no sleep the night before. I was sailing past the Auckland Islands and knew there were some fishing boats around and the occasional cruise ship so I wasn’t as relaxed as I have been. I set the B&G radar guard zone alarms but with the squalls around the rain kept tripping the alarms. I would be almost asleep and beep beep beep it would go. So, whilst effective in spotting targets on the radar it meant very little sleep for me.
So after a morning of napping I went on deck to take a look around, I spotted an inquisitive seal who was taking a look at the boat but apart from that it was ocean all around me and not another sole insight.
The winds had by now steadied at 10-15 knots and the boat was moving along nicely. The sun was out and the sky was filled with fair weather cumulus clouds. As I was lapping up a bit of sunshine I realized that it might just be warm enough for a quick bucket bath on the back deck. I have been wanting to wash my hair for several days now as my scalp had been starting to itch.
30 minutes later, once I had dug out a new set of clothes and boiled the kettle for some hot water I looked outside and it was cold, over cast and drizzling with rain, so the shower on deck was cancelled in lieu of a warmer spot inside the boat. I did manage to wash my hair but I can’t say it was easy in a rolling boat. Now I feel so much better. This was the first real bath of the trip. Previously I had just been using baby wipes to keep clean but it’s never really the same.
With all this light wind I wasn't getting the speeds up to add any charge into my batteries. As I needed all the instruments on last night and I still haven't had the opportunity to re-charge my redundancy batteries. My primary system was getting dangerously low.
With the system supplied by Lithium Power I have stacks to draw from and you can use almost the whole charge of the battery, not just the top section like a lead acid battery. Also for every amp in you get one amp out. This is not the case with the lead acid you need multiple amps to go in before you can get your amp of power back out. For all these reasons and more I have found the lithium system a great system to have on the boat. The only thing you really need to watch is that the charge never goes below 10%. If this happens you lose your battery and there is no going back.
This morning my charge was at 20%, a little too low for comfort. I also know that I have some stormy conditions likely tomorrow and Friday. I want to make sure that the boat is in tip top shape to deal with any situation that may arise during those conditions. This includes making sure I have enough power for my auto pilots to run. 20% just doesn’t cut it, so it was with a heavy heart that I decided I would need to void the 100% eco powered part of my trip and turn on the generator to get some charge back into my batteries. It might end up being a 90% eco powered trip.
I must say, I am gutted that I have needed to do this. I have been waiting for the right conditions to charge the batteries up for over 5 days but I simply haven’t had them. For the last week I have been using minimal power and running a mostly dead ship. Only the bare necessities.
Unfortunately, this prolonged the power struggle but it hasn’t eliminated it. As I said in a previous blog, I am missing the one piece of equipment that would have picked up the slack when the other charging systems were not putting out. Oh well, it can’t be changed and safety comes first. I will try to minimize my usage of the generator and will log how many hours I needed to use it and let you all know at the end of the journey.
The winds are now a steady 15 knots from the W and I am sailing on a course of 60 degrees towards to the Antipodes Island. The plan is to sail below this island but by traveling NE over the next day or so I should miss the worst of the swell coming off the forecasted Low heading my way. I have now cleared both the Auckland Island and Campbell Island and I also managed another big milestone……..the of passing my second cape. The South West Cape which is off the bottom of New Zealand was passed at 11:10:51 my local time this morning. The next cape is some ways away. It is Cape Horn.
P.S. (from Mum) I have been given access to Fedors Log (Fedor is the current record holder). I will hopefully be able to share some parts with you over the coming weeks, but I thought I would mention that he seemed to see an amazing number of Ice Bergs in this area………………….I have sort of settled into a fairly calm state, not waking up 3 times a night to check the tracker any more, (worse than a new born), even forgetting for a time to check at all……but reading Fedors Logs of his travelling through this area between New Zealand and Cape Horne (and I won’t even mention after Cape Horne) has re awakened the stress levels……………….just greyer and greyer,