Musket Cove, Fiji > Noumea, New Caledonia - Day 3 (2014-11-16 23:00 UTC - 21:17.9S 169:32.0E - DTF 192 nm)
Just moments after I sent the previous day’s update about a non-eventful day, all of a sudden things started happening, luckily not all bad. The good news was a chubby big-eye tuna on the hook, the biggest we caught so far, not as much in length (80 cm) as in weight, 10.2 kg. Daph managed to quickly furl in the genoa to take the speed out of the boat, whilst I was reeling in, when he gave me the chance and releasing when he quite vigorously opposed the notion of turning into sashimi. After some 20 minutes and a few substantial blows to the head the poor chap was on deck and Daph started her part of the job, by far the biggest, of cleaning and filleting the catch. It took her almost 2 hours to end up with 4 deep red, extremely tender tuna fillets, some 6 kg in total. Sashimi for dinner, another part just chilled for tuna steaks the next day, and the rest vacuum bagged and in the freezer.
Just after our delicious dinner I noticed that the batteries were not charging, the main circuit breaker had tripped. Initially I thought the heating element of the water heater had shorted, something that had already happened two or three times in the past, but it was only when I switched on the charger, that the main circuit breaker would trip again. I had a look at the internal circuits of the inverter/charger, did not see anything unusual, but also knew that the charger part could be faulty without me seeing it, or, worse, being able to repair it. What a bummer at the end of a lovely afternoon: not only was there little chance of having the charger repaired in New Caledonia and would substitution cost some serious money, but it would also create a big problem in charging the batteries. The newly installed solar panels would dampen the discharging, but by themselves they are not sufficient to compensate our daily energy needs, in particular not whilst on passage. Having resigned to the idea of having to run the main engine to charge the batteries, to cut down on energy consumption where we could and, in all likelihood, to have to buy a new inverter/charger, I reassembled the inverter/charger panels and came back to the saloon. That is when Daph surprised me with a stunningly simple solution to the problem: take the charger of the Aerocino, which was still plugged into the mains, out of the kitchen sink, where it was floating in!!! Somebody (and it wasn’t me) had left the Aerocino on the charger, which had neatly dropped in the sink, when the boat heeled. Tried switching on the charger again, worked like a charm, end of problem. Brilliant, Daph ;-).
Light winds from the NE forced us to motor for a couple of hours at night, also because we do not want to set the gennaker at night. Early this morning we set the gennaker for the first time since our trip to Suwarrow in September 2012, which went relatively smoothly. Presently doing between 5-7 knots right on course with some 10 kn of NE winds. Winds are expected to come down to some 2-3 kn in the afternoon, so it’ll be motoring from then onwards until we drop the hook at Port Moselle, Noumea somewhere tomorrow afternoon.