At least we're moving. 11:31.52N 125:27.15W

Alex Belmont
Sun 17 Jul 2011 19:26
In my last entry we were thrilled to have nice wind and be moving fast. That soon changed. We were becalmed for three days. One day we only made 30 miles. We did everything we could to stop the sails from slatting themselves to pieces. Reefing the main to make it really flat helped and we had to drop the genoa to stop it from chafing on the rig. It was frustrating seeing the boat move so slowly and not being able to but up more sail. I imagine we must have looked ridiculous bobbing along at a knot and a half under reefed main and staysail, both sheeted flat.
Yesterday morning a nice northerly filled in, pushing us SSW at 5kts. Going this deep (wind only 15 degrees off the stern) we carry only the staysail and this huge jib called "The Mule". This way the boat is just pulled along, making it very easy on the windvane. The downside is that the boat rolls in this sloppy sea. We have swell from three different directions. Living at a more-or-less constant angle of heel is easy. You can set pots and bowls etc. in a corner and not have to worry about them until you want to tack. Sailing this deep in a mixed swell though... Stuff (including people) slides all over). Even sleeping takes some new techniques. I tried the sprawl, covering as much area as possible, but didn't really dig it. I tried wedging myself in with pillows which was nice but too warm. Finally I settled for curling up so I could brace between the hull and a bulkhead. Oh well, at least we are moving.
One of Tom's projects for Orianne was putting together a hydro-generator. He built it with the motor from an old treadmill, about 20 meters of stiff 12mm double braid line, a shorth length of stainless pipe and the prop from 12hp outboard. You also need a couple blocking diodes and the charge controller (had it for solar already). You just drag the prop off the stern and at 5kts it puts out about 4.5 amps. At slow speed it's not great, but at higher speeds the drag it adds is tiny compared to the wavemaking resistance of the boat, so it really doesn't slow us down. With this generator and 60-70 watts of solar, we have more power than we can use (as long as we are moving and there's sun). Even if only one source is working we have enough to cover our use as long as we don't run the inverter to charge computers more than a few hours a day. Pretty cool!