Day One

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 15 Dec 2021 01:42
Noon Position: 35 50.0 S 138 21.1 E
Course: E Speed 4 knots
Wind: SSE, F3 Sea: slight
Swell: SW, 1 meter
Weather: Sunny and mild

Since sailing yesterday morning we have experienced light to moderate headwinds requiring us to tack down the Gulf and out through Backstairs Passage. The wind freshened late in the day and we had one reef in the main and a few turns in the jib’s roller reefing overnight, but come dawn the wind eased and now we continue under full sail.

I think I have found the problem with the main solar panels, namely the smart controller does not appear to be working. Unfortunately, the solid state gadget is well beyond my capability to repair (though I will go back and have a closer look at the operating manual later). Consequently I have connected the two main panels straight into the battery banks. I don’t think this will do any harm as the old panels appear to be only producing about three amps a piece with an open circuit and clear sunshine. I have put an ammeter in the circuit so I can monitor how much current is going in and I can also monitor the battery’s voltage so as to ensure they are not overcharged. While at sea I am pretty sure that I will generally be taking more energy out of the batteries then all the panels combined will put in during daylight hours. So more than likely I am going to have to run the engine or genset on a fairly regular basis to keep the house batteries in good shape.

In addition to working out a fix for the problems with the main solar panels, this morning I installed one of the fifty watt panels through the not-so-smart regulator I have in place for three small twenty watt panels mounted on the dodger. I have one more fifty watt panel still to install and two small ten watt panels. I will try over the next few days while the weather is still relatively mild to at least install the second 50 watt panel.

As for the weather, according to the weather fax I pulled in last night a fat high pressure system is gradually moving across the Great Australian Bight and out into the Tasman Sea on Thursday, with a front moving following. So for now I expect we will continue to experience light to moderate headwinds followed by freshening NE’lies, and then fresh W’lies as the front passes through. I will use the period of light headwinds over the next day or so to get the boat more or less settled and secured for the long ocean passage ahead. While one aims to have the boat secured for sea prior to departure there are always items one has overlooked.

And as for the personnel department, at this stage my hand appears to be healing nicely.

All is well.