Loss of juice, but wind flappy thing awesome

Rich Carey
Mon 27 Nov 2017 15:34
Last night cost us 200AH which is a lot (1/3 rd). We need to start seriously managing power usage, as it's taking me three hours running both engines to get that power back (too much fuel use). While we have the wind at last, unfortunately it's a cloudy day, so very limited solar power available. One helping item, should be the following.

Wahoooo! The hydrovane is doing the job. Waited for daylight and unshackled the big legged beast on the back. It instantly took over from the Raymarine autopilot without stutter or complaint ... flippin awesome. It's now gently nodding on the back and our course is an impressively stable + - 20 degrees off 240 degrees.

Boat updates:

Pelican (returning to Las Palmas): Turns out not to be a boat issue - they have a sick crew member. I've had a very brief email with Paul the owner, just a one liner from him, probably because he'll be extremely pissed off. Hope the crew member is not too serious, but it must be significant or they'd have dropped the casualty off at Cape Verde as they were nearly half way there when they turned back. I'm wondering if it was extreme sea sickness, which caused them to try and manage the impact for 3 or four days hoping that the sickness would pass - my thinking is from the fact that they seemed rather directionally aimless for some days, before turning back (originally I though they had a steering problem). They are now motoring back with Rapido close by - Rapido having mast damage (likely mentioned before).

Victory Cat; Going great guns for Mindelo. They have rigged temp steering which they don't care if they break, and they don't care about fuel. Thus they are two engines full throttle trying to grab as much time as the can, so that they are not so far behind when they are fixed and move out of Mindelo.

Guyader: They are a very fast catamaran that are in the race for the lead. Ordinarily (not in this weird weather), they should be well on the way, as should the big race boats Challenger 1 and 2 (and others). They will start to come into their own from now on.

Our Direction choices

It's not just about about wind direction, it's about sails. Downwind sailing is a lot trickier on a Catamaran than a Monohull due to the lack of a backstay. This means that the spreaders are backswept, as are the side stays. This means the boom can only go out to a limited degree and not catch the tail wind as well as a mono. So now we're using my new wing on wing sail, with single luff - awesome with a 180 degree tail wind. The trouble is that it's not particularly big (total of both wings, is 66 sq/m). To use this sail well, we need 15+ knots on the tail (up to 24 knots). The alternate is the screecher or spinnaker, both trickier to manage, and they both require that we take a gybing approach to progressing downwind - this can be a pain, so at the moment we are holding out for better wind and doing 5-5.5 knots. The wing on wing is critical for night sailing, where sail control is much harder.

All's well on x86 in the daytime.

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