6th Sept - Day 6

SY Saphir -
Jeff & Doreen
Wed 7 Sep 2022 02:58
13:25s 166:16w

Noon to noon of 156nm which is exactly a 6.5knot average. Once again we had some light winds overnight and the odd shower. The wind has also been a bit more Easterly which has not helped with the wind angle we have, and hence it is a bit slower. However since midday we have had a fresh ESE wind of around 22-24 kts and have been averaging over 7 knots. We really should have another reef in but the sailing is fun!! :) If this keeps up we will reef before it gets dark.

The weather forecast remains more or less the same with ESE winds of between 12-20 knots for most of the trip or at least until we get to the north of Vanau Levu, our next major waypoint after the Samoa’s, which we should be passing early on Wednesday morning. I think we will pass between them so it will be nice to see a bit of land half way through an ocean passage.

We have been having to run the engine a bit more than what used to be normal to keep the batteries charged up so I thought I would have a look at the solar panels today, specifically the charging outputs. I think I might have mentioned before that one of the three solar panels we have on the top of the Bimini (the large 170W panel) was damaged some months ago and it actually burnt a very small hole in the Bimini due to a short circuit. Fortunately we spotted it in time and managed to stop the hole getting worse. However it was still working but not as efficiently. Now it has completely stopped producing any power at all hence the reason for us having to run the engine more often. Our two 50w panels normally give us about 450wH per day and the larger one was proportionally more than that. Therefore we have lost more than 50% of our solar charging capacity. Unfortunately it means that we are not able to run our second fridge, which is the drinks fridge!!

One fo the modifications that I will probably make when in Australia is to the Solar panel arrangement to try and get some more area and attach them to the Bimini in a better manner. Every boat that we have seen on this crossing is using Solar energy as a main source of power and a lot of them can run the whole boat for days on anchor with a mix of wind and solar power which we cannot do. It is largely down the the lack of area we have to work with without building an arch on the back which nearly every other boat has done. I have not found one yet that is pleasing to the eye!

The sailing is superb right now. We have averaged 7.1 kts since noon :)

More tomorrow