We continue to settle in to life at sea. The first couple of days were survival in the squalls, and repairs of batten car and hydrogenerator pump. It finally seems as if the latter is now functioning properly, albeit with a repaired hydraulic line. Having spent some time inside that box, I now know what to keep an eye on, and will check daily, if not more often. We had put a small view glass in one of the floorboards so that we can more easily see the converter status, and whether we might be overheating it, and that was a good idea. The solar panels and wind turbine have their place to be additive, but the hydrogenerator can always generate well if it’s functioning properly.
The big news aboard in the last 24 hours is that I slept a lot last night. The wind was stable, in direction and velocity, I had put a second reef into the mainsail at midnight just after a big gust pushed our speed to over 20 knots, and just after hearing from Joff Brown by email that our friend Tanguy De Lamotte had broken the very top of his mast, and was diverting toward Cape Verde Islands to see if there was any repair that he could make. I’m conservative by nature when sailing, but had been pushing it a bit, and decided to back off. With the good sailplan in place, I slept first in the leeward bunk, then at the chart table, then in the windward bunk, and that is where I slept through the loud kitchen timer that was velcroed to the ceiling 12 inches above my head. I slept straight through for 4 hours, unheard of really, but so necessary. Then I went on deck, looked around, all clear, and all stable, and went back for another 60 minutes, and then again for an hour.
This morning I’ve run the desalinator to make some freshwater, loaded the solar shower (a bag of water that will heat in the sun), put tape and markings on our Bluetooth headset to see if that works better with our fixed Iridium telephone, had granola and raisins for breakfast, downloaded a GRIB weather file for a routing analysis to two different points at the entrance to the doldrums, also looked at 3 satellite photos of the doldrums from just a few hours ago, both Infrared and Visible, studied the tropical analysis that will show any atmospheric anomalies coming out of western Africa that might turn into tropical depressions, reviewed my notes from studying with Jean-Yves Bernot (weather-router extraordinaire) in 2008 (5 days) and again in 2016 (3 days) on approaching the doldrums, looked at where the rest of the fleet is, swapped out and marked our daily flag (US Yacht Ensign), gone forward to inspect the fractional gennaker set, inspected the bottom two batten cars and the replaced one, and now write to you!
21° 54’N x 24° 24’W
Fractional Gennaker plus Mainsail with 2 reefs
True Wind Direction
True Wind Speed
|Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily)
|Amp Hours: Alternator (total)
|Amp Hours: Solar (total)
|Amp Hours: Hydro (total)
|Amp Hours: Wind (total)