Day 14 of ? – Travel Boat Update

14 Mar

So as of today I’ve been here two weeks and I feel it’s time to update everyone on the status of the Great New Zealand Boat Crossing of 2018. As it stands right now we have most of the necessary work completed. Fridge and freezer are good to go. The rigging is at the correct tension. Sacrificial anodes are verified (almost 100%). Engines are mostly fully operable. Zipper on the sail pack has been replaced. Hull cleared of barnacles.

The two main things we still need to do are:

1. Get the SSB radio working or find a different method for receiving weather updates.

When you’re out on the boat it’s important to know the weather forecast – it’s what prevents sailors from dying and keeps them alive. So this is a must-have. We’re getting a VSWR meter and test load today so I imagine the radio will be up and running by the weekend.

2. Verify the batteries are in a suitable condition for the trans-New Zealand passage.

Right now the batteries need to be recharged daily by the solar panels. While we’re in port and the sun is shining, there are no problems with power (lights, personal electronics, fridge, freezer, microwave, water pump). The oven and cooktop are both gas powered and we only run the watermaker when there’s an energy surplus (a very sunny day) – if we’re conservative with our water consumption we can get away with running it about once every five days (two or three times for the Aus-NZ passage).

So while we’re in port if we have a couple of consecutive cloudy days we’re ok – we have to cut back but we can recover by the next sunny day.

The problem is that when we’re on passage we need to run a bunch of additional electronics that eat into our power budget – the (non-inflatable) autopilot, chartplotter, SSB radio, the VHF radio, navigation lights, wind / speed / depth indicators. In addition, we have reduced control over the position of our sails (which can block the solar panels) – something we don’t have to worry about when we’re moored (the sails aren’t even up).

We can also charge the batteries by running the engines but this can be problematic depending on the sailing conditions.

In addition to the batteries and SSB radio we still have to procure provisions – fuel and food mostly. I need to get some more (paper) books because I have feeling that personal device charging will be a low priority on this journey. And right now my copy of Dune is an electronic one. And there will be no Internet.

Boat for batteris post


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