Now you're Suckin' Diesel !

What is this sailing lark?

19th July 2022

It has been another year of social disturbance as societies around the world deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. In Ireland we have had a return to many workplaces, although gradually with restrictions which were slowly removed. Many people are still anxious about getting Coronavirus or passing it on to their loved ones. For some there is a rush back to the normal life they had before, resulting in chaos at airports and the virus imported on return. For many, including me and Anne, there is the contemplation of how do we return to a normal social life? What will the new normal be? What lessons have we learnt during lockdown? Maybe I am wrong, but I feel that once I return to a social life, including sailing, it may be different. I am intrigued to see what changes stick. Sailing for me will certainly be different.....

I have been out twice over the winter and enjoyed the experience for the newness it brought. Last week I was out with my sister Rae over from Australia and had a broad range of conditions. Imagine sailing in fog, approaching land, and the engine wont turn on....... But bypass the faulty ignition, hardwire the engine, and wait for the fog to burn off. It all made for an interesting sailing experience and a reminder of the fun opportunities of a simple sailing trip.

So this winter I looked at electrical issues. I don't hook up to shore power during the winter and the batteries seem to be fine. I have enough power being generated from wind and solar, but only to keep the batteries maintained when there is no major load being put on them. So the first thing I did was replace the old fashioned alternator regulator which had failed twice on me over the last 20 years. I contacted Sterling in the UK and got some really good advice on installing an intelligent regulator which puts in a lot of amps into the batteries when they are low. On the recent trip that worked really well and in 2 hours brought up the batteries noticeably. I also get some advice on lithium which I will look into in a couple of years. This winter I will be removing the ancient 80w Rutland Wind Generator and replacing it with a 400w Silent Wind model. That should make a major difference. I am also looking at replacing the twin 160w solar panels with a single 400w panel. This will involve extending the A Frame over the cockpit, something which Anne needs to be sold on the aesthetics of. So at present I am learning stainless steel welding to build the frame. It is mostly complete and I will set it up on the boat for Anne's opinion before going ahead and buying the panel. Let's see how that goes.....

I have no major trips planned this year as I am recovering from Rotator Cuff surgery and don't want to overload my shoulder. Also Anne and I are spending a lot of time with her Dad who needs a little TLC at present. Next year we hope to have a trip but let's see. In the meantime, fair winds to all from us both.......