Seven days down, 14 left to go to reach land, more or less!
This marked the longest time we’ve been at sea on Aldebaran. It also meant we were on the cusp of an “Energy Crisis”.
“We need more power,” I told Spencer. “Our batteries are super low.”
“They’re just below 12volts… we need to shut off electronics and lights to save power for the fridge.”
We don’t want our food spoiling! There’s been a moratorium on fan use (they are power hungry). Now stricter measures were required to preserve our ship’s battery (and fridge’s) health..
Aldebaran has four solar panels on our rails, as you may know – but the system can’t quite keep up with our energy use, typically lasting only about 5-7 days before the batteries become depleted (depending on how hot the weather is).
This time is halved if it’s cloudy; all this assuming the boat is fully crewed, which takes more power. In addition, when we are sailing all day long, the sails also create a significant amount of shade on the panels, and voila, we run short on power.
Hence the effort to install a new solar panel array on the cockpit roof !! This is a project we started on day 2 of this voyage and have been chipping away ever since, making great progress in the last few days despite the precarious work conditions…
We started calling it the “Boatyard of the Pacific”. To work on the roof area under sail, in the middle of the bumpy ocean, as you can imagine, is tricky… so we started running a course downwind during “work sessions” so the ride became smoother. We’d alter course from 230 to 260 degrees which means we’re going down swell.
“Huh… this is pretty much the bearing to Marquesas,” Sabrina noted. “No wonder everyone is going that way, it’s so nice!” We called it our comfort heading.
It’s still the open ocean though, so it’s a true ab workout to be caulking and bolting panels atop deck. Then later wiring the the panels belo decks began to test Captain K’s resistance ro queeziness down below… not to mention testing the crew’s patience in dealing with the clutter of electrical parts strewn about.
Per the protocol of “4pm tea time”, we take a break on productive activities. This day we had a special treat: a cargo ship called “Sea Cross” was going by, 11nm behind us.
It was Spencer’s turn for using the VHF for a good “chat” with the fellow at the helm, who sounded Persian. They had left Los Angeles 7 days prior and were heading around Cape Horn to reach Brazil in early May. This we found most intriguing (not going via the Panama Canal) but they would only say they carried “general cargo”…