Tuesday, October 29, 2013
San Diego: washed; amps; link; chef; garlanded
Rumors of rain materialized into drops for about an hour at 3:00 a.m., washing GANNET and the sky, and, unfortunately proving that I was not successful in curing a leak on the aft side of the forward hatch which I noticed when I scrubbed and hosed down the deck a couple of weeks ago. This is particularly frustrating on GANNET, where there is no liner and the inside of the hull is exposed. I applied additional sealant along the edge of the hatch, both inside and on deck. Obviously I’ll have to apply more. I now think the leak may be around two bolts near the aft port corner.
Today is one of crystalline beauty. Sunny. Pure blue sky, dotted with cotton ball puffs of cumulus cloud. Everything clean and pristine; and very few people around.
I biked over to Pacific Beach, passing almost no one on the bay side of Mission Beach and only a few on my return along the ocean.
Fall and winter are my favorite seasons in San Diego because of the greater contrast with the Midwest where I grew up, and because the crowds of summer are gone.
October is often a month of strong Santa Ana winds, blowing from the east when high pressure develops over the desert. With the wind coming off the land, the sea near shore remains flat and there can be spectacular sailing. I was hoping for a Santa Ana, but thus far there hasn’t been one this year.
Watts divided by volts=amps.
I now have six 25 watt solar panels wired into a 12 volt system, which in theory could provide 12.5 amps of power. THE HAWKE OF TUONELA had 180 total watts in her three solar panels, which could have theoretically produced 15 amps.
I stress the theoretically because I never saw more than 6 or 7 amps being registered on the Solar Boost 2000e regulator on HAWKE, and I haven’t seen more than 5 yet on GANNET.
The loss comes from shadows and angles and, to a lesser degree, wiring, though I minimize this by using over size wire with, except for the two panels near the stern, short runs.
All of GANNET’s panels are functioning properly. However they are fixed on deck and not often perpendicular to the sun and are subject to shadows. A few mornings ago I noticed that five of the six panels were partially shadowed. One shadow came from the tiller, which I usually leave vertical. Simply lowering it and eliminating that shadow increased output by half an amp.
Being able to tilt the panels so they are usually at right angles to the sun definitely increases output, but I find such structures aesthetically unacceptable and am unwilling to run around all day trying to keep up with the sun.
GANNET’s two new panels are providing a definite increase in total daily production, with the little boat’s bow to the west particularly in the afternoon. Readings are generally two amps higher than they were with only four panels.
The SolarBoost 2000e regulator is said to be like having an extra solar panel. I had one on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, as well as on GANNET, and it seems to work. At the moment, the panel current reaching the regular is 4.3 amps; the output to the batteries is 4.9 amps.
Saildrone continues steadily onward. It is now 377 miles from Hawaii.
Alan, who sent me the link, is kind enough to say that I am not going to become obsolete any time soon. But I’m not so sure.
Saildrone is self-contained and powered by wind and solar panels. So is GANNET.
The universe is unquestionably not on a human scale.
I have long thought that as a species, we--or at least some of us--are best as engineers and technicians. Obviously we make lousy politicians.
What if we are not the glory and purpose of the universe, but in the evolutionary process only the creatures needed to build the machines who are the next step up? This is not an original thought, but one that Saildrone has reminded me of.
I have said that one of the advantages of solo sailing is no risk of mutiny.
I have four tiller pilots aboard GANNET. Soon they will be residing in a bag with the Torqeedo tiller arm.
If they all get together…
My culinary skills reached new heights two nights ago: I used a pot.
As you probably know, usually I just heat water in the JetBoil; but I bought some prepared soup at the supermarket and decided to heat it in my one pot rather than the vertical JetBoil cylinder.
Once I remembered where I stowed the pot, it worked.
I am humble, but proud.
When I returned from my bike ride, I found GANNET’s bow garlanded.