Friday, June 24, 2016

Darwin: GANNET tides; solar; a mess

       With the full moon this week tides have been GANNET-sized.  Several have been 22’/7 meters.  Out where we are anchored, almost in the next country, the least water I have seen under our keel has been 10’/3 meters, but I haven't checked at all low tides.
       When I was here in CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, I anchored close in.  With her centerboard and rudder raised, she drew only 12”/.3 meter and could take the ground.  Listening to the water swirl in and out around us was odd.
        One night we were awakened around midnight by loud voices cursing nearby.  I stuck my head out from the tarp we used as a cockpit tent and found four men more than ankle deep in mud carrying a 14’ inflatable with a big outboard.  Obviously they had gone ashore earlier for an evening of drinking and dining and perhaps a visit to the casino and forgotten about the tide.  
        As they passed us, they still had a couple of hundred muddy sobering yards/meters before they reached water.


        The new Solbian solar panels arrived Wednesday and were installed yesterday.  I used screws and may need to add more.  Adhesive is the recommended method, and if they survive to South Africa I may try adhesive.
        The panels are rated at 50 watts, meaning that they are the equivalent of adding two additional 25 watt panels to GANNET’s system.  We now have 200 watts of solar charging on deck.   Divide that by 12 volts and theoretically the output is 16.66 amps.  I have never seen output anywhere near that.  4 or 5 amps is high.  I assume the loss is due to shading and angle and wiring, though I have adequate size wires throughout the system.
        Solbain is an Italian company.  I had to make a quick decision on what is available in Australia.  I hope I did better than when I bought  Aurinco.
        When I ordered the panels I noted that their output is 9 volts.  I asked the Solbain distributor if this would work with a 12 volt system.  He told me to wire them in series, the positive of one to the negative of the other, thus forming one big panel, with the remaining positive and negative wires to the regulator.  I did so and measured the output at 20.4 volts.
        Please forgive the dirt on deck.  I land the dinghy on the beach.  Dirt and sand come back to GANNET with me.


        While I still have more provisions to buy, I already have too much.  GANNET’s interior is a mess.  There is hardly room for me.  I will have to eat and drink GANNET’s way back into trim.
        In the meantime, I’m going to try to impose some order on the chaos.  I may have to reconfigure to passage mode to do so.
        Next week is supposed to see more wind.  If I can get ashore most days, I expect that I will be ready to clear a week from today, July 1, or earlier.
        While the row to and from shore has not been hard this week, it is still long.  Only one person here is rowing.  He will be glad to get back to sea where life is easier and he can relax.