Thought this had been posted yesterday...
Thurs 3pm PST Despite overcast skies, the sun did brighten things up occasionally earlier, when the cloud layer thinned, and I'd see up to 6A net gain into the batteries from the PV panels. Voltage is slightly up but not by much - too much power usage!
We remain hove-to - I can't see any point to moving on if it's not in our preferred direction, or at least roughly so. So we're 'holding station', waiting for good wind, rather than going 'backwards'....
According to the gribs (weather files) that I'm seeing, we're north of a High pressure ridge, in a complex weather system with mainly light winds from every which way for the next few days while a strong Low system moves E below 43S (We're at 34S, so that would be 4-5 days away if we were able to head S at a decent speed). Not until 3-4 days' time am I seeing a good wind forecast for this area to enable us to head away from here.... Seeing SW 4kt and 1019hPa as I writw this. Things can change - I'll be keeping an eye on the wind and forecasts all the time.. I'll find plenty to do in the meantime, I'm sure.
Two amusing snippets from the GGR - Susie, 'Starlight'. was saying she hit something the other day - the boat came to a dead halt in no time from 5-6kt - maybe a whale? She doesn't know for sure - couldn't see anything around. Luckily, no obvious damage to her boat. And Uku, 'One & All', was saying that he had almost finished cleaning the bottom when he caught sight of a shark circling his boat - he got out fast and isn't keen to get back in! They all chat together on the radio every evening for quite a time. I'm very envious of Mark Slats - he tells me his solar panels (3x100W) are very efficient and have kept his batteries fully charged most of the time. (He left his wind generator behind as being too heavy!) Admittedly, his electronics on board are minimal but he likes to chat and is on the radio transmitting frequently each day - and that takes a lot of power.
Early this morning, I spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in Stanley, E.Falkland. I met him in March 2011 when he and his wife helped me tie up in Stanley harbour, before having a pizza and wine together, after my passage from the Beagle Channel between Argentina and Chile. He often helps boats with weather information - especially those rounding the Horn where the weather can be particularly nasty.
I was very happy to see 8-10A coming into the batteries this morning - mainly from the PV panels, with a little help from the wind generator. That was the result of a bright but totally overcast sky and battery voltage was creeping up nicely as a result.
I'd been thinking about the possibility of getting underway tomorrow and the probable rough weather ahead. That made me decide to check out the solar regulator now, while conditions were gentle, in the hope it would turn out to be working fine. It's not easy doing any 'fixing' when conditions are rough - almost impossible, in fact.
So I moved the PV earth wire back to its dedicated regulator terminal and took the live PV wires from the batteries, which they've been feeding directly, and re-connected them to lead to the regulator. Success! The regulator is working fine, slightly increasing the amps put into the batteries compared with the current at the panels (the voltages are slightly different) while keeping the battery voltage in check. The problem all along was corrosion in so many places - above deck, in all four of the connections that I re-made there (some twice over!) and also in the very last place I checked just two days ago- the earth connection where the wires come down into the boat - a connection that looked fine at first glance but most definitely was not. I've reminded myself of a lot of wiring details in the aft cabin, having traced so many wires there now!
Many thanks to Bob, N4PSK, for his cheerful patience and helpful discussions.
Seas have got up a lot - the swell has become quite impressive but the waves are well apart. Getting close to Southern Ocean standards - but not as big as they often are there!
It's very grey and often drizzly, with wind still in the E, which prevents any thought of heading SE. temperatures have dropped noticeably these past few days - sea temperature is above air temperature just now! As mentioned, Saturday is looking hopeful but even then there's a threat of more calms in a few more days further S - but not for long... We'll move on if the wind is favourable...
1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 51. We made 30 n.ml.(DMG) in a straight line between the two points, while drifting around, hove-to, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.
Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1900 GMT:
TIME: 2018/11/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 34-21.15S LONGITUDE: 115-36.71W COURSE: 185T SPEED: 1.9kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5M CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1018.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Hove-to still, but drifting S - DMG 30ml since y'day.