Wednesday 3rd November
10am: So nice to see a decent speed for a change!! Making over 6 knots at times, although having to head W (with a helpful tidal current) to get it - tacked around a short while ago and unfurled the staysail to help our speed.... using windsteering, on a very close reach now. With our course having gone from S to ESE in a backing wind overnight, it was time to change and head away from the coast again.. I keep finding Cape Blanco is too often the nearest point on land...
Everything on deck is absolutely dripping wet with the moist air (84% humidity!) - almost foggy but not quite. Sun almost getting through the misty layer above us.
Spoke at length with Bill, VE7WSM, on the Gt Northern Boaters Net (3870 kHz), this morning. He's trying to help me sort out, if possible, where the solar panel problem lies. Agreed to meet again this evening, after I'd carried out a few measurements with the multimeter. Means fishing out my spare length of thin wire to extend from the aft cabin fuses (in the positive lead) to the chart table regulator, to reach the end of the negative wire from the solar panels to check on their voltage, if any. At least there's enough light coming onto the panels now to get a meaningful measurement.
Although big swell was predicted, it's fairly calm now, although we're heeling a touch, so I might try to find the wind generator spare switch once I've done that, in case it's of use also. With the 30A fuse in place, I've switched the windgen on to see if it's inputting anything at all - I still suspect it's putting in something, albeit erratically and nothing like as much as it ought to be.
About to have a late b'fast before getting on with electrical jobs... - It's cold (16C in main cabin) here, so I'll have a hot drink to warm me up.... & maybe put on another fleece layer!!
2:15pm What a WALLY....... !!! I've just presented myself the supreme 'Wally of the Week' Award...... a Dunce's Hat... If I could, I'd be banished to a corner to stay there all day, if not all week...!! (Although I must admit that I keep laughing a lot!) I suddenly realized, when a red light flickered on momentarily as I was taking voltage & continuity readings on the wires to the regulator (having first spent some time checking out same at the fuse box in the aft cabin), that the switch I'd recently added to the circuit, to get rid of radio noise from RF interference from the regulator when receiving, .... was in the 'OFF' position!!! I'd totally forgotten the switch even existed.... No wonder no power was getting in to the batteries........ What a lot of unnecessary agonizing!! Many apologies to all of you who've been racking your brains over my problem - so sorry to have wasted your time!! I've been seeing 6-10A coming in, under bright but overcast skies.
It looks now, with the far stronger winds of this afternoon and evening, that the unregulated KISS wind generator is also possibly OK. That would be good news! It has been erratically putting in some power but seemingly very much less than expected (at 15kt, should input ~8-10A, and at 20 kt, should input ~15-18A). I 've been keeping an eye on how much power has been coming in under different wind conditions today. As I write this, wind has increased to 20kt (i.e. ~24kt apparent) and I've just seen input of over 18A - so maybe wind gen is OK after all and just needed stronger winds? I must keep an eye on it, clearly. Certainly good news in that my charging problem has been fast disappearing since this morning! The thermal cut-out seems to have worked fine when the winds approached 30 knots with a Front passing through around sunset (when we passed out from under a layer of cloud to clear skies). So it seems I've no need to look for the spare switch in order to compare input when using it rather than the present one, which I'd thought might have been damaged.
Good news is we've been making good speed (4-5 kt or more) most of the day and the wind swung from SW to just east of S this morning, so we've been able to sail SW. But it's now getting very 'bumpy' with wind of around 20 knots together with the expected big swell making us crash about regularly. Think I'll reduce the genoa some more, ready for overnight....