Mon/Tues/Wed 2/3/4 April 2018
Well, unfortunately the battery problem has not been resolved satisfactorily. The other four were checked Monday .. and one of them was found to lose charge far faster than it should - so two had to be taken out of circuit (they're 6V 'golf cart' batteries, so work in pairs to give the 12V power needed on board). That left only half the total battery bank available for use.
Sailing had become excellent by mid-afernoon, with a good consistent N-NNW wind giving good speed towards our waypoint of 10N,130W - a nice change from overnight and the morning's flukey light winds. The spinnaker (cruising chute) has been very useful & has been in use a lot in the light winds - far quieter than when using the main and genoa, which flapped noisily in light conditions due to the boat being knocked around by the 1.5m/4-5ft northerly swell.
But still the batteries were being problematic - even the half bank of seemingly good batteries collapsed dramatically once their charge got below a certain point, so the engine was needed to charge up overnight. During periods of bright sunlight, the solar panels keep the charge well up - but overcast conditions in the daytime are unhelpful and these were frequent over Mon/Tues... Wed has been better.
By Tues morning, the decision had to be made - continue on or turn back....? The batteries provide power to the autopilot, lights, radio & instruments, in addition to fridge and freezer (holding a lot of fresh food still). Fuel to run the engine for charging, or for use in calm conditions, was becoming a worry - looking at the distance still to run to Polynesia, it was getting low, even allowing for turning off fridge & freezer overnight. Hand-steering a lot would help the situation but the worry was the batteries deteriorating even more - already they did not seem to be holding charge for as long as when we started out.
If so much had not been invested in fresh food, I was inclined to turn off fridge and freezer & continue on, with plenty of hand-steering - by late morning the decision had been made to abort and return to deal with the battery problem where help could be found and replaement batteries were readily available.
The only remaining problem was the wind - Banderas Bay lies NE of our position and the winds are mainly from N-NNE - so returning will not be simple... but we're making for Mexico, for sure - would be nice to get further north if possible - and weather files are looking hopeful nearer land.
At present - mid-afternoon Wed - we're making good speed, close-hauled in 15kt winds.
Posn: 15 22'N, 114 45W - see website position links