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La Palapa - More projects! 3 Dec 1150 nm to St Lucia

i started today off with a nice sunrise as i got the boat configured for the 7am Magellan net. aimee now wakes me up at 5am or so and then heads back to bed for a nap before getting up to make us breakfast after sunrise. my first order of business is making coffee, unfortunately we are having a bit of a coffee shortage and i am down to a 1/8 bag of caffeinated coffee and 1/4 bag of decaf. i have been using the one serving plastic coffee press to conserve coffee and have even taken to recycling grounds, feel like i am back in college. on top of this i think we are out of diet coke! the sacrifices we make out here!

in any case to do the net i have to shut down unnecessary equipment, raymarine chart plotter, water maker, fans, ais, vhf, sat phone simrad autopilot etc. i only leave the raymarine autopilot and refrigeration on. of course the raymarine does still put noise into the ssb and also has the unpleasant characteristic of sometimes just going to standby all on its own with no warning but only if the chart plotter is off, bizarre. the simrad does not have this problem but the ssb transmit knocks it off line and sets off this horrible alarm even if it is in standby so i have to flip the breaker off on this. long story short is i have to go on deck to get this all organized and now get an opportunity to watch the sun coming up!

we decided today to get a few more things complete on the list after our exhausting gibe day yesterday so after aimee had made us some egg scramble with sausage we got too work. i finally managed to figure out the wiring on the new battery monitor and got the alarm wired up. i have it set on 11.8 volts for now but think this may be too high. at night we are pulling a load of 30 amps out of a 700 amp hour battery bank and i am not sure how much this load pulls the battery down. i am looking to recharge when the batteries are at 50% capacity which i think is 12.2 volts unloaded. using 11.8 volts i get about 1 hour of generator charge time in bulk charge mode but i am only getting charge rates between 100 and 60 amps. i have a 150 amp charger but 30 amps come off the top to run everything. the end result is i am running the generator about 4 hours a night which seems high. any ideas on how to improve this.

here are the specs to date for the trip:
1. engine 34 hours, ave 2.7 hrs per day
2. generator 57 hrs total, ave 4.5 per day
3 water-maker 36 hrs total, ave 2.8 hrs er day = 22 gal per day
4. 1720nm traveled in 12.7 days, averaging 5.6 kts or 135 nm a day

after i got the battery alarm sorted i went to look at the water maker. 22 gal of water a day is a lot for two people even with showers and fresh water heads. i had noticed after running the water maker the water pressure would be up indicating the tanks where getting pressurized and probable not taking the full amount of water. i got down in the bilge and pulled the vent hose off the top of the tank. there was an audible hiss as i released pressure. i went to blow into the tube and not only was there resistance but i got some saltwater. very strange but i think what has been happening (since the beginning of time) is the vent line is not run straight up to the vent on the side of the boat and water gets trapped in a U in the hose. rather than the water maker just blowing it out it results in pressurizing the tank. the vent is only 4 feet above the tank so i would think this would be no problem but its not. i think the salt water was a result of having the vent under water and then after the tank was swelled by pressure as the water was used out of it it drew water in the vent. anyone have any thoughts on this? it seems way to complex. the solution btw was to blow the water out the vent and reatach, i think this will work as long as the tank is not over filled. the water maker feeds into the bottom of the tank where the water comes out for what ever thats worth.

through this all aimee was working on the sail and fortunately interrupted these projects with a tuna salad for lunch preventing me from getting even grumpier than i was! before i could settle in for my afternoon nap though i discovered the simrad autopilot was not working again. i observed the linkage was still ok and added quite a bit of ATF fluid. this did not fix it out of the gate i had to run it back and forth i guess to expel air and then add even more fluid. it has always had a slight leak but it seems worse this time perhaps this is a result of the autoplilot fight we had the other day when they both got engaged at the same time (simrad won the fight)

we got a brief nap in after this before the evening net and then i made us burritos for dinner. they came out great i used some taco mix we had left over and mince and tons of onions not to mention some canned tomatoes and chapolte left over from mexico. i even warmed the tortillas on the gas burner. we had a slight drink fiasco as aimee headed up into the cockpit with our cocktails. the door was closed and she had her hands both full of drinks when a rogue wave hit knocking her backward. she held onto both glasses but we had some substantial spillage. thank god for the ever present boat towel!

did i mention this is the best passage ever?? it really is every day perfect winds and now warm weather. this evening i sat out in one of the corner seats and read my book with a red headlamp under the glow of the half moon. absolutely amazing! aimee and i are truly the luckiest people in the world.



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