Now you're Suckin' Diesel !

Sailing on the horizon

May 2023

It has been so long since I have been able to consider a sailing trip, but hopefully this summer I will have a chance to get out for a bit. A lot has happened and circumstances have changed.

As usual last winter I had a few big jobs to do on board. At home we were getting solar panels installed on the roof so I thought I would get a large domestic solar panel installed on the boat. I welded up a frame to put a panel above the cockpit as a bimini cover and installed a 400w panel. I am glad to say that the installation has given me a lot more independence, reducing the need to plug in to shore power. I also added a 400w Silent Wind generator, replacing the old Rutland wind generator which was not very efficient. So I now have the Air Breeze and Silent Wind which work fine at keeping the batteries toped up.

I had been thinking of improving my batteries as well. Many boaters these days talk of Lithium Ion but on investigating I found them very expensive and involve a complex system to use them properly. So for now I added another 4 standard leisure batteries to the bank onboard to increase our capacity to 10 120 amp hour batteries. Perhaps down the road I will go to Lithium but for now I am happy with the setup I have.

One fail is that I decided to instal a Sterling External Alternator regulator. The idea is that when the engine is charging, it would maximise the amount of amps being put into the batteries. I also rewired the engine control wiring. The regulator was complex to understand but Sterling have a good helpline to assist. Sadly, I kept on blowing the regulator built in to the alternator at €80 a go and after my fifth one blew, I have given up. I am sure Sterling make good products, but this one did not work for me and I am in the process of removing it. I have had a lot of frustrating months trying to get it to work and am now giving up on it.

This summer I am off to Australia in June and hope to still in July for 2 or 3 weeks. SD has not been out of the water for 2 years so I will have to look at antifouling her. First I will dive under her to have a look at how bad it is and maybe do a splash and dash or even just polish up what is already there, all to save time and cost. During the winter I plan to take her out for a longer period to change the rigging, remove the mast for rewiring and change the old radar. So I might delay a haul out until then.

The last big news is that I am taking early retirement as I cannot continue working the the school I have been in for 30 years. Life there is going to get more chaotic and stressful for the staff so I am jumping ship and going to look at temporary work in other schools for the remaining years I want to teach. Enough said....

So hopefully I will get out on the water this summer and remember what sailing is like. Lets see ....