Up to Date
27 May 2018
We're in the water at the Carenage slip. We were splashed on Friday afternoon and sat the night waiting for chores on Saturday: jib install, filling water tanks, completing other numerous tasks. On Saturday afternoon, as the last project, we tried to start the engine. Alas, there was a sputter and no start: the battery was stone dead. I checked the windlass battery and it, too, was stone dead, so the Pathmaker, the device that allocates charge to various battery banks had finally died. The time was, as it usually is, unfortunate, since our very nice and competent boat watch lady and I were both fooled by the numbers shown on various gauges. Yes, they were 10-year-old batteries, but the heat and no charge killed them.
So, we need two Group 24 AGM batteries, or some such. I'll take what I can get. I think that I can switch battery banks for charging by simply attaching a properly sized wire from the positive buss bar to a double-stud arrangement and connect the engine and windlass batteries to that when they need a charge. Primitive, but there were batteries and chargers long before there were fancy combiners. That's the workaround. There's a retired nuclear submarine officer just around the corner who distrusts the automatic charge controllers and does his switching by hand. He can even use AGMs and simply flooded by taking care, something impossible with an automatic system. I don't have switch but it's the same idea.
On Thursday afternoon, we were in the Carenage office requesting a late Friday afternoon splash. Nick, the second-in-command and owner's son, declared that we were going into the water on Friday morning since they a contract with the local Moorings that took priority. Hmmm... All we could do is agree. Friday morning, I was up early and zipped to the airport to fetch our new solar charge controller. With it in my hot hands, I scurried back to the Pension where we quickly packed everything. Conni drove me to the boat so that I could prepare her (the boat) for the launch, and drove back to the Pension so that she could leave the vehicle and get a ride.
I hurried around, preparing for the launch: inflating fenders, preparing the dock lines, and so forth. Conni arrived in 30 minutes and we both completed the preparations.
At 1630...we got launched. Damn! That's when we wanted to be launched but we could have spent our day more profitably. Hurry up and wait: We might as well have been in the Army!
With little difficulty, I removed the old solar controller and installed the new one. I followed all of the directions and it sprang into life and has done an amazingly good job. We're both highly impressed with the performance. It doesn't remove the need for an hour of generator time, but it's only an hour. The new controller is a quarter the size and much closer to weatherproof. It's a better mousetrap.
We've had some bad problems along the way, but we think that there might be a shop in town from which we can buy the batteries that we need. If I must buy simple flooded batteries, that's what I'll do. Since I'm switching by hand, I've got to be more aware, but it can be done.
Other than the battery charging issue, we've done quite well and the boat is in pretty good shape.
If we can buy our batteries locally, we'll be out of here tomorrow and this'll be the last blog for a few days, but you know what we're doing.