Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Misty Morning

We woke to a misty and cold morning.  There was a frost outside and the condensation on the inside of the Houdini frames had turned to ice overnight.  The Houdini frames are the only part that are not insulated or double glazed!

The engine was started at 8:00am and ran for a couple of hours to put some ‘Bulk’ charge into the domestic battery bank.  It’s rather pointless running the engine after the ‘Bulk’ stage of the charging has completed as the batteries are incapable of accepting the majority of the generated electricity.  It was rather obvious the sun would put in an appearance so I’m relying on the solar panels to provide the electricity for the Absorption and Float stages of the re-charging.  It must be working because two hours later (midday) the panels are producing 7.1 Amps and the Smartgauge shows the SOC at 99%.

No doubt with time we will learn the percentage charge for the batteries using the engine and then top up with the solar panels.

I’ve also starting investigating the cost and effectiveness of a generator.  Most of the time we will be cruising which will charge the batteries however there will be days when we don’t move yet need to do some re-charging.  Additionally, there will be days when there is no sun to power the solar panels and a small generator may be an alternative.  It’s all research at the moment as the little pink pig is well and truly empty. 

I wonder how many other continuous cruisers carry a generator?  I know Keith & Jo on nb Hadar do!

In the afternoon we took Waiouru down through the lock into the pound and filled the water tank.  The tap is a very slow filler so I used the time to wash down the stern deck and top up the Hurricane diesel tank from the jerricans.  Jan then decided it was time for haircuts.  She cut her own and then gave me a good shearing with the new clippers on the park bench in the pound.  First cut with them and now their cost is 50% recovered.  Jan asked me what the difference between a good and a bad haircut was?   So I told her “It’s a fortnight!”   We’re now both rather itchy and looking forward to a shower.

Oh…. I managed to reverse 90° around from the services block, up through the lock and back onto the mooring.  I’m feeling rather pleased with my efforts (but not smug!).  Jan did a sterling effort on the lock.  One gate is particularly difficult and prone to jamming!


Peter and Margaret said...

Although by no means any where near being continuous cruisers, we carry a small Suzuki (no longer in production), 'suitcase type' generator which I picked up very cheaply off another boater on the Lancaster Canal. Being petrol, it has to be stored carefully and in an external, drained to the outside, locker, but when we are moored for more than 1 night I run it at reasonable times of the day just plugged into the mains inlet within the semi-trad cockpit, (still a drained deck). This supplies the boat through the normal RCD as if plugged in to shore power. It is virtually silent just a few yards from the boat. I use it to operate the C-Tek smart chargers instead of running the engine, and it is very cost effective. It's tank is about 2.5 ltrs and that runs for about 5-6 hours on a medium load.

James and Debbie said...

Yup, just bought a genni. Managed to get a honda ex1000 to run the sterling 40A charger. It uses about 0.5L per hour so including engine servicing it has the potential to pay for itself quite quickly. (About 74p per hr as opposed to 165p per hour for running and servicing the boat engine.) Oh and it was just over £100. I guess the intention is to gibe the batteries a good 6hr charge once a week and run a desulfation cycle now and again.