Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Recently I decided to head off on a little cruise even though Mr. NOAA was only calling for very light winds of under 5 knots for the day. Surely,  I thought with the land temperature in the nineties the usual afternoon sea breeze would kick in. It didn't.
I dropped off the mooring early in the morning and began motoring out of the harbor at about 1.5 knots using around 7 amps from the battery. I use this speed as I work around the boat raising sail etc... before heading out of the harbor. I raised sail and decided to keep the throttle at that position to cancel any prop drag in the light winds expected. As I headed out of the harbor and picked up a favoring current I was soon moving along at about three to four knots. Not bad. I motor sailed or as some with boats using Electric Propulsion systems like to say "electro sailed" for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours in this manner. Interesting thing about electro sailing is that even though I started out in the harbor using about 7 amps as the light breeze filled the sail intermittently the current consumption drop quite a bit as the breeze picked up. When the battery capacity had dropped to 90% I start thinking about firing up the Honda 2000 generator and using the 16 amps from the ZIVAN NG-1 charger to motor along at about 3 knots with very little help from the wind.   I adjust the throttle so there is zero current being drawn from the battery. Since the wind looked like it was not going to be much help at all I moved the generator forward away from the cockpit with the exhaust facing out off the lee side. The Honda 2000 is quieter than my four stroke dingy outboard but, it is not completely silent either but, at 47 pounds is light enough to moved easily. I continued this operation for most of the day for a total of about 37 nautical miles. Finally late in the afternoon about two nautical miles from my destination an afternoon sea breeze finally kicked in and I enjoyed at least some nice sailing up until I was able to drop my anchor. Checking on the battery after the trip I still had 90% capacity left in the bank. All in all it was a fine day for an electro sail.

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