Saturday, October 19, 2013

ELECTRIC SAILING: A Columbus Day Voyage Part Two

After maneuvering around the shoal I had to buck the incoming flood current coming into the harbor. I crank the electric propulsion control until I was once again making some headway. It was nice to have my homemade instrumentation panel at the helm where I could easily see that I was drawing 33 amps from the battery bank. Once out of the harbor I turned to port and headed west. The winds were really light so the sail was barely full. So I continued to motor. Setting the propulsion control to draw around 16 amps. Which is what my Honda 2000 generator and the 900 watt Zivan charger would provide had I decided to use them. Since it was so dark I did not want fire up the Honda generator preferring to enjoy the quiet of the night and not have another of of my senses (namely hearing) masked by the generator noise at least until after sunrise. It was nice to be able to hear the cries of birds out in the darkness as BIANKA took advantage of the flood current with only a quiet hum of the electric motor coming from below.  After about an hour and a half motoring in the darkness a sliver of light appeared on the eastern horizon reminding me that dawn was approaching:

Somewhat comforting to see. I continued on motoring thinking when the sun finally came up I would fire up the generator in order not to draw down the battery bank further than I really needed to. Soon the the sun rose over the horizon a scene that still fills me with awe everytime I see it:

I always feel sorry for those on land who for many never get to see scenes like this in the morning. It's one of the unique things one sees when sailing around on board a boat. Experiencing the dramatic sky show that happens at sunrise and sunset. As luck would have it with the dawn came a decent breeze which allowed me to forego firing up the generator and just continue on with the sail.

At 7:05 AM a little less than two hours after I slipped BIANKA's mooring line I checked the XBM baterry monitor. The electric propulsion system had used 30.8 amp hours and the bank was at 82% of capacity. I sailed on cutting back on electric propulsion to about 10 amps to negate any prop drag in the light winds. I had an hour before the ebb current would begin and turn against me. Luckily, I had made it past Old Field Point where an opposing current would have been much greater. I was doing 4 knots under sail at this point and things were moving along.

But, at 8:07 AM The southeast wind had dropped enough so that the boats speed had dropped to about 1.5 knots. Now I was seriously thinking about firing up the generator. I carried it forward to the bow which I do in light winds when I feel I'll be motoring for awhile. I can hardly hear it in cockpit when I do. As I put it down on the fore deck the wind once again picked up. So I left it there without firing it and continued sailing on.

At 10:40 I was north of the Northport Power plant. 11:30 found BINAKA off of Eatons Neck Coast Guard Station. Current was against me and speed had dropped to about 1.8 knots. But, I was in no hurry had plenty of daylight and the current would be turning in my favor in a few hours. I checked the battery monitor which now read -29 amp hours and 83.4% battery capacity. As the solar panels had helped charge things up a little bit but, the wind generator was not doing much.

At 12:52 PM a sold southeast breeze developed and the boat speed was 2.2 knots. At 3:20PM I again checked the battery meter and found  -28.9 amp hours and 83.9% battery capacity. Some overcast clouds had started to come in and the sail started to shade the panels at this point.

At 4PM BIANKA enter the entrance to Cold Spring Harbor/Oyster Bay harbor entrance and boat speed slowed and at one point I could see the current was pushing the boat backwards. So I again turned on the Electric propulsion but, not the generator. Set the current for 10 Amp draw and motored to Oyster Bay harbor. Past some of the stately homes of Centre Island home to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Billy Joel and other well know folks:

At  6:09 PM i dropped anchor over at West Harbor on the other side of Centre Island. I checked the XBM Battery monitor and the readings were -45.3 Amp hours and was down to 76.1% battery capacity.Still well above the 50% red line for AGM batteries. I fired up the Honda to start charging the bank with the Zivan NG-1 charger first. At 9:12 PM the Zivan had recharged the battery bank back up to 94%. I than switched over the charging to the  Quad Pro Quad charger to make sure the battery bank was kept in balance and to avoid the pulsing of the generator when the Zivan was in the final stage of charging. The Dual Pro charger finished topping the individual batteries of the electric propulsion bank at about 10:30 PM

While the bank was charging I sat back to enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine:

And after that that was done the sky show took over:

All in all it was a wonderful way to spend Columbus Day.

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