It’s 3am, I can’t sleep, so I’m sitting in the dark, in the rain, on deck, staring at the boats in the bay wondering again how any of us manage to live this way! I recently met a guy living on a sailboat without a water maker or any refrigeration, I asked him how on earth he managed to live that way, his reply “it’s just like camping”.
In this heat, where I shower four times a day, and run the air con to keep the boat cool, camping sounded like a test of endurance, not something I wanted to try.
When Bob recently managed to diagnose a problem with our alternator the solution seemed simple, he ordered another one online, had it shipped (free shipping) to Ed in the States, where Ed dismantled it for us and sent us the replacement parts. (The reason for dismantling it is because it was so damn heavy it would cost a small fortune to ship the complete unit.)
It cost hundreds of dollars to ship out the parts needed as fast as possible, which were then held up in customs in Tahiti for a month. In the meantime our generator developed a problem, it stopped running, and would start, run for 3 – 4 seconds then shut down. Working all through the night and into the early hours of the morning, Bob finally gave up and fell into bed exhausted at 4am. Starting on it again at 7am, in better light he managed to locate the problem, “the fuel solenoid” the ONLY spare part Bob doesn’t have onboard! After many hours he had managed to remove the solenoid and rig the generator so it would run, but would have to be turned off manually. This is far from an ideal solution, but in an emergency (and this was) it was the only way we could run the generator.
We have a freezer, two refrigerators and a water maker on board, not to mention all the other multiple systems, all powered by a bank of batteries charged by the generator, or the alternator, the solar panels and the wind generator, the latter two really only being for back up.
When the alternator went wrong it wasn’t a problem as we still had the generator, the solar panels and the wind generator, then the generator broke so we only had the solar panels and the wind generator, they could not alone even closely produce enough power to run all the systems, but Bob managed to once again rig the generator so it would run. But then it went wrong again, with yet another problem. We have turned off one of the fridges, and may have to turn off the freezer as well (the freezer is completely full right now), then pray the solar panels and wind generator will produce enough power to run the basic systems we really need until the repairs can be completed, that is of course if we can get the parts needed! A very big “IF”.
Had we been close to civilization we could simply go alongside and plug in, sadly we are about 1000 miles from the closest island with a marina.
Just to add insult to injury, the weather has taken a turn for the worst and is raining non stop so we can’t have any windows open, and without air con the boat is like a sauna, with all the heavy cloud cover the solar panels are unable to produce power, so we are royally screwed…
We’re gradually turning off everything so as to limit the drain on the batteries, we have even been reduced to lighting the cockpit at night with my decorative candles to save putting the anchor light on, (something else that drains power from the batteries).
The fun just goes on and on :o)