We have finally left!

We have finally left!

We left Torquay on Sunday 3rd with Dan’s mum and hopped across to Dartmouth with her, to give her taste.

Arrived there to a beautiful sunset.

We spent a couple of nights there a mooring up the river in Ditsham waiting for a storm (force 8) to pass. Then crossed across to Brittany last night with a rather rough and bumpy force 7 and 4m swell which cerise took in her stride… Only throwing the Coffee tin and a few other bots all over the floor. Both washboards in to help keep the water out.

It was definitely a fast crossing and if we’d waited longer we would have had slightly lighter winds and smaller seas but wind would have been dead on the nose the whole way across.

A good test and has given us even more confidence in our boat.

Think we’ll wait out for a better weather window next time.

Now safely anchored up in the Morlaix river mouth and will head up to the town with the tide tomorrow or the day after depending on pending thunderstorms.

Took some photos of the crossing but and the sea looks almost flat in them.

Certainty not how it felt.

Batteries

The batteries that came with the boat were:

House bank: 2 x 110Ahr              Starter: 1 x 110Ahr

One of the house bank batteries died (started sulphurating and then wouldn’t hold charge) while on our shore power charger. This forced us to think about the batteries.

We have left the starter battery as it is as this seems pretty good. For the house bank we now have 4 x Trojan T-105 6V 220Ahr batteries.So we now have 440Ahr capacity (double what we did have). We have built a new battery box to house the extra 2 batteries.

We also solved the problem of how to connect everything to them.

Home made battery terminal extensions
Home made battery terminal extensions

6mm x 25mm copper bar drilled and tapped with M8 brass bolts for terminals.

We need these because we have the following directly connected to our batteries:

  • 1 both 2 switch (that feeds everything else)
  • Split charge relay & sensing cables
  • Shore power charger & sensing cables
  • Solar panel Mppt’s x 2 & sensing cables
  • Alternator & sensing cables for smart regulator
  • Battery Monitor sensing cables
  • Windlass

Nothing that we think shouldn’t be but enough not to fit onto a single short M8 stud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Panels

We wanted renewable power on board. Solar looked like the best option for sailing in the tropics. We now have 400W installed on our custom frame.

2nd Solar Panel
First two panels going on (Dan and Jay)
4 Solar panels and extra supporting fixings
All four panels in place with extra support for the corners

Thank you Jay and Ella for your help getting the first two on.

These also provide a nice bit of shade at the back of the boat.

They stop the rain but while we are on calm pontoon it tends to puddle on top and then pour itself onto you when you walk under them and tip the boat slightly.

They provided enough power to keep our fridge going in a northern hemisphere winter while we aren’t on board and keep us in power for about 3 days between charges.

We hope that when we are further south with a  bit more sunshine they will keep us going indefinitely at anchor and enough for 3 or 4 days on passage.

Since we don’t know exactly how much our auto pilot uses or our fridge when it gets hot it is all a bit of a guess at the moment.

The Specs

Solar Panels: 4 x 100W from Photonic Universe.

  • Peak power: 100W
  • Maximum power voltage: 17.5V
  • Maximum power current: 5.71A
  • Open circuit voltage: 21.6V
  • Short circuit current: 6.17A
  • Power allowance range: +/- 3%
  • Dimensions: 945*670*30mm
  • Weight: 7.2 kg
  • 4 mounting holes 9 x 11 mm
  • 2x5m of high quality single core solar cable 4.0mm cross section
  • Male and female MC4 connectors

Charge Controllers: 2 x Victron Energy BlueSolar MPPT 75/15

These should maximise our output from the panels and having 2 will give us some redundancy. It was also cheaper to buy two of the smaller controllers than one that was big enough for all 4 panels.

Wiring:

The panels are wired as 2 sets of panels. Each set wired in parallel to two charge controllers. Wiring in parallel although theoretically slightly less efficient should minimise any effects of shading on a single panel.

All the connections have been done with MC4 waterproof connectors. These were easy to use and means that it is straight forward if we need to change the way the panels are connected.

each panel has 4mm2 cable running from it. Each pair of panels has 6mm2 to the MPPT controllers and connected directly to our house battery bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza

Boat Pizza
Mel enjoying home made pizza

Fresh from the oven.Top shelf pizza was perfect. Our oven burns the  base of the one on the bottom shelf even with an extra baking tray underneath to try and distribute the heat.

Our old pizza trays fitted perfectly in the oven. Top quality from Wilko will see if they survive a salty environment.

 

The Plan

This is the plan at the moment. its nice a vague to give us room to change as we want to.I may look back at this and wonder at the naivety of it or look back at it with and all these places that are now just names will be filled with great memories.

Start point is Torquay because this is where Cerise is at the moment.

next stop Roscoff/Morlaix on the Britany coast

Heading round the corner to Brest and wait for a weather window.

Across Biscay to the north coast of Spain. This is going to interesting at this time of year. We will need to be patient and wait for a good weather window. To people wandering why we don’t go down through the canals of France we have a keel stepped mast so dropping it would be a pain and at 1.85m our draft is too much.

From Northwest Spain we will round the corner and head down the Portuguese coast. As yet I don’t know if we will do this in short day hops or head further offshore to give ourselves some sea room. I’d like to stop in Peniche for some surf and Lisbon just to see the city.

From Portugal we head down to the coast of Morocco and the Canary Islands.

On down to Cape Verde to explore the islands there then an April crossing to the north coast of Brazil. Enduring the doldrums as we go. We will be to late to make to standard sleigh ride direct to the Caribbean as we would be arriving just before the start  of the cyclone season there. We will be safe further south in Brazil and we get to see Brazil 🙂

Nearly off

We are starting from Torquay on the south coast of England. We are setting of in January. Not quite when we intended to start but the fact that we are setting off about 6 months later than planned isn’t going to stop us now.

First destination is a hop across the channel to Roscoff. This will be a shakedown of sorts for all the work we’ve been doing on the boat getting her ready to go. We’ve sailed there before in our old boat so there shouldn’t be anything to unexpected and its only a short crossing so we can pick a nice weather window.

We had set before Christmas as our deadline and to train down through France for Christmas with Mels family but late booking train prices made us give up on that idea and an excuse to delay. Glad we did the week before Christmas which would have been our window to sail had massive waves coming hitting the uk coast as well as a gale and at best a headwind the whole way across.

We now just have a few little bits to do and we should be off. We’ve been telling everyone January, but then we told everyone (including ourselves) October as well.