Let the sun shine !

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Today i woke up early, gaining the opportunity to see the sun rise. It was still fresh, nobody on the dock. Just me, my cuppa, and the lake (ah, there were geese as well):

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And then, there it was. Right behind the bridge and the deactivated-turned-park gas factory. It was the beginning of a beautiful day:

The first sight, still halfway up from the horizon
The first sight, still halfway up from the horizon
And there it is, in full glory, ready to warm up the day.
And there it is, in full glory, ready to warm up the day.

 

While some folks worked their oars hard, it was time for me to get working as well. One key “project” for today was to check some of Pesto’s sails. And i needed to do it early, before the breeze picked up during the day:

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The first one up was the Staysail. Even though this piece of canvas is over 15 yrs old, it has NEVER been used by Pesto’s previous owners ( ! ). This sail will be key in our inventory – it’s small, easier to handle, built of robust material. The sail of choice when the wind freshens:

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Next up, Pesto’s working Genoa. I was anxious to hoist this one. I had not seen this sail yet (it was in a storage) and was looking forward to assess whether it could be used for our cruise. It also has some 15 years on its back, but has been just lightly used.

The only challenge was that it was still inside the cabin. This thing is huge, and very heavy. I had tried a couple of times during the last two weeks to move it outside the cabin just with my arms and hands, but could hardly lift it off the floor.  So, I resorted to Pesto’s winches and halyards to get the job accomplished:

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On deck and unrolled - at this point i was already pitying myself with the prospect of having to stow this beast again if i found it inappropriate for use.
On deck and ready to be hoisted – at this point I was already pitying myself with the prospect of having to stow this beast again if I found it inappropriate for use.
Checking each seam as the sail goes up.
Checking each seam as the sail goes up.
SUCCESS !!! The sail is in great shape and ready for use. It stayed in place. Now I have the original genoa to fold and stow ....
SUCCESS !!! The sail is in great shape and ready for use. It stayed in place. Now I have the original genoa to fold and stow ….

 

By the time the sail extravaganza was over, it was past 8AM and I turned my attention to the second project of the day – to polish and wax Pesto’s cabin exterior. The fiberglass was oxidized, and I was told that polishing not only would make it beautiful, but also extend the durability of the boat – strong enough an argument for me to enlist for the job. Problem is, it is already 1PM, and I have just finished the polishing (first half of the job). There’s been a lot of moaning and cursing on deck, and as a form of mutiny, the crew decided to take no pictures of it.

But coming back to the title of this post, I wanted to introduce another important component of Pesto’s arsenal. As mentioned before, Pesto has a number of systems and many of these systems feed on electrical energy. Electricity comes from Pesto’s batteries. And the batteries need to be recharged. Typically batteries are recharged either via the engine when it is on (same process as in a car), or when the boat is on a marina, it can be plugged on to the city’s power grid. However, during spring we added a new key element to this equation: an array of super-cool solar panels:

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With these panels, we will be able to stay away from marinas and ports for longer if we want. It also enables us to burn less fuel, which is very good. In a way, it also reinforces our connection with nature on this journey. I estimate these panels will supply at least 50% of our electrical energy needs onboard:

Shine on !
Shine on !

 

In fact, I did a test unplugging Pesto from the power grid and checking on the battery monitor gauge. The small arrow pointing up at the upper-left corner is saying that the energy collected by the panels is being enough to power up the refrigerator, the freezer, the water pressure system, my computer, and still recharge the batteries – quite good!

By the time i finished this post, the batteries had been charged to 100% - score!
By the time i finished this post, the batteries had been charged to 100% – score!

 

Another thing we did to add to energy efficiency onboard was to replace all light bulbs with LED. This form of lighting is becoming more mainstream now. Energy consumption is a fraction of their bulb cousins, they don’t generate heat, and the light emitted has become quite acceptable:

Despite their funky look when uncovered ...
Despite their funky look when uncovered …
... these LEDs are capable of creating a moody lighting. At a fraction of the energy consumption.
… these LEDs are capable of creating a moody lighting. At a fraction of the energy consumption.

 

Well, I guess that’ll be it for today. I had promised myself that I would write this post when I finished polishing the cabin. Polish was done, the post os over, the batteries are solar-charged, and that means only one thing – it is time for the waxing now (and more moaning and cursing on deck).

Have a great Sunday!

8 Replies to “Let the sun shine !”

  1. Faça um teste de força dos enroladores da mestra e genoa e certifique-se que os 2 furlings “seguram” a pressao do pano reduzido!

  2. Fica atento tambem com as conexoes de casco, registros, mangueiras. Mande fazer varias cunhas de madeira para o caso de vazamentos e as mantenha junto dos registros e junto ao “porrete” em lugar seguro.

    Cuidado com o selo mecanico, os vazamentos sao extensos caso nao esteja bem regulado. Se estiver desgastado o melhor é trocar.

    Fica atento com a bucha do leme tambem. Pode estar gasta (pouco provavel pelo pouco uso) ou com fratura (mais provavel pelo tempo).

  3. Os registros foram todos recondicionados agora que o barco esteve fora da agua. De qqr forma, ja tenho agendada uma visitado mecanico para revisar um a um comigo na semana que vem. A dica de colocar os plugs perto de cada registro eh boa, e ainda tenho que impementar.
    O selo mecanico … A primeira coisa que olhei qdo cheguei aqui, “motivado” pela sua historia 🙂
    O sistema do leme tbem foi todo revisto por um profissional no mes passado
    Abs

  4. Hey Alex! I know I promised to call you a couple of weeks ago, but you know how things go….no excuse, though! One thing I have to say is that reading your blog has become part of my morning reading routine. I really enjoy imagining Mr Fontes doing all the manual labor! Hahaha. When are you leaving? Te mando un fuerte abrazo!

  5. Hola Luis – que gusto!
    I have been doing A LOT of manual labor indeed 🙂 Sometimes it is plain tough – like waxing the cabin under the blazing sun yesterday. But others, it is (almost) fun and rewarding – like finding/ fixing a malfunctioning part, or even assessing the sail inventory. And at times there is still an opportunity to dust off some old learnings – another day, for instance, i was sizing a component of the anchoring system and had to resuscitate the Right Triangle rules to calculate distribution of forces at different angles.
    Date of departure is still in the works – likely toward the end of August. It will depend a bit on the crew and a lot on the weather.
    Let’s keep in touch.
    Un abrazo

  6. Querido Alex! No sabes cuanto disfruto siguiendo tus historias, se nota que lo estas disfrutando realmente y me alegro tanto por eso… Tan inspirador! Se ve que tienes buena mano para las fotos tambien, asi que seguire aqui como fan esperando nuevos capitulos!
    Un abrazo!
    Ro.

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