On the whole, we were already fairly prepared for the Atlantic crossing and could have set off right away. But we had been saving up boat jobs as ever and made a few impulse purchases to make the crossing a little nicer, so there was work to be done!
Generally, our starting list looked something like this:
- Standing & running rigging check
- Re-caulk more of the deck
- Try to fix wind instruments
- Fit new driver for UV lamp & 12v regulator
- Change water filters
- Clean & patch the mainsail
- Make our preventer better
- Clean & service the engine
- Fit a new filter for the engine seawater inlet
- Fit bilge alarms on the 2 bilge pumps
- Fit the “auto” mode of 1 bilge pump
- Investigate wind turbine charging issues
- Re provision, water, gas & fuel
Lots of these boat jobs are boring, and there are not pictures, but some of the more interesting jobs are detailed below 🙂
A new solar panel
This wasn’t on our todo list, but during the crossing from the Canaries to Cape verde we realized that we couldn’t sail for extended periods of time while on certain points of sail due to not generating enough power from the sun and wind.
Currently, we have 1 Marlec wind turbine up the mizen mast, 1x ~100W flexible solar panel on the cockpit roof, and 1x ~120W flexible solar panel that we generally attach to the rear side rails.
When running downwind the wind turbine doesn’t do much, and the solar panel on the roof ends up in shadow quite a lot of the time, meaning the only thing charging us would be a single ~120W panel.
This would not be enough for the Atlantic crossing, and would likely lead to us needing to run the engine for 1 hour a day during sunny days, and likely more during cloudy days, which is something we wanted to avoid. We did some very rough maths on fuel consumption and costs, considered how much nicer it would be to just have more power all of the time and decided to buy another solar panel.
We didn’t have much time and didn’t want to spend much money, so ended up buying some pipe to lash together on the aft port side to mount the solar panel on.
As well as somewhere to mount the solar panel, we also had to get cables from the mount to the battery area, and fit a new charge controller.
Before fitting the new panel we had 2 charge controllers, and now we have 3! All different, doing different things in different ways, and probably fighting with each other over when to charge the battery and when not to…
The new charge controller fitted nicely next to our oldest charge controller, the solar panel was mounted after multiple trips to the DIY shop, and we are happy to report charging is easier now!
This gives us an extra ~200W charging capacity, and it’s also easily tiltable currently using some lines attached to the mizen mast. We saw lots of nicer clamp solutions while walking around the marina, but will have to save a fancy solution like this for the future.
We last did some deck caulking back in Figueira da Foz, but had stocks of caulking to do much more, we had just been putting it off until such a time that we were in one place for multiple days, and that opportunity appeared in Mindelo.
Rather than trying to do a complete line of caulking in one go all the way around the boat, we instead picked a couple of strips that had lots of breaks in them due to other things being fitted to the deck that we were not going to take out.
We dug out the old caulking mainly using screw drivers, sanded down the insides, masked off the teak, and filled them with caulking. Sounds easy in a single sentence but this process took us multiple days.
We now have 2 strips down the starboard side that are freshly caulked. Alongside this, we caulked a large area of the aft deck 🙂
Ever since Hannah was purchased, there has been an issue with the wind instruments.
Speed works just fine, but half of the direction doesn’t.
We had previously investigated various things that could be wrong, cables in the mast, issues with the screen etc, but hadn’t come to a concrete conclusion on what the issue was.
The guys at BoatCV came aboard and tested some things that we had already tested, we also continued to test other things and think of ideas that could be wrong. At one stage the BoatCV guys took the head unit to the workshop with the idea that there might be something wrong with the magnet inside that detects direction (we had already changed everything else, mast cable, screen, and circuit board). This didn’t make any sense to me, and before they took it off to the workshop I came to the conclusion that the issue must be in the cables in the head unit!
The next day, they came back to confirm that was indeed the issue, so we had to replace only 1 small section of cables in the head unit itself.
We managed to buy a secondhand and newer screen for the wind instruments back in the UK, so we started fitting this which required a bunch of adapters to convert between the old SeaTalk ad SeaTalk NG for the new screen.
Conveniently this was all fairly easy as the wiring is easy to access under the box that holds the various displays, and all connected with easy connectors.
Once all fitted connected and working the new screen worked flawlessly, and also correctly indicated wind direction all the way around.
This would mean while crossing the Atlantic we could finally use wind vane steering, and also use the instrument display to see where the wind was coming from instead of lookup up at the mast!
We had plenty of tinned food to last us all the way across the Atlantic and then some. But we needed to stock up on fresh produce and little treats. During our weeks in Mindelo we scouted out most supermarkets to see what was available where, and in the final 2 days before departing we re visited them all to stock up on the best bits.
Our pre-departure provisioning also included filling up on water, fuel, and gas.
We were over the moon to find out they could fill up both our Camping Gaz bottles and our UK Calor gas bottles at the nearby gas company buildings. So we were to set off on our crossing with 5 full bottles of gas, which should last 4-6 months.