43/39S 10/58E, reacher and full main, heading SE at 11 knots with 20 knots of west wind; 222 nautical miles sailed in past 24 hours. Did two gybes after big starboard gybe lift, but that new gybe was a bad direction, so shortly thereafter, gybed back. Perhaps need spinnaker, but with more wind supposed to come, think this combo is suitable. Except for the grey bank of clouds from which we emerged this morning, right now it is a crystal clear blue sky, sun is shining brightly, waves are crisp and blue, birds circling the boat. It looks like a postcard for a vacation retreat. But not for long surely.
I charged batteries for nearly three hours yesterday. The solar panels and windcharger have been helping, but our battery monitor showed that the battery capacity continued to decline. I thought this was simply because the batteries never quite catch up to full capacity, but even so it looks worrisome. I spoke with Brian Harris last night about it, and we agreed on a plan. I decided to let the engine charge to low amps, through bulk charge stage at 14.4vdc, into absorption stage at 14.2 vdc. It took forever to get there, to the float stage at 13.2 vdc. I watched the voltage regulator LED readout.
I waited and watched for a while and, then, Bingo! The 50% charge leapt to 100% and all the LEDs lit up. So something kicked over in that little electronic brain that said, “OK, you win. Yes the batteries are charged now, and this monitor will tell you so.” We had reprogrammed the voltage regulator to extend the bulk time, to save fuel, i.e., to jam more amps into the batteries at the high voltage, so that it wouldn’t take forever to fill the amps at lower voltage. But that’s not how this charging session behaved. So we still have a question as to whether we’re doing any long term damage to the batteries, but Brian will look into that too.
So, nap time.