November 5, 2018. Lisa Blair is attempting to become the first woman to circumnavigate the coast of Australia solo, non-stop and unassisted. Here is her latest blog as she approaches Darwin, heading west:
Last night was a fairly easy night with steady winds of 20 knots blowing in from the east. I ended up sailing a slight North West course yesterday to try to stay in the winds as long as possible. Throughout the night my sleep was interrupted by two vessels that only showed up on the radar when they were within 2 nm of me. The weird thing was that they appeared to be fishing boats or maybe even a small cruise liner as they had so many lights on them but I was unable to find any navigation lights. It struck me as a bit odd so I decided to remain on deck until I was well clear.
I had sailed clear enough to be happy by 2am so it was then that I finally managed some sleep and was able to keep napping until after 8am so I feel almost rested again. When I got up I went and gybed the boat as per Bob McDavvit's suggestion who is running all my weather routing for me.
It was already hot in the first hours of the morning so I decided that today I was going to need to stay indoors. I rummaged around and found the cover for my lookout dome and put this on. Just above my engine box in the center of the cabin top I have this 25mm thick perspex dome that was custom built for the boat. This dome has been a lifesaver allowing me to look out of the boat with out having to get kitted up to brave the weather or done my lifejacket and I use it all the time. The problem however is that it tends to act like a magnifying glass in the sun and heats up the cabin dramatically more than without it. Given how hot it already was the cover was going to be needed if I was going to be able to keep out of the sun and stay below decks today.
The winds have been easing and Bob has said that I will be sailing into the doldrums tomorrow where there will be no wind at all so I am trying to make the most of the lighter airs. I also was able to spend a lot of today napping and catch up a bit more of that missing sleep and with the heat I was unable to achieve much else.
As today was a fairly mild day I want to take a chance to answer a few more of those questions that were sent through.
So from John Considine "What batteries am I using?"
Thanks John, I have a 600 AMP power bank that is made up of 4 x 150 amp AGM batteries.
I charge these batteries by a combination of systems and my boat has a large power draw with the auto pilot always running and the instruments always on while I am at sea.
So I have 2 x 400 amp Silent Wind generators which I have found work pretty great when the birds keep away from them.
8 x 50 W Solbian Solar Panels
1 x Watt and Sea 600 Amp hydro generator however this is currently not working.
And to top it all off I have a 80 AMp alternator on my main engine and I can run this out of gear to charge the batteries. I run my main engine of bio-diesel that was supplied by Park Fuels. For anyone who doesn't know, bio diesel is made up of recycled cooking oil like you would find at the local fish and chip shop and yes it does tend to make me crave hot chips when I run the motor.
- Lisa Blair