The Sailor’s Journey – 4


Because the wind picked up, Matteo decided to use the two wind generates to produce energy for the electronic devices on the boat and his personal needs. Things start to brighten up. Blondie and Brunette are in top form, laying eggs daily, and he can finally load his hydro generators, which are up to 80%, charging at 6/8 amps. The sun is out and allows the solar panels to do their part.

Matteo and the chicks are on the same wavelength today on the importance of having eggs...

Matteo and the chicks are on the same wavelength today on the importance of having eggs…

Matteo realizes that to be energy self-efficient is very cool but if he drops the batteries he’ll be in big trouble because there’s no backup plan in the middle of the Atlantic…

The data collected by the Leica GR25 GNSS receiver and the Leica AS10 antenna concerning the movement of the boat reported that the Eco40 sailed wave heights of roughly 6.0 metres during the storm. The exact measurements will be calculated at the end of the trip.

The Leica AS10 antenna collects data to help analyse wave characteristics

The Leica AS10 antenna collects data to help analyse wave characteristics

Matteo sleeps sporadically because the wind rotates its direction continuously and jolts the boat, sometimes wind gusts hit the boat with up to 50 knots (like last night), waking Matteo. However, with 27° C,  it’s very difficult to sleep. He wakes at dawn to see lots of birds and dolphins chasing the Eco40. The sea is calm with clear skies, wind: 3 knots.
Matteo has been advised by sailing colleagues how to react in such situations, with wind coming at his boat from 0 to 50 knots in a split second, while trying to sleep: “When you find yourself in unstable situations like this, for example, when you reach the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, the area the trade winds convergence at the northern and southern hemispheres), you have to be ready. Always have the smaller sail (staysail) at hand for such instances and when you decide to sleep for more than 20 minutes, always be under-canvassed (use a smaller sail) and keep your eye on the barometer, always comparing it with the average wind speed value”.

Matteo sends his messages from the ECO 40 entitled [news from the edge]. Here are some excerpts:
“The boat is dry after some rain and is ready for the Atlantic. My energy comes from wind and solar panels.
I think about my vegetable garden. After the storm in the Mediterranean, there have been problems. I rearranged the earth and plants. The engineers did a great job making the overhead vegetable bins, using coconut fibre instead of earth. The plants require too much energy to grow well and without light, they don’t grow. I can’t bring them outside because of the salt. If weather permits, I can open a porthole for ventilation and some sun. My mistake for building the bins above the solar panels but I guess we continuously learn from our mistakes. Too bad for the garden! I can’t give 4 amps for 12 hours of light a day. And the days without sun because of the storm withered all plants. You don’t know how long it took an agronomist to figure out the correct pH of the desalinated water!

The device used for the process of desalination or taking the salt out of the water, requires a lot of energy.

The device used for the process of desalination or taking the salt out of the water, requires a lot of energy.

Finally, an egg arrives. Blondie and Brunette seem to anticipate the wind and are quiet and eat less. They sleep near the entrance to their cage. Maybe because they like the voice of Francesca, the SmartSkipper speaking on my radio. Dare I fish today? Too much wind. I guess its eggs and sprouts for now…
This is the breath of the ocean! Greetings!

The overhead vegetable bins need a lot of energy to even produce sprouts

The overhead bins consume a lot of energy to produce enough light to grow vegetables, even when only growing sprouts…

Nov 2
Matteo passes the Canaries. He checks his fish line and sees that there are two cuttlefish, which he cleans and eats. With a full stomach, Matteo can sleep deeply for over two hours.

That night, a wind change caused a “broach” or rolling of the boat. Water has entered the boat again and has flooded the hen house. Matteo has to clean the “cottage” and it takes more than two hours. He hopes they aren’t too upset, which will cause a change in his breakfast plans.

Microwave cooked scrambled eggs

Microwave cooked scrambled eggs

Nov 4
The days go by slowly with little to do, the hens are very quiet- there’s no eggs and Matteo has to reach for the freeze dried food again, which he regrets. Certainly, one of the biggest problems for Matteo is food. However he has only used 6 packs of freeze-dried food so far from the 100 emergency bags stored and only 4 energy bars. Going at 30 knots with 6 feet waves, it’s no easy feat to put bait on a fishing line and cast it, or even that something takes a bite!
With little to do, a bit of exercise is on his agenda… sit-ups, push-ups, squats 1,2,3…
A vessel appears on the AIS (radar) and it seems they are waiting for Matteo at the crossroads. It’s a 30 metre long fishing boat 400 miles from the coast. He fears they might be pirates and manoeuvres more than an hour to get out of their way. However, everything is OK and he can move on.

Nov 9
Wind is up, the sun shines with few clouds, winds at 60° speed 7 knots. With the jib sail he keeps a nice pace and the hydro turbines are already at 90% by 14:00.

Matteo catches a tuna. Bon Appetite!

Fresh tuna

Fresh tuna – we don’t envy Matteo’s menu plan

Later that afternoon: algae has accumulated and he needs to clean the rudder off. With a gaff, he manages to get the algae off and everything in working order again.
The wind is sporadic and he changes course a bit, passing the Equator much further west – not along the African Coast but more towards South America where the wind is more consistent.

Evening: still little wind. Matteo notices that the autopilot is not responding and has been like this for several days. He must stop and repair this damage or he can give up his journey.

Nov 11 –
Matteo is now in the middle of the Atlantic on the same latitude as Sierra Leone on the western coast of Africa. It is very hot and humid. See Tracker
Ever since the start of this trip, on October 19th, Matteo has been able to provide for himself and sail non-stop, producing his own energy, water and food without any difficulties.

For several days, Matteo encountered an abundance of algae in this part of the Atlantic. Now it has piled up on one of the rudders of the boat, putting a strain on the hydraulic piston leading to the auto pilot and damaging part of the piston. Luckily, Matteo had a spare piston and could repair this damage. But this meant the boat couldn’t be used for at least another eight hours. The resin used to repair the boat needs time to dry. It also meant this non-stop journey could be at risk, should he have problems with his rudder again…..however, Matteo hopes to be able to  recover the hinge of the old piston during the next hours, in the event it might be needed again.

The Eco40 piston repaired by Matteo

The Eco40 piston repaired by Matteo

A presto per nuovi aggiornamenti.

The sea is calm and there is little wind…
Buona Notte


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