Day 2 or how do you know you have an issue with the battery charge.

When we woke up this morning we were greeted by the fog not a small patch, solid fog all around us. Yes it’s mid July not November… The radar was a saviour, coming out of a tricky bay you learn to use it and love it really quickly.


Once on route we discovered that the coffee machine was not working, also the radar was tripping out of service with a big HW error. The first issue lead to some troubleshooting, how can you survive on a boat trip without the electric coffee machine fully functioning? Not some of us. So it had to be fixed and need attending now!…


One of the crew is an electrician, one an ex-auto mechanic. In no time they had isolated the faulty solenoid. Once overridden with a pair of crocodile clip the battery was charging again. After confirming the diagnostic with the service department, it took them five minutes to find the faulty grounding wire part of a harness and all was done. Batteries were charging again, coffee was available, order was restored. Added  bonus : we never had a problem with the radar HW again, this alert means that the voltage is low and the unit is shutting down if you ever wonder it’s not in the manual!

This had happened a couple of time before, and the service department could only think that it was a conflict between the two Raymarine units. It was not, just a ground never installed from day one and stopping the charging. So far, the owners of the boat had only done  two to three day cruise and had never used radar microwave and another multitude of power hungry unit! So they never realized that the batteries were not charging on the engine alternator but only on shore power. Golf batteries are robust beast.

This made me realize that knowledge of your boat is essential and shakedown cruise are a must.

This little episode was all taking place while the sea was building to a comfortable 6-8 ft, for them not us. Of course the wind was coming from the nose 15 knots, with the tide going our way. Everybody now can imagine the 8 hour ride we got, confused sea breaking over the bow sound of the diesel engine nonstop. The quiet ride of the perfect sailing vessel NOT!!!.

The radio between boat was starting to get animated while trying to find a name for the slush we were in. The protected anchorage was a relief, a quick dinner and everybody didn’t ask for more after two days of 10 hours sailing. We had made good 150 NM and were very close to our rendezvous point with the rest of the fleet. A great learning curve, and team building experience indeed!