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We’ve been working through a few electrical and battery anomalies. Some remain unsolved, but at least we managed to get one dealt with, even though I can’t say why it was occurring specifically. Fixed is fixed though, right?

Similar to many boaters, I suspect, one of the first things we check each morning is our boat’s battery voltage.

Note: If you don’t have a way to accurately measure battery voltage on your boat, and amps in and out, you need to get one! None of the boats we have owned or worked on had such a device when we initially got on board. A LinkLite battery monitor was one of the first things we installed, and have never for a second regretted it. Yes, that is an Amazon affiliate link, like many of the other links on this site, and if you purchase items through them, we get a tiny kickback (it never costs you anything additional though). We only recommend products we like and use though. You can count on that.

We have our battery monitor wired to show both the voltage on our main house bank, and also that of our starting batteries. Lately I have noticed that, in addition to our house battery voltage being lower in the morning, something that I’d expect to occur after running our refrigeration all night, our starting battery voltage has also been down. That I would not expect, especially considering that those batteries are less than a year old.

The other day, we had our electrician friend Simon on board, helping us to work through some other issues, and I mentioned this situation to him. After we verified that the battery switch was working properly, and was set in the proper spot (that involved, among other things, translating a couple of French words though Google Translate), he said there must be something linking the two banks together that we were unaware of. I tried to think of what it could be, and remembered that not too long ago, we wired the second output from our wind generator to the starting battery. It had two outputs, so why not? Well, as it turns out, that was the source of the problem!


Both main and starting (aux) battery voltage down in the morning.

To test this hypothesis, I disconnected the one wire that we had connected to the starting battery. The next morning, and each morning since then, I checked the relative battery voltage of the two banks. Everything is now behaving as I’d expect it to. The main bank’s voltage is dropping, at an acceptable level, and the starting voltage is remaining up. Why this was occurring, I don’t know. It definitely shouldn’t have behaved the way that is was. To tell the truth though, I don’t care. I’m just happy that it has stopped.


Starting battery still up, as it should be.

A well-deserved day off!

Yesterday, instead of doing a lick of work, Rebecca and I went sailing. Our friend Chris from LTD Sailing was helping a young couple learn the ropes on their new boat, a beautiful Fountaine Pajot Helia 44, and we were invited to come along. Specific to the day’s exercises was testing out their Parasailor, a sail that I’ve never had the chance to fly first hand, and their gennaker. Even though the squally conditions made it tough, too much wind or too little, we still got the job done, and had some fun in the progress. Thanks to Jamie and Jericho for inviting us onto their boat, Liberty Blue. She’s a real beauty!




Note head-up posture!




  1. I can’t endorse a Parasailor for cruising yachts. We bought one at the Dusseldorf boat show in February 2007 (nearly $12k US), after being convinced that it would meet our needs as a downwind cruising sail. I was convinced after reading accounts by Jimmy Cornell and others that they completed ARCs from the Canary Islands to St Lucia sailing with the parasailor nearly the entire trip. Its designed to work in the 8-14 knot range, and we have used the sail precisely 4 times in 9 years. Why? To start with, the sail was over 2200 square feet, its a monster and we were afraid of it. When packed it was in a heavy and difficult to move bag. The snuffer sock was effective, but the carbon fibre cone was enormous, nearly 3 feet across. The last time we used the sail was in May 2015 on day 3 of a 24 day passage from Galapagos to the Marquesas. A squall came up at midnight and the winds piped up to 30 knots. In retrospect, I should have taken down the sail at dusk, but we were sailing so fast, there were no foreseeable squalls and Jimmy Cornell left his up ….. My wife was on shift at midnight and since it was way too late to take the sail down, we eased the sheets to power down and continued to sail downwind. Still, the sail tore along one edge as there was too much wind. I was concerned with the amount of effort that the ATN Tacker was putting on the forestay. A few hours later, after a lot of effort (the double braided halyard parted and jammed in the rope clutch) – I got the sail on deck and into the bag. The big cone, when hoisted to the masthead – had sawed through the spinnaker halyard. When we reached Tahiti, we sold our Parasailor to another cruiser for only $ 500US “just to get it off the boat”. Now we have a Code Zero and flexible furler that we have yet to try out (its roughly half the size). I think it will be much easier to furl than dealing with the big cone – and yes, we will definitely take in the sail at dusk!

  2. Interesting sail, the parasailor! How did you find it, was it easy to use ? Did it spill the wind as they are ment to Our?

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