Communication Systems

25 Nov

Yesterday was an important US holiday, Thanksgiving Day, for families and friends. We seem a long way from home, now 19 days at sea, yet almost at the start of this around-the-world adventure and race. So many more miles before we see family and friends in person. Yet we were all brought a little closer by the technology that we now have at sea, email and satellite phones. I remember my first transatlantic voyage, in 1978, from the Canaries to Barbados, and our only communications was by ham radio (I still am licensed as WA1BZE) by hoisting an inverted V antenna up into the rigging, and then connecting to some amateur radio enthusiast in the US who had the necessary gear to connect his radio to a telephone. Then he would call “collect” the person we wished to talk with. Primitive compared to today, but it worked, and it gave the same sense of connectedness as we get today, maybe even more because it was really 50/50 whether you could get through to someone or not.

Last night I set up the gennaker on the foredeck for hoisting, as the performance data said that it was the sail that we needed. Yet the boat was flying with the genoa up, and was also stable and under control, so we kept going with that sail until this morning when we hoisted the gennaker. It’s truly gigantic at 370 square meters, and makes me nervous when it is up. We also confirmed that, likely through not being used very often, our halyards for the jibs have shrunk a little bit, so that all of our halyard marks are off, perhaps by 2-3 inches, for the halyard locks that are up at the top of the mast. This means that if I hoist to our previous marks, I am putting more tension into the system than is needed. So I have put extra pieces of tape on the mast and have started to collect new data for new marks. Sailing this boat is a never-ending process of tweaking here and there to try to make it just a little bit better.

A very big deal yesterday was the solving, by our systems guru Rob Sleep, of why the special race Clipway Live software would not connect for live video interviews. The software worked for its other functions of capturing, editing, compressing and transmitting video (or other files) to our Great American IV folders on the Vendée Globe server. We could do all of it – except the live, which was supposed to use a ‘streaming’ mode. It turned out that we are not 100% certain that the satellite phone software (Fleet Broadband) actually picks the best satellite of its 4 options, because when we manually picked a satellite footprint, we got more bars on the satellite signal than the automatically picked satellite.

Our next change was to use a standard data mode, rather than a ‘streaming’ mode. When we tested this with the Vendée Globe media server, it worked, mirabile dictu! Thanks Rob! Your technical insights, combined with your patience, and logic, saved the day.

Position
20° 25’S x 20° 25’W
Course
129° True
Speed
13.3 knots
True Wind Speed
14.0 knots
True Wind Direction
348° True
Sail Plan
Masthead Gennaker plus full mainsail
Air temperature
79° F / 26° C
Sea Temperature
84° F / 28.8° C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
355 1069 188 4806 808

This article was syndicated from Ship’s Logs | sitesALIVE!

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