Aquair towed generator

When we bought Artemis there was an Aquair generator at the bottom of one of the lockers. Getting this working again has been on the “todo list” since we left but was never priority number one as we mostly have enough power from the wind generator and the sun. Now however, with a few long journeys ahead of us, the time had come to get it plugged in and earning its keep.

The generator is designed to work as either a towed generator or a wind generator. The basic housing is the same and you change out the wind vanes or the towed propeller as needed. We currently have it affixed to the stern of the boat and operating in “water mode”.

A long rope is attached to the axis of the generator and streamed behind the boat. At the far end there is a torpedo shaped weight with an integrated propeller. As we sail along the propeller turns the rope which drives the generator.

The Aquair produces a 12 volt output so we have it connected it straight in to the battery. Originally we thought we needed a regulator but recently a long time user of the system rightly pointed out that if the onboard systems are using roughly the same as the generator is producing, then you can’t overcharge the batteries. With our fridge switched on we use roughly the three to four amps that are being generated.

Above about 12.7 volts our house batteries and engine starter battery automatically switch together so we then have over three hundred amp-hours of capacity. Even if the generator was to produce six amps, that would still only be a charging current of 2%. I doubt if the batteries would even notice it.

Forty eight hours after leaving port, we still have three fully charged batteries and a cold fridge. It looks like the towed generator is the perfect complement to our solar and wind systems.

Antares Charts

Where ever we sail we need charts to navigate. Mostly we use digital charts because they are so much cheaper and take up far less space. Often it is a problem to find detailed and up to date charts. In Scotland that was not a problem.

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There are official charts of Scotland which are very good and then there are the Antares Charts. These are extremely detailed, extremely accurate charts created by Antares Charts.

The people behind these charts (Bob Bradfield and friends) go and do really detailed surveying and then publish the results for a ridiculously low price.

Using these charts, we were able to visit some amazing anchorages we would never have ventured in to otherwise. There is no way we would have dared enter Loch Tarbert on Jura without them.

If you are planning on sailing the Scottish Islands these charts are a “must have”.

Folding Mountainbike (Paratrooper)

I am a cyclist. I have been cycling on my mountainbike and roadbike since 1998  when I cycled across the UK just to “see if I enjoyed it”. (I must have done – the next trip was across the Alps.)

Information_SignJon’s Adventures is a bike shop in Nesselwang in the Barvarian Alps. Jon is a qualified ski instructor and the business started offering guided bike tours in summer. Nowadays he concentrates on selling, building and modifying bikes to exactly fit his customers needs.

I bought a bright orange “Frenchie” bike as soon as Jon started building and selling them and used it non-stop, even taking it to China for six weeks. Most of the parts have been replaced as I wore them out but at least it still had the original frame.

And now I am off sailing and have to accept that, even with both wheels removed, a mountain bike just isn’t designed to fit on a boat. It was looking like I was going to be riding one of those funny little fold up things with tiny wheels and a strange looking frame. I just couldn’t see myself riding up and down mountains on such a bike but what are the alternatives?

X90 Montague frame

X90 Montague frame

It turns out that there is a solution that offers a no compromise mountain bike but which will also fit onboard. The answer is the Montague Paratrooper. This full size, foldable bike was designed for paratroopers and can be thrown out of planes and then ridden by a fully loaded soldier. It sounded like what I had been looking for. Continue reading

My experience with a Garmin eTrex Touch 35t

I have been using Garmin devices for years to navigate to new places and to record my adventures. Additionally I use a Polar Training Computer to record my fitness training. Recently I updated to a Garmin eTrex Touch 35t partly in the hope that I could reduce the amount of devices I need and the complexity of my data aquisition.

etrexMy first Garmin device was yellow and easy to find if I put it down or dropped it. Continue reading

Experience with a Polar Training Computer

polarFT60

Polar FT60 training computer

Elsewhere I mentioned that an important factor in achieving your adventure is to make and then keep to your training plan. This applies equally to training new skills or to your physical training.

I enjoy cycling (mountain bike and road bike) and the last few years we have been doing a week long road bike trip each Spring. Obviously it is vital to have a route planned but, with routes of a thousand kilometers, it is your fitness program that decides between success and failure.

Since the beginning of 2014 I have been using a Polar FT60 training computer to plan and monitor my training. This article describes my experience. Continue reading