Our sailing day became as dramatic as the cloud looks like covering La Soufrière, at the northern tip of St. Vincent, an active Volcano since April 2021. It appears to me that St. Vincent is a very interesting island to keep on the list for the future.
It was clear that all the way up North was clause hauled sailing against the north easterly trade winds but the cape effects at the northern tip of the islands can add another challenge. The waves are rolling in from the Atlantic at times straight onto the nose. Hitting these relative steep waves at 25 to 30kn wind gave the lady a good wash all over. Some squalls added a bit of an extra topping and we felt everything against us on this passage.
On the other side, we motored along the shorelines of the islands as close as possible. Therefore the engine was running for some hours charging the battery bank constantly.
Watching the batteries closely, one of the four service batteries reached cooking stage with the other three being at higher than usual temperatures. We also had acid smell inside the boat. I called Christian from Gesang Yacht Elektronik and we got the plan of action confirmed. Disconnect and control the load into the remaining batteries.
I have learned in the meantime, that the way the test on the batteries was conducted by a certified Volvo dealer might have given a misleading picture on the real SOH (Status of Health).
As we still needed the engine and the Volvo charger is not smart at all, we had to control the battery charge load through consumers. While sailing, – minimise consumers, while motoring – maximise consumers, to prevent further batteries to heat up. Sailing into the night required to adapt the settings as we need more energy at darkness. Totally pathetic but worked.
We arrived around 10pm at our anchorage in Saint-Anne on Martinique, just in time when another squall released its fierce force on us. We accepted by now, it can only get better. With a hefty grip, the anchor did bite into the sandy ground and after a short while we felt first relief after quite some hours of excitement.
We cleared the mess trying to catch some sleep. It became a short night. Susan had to work 3am in the morning and managed very well.
After all, one more time I feel, that my nose smashed finally into the cream!
We were planning to meet Cornelia and Volker from SY Hexe, very good sailing mates from Puerto Calero/Lanzarote. Our anchor dropped just behind their stern!
With great help and little push from Volker (I was still energy low) we picked up new batteries from Yachting Engineering Services, one of the shops you can reach by dinghy.
The new battery bank was installed by 1pm and put on generator loading.
What a final relief. Thank you Volker!