Most times when you talk to other boat owners one of the major topics thrown into the conversational ring is… “So what issues have you had with her?”
Hoping around Mallorca we started to notice our batteries weren’t charging back up to where they should be which was a worry. We’ve been very lucky with our yacht from what I’ve gathered from other boat owners who seem to suffer greatly with this or that system going down.
Maybe part of it is due to us trying to keep our boat simple. We don’t have gensets or aircon or bow thrusters or countless other things that need maintaining and stress other systems onboard. But was this due to change? Was something… Broken?
After a few cloudy days, which meant the solar panels weren’t putting much back into the bank we decided to motor for a while. This normally kicks in the charge relay but it wasn’t having a bean of it right at the moment we really needed some juice in those batteries. As we watched the volts creep lower and lower we decided to limp into Alcudia marina to get things checked out.
Of course as soon as we tried to get someone to take a look we were told.. “Today?! No.. Too busy… Monday.” Ugh. So we were trapped!
We’d actually visited Alicanti around 12 years ago when the owner of the first company I worked for took the whole company on holiday, which was very nice!
It was lovely picking out the spots that we remembered and getting some beach time in never hurts either. I mean if you have to wait for someone there’s worse places to be stuck right?
So.. Monday came around and after a visit from the local electrician we were told there was nothing wrong with the system. We’d just let the batteries drain too low. Once below a point they the engine can’t put charge back into them. Er. Ok? Wouldn’t that be exactly when you’d want them to charge?
What it again highlighted to me was how much you need to know about wide range of topics to do a trip like this. I spent a solid day learning the best I could about charging systems and batteries. I also got a ton of advice from the Cruisers Forum.
It’s quite embarrassing when things start to click and you realise how green you’ve been. Luckily we didn’t do any damage but it has highlighted our need to have a workaround in place if it happens again. It’s one thing limping into your nearest port but we’ve got a few overnight crossings coming up. I’m now researching battery monitors, crossover switches and other fun things.