Blue sky, Blue sea, Blue power

Blue sky, Blue sea, Blue power

15 Nisan 2021

Brazilian couple Sandro and Bela gave up lucrative careers as a lawyer, and a flight attendant, to sail the world.

Some life changing events had already produced a lot of soul searching for the pair of them by the time they met in Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro, where Sandro was living on a yacht. That meeting must have been fate as it wasn’t the first time they had met in their lives – years earlier Sandro had been an engineering student of Bela’s father.

Originally their new plan was to take an 18 month sabbatical, flying to thirty-five countries in six continents – yet when they returned from that trip their thirst for adventure had, if anything, grown rather than being slaked.

Isla Piana. Corsica

They bought the boat on which they now live – called Amazonia – in Spain. A 43 feet Jeanneau Sun Odyssey with a Deck Saloon, built in 2002. It was very well maintained, the boat had almost everything they needed. Electricity storage and generation would, however, have to be renewed to make her suitable for long distance journeys. Until then Amazonia had ended most days plugged into shore power at her home marina.

For navigation she was already equipped with radar, AIS, VHF radio, EPIRB; she had three additional sails; a 75 hp engine …and there were some home comforts such as television, diesel heater and other domestic appliances.

On the downside, the vessel was equipped only with a 500W inverter; 300Ah service batteries, plus a 100Ah starter battery – and a battery charger that didn’t work properly. Over the coming months Sandro plans to completely upgrade the power system, and has begun by installing two 330W solar panels suitable for his 24V system.

They have a SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 solar charge controller – which they like especially because it allows Bluetooth connection to a smart phone from which they can control Amazonia’s electrical system using the Victron Energy app VictronConnect. The boat’s energy harvest/storage/usage can be interrogated in real time, and a thorough system performance overview can be made by examining the detailed analysis for the previous 30 days – together with a lifetime record of greatest/least battery conditions. VictronConnect also provides access to the extensive range of user programmable settings so that the system can be personalised to the vessel’s equipment, and user preferences.

The latest additions to a schedule of improvement to Amazonia’s power generation and storage capabilities include:

Victron BMV-712 Smart which is a fully featured battery monitor showing, among many other things: battery voltage, consumption (real time and historic), state of charge, and it provides condition alarms – such as warnings when the battery voltage falls below a critical level – alarms can also be programmed to trigger a relay.

An easy-to-install SmartBattery Sense monitors the vessel’s battery Temperature and Voltage directly from the battery stubs. This data is sent to the SmartSolar charge controller which uses it to optimise battery charging.

Smart BatteryProtect 12/24 -100 automatically disconnects the battery from loads when there is a danger that the battery will be damaged by continued depletion.