The photograph below shows Maria performing the three-times-a-day solar panel tilting ritual to extract the maximum amount of power from the sun at any given time of day.
On their own, the panels produce an average of 15 amps of power per hour. This is augmented by the towed water generator (seen in the photo as a rope trailing in the water) producing another five to six amps per hour.
We use around 10 amps per hour when sailing, so the surplus power generated during the day can be drawn from the batteries overnight – then the solar panels replenish the batteries during the day. All this geeky stuff means that we can sail with the fridge and freezer running, make some water with the watermaker, and run the chart plotter and autopilot, without needing to run the engine to charge the batteries.
There’s three nights to go before we reach Cape Verde. The winds are fair and the sun is shining – which favours the crew as well as the solar panels.