A few members of the team got together this morning to answer some of the technical questions regarding Wild Eyes:
1) Abby's batteries are charged with a combination of solar, wind and diesel. The solar and wind have been doing a good job of keeping up with her daily consumption. She has augmented that with occasional use of diesel engine charging and has run her engine an average of a couple hours a week. There have been some weeks where she didn't run the engine at all and some weeks where she no wind and little sun. At this rate, she has enough fuel on board to continue for 7 more months. She does not use the engine for propulsion.
2) Some people have asked why we doubled the battery capacity in Cabo and some even suggested that just adding battery capacity wouldn't solve anything. Abby will experience days with lots of wind and lots of sun and some days with little wind and no sun. The smaller batteries did not provide enough capacity to store all the energy that was produced on the good days so much of it was wasted. The larger bank allows her to store the excess energy to get her through the days with no sun and no wind.
3) In Cabo, we fixed the alignment of the alternator pulleys but were unable to increase the size of the pulleys to improve the belt cooling. There are two alternators and a ballast pump that all have separate belts. Abby checks these each week. We do know they are running warmer than we would like. With her approaching Cape Horn, we felt that it makes sense to change one of the belts "just in case". We don't want her to have to deal with a failed belt if for some reason she should she need the engine to charge or to move the boat.
4) Abby is not in a race. It is Abby's and her team's goal to get her around the world successfully and safely. If it takes a week or two longer because of safer routing decisions, so be it. Also, Abby is not throwing things like used fuel containers, fuel filters, etc. overboard. She is keeping these with her, primarily because of environmental considerations, and she might need to reuse things like belts later in the voyage.
Hope this helps!