Going Transatlantic with RAN Sailing

Welcome back everyone!

I was intrigued by a recent video from RAN sailing, where they discuss the delay in departure for their transatlantic cruise.  We thought it may be useful to write about how we envision Whio II performing in this exact scenario.  Our claim is one of unlimited range. You should be able to depart at roughly any time and wait for fewer weather window opportunities so I put this claim to the test. But the video highlighted several other advantages of our approach and how Whio II would be used in this case.

Transatlantic Crossing – RAN Sailing

You can see, at 4:30 in the video that they need to purchase a local bottle of gas.

Along with the danger of fire or explosion, gas presents the problem of constant refilling. Gas bottles are often swapped rather than refilled requiring a scheme membership. This is fine for a BBQ at home but on a cruising yacht, it is a never-ending issue.  A completely electrical kitchen, like on Whio II, offers efficiency in terms of energy stored for work done.  Gas makes heat efficiently however, pots and pans are inefficient at heating food. A single burner in an enclosed space substantially alters the internal temperature and humidity, and on top of that; Gas burns, emitting CO2 and H2O.  This means adequate ventilation is preferable, increasing the HVAC load. Induction is far more efficient at heating pot contents and is zero-emissions in a closed-loop system.  For a real comparison, we also have to add the emissions caused by transport to a retail point, transport to the vessel, as well as the emissions related to exploration, extraction, and refining; all of which can double the combustion emissions. There is also a significant long term price risk with last year’s increase being 17%.

At 6:00 the Calimar Winds bring dust off the Sahara and results in a regular boat washing requirement.  Whio II’s freshwater supply could wash off all equipment before departure, and regular washing while underway will prolong the life of the yacht. An ability to easily convert wind energy to fresh water at volume is a huge asset in this case.

At 6:30, we can see that they have been delayed a week. We downloaded the wind data from windfinderPro for the period shown on the video.  I used the CMG algorithm to calculate when we should depart for a transatlantic with Whio II as specified currently.  From the day of recording (Wed) it was safe and practical to depart on any day but we chose to depart late morning on Thursday and assumed 60% battery charge.

With a safe minimum cruising speed of 5kn, we motored for clearance off the island due south and then set sails heading due South for about 48 hours. With 12-18kn forecast on beam, sailing would restore 100% battery charge, replace any water for daily cleaning, and domestic requirements. On Saturday we altered to a westerly heading on a beam reach as the wind turned South and reduced to 6-10kn. Whio II could achieve a slightly faster speed, but we opted instead for maintaining batteries at 100% and daily deck-wash for the sand. After another 48 hours, winds drop slowly and we need to motorsail using between 1kW and 4kW until Tuesday, when we turned south to cross the calm zone, of less than 100nm.  We cross the calm zone until trades are picked up, roughly where the yacht symbol is indicated on the map below on Wednesday a full 800nm and 7 days ahead of RAN Sailing.  The battery state has dropped to 35% however, with trade winds aft, running will maintain 5kn minimum or recharge batteries until full again and speed can be increased as the emergency reserve is restored (80%).

While RAN would have been able to leave on the same day, Johan is concerned about using too much fuel too early in the journey.  The CMG system is capable of recharging completely once wind conditions are good, restoring the safety margin while underway.  This can be achieved by setting larger sails or changing course for a period to increase charging, and when batteries are full, speed can be increased until motorsailing using a minimal amount of battery but allowing for hot showers, ample water, cooking, and cleaning as required.

Quoting Johan: “We have to wait a week… …that’s just how it is, you can’t change the weather.”  While this is true, you can change your tools to take advantage of the weather you are given and go when you want, and that is what we hope to show the world with Whio II. The evils of the engine (used for 47 hrs) is so evident in both Johan and Malin who at 13:18 and 16:40 complain about the engine noise. With a CMG system, RAN sailing could achieve a faster, more efficient, and more pleasant sailing journey. With Whio II, we hope to demonstrate this 10 times over, and we hope that RAN sailing will soon be travelling under electric power, along with as many others as we can change.

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Thanks for reading!