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The Elcano Challenge is back on course

by Jimmy Cornell 25 Jan 2021 06:37 UTC

I never lose: either I win, or I learn.

Nelson Mandela's words have been haunting me ever since I took the decision to turn around at Tenerife and put my project on hold. One of the most important things I have learned in many years of sailing is to resist the temptation to jump to a conclusion before examining all the necessary facts. Being aware in Tenerife that we had reached a point of no return, and unable to reach a satisfactory answer to my predicament, I decided to return to the Outremer boatyard in France and only decide there if my project could be continued or should be abandoned.

The answer to my dilemma became increasingly obvious during that 1500-mile passage. It proved Aventura Zero's outstanding seaworthiness and also gave me the opportunity to monitor the regeneration system on an hour-by-hour basis. Rather disappointingly and despite all efforts we failed to maintain a sustainable balance between consumption and regeneration. It became quite clear that the initial assessment of the overall consumption and the potential of the regeneration system had both been unrealistic.

This is the crux of the matter and those two problems have to be addressed immediately. The first priority is to reassess the overall domestic consumption, install more efficient electrical equipment and eliminate any wastage. In parallel with that we are also increasing the charging capacity by an additional input from solar panels and an auxiliary hydro-generator.

I am now working with Outremer and Oceanvolt to achieve those aims before the spring to be followed by a thorough testing program, first in the Mediterranean and then in the Atlantic. Once again, the starting point will be Seville in late October.

The unforeseen delay has a silver lining: a planned return to Seville to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Elcano's arrival on 6 September 1522.

More information at cornellsailing.com

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