Adventures of a globetrotter

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Asmara newsReizen(EN)The Netherlands

Winter ’23-’24 (EN)

In terms of weather, it was a quiet winter, a bit of ice, but never enough for an eleven-city trip on the skate and that while I still have a new elf-city flag on board. A brief overview of the winter activities.

This article is displayed in YouTube movie 2024 Part 0 – Are we ready?

Replace light group batteries

The light group batteries for me consist of 3x 200AH Mastervolt GEL batteries, of 70 Kg each. Purchased in 2017. I expected that these expensive Mastervolt batteries would last longer than 6 years, but it was not allowed to be so.During my return trip in 20223 from Sweden I was anchored and hit the generator at 75% battery capacity. It was set to start at 45%. Of course I tested this many times later and saw if it wasn’t another problem. But even with the generator turned off, I received an undervoltage warning of 10.5Volt around that 75-70%. I could only observe one thing, one or more batteries died.

So once back in my winter harbour in Sassenheim I went to see if I couldn’t replace that set for Lithium batteries. I ended up on a LIFPO4 battery, of 300AH (this to keep the same capacity of 600H when purchased, which I now had). This Iron phosphate battery cost €625,- So €1250,- for two. That’s the same price I paid for 3x Mastervolt is 2017.

So I started reading about the use, loading protocol and all the do’s and don’ts. 5 warranty was given at the time of purchase (for what it is worth)Decision made and purchased these batteries.

It is important to carefully study the use and maintenance and not only of the battery, but also of the charging sources which (solar cells, windmill, inverter/charger, etc.) should charge this battery group. And then 12V or 24V. This means parallel or series and parallel. In my case only parallel so two batteries of 300AH

The old battery set

In my case these were 3 GEL batteries of 200AH each, this could also have been AGM.

You have 300Ah of beautiful AGM batteries on the boat. More than enough right? You can only discharge them up to half, otherwise they will damage. If you still have 150Ah left, that’s enough too. But with charging, the last 15% takes a very long time, so that in practice they are often only charged up to 85%. So at that moment you still have about 100Ah left. Still, you have to charge them up to 100% regularly, otherwise they will last a lot less time.

The lithium (LifePo4 iron phosphate)

Let’s take a look at lithium batteries (specifically LiFePO4, the only safe solution). You can discharge these up to 20%, and going over it once is no problem. They charge linearly up to 100%, so no hassle with that last piece. So it can be used up to 240Ah without any problems. A lot easier, and also a lot smaller. Extra bonus: the voltage remains very, very long, almost the same, 13 to 13.5 volts. An AGM- battery can’t compete with that.


So far the simple part. Lithium LiFePO4 batteries can have a lot, but there are some important rules of the game. If an individual cell (there are four in series in a 12V battery) is discharged beyond 2 volts, they will immediately break. In addition, the battery damages at 4.2 volts or higher. That’s why you need a kind of insurance policy for your battery: the Battery Management System (BMS). This BMS closes your battery if the voltage becomes too low or too high, in practice this is usually less than 2.5 volts or more than 3.7 volts per cell. Of course, it is not intended to come to that, the on-board equipment must already intervene before the BMS does this. The BMS is really a last resort.

As described above, many LFP batteries’ come with a built-in BMS, suppliers call this ‘drop-ins’. AGM out, LFP in and done. But because you haven’t adjusted the other equipment, the BMS intervenes quickly. If the voltage drops below 10V (4×2.5V), you will not receive a warning from the BMS. Your light, autopilot and expensive navigation screen all turn off at the same time, and no longer on. The experienced skipper knows that trick: you just keep an eye on the tension, then you know where you stand, right?

Pay attention! When discharging, the voltage of an LFP battery remains very constant. So how far are you now when the voltage has dropped from 13.15 to 13.12 volts? You don’t know how much percent, and so how much Ah, you have left. When the battery is almost empty, the voltage suddenly drops very quickly and gets below 2.5 volts per cell within a few minutes. ‘Ploep’, everything on black.

The same applies to loading, but the other way around. The charging voltage remains almost constant for a long time, around 98% it suddenly shoots up like a rocket. Again: ‘ploep’, everything on black. If you are charging with the diesel engine (the alternator), and the power suddenly goes off, then your alternator is broken. He can’t lose the amount of power he still has anywhere, and therefore goes up in smoke. It may happen that your alternator puts that high voltage on your on-board grid for a while, then it’s just a while to see if your autopilot and navigation equipment can handle it.

Summarizing charging batteryBriefly summarized, for a 12V battery (for 24V just multiply by two)

  • Bulk: 14V tot 14,2V (lager, tot 13,8 mag ook)
  • Absorptie: uit of zo kort mogelijk
  • Float: 13,2V

Source: Rob Ramsey,

Bread maker repair

My bread maker that I have on board for baking breads suddenly didn’t do it anymore when I wanted to bake a loaf of bread in January 2024 to test. Further investigation showed that the gear string was broken and was turned around the motor shaft, so that the kneading hooks no longer became. After some googling I found the string for my machine on the internet, € 10,- including shipping and after a disassembly YouTube video machine disassembled and replaced the string. It would be a shame to throw that machine away. He is doing well now and can last for years.

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Working, boosting Budget

In order to be able to continue doing the maintenance and my travels financially, I usually try to find some work in the six months of winter to boost my budget a bit. In the last few years it has become more and more difficult and that is not up to me, but when people see my age already with prejudice, a pity about such a mentality. I had already registered with employment agency 65+ in October and on the eve of my departure on April 1st I will be called for work at the end of February.As a co-driver on a truck, working hours of 0600-1500. I drive to the logistics carrier in Edam for an intake interview. Later I string my schedule, 11 days in March. Report at 0500 in Katwijk.The carrier is Yusef in Edam. The carpentry factory in Katwijk Unigra makes grave boxes in various models and sizes. These boxes are delivered all over the country to the various funeral entrepreneurs. 1 box weighs an estimated 40-50 Kg. These are placed on a trolley and stacked max 6 high in connection with truck height. The truck can carry 12 trolleys, so max 72 boxes.We will drive to a province in the Netherlands at 5 o’clock, for example Groningen, Brabant, Utrecht, Achterhoek, Twente etc. The round trip to the location is 2 to 3 hours, then unloading in the region.

It is hard and physical work and a working day consists of a minimum of 12 hours. Anyway, I’ve proven again that this old dick is still standing in the ground. The on-board greenhouse has been replenished a bit, with about € 1900,-

Peter Mantel

Gepensioneerd uit de luchtvaart. Avonturen met de Asmara. Ik zeil met mijn tweemast kotter van de Noordzee tot de Oostzee

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