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Alone at sea – equipment choices are critical

Home Engineering Electronic - Instrumentation & Control Alone at sea - equipment choices are critical

SKIPPER Isabelle Joschke relied on the Keller 21Y sensor, in the Vendée Globe Regatta. The Vendée Globe Regatta is a non-stop, round-the-world regatta which takes place every four years. In the “20-21” race, a total of 167 solo sailors started on the Clipper route. This route began in Les Sables-d’Olonne, a town in western France on the Atlantic, and travels over the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. The route travels clockwise around the Antarctic via Cape Leeuwin – the most south-westerly point on the Australian continent – over to Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego, southern Chile, and then back to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France.

Entrants navigated 44 000 km between November and February ’20-’21. Regatta rules allow participants to moor with an anchor, but not at a dock or next to another boat. Besides that, they received no other external assistance, excluding weather updates or route information. Only if the participants encounter a problem early on, are they permitted to return to the beginning for repair and start again. The restart must, however, be within 10 days of the official start.

Skipper Isabelle Joschke

The French-German skipper Joschke set sail in this challenging race in 2020/2021 in her IMOCA boat, the MACSF. IMOCA boats can be fitted with a canting keel (tiltable keel). The main performance benefit of this tiltable keel is that, when the keel is tipped to the side which is facing the wind (windward), the tilt of the boat is reduced. In case of possible capsize, the boat can be righted again by tipping the keel to its maximum extent. Since 2014, canting keels are mandatory in sailing races. The French company Hydroem delivers assembly kits for IMOCA boats which are fitted with this type of keel.

The keel is activated with the hydraulic cylinder built into the floor of the boat and connected to the keel. The distributor is between the hydraulic group (electric motor, hydraulic pump and oil tank) and the hydraulic cylinder. This contains electrical valves needed for controlling the hydraulic pressure. The Keller Sensor 21Y is also connected to the distributor and measures the pressure of the keel cylinder.

Keller 21Y Specifications:
Accuracy: + 0,5%FS
Total error band :1,5%FS @ -10 to 80°C
Pressure range: 0to 2,5; to 0 to 1000 ba

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