Day 33 Jumping for joy! - relay working... AP ready for testing...

Saturday 27th November 2010 (Day 33) We're jumping for joy! Perseverance wins the day!!

10am - darker grey clouds overcast were left behind... sunshine & scattered light cloud now. Getting a definite half knot 'push' to the S from current heading SE at present (& for some time overnight). Wind from 175T, COG 200T. Making quite good speed (~5.5kt) closehauled, in 14 knots of breeze.

Trying to figure out how to overcome 'instruments / A.P. ' always on .. Switch at chart table operates a relay which in turn switches on Raymarine instruments & also the autopilot circuit. At present, whether chart table switch is 'on' or 'off' is irrelevant - they're always on... because relay has been welded into 'closed circuit' mode. my Raymarine contact told me... So AP and instruments are being powered up no matter what I do at chart table ... So question I'm pondering is whether I can put a simple switch somewhere in the circuit to switch off power to instruments/A.P. when on radio, to stop interference as I used to be able to do from the chart table... Need to test things out by disconnecting wires in one or two places to see what's possible! Have to remove power to AP anyway while I connect up the new rudder reference unit... (but I can do that easily at the course computer).l

Midday - YIPPEEEEEE!! Problem has resolved itself! I disconnected and re-connected power lead to the relay several times - to see effect on radio noise - and switched chart table instrument switch from time to time also ..... and suddenly - instruments responded to switch.... The relay must have got re-set (or something has definitely happened!) with my powering on & off so many times ... so we're back in business again now... Perseverance (and lateral thinking!) wins the day!!!

I'm dancing for joy here! Will now get to rudder reference unit and connect it up.... Can't do any harm ... Can check AP settings with Raymarine UK as and when (Monday, probably), but will see how it behaves in relatively calm weather in the meantime.

Sailing well here, although occasionally lurching from time to time as wave hits. Wind is mainly 12-15 knots, S-SSE now - so we're gradually making a better course as we get into SE Trades.

The other good news is I've oodles of battery power! Showing 13-14V over a lot of the day, despite fridge on most of the time, radio use (for emails as well as voice) and frequent inverter use for computer. With plenty of both sun and wind power, and without AP use to take battery power, the batteries have never been so well charged when underway before! I've not needed to run the small diesel generator since Wednesday!

5pm - Grey skies clearing dead ahead, rainclouds mainly astern and abeam now. (But skies overcast again soon after)

Have connected up new rudder reference unit to course computer and tidied up wires. Rudder alignment value adjusted with wheel centred (placed mark on wheel recently when on the hard in Port Townsend. Looking through the many calibration settings, several look to be out, so will wait to Monday for discussion with Raymarine UK before starting up AP - it's all 'ready to go' now, but windsteering (Fred) is doing a good job in the steady conditions and no storms expected now, as we approach the Equator, so no immediate urgency.

I tried to send photo of the message received from the 'Darya Lakshmi' after our close encounter on Thursday night - but no joy. Will have to work on that - occasional posting of photos, however degraded they must be in order to email them, would be fun.

Message on my AIS screen came up as follows:

"Message Received from Vessel:

DARYA LAKSHMI

FRM EVERY 1 WISH U AL THE BEST.U
REACH HOME SAFE N SOUND."

Nice, friendly people!

24hr DMG was reasonable, at 102 n.ml., but we'd only been ambling along at around 5 knots while I worked on boat jobs, so not a record-breaker! at noon UTC, Galapagos islands were 1560 ml. away, on bearing of 098T snd Tehuantepec 1500 ml to ENE. Equator 275 n.ml to our south...

Written by : Mike

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