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Day 41 - Boisterous Trade Wind sailing - wind steering doing fine

Sunday 5th December 2010

4am - dark. Still hove-to, fore-reaching SW. Position report made.... and then posted... Email received from Raymarine UK Back for more sleep while wait

for response to my reply - need to check settings now that new AP course computer is in place, along with all other changes made recently.

Up at 0700 - can't sleep any more! Email rec'd from UK with a couple of small changes needed to AP settings .... so we're all set to go now.... Just need to

attach wind vane to Fred, and release rudder so I can test wind steering as well, once I sail us out of hove-to mode .... I'm feeling VERY trepidatious, but can't

put it off any longer.!

By 9 o'clock we'd been sailing with AP in control for a time - but the error message, 'current limit', kept appearing, and we were put into standby each time...

I was very concerned, as I'd expected all would now be fine - so I phoned Paul in UK. He said to lock off windsteering rudder (which at that point I hadn't,

since I'd wanted to test that also) Did that - but still started getting 'current limit' messages... "Try old drive," was response.. OK -but that kept giving

'drive stopped' messages.... and rudder was clearly often not moving... drive motor was very hot to the touch - not a good sign...

So by 2pm, we were back with Fred in charge of wind steering, as I breathed a sigh of relief that yesterday's wiring of the damaged part was holding fine... Time to check in to the M.M. Net - and without AP noise, it was easy to hear people!

A beautiful day again - good SE Trade winds and boisterous sailing in quite a big swell ... and later on, a beautiful night sky with the Milky Way clear...

I decided to get ready to remove the damaged relay in the AP/instruments power circuit, that was now suspected of causing at least part of the present AP problem.... The other suspects were the recently-installed noise suppressors in the AP drive motor power supply wires... They are to be removed and replaced by heatshrink butt connectors - so any worry about current loss/ voltage drop across them will also be dealt with.

I searched my electrical bits & pieces, knowing I had no spare relay.... and found a fuse box taking auto-type blade fuses. I had been thinking of replacing

the faulty relay in the circuit using new heat shrink spade terminals .. but was aware of a warning about possible melting in unlikely event of current

exceeding 30A.

It suddenly dawned on me (as I stood watching the sunset with my mug of tea tonight!) that I could use the fuse box with a single 40A blade fuse in it in

place of the relay. I didn't even need to touch female terminals on existing wires since they fitted the fuse box male spade terminals exactly.... and no

worries about melting heat shrink fittings ... brilliant!! Relay WAS very hot when I went to remove it. Other benefit of my idea was that I can remove one

spade terminal when about to use radio ... to lose noise from instruments by turning off their power - so long as AP not in use, of course!! (AP and

instruments are powered up by the same switch normally) I felt pleased as Punch - and it didn't take long to organize. I've placed fuse box on top of

bunk now for ease of access for 'switch' purposes... Just need to drill a couple of holes in wood of bunk top to allow wires to pass through to fusebox on


It was time for the Pacific Seafarers Net - and I was easily able to turn off the instruments in order to hear clearly, with the new fusebox arrangement....

Means I have to go into the aft cabin, but it should help resolve the AP problem.

So all I have to do now, after removing the noise suppressors, is to start the AP again - and see how each of two drive units behaves, with straightforward

wiring in circuit...... Tomorrow!!

24hr DMG to this morning, having been hove to a lot of the time: 47 n.ml.!! Tomorrow's figure should be nearer to normal, with the reasonable speeds

made since this morning.

Written by : Mike

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