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Day 42 Autopilot working well ....problems over, we hope...!

Monday 6th December 2010 Day 42

(Photos have been added to Saturday's news -go see!)

5pm We've left behind the clear blue sky and hot sun of yesterday .... Cloudy now, with some large grey rainclouds around... Had some rain late last night.

Seas still quite big at over 3m. Wind from E - mainly 16-18kt but several periods today of 22kt - one' blow' came from under a clear sky! (Since we're on a

close reach, the apparent wind is always more than the true wind quoted here.)

Early this morning, soon after dawn, the wind and seas increased ... we were heeling a lot ... I waited a bit..... time for the 3rd reef in the mains'l!

I'd had an overnight call from Raymarine as they started work (UK 9.15am is my/PST 1.15am - I was asleep!) to check on the AP situation. We agreed they'd

phone again near their end of day, after I'd slept some more and had a chance to do some wiring work in daylight, before trying out the AP again. Although

I'd got rid of the faulty relay in the course computer/AP power feed last night, I still needed to cut out the noise suppressor from the power feed to the

hydraulic pump and join the wires with heat shrink butt connectors, before changing over the drive to the rudder, ready to try out the system yet again...

So having reefed, I then got on with that job - had to wedge myself firmly so as not to slide about in the big seas! It all went smoothly, with just enough

slack in the wires to make it fairly easy to do a good job - I wanted to be certain of a really good connection since that was the whole point of the exercise!

Having a really good crimper and a hot gun makes such a difference.... By 7.15, I was satisfied that the wires were well connected and I was able to change

over the drives, before releasing the steering wheel (Fred had been in chargeup to then). Heart in mouth, I started up the AP in the still very strong

conditions...... It took over without a hitch and continued to work smoothly all morning .... until I put Fred back in charge, ready for my afternoon

(interference-free!) radio check-in to the M.M.Net on 14300 kHz.... Absolutely no error messages ... so it looks as though my re-wiring efforts did the trick

and the course computer and drive motor have plenty of power now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the AP problems might finally be behind me....

Thanks to Paul at Raymarine UK for all his help and advice.... and Derek also.

The problem with gusty conditions like today's is that it's so difficult always to get the sail trim right - I've had to furl in and out both headsails a little from

time to time... I'm tending to be cautious not to be over-canvassed in the beam seas we're in - we often heel over as lot as a wave picks us up beam-on ...

no problem now but if the seas got a lot bigger, and especially if they began to break, I might want to sail a slightly different course to avoid problems.

We're still headed due S - until we reach 30S maybe.

24hr DMG to this morning at 0400 PST/1200UTC : 112 n.ml. Nearest (inhabited!) islands at that time: Pitcairn 924ml, Easter 1060ml, Fatu Hiva

(Marquesas) 1070ml. Peru was 2360 ml due E and NZ (East Cape) was 3567ml to the SW

Written by : Mike

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