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Sat 5 April - Autopilot not working...it's going to be a 'slow boat' to Trinidad!!

Sat 5th April - Autopilot motor stopped working at around 1300 GMT.

Tried to get Windpilot to take over ..but unreliable (was hoping to sort out that problem in Trinidad...). It holds course for a short while but then gets 'trapped' with vane in an extreme position so we go right off course - a bolted connection has worn & is too loose. So after many efforts, I had to abandon that ... pity!!

Kept going until 2000 GMT when I hove to... we were drifting at 1.5 kn SE!! Then I realized that if we hove to on the other tack that would be more favourable...that has turned out much better - we're nearly making our course (which is 296T)... we're fore-reaching at around 1.5 knots on a course of about 290T - not too bad ... At least now we're not drifting backwards!!

I've looked at the autopilot drive unit - nothing visibly wrong, simply that the motor is not pushing the drive arm onto the steering quadrant - nothing I can do at this point ... it'll have to wait to Trinidad.

I'll have to keep handsteering, with breaks for sleep & food for which I'll have to heave to.... hopefully then, we'll keep up our present good direction of drift/fore-reaching!

Written by : Mike

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