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SHTP Day 18

Tues 11th July

At 0720 PDT (0420Hawaiian time) I was up on deck to adjust the steering. Beautiful, beautiful ... there was bright Venus, high above the slowly-lightening E. horizon in a clear sky, just a low band of clouds on the horizon itself, with the full moon lighting up the sky high above the opposite SW horizon, making a broad path of moonshine on the sea towards the boat - I just had to grab my camera to try to capture something of it as the new day slowly dawned! A little later, two birds came by, skimming the waves - skuas? Long, thin wings, dark on top, white below - like so many birds of the ocean.

Keeping still to Pacific Daylight Time is getting quite weird now - actual time, geographcally, should be 2-3 hrs behind PDT and sunrise & sunset should both be around 6 o'clock, but our 'clock' is now completely out. There'll be a 3 hour adjustment to be made once in Hanalei Bay.

I'm now less than 300 mls from Hawaii and Maui, under 400 mls to Oahu but still over 450 mls from Kauai. My course is 265T and the island chain runs roughly NW-SE.

It was another lovely sunny day with no squalls - just as well because I had to clear even more from around and under the aft bunk (including a very large, bulky mattress!) to gain good access to the autopilot course computer - this was to be a major wiring day! The only slight problem was the big swell (8-10 ft) - being half upside down lying on the bunk, trying to connect wires under the bunk, as a big wave knocked the boat around & made me slide around, got rather frantic at times!

I found, buried away, some lengths of unused 3-core cable and, once I'd joined three lengths together complete with an appropriate 'tail' for the autopilot Control Head, I had enough length to connect directly to the 'brains' via the aft cabin - once that was done (all took several hours!) - we had a working autopilot!! YES..!! I also found that with my new GPS antenna wired directly into the 'brains', all was still working OK, so that data was also on the system. The next step was to try the wireless remote control (transmitter also connected directly to 'pilot Control Head) - again, fine. So now I had a working electronic 'pilot with a handheld remote control showing COG & SOG from anywhere on the boat - brilliant!

The only downside to all this was that, in order to make the autopilot function, I'd had to disconnect ALL the other instruments...!! It was a clearcut choice - instruments or autopilot. Sorry Hermann.... go take a holiday - you deserve one! On reflection, I think I should be able to power up the instrument circuit separately fairly easily... Wednesday's job! Losing log and wind info is the main disadvantage at present, but I can manage without both - it's just nice to have that info (especially wind) at a glance. And it would be nice to see the depth when closer in to shore.

So Lou on Seabird should have finished by rollcall Wed morning....slowly the fleet is getting smaller.

At 9pm PDT: position 23 26N, 147 16W; DTF 682n.ml. Distance run (by log) over 24hrs (to 0845): 165n.ml !!


Written by : Mike

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