Autopilot is Fixed and Some Good News..


d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

Yesterday after all my bitching and moaning about the small problem with the autopilot I decided to plug everything back as it was with boat speed transducers etc and re-boot the whole system. To reboot the system I wouldn't have any instruments or autopilots to control the boat with. At the time the winds had eased to around 15 knots so I figured that for the 1-2 minutes that the boat was out of control I would not really be risking any damage. I needed to be in the nav station to hit reboot so I just took the gamble that the boat would likely round up and put itself into the hove-too position and drift sideways while I reset everything. Without dropping sails or putting the boat into hove-too myself before doing this there were very little options.

So crammed into the nav station I took a breath and switched everything off and started counting to 30. I instantly felt the boat start to round up and then tack itself through a tack and into Hove-too. What I didn't expect was that it would then somehow tack itself out of heaving too and tack itself again. By the time I was finished counting I had fallen off the wind so far that I was almost on a broad reach. Again I wasn't too worried as everything was sheeted in tight for close hauled sailing so if I was unlucky enough to be taken through a crash gybe it again wouldn't really be an issue. At 30 seconds I turned it all back on again and after another minute or so I had all systems back up and running and I hit Auto on the Auto-pilot again.

It was perfect timing and I hadn't yet gone through a crash gybe so using the compass heading I guided the boat back to course from the nav station. Once I was back to sailing 40 degrees off the wind I hit the button that switched the autopilot from compass heading to wind angle and guesses what... After a whole days effort, it was a simple reboot that fixed the issue as the autopilot was now driving Climate Action Now like a boss and I was happily sailing along south again.

After the frustrations of the day I decided to have an early night so after having a soup for dinner I crawled into bed just after sunset and managed to stay in bed all night long which is highly unusual. I was still waking often to check on everything and as the winds were steady enough and Climate Action Now was now able to steer to the wind shifts there was nothing that actually required me stepping on deck for. In the end, it was one of the more restful night I have had at sea.

In the morning I had a radio interview with ABC Geraldton and I noticed that the winds had eased up. The swell was also a lot less than the previous days so after some muesli and my interview I went on deck and decided to shake the reef and hoist the main sail up to the full size. The winds were jumping around a lot but I wasn't seeing anything over 20 knots apparent wind and quite often the winds were down at 13 knots apparent wind and my boat speed were suffering. As soon as I shook out the reef Climate Action Now was back up to speeds of 6-7 knots and bouncing her way across the swell. As the sun was shining I also took advantage of the lack of waves breaking across the boat and sat on the deck for a time. It was a nice change from being inside as I have been the last few days.

I managed to pass Dirk Hartog Island and Shark Bay in the night and I am now 150nm from Geraldton as the crow flys so hopefully if the winds hold this angle I will be able to sail past their tomorrow afternoon sometime. I am also now only 450 nm from Cape Leeuwin which is the rounding point before I head off into the Southern Ocean so even if it hasn't felt like I was making progress I have still been slowly chipping away at the miles. I can only hope that I get treated to the traditional following winds of the Southern Ocean to make this last leg of the journey a little easier.

Also, I have received some good news on Dad. He is well on his way to recovery and woke up yesterday for a short time before being sedated again. It will take a while but it sounds like the worst is over.

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel  B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft