We hove to the last couple of nights – must have looked interesting on the tracker! The wind has been picking right up at night and the swell has been really big, to the point that it’s hard to control the boat, plus it’s been squally and raining. It’s not worth being out in that or trying to force through and breaking something – either us or the boat! They have been an uncomfortable couple of nights though, rocking and rolling all over the place.
It would be foolish to try to steer through, but it’s frustrating knowing that we’re wasting hours making no progress, although I guess at least we’re not going backwards. Again, if the autohelm was working we’d be going well even on nights like these. This autohelm palaver is really starting to taint our opinions of the whole trip unfortunately as it’s making it so stressful and exhausting! I feel particularly sorry for Stu who has spent years planning and saving and researching for this trip, and so far it’s nothing like what he thought it would be. Obviously there will always be variables but it feels like we’ve copped it all with rough weather, poor wind and therefore a longer trip or too much wind and not wanting to break the boat, and a broken autohelm all in the first leg. Well, at least it’s been (mainly) sunny!
I think we’ve had an Easter miracle for Good Friday!!
Stu was on first steering watch this morning and became concerned when he realised that a quarter turn on the wheel was putting the wheel on full lock. This was a new addition to the autohelm debacle and not a nice one as we would be stuffed if we had to do a major steering correction in that direction. I took over at 10:00 at which time Stu decided to take another look at it. Immediately he noticed that the setup looked different to how it did the last time he looked, and it was apparent that we were close to losing steerage all together! Turns out that the crank arm was loose and had been sliding along the steering arm as it had been trying to steer, eventually sliding right to the end and severely limiting movement. An hour later, a few stressed moments, and we are now cruising along being steered by the autohelm! Stu managed to adjust it back and while still al little lose we now know what the problem is and can check it regularly and make adjustments as required, doing a full fix when we get to Hawaii. The last few days have suddenly looked up! That said, we’re still loathe to trust it and will be watching it like a hawk - it’s not fixed, but it is manageable now – but we both feel so much better about it all now and even if it’s a revolting night we can still make progress.