If my Hydrovane is a 1st mate, then the Autohelm is 2nd Mate – or at least a talented Cabin Boy! I have no idea if my old version can be upgraded to work with the as-yet-uninstalled new Raymarine radar system. I’m assuming not.
Back in November 2015 the control head was deluged by a freak wave halfway across the Bay of Biscay (I know..what else happens on a sailboat? But there we have it!) and burned out, leaving me to handhold Frank to Camariñas in a (what else in November?) storm. Parking up in the aforesaid fishing port for Christmas, I returned to Texas and found a new unit on ebay.
But at the other end of the Autopilot, attached to the Type 1 hydraulic ram, is an arm. This connects the ram to the tiller shaft. It was still working, but badly corroded. Here is is after I managed to get it off:
And here is the new one!
The hole for the tiller shaft has been machined to 1.25″, but the key is not uniform to 3 decimal places (it has had a hard life..) so I took the arm without a keyway cut. I’ll have to find a shop to get it machined.
This tiller arm is bronze and weighs maybe 10-15 pounds. Slow progre$$, but progre$$.
So I took the Redport Optimizer home, because I could not configure the now-installed Wifi extender on the boat. Once home, I watched the videos and checked manuals but could not access the settings needed. I could not even upload the latest software. Until, eventually, I read that there is a “superadmin” role. Never had to use that before.
Bingo! Uploaded the latest update, hoping that this, plus superadmin mode, would fix things. Went out to dinner after Christmas (lousy food, lovely company, if you must ask, at Roaring Fork, Stonelake, Austin) and returned to a happy dog and a chewed up Optimizer.
So, I bought a new one. It arrived this morning, from GMN – I spent the weekend on Frank, so too late for that trip. My next task is to get back to Frank, test it all out, get the Redport Extender configured (finally!) and get decent email on-board.
Feb 2, 2020 – Installed and it works! I can now see dozens of wifi networks, and get super-strong connections.