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$$, but progre$$.
During your first solo races, the switch from monophasic to polyphasic sleep can be very hard. It can take up to 3-4 day of adaptation, this effectively means that for shorter races you never even get to see the benefits. During longer races on the other hand, after the third or fourth day we will notice that our body has adapted. We no longer feel the same impulse for sleep as direct correlation with day and night.
Working on the teak – should have let sleeping dogs lie… And last weekend (Nov 20/21 2021) I cleaned Frank’s topsides. I was going to varnish the rails but ran out of time. Oh – some new logo’d polos too!
UPDATE Below @ 10:00 hrs Sept 20 from US Weather Service
Upperdate Below @ 07:00 hrs Sept 21.
It is still September – 20th today, and already the publicists at the weather forecasters have run out of letters of the alphabet. For some reason, the meteorological alphabet runs from A to T. So rather than use the Japanese model and number storms, they went Greek for “the second time since the ’50s” That’s so we blame it on #climatechange. Right. Storm Beta is this week’s concern.
So here we are again, checking on Frank. Last night was quite cool, so I slept well. The Marina had emailed that they were going to close off the cap park and vehicle access to the piers at 9am. So I moved the truck last night.
Woke to a beautiful morning with a cooling breeze and some haze. And an email saying that pier access is now open until Midday. Here’s why:
Hopefully, Beta will keep nudging North West.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 2,000.
TS Beta, 07:00 CST, September 21 2020. Should be ok.
A few months back, I bought a US socket to replace the UK 240v twin socket that came with Frank, but did not get around to installing it. I just used UK-US adaptors.
This lets me run mains-power devices (kettle, power tools, heater, etc) on board when using shore power.
It has been cold, so I had the heater on, as I have done before. There was a strange smell which I eventually localized to the socket.
I have been using UK -> US adaptors to run 110v items. I pulled out one – no problem. Pulled out the left side one… and the GFPE tripped as the plug flashed. So that works!
The 13a fuse in the adaptor had failed to blow and the brass prong was taking some heat:
Fascinating. The live, or “hot” in the USA, is shown here after I disconnected from shore power, opened the socket and clipped the wire. I have a plug-in circuit tester to check if the sockets are really turned off.
I found a cool website, The Circuit Detective to help me translate between UK and USA terms (there is a lot of difference besides voltage) and get the new socket wired in correctly.
So I now have a UK-fitted GFPE on board, where the mains power comes in, and two US sockets fitted with GFCI. I wanted to keep a dual 240/110 system, for when Frank is in Caribbean and other Commonwealth marinas, but I think I will look at installing and running the shore power through a US Standard GFPE, and maybe run two systems later.