Friday, 6 May 2016
Getting ready but one of the crew is confused
The late, great Two Ronnies once introduced a sketch in one of their TV shows as follows:
Ronnie Barker: "This next sketch is set in a ball bearing factory."
Ronnie Corbett: "I play a man who's lost his bearings."
Ronnie B:"....and I play a man who's lost the will to live."
The link from this to life aboard Maunie is that Constance, our normally-indefatigable electronic autopilot, has lost her bearings, completely. She just doesn't know which way is north and, for an autopilot, that's a problem. We've tried lots of tests and tricks and consulted local experts and even borrowed a new electronic compass but all without success. It seems that Constance's brain, the Type 300 course computer, is corrupted.
The problem is that she's getting on a bit - 19 years old to be precise so she's positively prehistoric in terms of computers. The good news is that we can retain the hardware - the motor that drives the rudder and the sensor that measures the rudder angle - but will need a new brain, new power pack and new controller / display. Plus about $4000 to pay for it. Aaargh! However we don't seem to have much choice and so, next Wednesday, will get the new kit fitted and then will be ready to go.
In the meantime, we've sailed out of Opua and are anchored up in the Bay of Islands in lovely settled weather - definitely an Indian Summer going on here. There are lots of yachts waiting to depart for Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu but this settled weather means virtually no wind and what there is comes from the wrong direction. Several people are worrying that their NZ visas are about to expire (we feel their pain as we were in that situation two years ago) so you can feel the stress levels rising if you overhear conversations in the laundry or sailing club.
The thing is, you just can't rush the weather and, at the end of an El Nino episode, the weather certainly hasn't settled into 'normal' patterns yet. So we'll be content to wait a week or two more before we go.