Sunday, July 28, 2013


It's hard to be competitive when you're autopilot is on the fritz, but I don't wish to minimize the fact that Peter on Panacea has sailed a great race. We're neck and neck as I type this message on approach to Penobscot Bay. There's still a long way to go so anything could happen. Looks like we're going to have a long beat into the bay, conditions which sometimes gives Jeroboam the advantage over Panacea because I can hold tighter angles on the beat. Throw in some cold rain and fog and this will be a grueling finish. The one bright spot is we have an incoming tide so at least we won't have to battle the current as well.

The fluxgate compass is the problem with the autopilot. Again. I had the same issue on the delivery to Europe this spring and had to replace it on Horta so the one in there is brand new. Well, only three months old and with 4,000 nm of use. I suppose "new" is relative. Still, it drives me crazy when this stuff don't work the way I need it to.

Last night, I was running down wind with the kite up, down below, making some dinner when the autopilot decided to dive deep and gybe the boat. The spinnaker wrapped around the headstay really badly and took me a long time to sort it out. After the second autogybe, I tried another full recalibration but the something just isn't right with the compass. I'm using the auto pilot for upwind work right now and it's snaking around a bit but not too badly.

If it can't hold a course by the time I get to Rockland, I may leave it there for my buddy Kim Baker to fix and take the bus back to Boston. I don't think I'd be up for a 120 nm delivery back to Salem hand steering after this race.

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