Joey Broke The Auto Pilot

Tue 18 May 2010 12:57
35:37N 36:49W
Wind SW 5
Speed 5.9
428 N. Miles to Horta
Awoken to the sound of flogging headsail, Joeys watch, came up for a look and the auto-pilot had finally broken with a bang in a strong gust. It was our fifth crew member and was overworked, overlooked and under nourished. We will have a look see if we can do anything about it in the morning. In the meantime we will double up the shifts and share the steering. Not the end of the world, we will just be tierder boys at landfall.
No stars to steer by. We are in a trance staring at the red eye glow of the compass rose, in this sea the 090 degrees compass required is elusive. It does give you a better feel for the weather, sea and boat though.
A cup of tea is needed to get us through the night. The steam from the kettle mimics the sound of the sea as the water pours from port to starboard. The gally gimbled gas stove its partner in this lively dance.
Sunrise - Flanno and I on watch. We heave to, and happy with the steadyness of the boat as a working platform after a few minutes rest we begin  tackling the steering, Tom arrives to help. We move 100L of diesel, out of the way and lift the cockpit floor to get at the steering quadrant. Luckily what we see is repairable and after half an hour and a refueling for Cerys we are under way again on auto-pilot. Back to our original shifts.
To celebrate I decided to go to the bathroom. As we hit an unexpected wave I slid off and took the toilet seat with me, another casualty for my bunk tonight. Its getting crouded in there.
We met a lonely swallow today, obviously well lost at this stage. He looked tired and probably wont survive another day out here.
According to Flanno his camera now takes "footage" last week I seem to recall it took "pictures" and "video".