Over Half Way
We have managed to keep up reasonable average speeds despite very light winds and our autopilot problem. We have done 139 nm, and 134 nm over the past 2 days. Due to the light wind and issues we have motored and motor-sailed rather a lot putting on 34 engine hours, although much of this was at 1400 revs, so not using too much diesel.
The autopilot problem turned out to be a breakage in the large stud on the steering quadrant that the autopilot ram connects to. It looks like the weld has failed and there is no way to fix it or even to have a work around as the force involved from the hydraulic ram is extremely high. If there is 10 knot of wind or more then the Windpilot can do the steering, but if the wind is very light and we are motoring, then we now have to hand steer. This is of course very tedious and tiring, but not a great issue, we hand steered all the way across the Atlantic in 2003, although it was a bit easier as there was 3 of us on board. This is the problem that Pete & Carol on Bali Blue had in the Indian Ocean, although we were on hand to tow them overnight, when the wind dropped.
Yesterday we had a good sail through the day with the cruising chute up and bright sunshine and had a really good time.
We are now well over half way with less than 1250 miles to go, We will continue to use the engine to keep our speed up as we now want to keep the number of nights of hand steering to a minimum. We expect to get to Antigua by the 15th, but of course there is a long way to go and who knows what the weather etc will do. We almost have enough diesel to motor all the way if we need to, but surely we must get some days with reasonable wind.
We saw 2 other yachts on the AIS but only got information on one – a 53’ British boat which is also sailing independently of the ARC.
All is well on board.