Poorly Autopilot

Moonstone of Aberdour
Allan and Claire Foster
Thu 21 May 2015 21:57
Not a good night at sea.........
I was off watch and asleep, at about 23.00 hrs Claire woke me to say she was concerned about a large tug and tow bearing down on us in the dark.  There was a lot of lightning around us and the wind was building......not nice.  After deciding we were clear of the tug we rounded up to the wind and took a couple of reefs in the main and genoa and turned back onto our original course but things didn’t go right.....we were suddenly inexplicably bearing back down on the tug and it took us a couple of moments to work out that the autopilot had gone haywire and set us off on a course of its own making!
The autopilot had lost the plot and our later investigation revealed that the rudder position sensor was sending bum information to the ‘brains’ of the system and basically for the time being it was buggered! Of course its not the sort of thing you can sort out in the Atlantic in the middle of a stormy night so we had to steer by hand and find a safe port to make a landfall.......it wasn’t an easy night but here we are now in Charleston, South Carolina.  A new part for the autopilot has been sourced in California and should be with us on Monday so for now we are going to take the weekend off and do some sightseeing......every cloud has a silver lining!