Michael Hughes and Ger White
Thu 29 Jul 2010 02:50
We arrived at Port Vila, Vanuatu this morning after probably our worst passage so far. The weather was overcast--spots of rain--it was blowing hard--up to 30 knots of wind--the seas were rough and confused--it was chilly---and to cap it all the autopilot failed, so Nigel and I hand steered for 40 hours--1.5 hours about, which is as much as either of us could take in those seas without a rest!  So we hand steered in full oilskins, lifejacket and harness, and tried to sleep in the "washing machine"in our breaks. Pretty dire.
We're now anchored in the quarantine area awaiting customs to clear us--some boats ahead of us so we'll have to wait a while I think. Ger's making bacon & eggs for a late breakfast--I'm starving!! It's like the old days of hand steering--except my hands are no longer hard, nor the muscles in shape! But, boy, it still makes you hungry.
And now we need to see if the problem can be fixed--I fear it may need a new drive unit which will not be easy to get here! Neither Nigel or I relish the idea of  hand steering to Oz unless we get a third helmsman on board. So perhaps we're stuck in Vanuatu for a while.
PS  Now moored stern to the dock and the sun has come out--all feel a bit better!!