Day 26 - Conditions Easing
Sat 8 Jan 2022 23:51
Course: ESE Speed: 5 knots
Wind: SbE, F4 Sea: moderate
Swell: SW, 3 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Day's Run: 138 nm (23 hours)
I managed to fix the GPS antenna yesterday afternoon despite the lumpy conditions, though I must confess that my troubleshooting left something to be desired and I was perhaps lucky I did not make the problem worse. (Just skip the next paragraph if this 'technical' bit does not interest you.)
Sylph has two identical GPS antennas mounted on her dodger, one for the GPS plotter and one for the AIS, and even though I installed both these units I could not remember which one was which. No problem, I thought, I will disconnect one and if the AIS still works then that one must be the GPS antenna. So I disconnected the port antenna and checked out the little green light on the AIS. It was still green so, okay, this must be the one. I started checking the cable with a multimeter and it seemed it had an open circuit between the ends of the cable and showing only 12 ohms resistance between the core and the shield. That did not seem right at all so I reluctantly started to strip out the cable. As I did so I found some damage to the cable where it passes through the companionway bulkhead gland. So I cut the cable at this point and tried to pull it out from the cockpit side, but it would not pull out. After a bit of head scratch and further investigation it turned out I was pulling on the AIS cable which fortunately I had not cut. After more head scratching, I worked out that the AIS, despite being installed below was still receiving a GPS signal with its inbuilt antenna through the companionway sufficiently strong for it to still operate. So, grateful that I had realised my mistake before doing any damage to the wrong cable, I put the AIS antenna back together and repaired the GPS antenna cable. And I am happy to say that everything is now running as it should, excepting that the AIS antenna cable now runs outside of the dodger lining rather then hidden behind it. It looks a bit ugly but it works. I will worry about the aesthetics another time.
Meanwhile, as I made the repairs, Sylph continued to broad reach to the ENE in the strong S'ly breeze. As mentioned yesterday, we have been pushed further north than I would ideally have liked but the conditions are now moderating so this morning we have shaken out the reefs and are close reaching under full sail making good a course of ESE, Sylph's bow plunging through the lumpy seas that remain after several days of strong southerlies.
Seeing as the sun is rising so early, I advanced clocks to time zone +10 (SDST*) yesterday - a little early for the longitude we are in but I like to run ship's routine by the clock and it feels better getting up with the sun, or shortly thereafter, rather than when it has already climbed halfway to its zenith
Last night Coconut reported her estimated position as about 230nm ahead of us and it is 3,600nm to the Horn.
All is well.
*SDST - Sylph daylight saving time