Day 7 Wednesday We're doomed - George goes on strike...again!

Wed 23 Nov 2022 17:50
15:53.6N 042:52.1W
Speed: 7.25kt    Trip: 1047    Wind: E F5/6
The night started well with Nijinsky and George our 5th and naughty crew member performing well. To be fair to George he had been acquitting himself very well since his holiday in Mindelo. The weather during the night was reasonable with winds relatively steady between 20 and 25 knots and" Nijinsky bowling along between 7 and 8 knots.
Just after watch change from skip to He at 0400hrs, George decides to go A.W.O.L. and the boat gybes backing both sails but held in place with preventer ropes on both the boom and Yankee pole. Skip returns on deck slightly under dressed to help He and to give George a good talking to, however George was not having it, so He was tasked with hand steering to dawn.
At dawn around 0700hrs , the calibration team of Chief Eng, skips and He started the autopilot dock and "at sea" recalibration exercises that are normally meant to be carried out firstly in dock and then at sea in calm protected waters, not in the middle of the Atlantic with 3 to 4 metre seas and 20 to 25 knot winds. We carried out 3 or 4 full calibrations but always got the same error message " autopilot rudder sensor is not calibrated".  (Neil can you ask Garmin if they can suggest anything to try please)
We have for the time decided to continue on hand steering and therefore have changed the watch system to 1.5 hrs and 4.5 hrs off. Steering during the day is not too bad even though we are sailing dead downwind but it is always more challenging at night when you are totally on instruments and more tired. We are currently still discussing the " 2nd man on call system" as the watch keeper is unable to leave the wheel to adjust the sails etc.
Due to these latest developments and that we are currently north of the rhumb line, it is likely that we may route to either Barbados or Bequia as the first destination in the Caribbean. Crew discussions today have been focused on George and how we might persuade him to play again but there is crew consensus that we all want shares in a Hydrovane wind vane steering system for Christmas.
Georges antics have put a little downer on the half way celebrations which we should reach later this evening. They also delayed one of our main topics of daily conversation, namely what is for dinner ! Decision now made and the chicken has come out of the freezer, if somewhat behind schedule.
So stay tuned for tomorrow's report and further school reports on George !