Sunday, June 29, 2008

11:05am 37 05.9N 146 56.2 W 1182.8 Nautical miles to Neah Bay

From Captain Brad:
I'm getting weather files right now and sending the YOTREPS report. Here is the brief report of the excitement. Just before starting the watch schedule, I contemplated reefing the sails down. It was blowing a solid 20 with higher gusts. But, decided to just go with it figuring we could do an "all hands on deck" and reef during the night. The wind was coming from behind at this point. Shortly after I turned in, we were hit by a large puff which Jorge (the autopilot) couldn't handle and we had a bit of a round up, then round down accidental jibe. First off, in a boat like Capaz, it's actually not all that much drama to these maneuvers. She's so stiff that you hardly notice from below, other than the noise. Here's where things went really wrong (no danger ever to anyone) because the autopilot uses the hydraulic steering system (we have two steering systems one that uses hydraulic that is below and one that uses good old fashioned steering cables that is above). To gain control of the steering above, the autopilot needs to be turned off and then a plunger with a T-handle needs to be depressed to disengage the hydraulic steering. Long story short, the hydraulic steering wasn't disengaged before Brian tried to steer from above. Steering hard something had to give and that was the chain that goes over a sprocket inside the steering pedestal. OK, so we no longer have the cable steering. We still have the hydraulic steering and the autopilot. So, we remove the pole and stop going wing on wing. Next we put the second reef in the main and reef the mizzen. Basically we didn't want to load things up and have the autopilot cut out. All is good right? We can work on the steering in the morning and get things back to normal....Wrong. So it's my watch. I'm sitting at the pilots chair watching the instruments when the autopilot flashes on "Fault" and then says "Error 15". At some point, it decided to use "Error 17". Now, none of the B&G network instruments are working. We are down to the hydraulic steering. We did consider heaving to so we could get things sorted out. But in the end, I decided it really wasn't so bad steering from below using a compass from down there. Finally the switch that allows you to change from shore power to genset power has failed and will need to be replaced. Which means we could not charge using the genset until I take the switch out and hard wire it which I will do after this email. Oh yeah, and the on board GPS started cutting out. OK, so we hand steer through the night motor sailing (so we can charge and also the wind died). This morning I got the autopilot working disconnecting the other electronics at the helm. Something up there stopped working and drug everything else down. Jorge is now back on and working. The wind is still light so we are motor sailing. People are catching up on sleep but later this morning we will tackle the on deck steering. The chain broke right at one of the cables, so we shouldn't have too much trouble getting it going again. The genset switch is an easy one and I should have that fixed soon. We have several spare GPS's, so no worries there that's up and running just fine.
All is good. we are heading directly to where we we want to go. We should be back to normal by noon.

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