Friday, May 11, 2012

Autopilot installed!

Well, I've been back in Aus for almost a month now!  It has been a busy real damage to report but the systems have taken a bit of 'waking up' after hibernating in the tropics for six months!  So to amuse myself and perhaps aid in the journey back home, I have installed an Autopilot with a hydraulic linear drive that pushes the quadrant to maintain a course.  The mounting of the drive unit was the greatest they call them 'engineers' but I would say they are skilled metal fabricators....either way the young fellow I found to help mount the drive was quite willing to take on the challenge and it was a challenge!  Mounting it in the aft compartment of a double-ender, with very little space to work in was challenging enough but mounting it at an angle to match the plane of the rudder post made it even more interesting.  Anyway, after a lot of to and froing, we got it done and then I proceeded to install the electronics to drive it.  Still a bit of an issue sending Raymarine Heading data to it but think I have found a solution.  Sea trials have to await the imminent launch date on May 21st....which is to be followed by crew arrival, provisioning and a long day to get through the Great Barrier Reef to open sea!

The Pactor modem is acting up so hopefully I can settle it down and report our position along the way, not to mention downloading weather data!

The plan is to aim for Honiara in the Solomon Islands and after a brief stop to take on whatever is needed continue on a 1000 mile leg to the Marshalls where a second crew member will join us for the long leg back to Vancouver Island.  The plan, however, like all cruising plans is firmly written in the sand at low tide, subject to the vagaries of the powers of the sea!

Here are some pics of the autopilot install...wish I could as easily photograph the emails and phone calls to get it working.....:)

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