For some points on the to-do list, such as putting in repair patches in the main to cover excessive chafe damage and other on deck work, calmer weather conditions are needed. Pieter had a to-do list containing 21 things,
but the list grew to 45 things of different levels of urgency, during the thorough inspection he could make in the calmer weather.
Although most things were not extremely urgent it would be very good to have them done before entering the Pacific Ocean. However, it is unsure if there will be an opportunity to fix things in calm weather as the NWB is currently headed North into a small High pressure zone.
Simultaneously the requests for information and changes to the autopilot system kept coming in from shore, so these were some very busy days for the skipper.
Not much Christmas in the air!
Both B&G and the French installer of all the components have been working on the issues, but even after exchanging every bit of equipment besides the wiring (ram, mastangle sensor, central processing unit etc) it still appears not to be working. And B&G and our French friend are still having trouble fixing it. After all these days and after all the information that has been sent (poor satcoms have been running non-stop transferring photographs, graphs and umpteen bits of other info) and after the wildest assumptions nobody can say anything sensible about what then hell is wrong.
Well then to try it out is fine , but by Dec 27 a nasty heat Low descended from oven baked Australia into the Great Australian Bight, just in front of me. The winds around the Low are very strong and with the “new” autopliot
and computer untested it would have been stupid to dive into that Low. Going around it was not an option either, it would have took days of battling up against strong headwinds. That is something these boats are not designed for! Also,!that would have brought NWB far away from land, be it
Australia or NZL, and in case there is no improvement and the adventure comes to an end it would be good to have some harbours not too far away.
So as the skipper will not go South around it against the wind, and also will not go into it with 50kts of wind: the only solution was to park the boat more or less and let the Low develop
and then move away Eastwards. When that happens – probably on Dec 28 – I will follow it in SE’ly direction, south of NZL.
That gives a good opportunity to see what we have achieved by the high tech solution of dumping all the “old” crap and installing everything new.
If it works : fine : Cape Horn here we come! If it does not work, then there is still NZL to stop at…
So fingers crossed!! One more night hove-to and then we go see.
Hope, hope, hope !
(P.S. thank you the many people who have come with views, experiences,possible solutions, or just supportive messages)