05 June 2010 | North of Hawaii
It is lovely out here, currently slow but still lovely. I had two idyllic days to recharge and catch up on chores: perfectly flat water, bright blue sky, 7 - 8 knots of wind, 5 - 6 knots of boat speed sailing due north, no swell, no spray, wow. But the wind died last night and I am again struggling to keep the boat moving in very light conditions. Currently doing 2.5 knots in less than 4 knots of breeze, happy to have steerage and be moving at all. In the big 5 knot puffs I get pretty excited.
Which brings me to the sad tale of the demise of Lilly, our faithful autopilot. She never saw much service but in these light conditions, where Petunia her hated rival the wind vane struggles, Lilly was the champ. Under power, Lilly was the only option except hand steering and she provided that extra bit of help getting sails up or dock lines out and all the other times you want the boat to go straight for a while.
I have been tackling one major boatie chore per day and yesterday the task was to try and resurrect Lilly. Several times on the trip she has gotten wet and freaked out but each time carefully opening up the case and letting the circuit boards dry in the sun plus a judicious application of WD40 to clean things up has done wonders. But alas, no longer. I crawled into the lazarette and unbolted her, carefully opened the case, and poured a small pile of unrecognizably corroded teeny tiny circuit board parts into my hand. If anyone knows of a used Autohelm 7000 or equivalent, I am suddenly in the market.
The highlight of the trip so far was the chance to actually talk to Mary and the boys. One of the ham radio operators has phone patch equipment that connected the ship's radio to a shore side phone and I spent a blissful hour talking to my family. I was a bit rusty and this was more speaking than I have done since I left, but it was wonderful and I feel much better just hearing their voices.