MOONBEAM'S NEW FAMILY
23 September 2015 | IBIZA
Guillermo and Aina have now joined the Moonbeam family cruise and will be with us for a week or so. They are delightful, most helpful, and it's been a blast. Since Aina needs to get back to go back to school next week, we decided to do an overnight to Ibiza to save a little time. This would be Aina's first overnight of her sailing career. Before we left, one of their boating buddies mentioned that a windstorm would be blowing through Ibiza in the middle of the night, for a few hours, and he suggested a place on the island to duck in, drop anchor, and hide.
Just after departure from the marina, Captain Ken to crew: "Uh-oh, we have a problem. The autopilot isn't holding". Lil to herself: "OY". For me, the three most important parts of a boat which need to be working are (in changing order based on need) the heads (toilets), the refrigeration and the engine/autopilot. Even if you, the reader, are not a boater, the first two need no explanation. As for the autopilot....having an operating one is heaven. We set the course, and then can sit anywhere in the cockpit, (huddled against the boat cabin in inclement weather), and dine, read, do puzzles or play games with complete abandon, just checking the instruments periodically to make sure all is well. If the autopilot is on the fritz, someone must stay glued to the wheel, hand steering 24/7. It's not fun, particularly if the weather is bad, or if we are sailing on an overnight. Captain Ken did an unmanly thing: he took out the autopilot manual and did some troubleshooting...to no avail.
Fortunately, the weather was fine, but for most of the day and early evening, hand steering was the order of the day. After awhile, we started experimenting with the autopilot, and it worked intermittently, sometimes holding for 10 minutes or more. That made a big difference. By the time Ken and I came up for our early morning watch, Guillermo announced that the autopilot was working completely. YAY.
Postscript: The Captain went down below to see what had happened: the autopilot had been fine all along. The crew had not been. We had loaded up the 'garage' where the mechanism is located...and things were leaning against it. Probably, as the flight attendants say, items had shifted during transit...in this case, for the better...and the mechanism was freed up. Another lesson learned!!!!
We anchored at the recommended harbor. The weather was beautiful. Guillermo and Aina swam to the beach in beautiful, clean waters. Captain Cook (assisted by his sous-chef Aina) made an all-American dinner: meat loaf (actually, meat lump since he makes it in a pie plate in the microwave) and mashed potatoes. We dined in the cockpit. It was perfect. Weather? What weather? It was perfect.
Amazingly, the windstorm did blow through..two hours later than predicted...with the precise wind speed predicted (30 kits)...and ended by morning....as predicted. How can we hire these weather forecasters?
And, in case you are wondering, Aina did great on her first overnight!!!!! She's a natural. As for Guillermo, he has mucho experiencia de navegación so it's all good.