Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cape Canaveral, we had a problem.

Fort Pierce promised a great deal.  Located about 320 nautical miles from Beaufort, SC its weather forecast showed steady temperatures in the mid 20s, a Manatee research centre and a location on the coast from which we could head straight across the gulf stream to the Bahamas at one of skinniest points of this turbulent current.  But Fort Pierce remained elusive for the Pjotter crew.  

At midnight on the 10th of December, in steady 25-30 knot winds, with 90 nautical miles to go, Otto Autopilot gave up on us.  Fair enough, we were pushing him much too hard in the heavy winds and waves on a wobbly downwind course.   Normally we would long have switched over to the wind pilot but a small piston was bent and our trusty Willy Windpilot was also out of service.  So, we changed our plans and started in towards Cape Canaveral spending the next 8 hours sharing the hand steering in freezing temperatures. Cold and tiring.  

Emma and Macsen woke when they realised that Seb and I were both awake and the following conversation ensued: 

Emma: What is happening?
Me: The autopilot is broken and Papa and Mama are taking turns hand-steering the boat.
Emma: Why don’t you fix it?
Macsen: Yeah, with duct tape (as though it was the most obvious thing in the world).

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