When I suggested to Baz that we check the autopilot control head as it was on the list and we wanted time to troubleshoot it if it didn’t work, I was met with a slightly snarly response. Well it was hot and sweaty and yet another one of the cockpit lockers would have to be emptied, and Baz simply didn’t want to get into it that afternoon, given the temperature was around 32 degrees C (approx. 90 degrees F). But I wanted to tick something else off the Boat To Do List. An important something as well.
I also wanted to see if the thing worked. If you have followed our videos and/or blogs, you’ll remember that we’ve had issues with our autopilot control head since Turkey. And in its journey to be checked and then returned to us this time, it has literally been around the world twice! If you’re curious, you can see its route in today’s YouTube video.
I had a hunch that now we had new batteries (that we purchased in Athens) and had hooked them up properly, as well as adding desulphators to ensure they get even wear, that the autopilot’s control unit would have plenty of umph to fire up and work.
As incentive to A B Sea’s recalcitrant captain, I emptied the locker myself and he reluctantly dragged himself up the companionway steps to do what I considered to be the hard part: going into the confines of the locker and reconnecting the unit. It didn’t take too long and seemed fairly straightforward once Baz ignored the tangled web of other disorderly wires from the original wiring, and plugged the connection into the back of the unit.
The moment of truth came when Baz switched on the instruments and the autopilot at the electronics panel. I pressed the on-button on the chart plotter and ran through its opening sequence, and hey presto! The chart plotter showed our correct position on the chart!
“That’s a good sign,” I said.
Baz fired up the other instruments and all seemed to be in working order.
Wind direction: check.
Speed zero: check.
“That’s a good sign,” Baz said.
The only instrument which didn’t show a reading (apart from speed obviously) was the depth indicator. We wondered if the transducer needs to be immersed in water before it works. Baz did ask that question to viewers on the video that accompanies this blog as we want to be sure the depth indicator works when we splash back into the sea again. If you’d like to see the video or give us your thoughts on that, just click here.
Baz went on to check that the autopilot engaged correctly, and also tested that it would move individual degrees and also ten degrees to port and starboard. Check! What a relief!
Baz returned to the saloon in a lighter mood and I put the things back in the locker, also happy.
Those holes need filling