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Aannsha’s Blog #137 – We don’t want to do it!

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.

I emptied the locker

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.

  • COG: 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

Baz learned a bit more about mixing and applying epoxy when he filled the dints and holes in the keel and rudder. After they’d set, he used Nikos’s very handy electric tool and sanded the rough parts to create a nice smooth surface on which to paint the primer. After that, we’ll be applying the antifoul.

Where’s the cutlass bearing now??

Remember how we’d been told that the replacement cutlass bearing was on its way from Chalkida on Evia Island? Well, someone must have been ‘mistaken’ when Speedex and DHL both told Baz (via phone calls thanks to Evgenia at the boatyard), that the bearing hadn’t been delivered due to the lack of a phone number, but it was now on its way (again).

Why must they have been ‘mistaken’? Because after a week of the cutlass bearing’s continued absence, Baz received an email from the nice man Tom at Exalto UK to say that he’d been notified of our bearing being returned to the UK! What can you do but smile?

Tom kindly arranged for it to immediately be sent (back) to us at no cost to ourselves and took Evgenia’s phone number to ensure personally that it would actually arrive this time. We are still waiting, but we’re a tad more hopeful that we’ll see it before July.

Don’t you think it’s ironic that the delivery company is called Speedex?

Anyhow, once the cutlass bearing finally arrives Baz can replace the propeller, reconnect the prop shaft to the flange and then … then … he will be able to reinstall the turbo and the exhaust elbow, and then we’ll be able to test that the engine works!

Once the engine is in great working order, and once we’ve finished anti-fouling the hull, we will be able to re-enter the water after being on the hard for a total of eight long months.

Saying goodbye to more friends

And not before time too, because we said goodbye to a couple of English friends Andrea and Bob (remember the ones from last week who built a cat house to be proud of)? They left in their lovely yacht, Dorado, and will be exploring more of the Greek islands this season. That just left two couples, ourselves and Renate and Wolfgang who were eagerly prepping their catamaran to splash the following week.

Andrea and Bob on Dorado

So now it’s a rush to the finish line for A B Sea (well, not if you count Speedex)!! But we’re hopeful that we’re not too far away from entering the beautiful Evia Channel and heading north around Evia island to head east and explore the Sporades island group before heading further south and east towards Turkey.

Until next week, I wish you a very pleasant week and that you too get a little closer to your dreams and aspirations.

Dorado from the air

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