White Ocean Racing

Reports 31 December

31 December - Sailing towards Australia - Uncooperative pilot.

Audio Clip courtesy Trigone/VendeeGlobe

31 December - Newswire report - Pilot problems again.

Steve White, GBR, (Toe in the Water) on his autopilot problems:
One of the motors that I reconditioned gave out, that is the error code that it gave. The motor that I rebuilt has just had enough, and it has stopped. So I steered on the back up pilot for a while and that did not like trying to steer a compass course very close to the wind, because it does not have a gyro connected it is not very stable, it is OK reaching off the wind, but we have been hard on the wind all day, and so when it wiped out I have rolled everything away, I have put three reefs, and I so I thought I would change and put the drive from the back up pilot into the main pilot, and so I did that, and it's refusing to steer, and I put the old course computer back on and it is refusing to steer. I am scratching my head a little bit. I am quite tired and I could do with my tea. I just need this pilot to work. Really.

The back up pilot will work but upwind it will steer only to 30-40 degrees to the course I want to steer, to go reaching off is just not an option at the moment . I could put it all back together but then I would be bumbling off down in a generally SE'ly direction, and I was doing a little bit worse than east. I can put one pilot back to together and have it work not very well, or I can stop here and try and sort it out properly.

I am basically lying ahull, with three reefs in, when I said I was heading for Australia I meant that is the direction I am pointed at, with the mainsheet right out, this is the slowest you can get the boat to go and still test the pilot. Our course is 330 over the ground and 3 knots, so I am definitely not going to Australia, definitely not, I am carrying on all the way round even if I have to bloody well hand steer. I am not going to be beaten by this thing.

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