Yes. The autopilot is back on the team

Yes. The autopilot is back on the team

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

50° 43′ 30.8316” N 1° 36′ 48.0024” E

July 16. – 2013

The autopilot is still confused and unable to hold a steady course for more than ten seconds. We read the manuals again and implement a series of experiments with modified settings.

Today the distance is longer and it is therefore important, that we can get help from the autopilot. We reduce response time for the autopilot. We adjust the rate of display between the autopilot and GPS. We reduce the range for course-deviations. We try virtually anything.

And yes!

We succeed!

By “aligning” the chart plotter’s rate view with the GPS system and by dimming the indicator for course-deviations we create a balance that works. It will be a fantastic trip.

We go into our normal division of labour, in which one person is on call for an hour, while the other is either reading or sleeping. These long distances are true vacations. Free time. Time where each person does exactly, what suits him or her. Kirsten reads Elisabeth Egholm’s latest novel. Per reads norwegian author Jo Nesbøs latest thriller “Police” and Dan Brown’s “Inferno.”

Along the way we eat breakfast, lunch, licorice and pistachios. Plenty of spring water.

Dieppe is a lovely town. It has churches, squares, pedestrian streets, scores of brasseries, cafes and restaurants – all collected in the neighbourhood around the port. It is intimate. It is authentic because the city had not been totally bombed away during WW2 but still has a number of imposing buildings around the harbour. We buy delicacies from the butcher, fruit shop and the baker, so the evening meal consist of quiche, baquette avec ceriale and cheeses.

Log-book: Sailed distance: 54 miles. Time: Departure 07.30 from Bolougne-sur-Mer. Arrival 14:00 in Dieppe. Crew: Kirsten and Per. Weather: Virtually no wind. Only for navigation engine.

Noise and unrest. Fish stench and gulls. We are in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Noise and unrest. Fish stench and gulls. We are in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Posted on Jul 15, 2013

50° 57′ 4.644” N 1° 51′ 31.2696” E

July 15. – 2013

Damn, we are struggling with the autopilot and the chart plotter. We study the manual for the chart-plotter. We study even more intensely the manual for the autopilot. Manuals are read from front to rear. More boring prose does not exist in the world.

In an ugly cocktail of a sick autopilot and a sudden doubt of our calculations of how the tide will affect on “Ronja”, we decide to shorten the day’s range, and we call the port Boulogne-sur-Mer in stead of the initial target og the day, Dieppe. We fear that the current against us will be to strong, before we can reach Dieppe, and at the same time we would have to steer “Ronja” by hand for many hours.

Only a few days later, we know that the counter current is not that bad. We could have continued.

It is so amazing to enter these tidal ports. The piers are totally oversized. When visiting a port at low tide, you feel like a tiny speck in a vast world. On top of the tall, oversized piers you see small Frenchmen by the dozen fishing.

Boulogne-sur-Mer stinks of fish and echoes of seagulls. The marina is full of Dutch, it has a completely insane difference between low tide and high tide – something like seven meters – and when the first fishermen are getting ready for a new days work a little after midnight, they throw around for some hours with empty fish boxes. Not much room for a good night’s sleep. Hubbub. Fish stench and gulls. A somewhat overestimated stop on the trip.

We have, however, a really good lunch at a brasserie, where local French people flock during their lunch break. Mussels with french fries for Kirsten. Steak tartar, fried egg and friess for Per. Super.

The city is incomprehensible popular among boaters. Unfortunately, we are at the end of a ponton, and in the evening there are more sailors mooring on our side. A Dutchman and a Norwegian. The Norwegian becomes evidently bullied by some vociferous Dutchmen, who believes that his boat are bumping into them, and that he should pull a stern line all the way to the bridge, instead of just being moored to a Dutchman, which in turn is tied to our boat, Ronja. The Norwegian is cool. He is on vacation. He is not inclined to add to the vocal Dutchmen. We go with the Norwegian – for historical reasons – and notify him, that we agree, that the dutch are overreacting heavily.

In Boulogne-sur-Mer, we buy a handheld VHF to be used, when we take the mast down and no longer have the antenna to our regular VHF, and a water hose, because we have been told, that the tradition of the port offering water hoses to guests is not at all widespread in french ports.

Logbog: Sailed distance: 21 miles with one of Kirsten’s calculated ‘nudges’ in the back from the tide. Time: Departure 06.30 from Calais. Arrival 10:30 to Bourlogne-sur-mer. Crew: Kirsten and Per. Weather: Virtually no wind. Sailing for motor.