Friday, 9 May 2014

Meet Otto, my new best friend

Making passage is very similar to a long road trip, except you don't get to stop driving until you arrive at your destination. Up until this trip, we were very motivated to sail, because Sticky, our wind vane self-steering, will hold the course automatically allowing the person on watch to go down below and make a cup of tea, go to the head, or do whatever else needs to be done as long as every 10 minutes or so they take a good look around for other ships and at the direction we're moving. But Sticky only works when we're sailing.

Meet Otto, our new autopilot. He is a refit to the existing system integrated on the boat. New computers, old mechanics. Otto, I love you. We can turn on the engine in light winds and head in the right direction and, with a push of a button, Otto keeps us going forward. Now I can get up and go pee, find my chewing gum, and we can keep our 3 hour watch schedule. (Not that the Captain can sleep for 3 hours straight anyways.)

This was Otto's maiden voyage and he has proved his worth. The first day was very light winds but flat seas, so Otto held us for 20 out of 24 hours. Not to be out done, Sticky was put in place when the winds picked up, Wednesday evening, and did a great job all through the night which was a bit of a doozy with 25 knot wind and seas of 2-3 meters, but got us moving.

Thanks Otto & Sticky! Without you, I couldn't have mindlessly stared out at the waves and sky for hours on end.

On another note, we had 16 common porpoises swim alongside the bow of the boat! Plus a few more came back in the middle of the night to say hello, their blows and a slightly different sounding splash in the water being our clues that they were there.

We arrived in Cienfuegos, Cuba late last night. We've done the checking in paperwork this morning and now we're off to have a nap and then go exploring.

Cuban mountains to the south of Cienfuegos

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