Christmas Day was not the best day for Aviva's autopilot to decide not to work again


Date25 December at 2230

PositionS 39° 41’/W 49° 34′

I am hoping everyone has over indulged in food, drink, TV, and late nights. That’s what Christmas is all about. Or you could be with me on Aviva!

Christmas morning arrived after a night of winds varying between 8 knots and 40 knots and true to form changing direction nearly as much. The skies had cleared and there were sunny spells and the breeze after a few rounds of the dial settled from the south. I tacked several times whilst the wind was deciding where it was coming from and we ended on a port tack to get some westing in.

On my morning rounds I checked the autopilot, looking to change the combination over and found to my hearts despair that the pump we thought we had fixed had emptied more hydraulic fluid everywhere. Clearly not fixed. I cleaned it up and changed onto the other set, which sounded an alarm, at least every hour saying there was a fault. Each time I cleared it and it worked again. I have no idea why but given that I hadn’t slept for more than 45 minutes and now I had a regular alarm sounding, this was not the Christmas morning I had anticipated.

In between alarms sounding, tears and trimming I opened my presents. At least they bought a smile to my face. Santa had clearly found my latitude and longitude and delivered a vast array of goods. Most I am pleased to say were edible, but also there were books, CDs, DVDs, hot water bottle, socks, calendars, toiletries, more Su Doko and a couple of medicinal miniatures! I pretty good horde I thought.

I cleared the mess and tried for some sleep, which was more resting than sleep as I was disturbed by the alarms on several occasions. I gave up on that idea and decided food would make me feel better. I made Christmas lunch as I had been looking forward to it and hadn’t eaten anything substantial in a while. It was delicious, roast chicken in gravy, carrots, peas and creamed potatoes, which was rounded up by dessert of Christmas pudding and custard. I even ate it with a Christmas Hat on from my cracker.

My joke was: Why did Mickey Mouse take a trip into Space? He wanted to find Pluto!

I then cleaned myself up and had a quick tidy and feeling better about everything, called home. I spoke to all my immediate family, which made me laugh, and they were all in good spirits. I then called my boyfriend and sent more Christmas cheer along the satellite links.

The afternoon was spent tacking nearly each hour. As the high pressure system moves across us to the north, we were in shifting breeze and it was hard to decide if east of south was better than north of west! We compromised and did a little of each.

I can’t deny that Christmas Day was difficult. It being a special occasion, the discovery of yet more issues with the autopilots and being tired all added together and reduced me to tears for a large portion of the day. Thankfully the wind reduced and the sail change work was done before my deflation. So apart from keeping Aviva moving, I concentrated on a little R&R for me.

Tomorrow is another day.

Happy Christmas to everyone and thank you all for the festive cheer and kind thoughts that have been shared with Aviva and I. They certainly bought some nice weather for the day.

Dee and Aviva