Cockpit discussions reach the far fetched

197 nm covered in 24 hours. Average speed 8.2 Knots
Position at 12:00 UTC 2 December 2009: 17.05N 44.22W

It is amazing the variety and scope of, sometimes very far fetched, cockpit discussions in the early hours of the morning! Our last one concerned a rolling can of baked beans!

It all started earlier when, accompanied with a bleeping sound, the autopilot decided on a totally different course all on its own. We were flying the Parasailor at the time and the autopilot succeeded in wrapping the sail in a large double twist that refused to un-wind despite experienced efforts to correct the situation. We then had no option but to snuff the Parasailor down just past the wing and then untwist by hand. Once re-launched the discussions as to the cause became more and more inventive as the autopilot repeated this inexplicable action a total of eight times! Asolare is equipped with two totally independent autopilots so we switched to Autopilot No. 2 and all was then quiet on the Western Front and Approaches – to St Lucia!

The autopilots have electronic compasses and the best theory put forward had to involve something like a can of baked beans that occasionally rolled towards and away from the electronic compass thereby considerably affecting their feeds to the autopilots!

This theory was sufficiently plausible to trigger a crew check in the two compass locations. No magnetic material of any sort, mobile or otherwise, was found any were near the compasses so the theory remains unproven!

No photo was taken of this incident as everyone was totally committed to solving the problem so for today we will share with you a photo taken by Clare of an Egret that landed on the bow and after recovering its composure, strutted all round the deck twice, totally ignoring sunbathers on the large aft cushions, left several “calling card” on the deck and after about 12 hours flew off in the direction of St Lucia.

By Peter (with Sallyanne, Steven, Mark and Clare)