The Raymarine Riddles!

Thursday was a good day – til the evening. We were making good progress in
lessening wind in the direction we wanted 240 degrees so as to avoid the big
hole in the wind to our North. We passed the half way mark, an event which
the skipper had earlier denoted as worthy of a celebratory beer, Spanish
sausage and olives. Lekker! As darkness fell we saw a large mass of black
cloud covering the horizon in front of us. As we sailed under it the wind
died completely and then boxed the compass – blew from every direction. When
we say blew we mean 0 to 6 knots! And it rained – like the monsoon in India.
We tried to keep Nelly Rose sailing but it was so difficult. Also it was
made complex since we had left the spinnaker boom fixed on the port side of
the boat and could not tack. Well, actually we did – several times totally
unintentionally. Now Raymarine. We have been directing the boat by Course
Over Ground on an electrical instrument. When we had finally found some wind
and we could sail the boat we pointed her in the “correct”direction
according to the COG. This meant 280 on the dial. Not where we wanted to go
but at least we were sailing. Then the wind increased to 20 Knots.We put in
a reef. Then we got the spinnaker pole down – both in pouring rain with P
and B wearing swimming shorts and a foul weather jacket. The only sensible
course to steer was 280 degrees, to windward, blowing 20 knots for 4 hours
in the monsoon but only moving forward at 4 knots. On B’s watch he checked
his wristwatch which has a compass and it said we were sailing NE not S. At
the same time a very faint glow of dawn appeared – it was in the wrong
place! What magic was this. Could there be another Bermuda Triangle? A check
of the main compass confirmed the sorry tale and we let out the main and
genoa and started to sail 245 degrees in the right direction on a beam reach
at 7 knots! Before anyone criticises – we did read the Manual for Raymarine
and can only conclude that the girations under the monsoon cloud earlier had
completely foxed the electronics so they thought N was S and S was N.

Accordingly we made no progress for a number of hours. Although sailing at a
rate of knots, our position reports of 03.00 and 06.00 are virtually
identical. It got P and B tired and very wet after all the deck work and
hand steering and we have spent the last 6 hours making up distance and
direction lost.  Such is the life of an ocean sailor. In the course of the night Brian failed to break his neck after he trampled a flying fish to death an was later rewarded by one of its mates as it flew and hit him in the stomach.

Today Friday we are rested and awoke to a sunny sky with 16 knots and making
7 knots in the correct direction. But, Neptune is not kind since having had
a good sail in the morning we are completely becalmed at 1200! Very
frustrating, but part of the game. Maybe, if the waves die down, we’ll even
go for a swim later on…..