It’s been a long process of hand steering all the way up the coast once the autopilot stopped working on Monday. As I mentioned in my last post, the boat has a strong pull to port caused by prop wash as it hits the rudder. The pressure on the rudder increases dramatically as the RPM is increased so that means that the faster we push, the tougher the steering becomes. If we are running at 8.5 kts and there is moderate wave action, it takes all my strength to push the wheel to compensate for the pull to the left. One way that I have been able to adjust though, is to lock the wheel in place for a few moments when it is on course so that I can give myself a rest. As I mentioned, we have broken up the day into watches with 4 hour watches beginning at 19:00 and continuing until 07:00 when we switch to 6 hour watches. During watches, Bob and I have determined that steering for 45 min and switching off at that point works best.
The helm problem would be much less if we were sailing but the winds have not been favorable for us to keep up the needed speed. Actually, there has been wind but the need to keep the engine running, combined with the helm issues, make it prudent not to put out any sail and rely on the motor alone. This is because the wind has been nearly dead astern, and with the difficulty in steering a jibe would be a real probability.
We should be rounding Sandy Hook late morning and begin our run up the East River, a trip that I really enjoy.
Oh yea, we passed three sea turtles on Tuesday that were sunning themselves on the surface. They were huge, perhaps nearly 4′ in diameter. Quite a sight. Unfortunately, they were too far away, and we were going to fast, for me to get a photo.
Looking forward to being home again. I understand that the honey-do list is long.