DIY Dave


It’s always an unknown setting out on a journey when your 37 year old boat has not moved for a wee while. Hoards of mischievous blighters are known to take up camp in out of the way places, hiding in crevices and corners, waiting to leap out and bite you on the bum on your first trip.

We had just the four on our journey from Fishing Bay, Deltaville to Cape Lookout, near Beaufort. Round Hatteras.  A first for us. But actually a great sail.

Cap’n and chief Spannerman Dave was equal to them all. Take that you cheeky blighters. A quick précis of the list. Dodgy alternator putting out too many volts…solved by replacing the alternator with a spare. Tick. Burst pipe and associated flood from the pressurised water tank to the sink…solved by replacing the pipe and two big sponges. Tick. Snapped lazy jack line which keeps the sail in a bag along the boom…solved by a fancy bit of splicing and a quick trip up the mast. Tick.

And the fourth, I was on watch in the middle of the night when I became aware of an unwanted creaking noise in the steering quadrant / autopilot area. Hmmmm. That’s not usual or healthy. Time to wake Dave up. Turns out the bracket which holds the autopilot mechanism has a crack down a welded seam causing the unit to twist in a Chubby Checker fashion.

This was of course, only discovered when the whole contents of the back bedroom had had to be hauled out from its neatly packed home and distributed on the floor to allow access. This one was not so straightforward to fix so we hand steered for the next 30 hours. Tell you what, that autopilot does bloody good work and hand steering down wind in the dark with no points of reference is knackering.

All the aforementioned didn’t really dampen spirits. I was really happy to be moving again. We had a fast trip down with good wind. A large swanky powerboat called Andrea’s Revenge overtook us and made us laugh. Who was on the wrong side of Andrea? 😀

I saw a large ray somersaulting out of the water and landing on its back, it’s white belly vivid in the sea. I didn’t know if it was being chased, or just happy, or maybe trying to get rid of mites on its back? Whatever the reason it was quite spectacular.

And dropping the anchor at 3.15am meant Dave stayed up and followed the England New Zealand Rugby World Cup semi final. Bad luck Kiwi friends. I however was asleep in seconds.


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