Monday, July 30, 2012

Sailing with Otto

I spent most of the weekend dealing with the house. The two weeks of non-stop rain had left my yard knee high, which made mowing it an excessively slow process. I had to haul a bunch of furniture around. The thousands of ants that I poisoned in the yard all decided to make one last pilgrimage up through the plumbing and into my shower to die.

By Saturday evening I was exhausted, but I'm sure my neighbors and my homeowners association are much happier with me. Sunday started slow, and I was really planning to just rest and do a little more cleaning, but I couldn't resist the call of the Seahorse.

Her autopilot had arrived two weeks ago, and I still hadn't gotten a chance to install it, so Saturday afternoon I headed to Kemah.

The Simrad WP32 was actually very easy to install on the pedestal. It took about 20 minutes. However, I could not decide exactly where or how to install the wiring.

Simrad WP32 Wheelpilot

Do I want to put a 12v plug on it and just have it plug in when I want it on? Do I drill a hole in the binnacle and run the wiring to the fuse panel? Do I bother installing the Simrad instrument interface box when I don't have any compatible instruments? Do I want a switch in the cockpit to turn it on and off? If so, where? So many options!

Since the unit was used, and I wanted to verify it worked before I made any of these decisions. I jumpered it to the power on the back of the ignition switch with a couple alligator clips and took it for a spin.

Otto held course like a champ, but seemed very loud. I think I'm going to open him up next weekend just to make sure the belt is ok and that nothing is binding inside.

Another project for next weekend is the addition of self-tailing winches in the cockpit. Aren't these guys beautiful?


These winches are one of the very few "new" parts I've ever purchased for the boat. I'm still arguing with myself over the cost, but hopefully they'll be worth it. I've got to coerce a friend into helping me install them this weekend since I think someone will have to hold the bolts from the top while I squeeze into the far recesses of the boat to tighten the nuts.

A rope seller on eBay was also having a huge sale on yacht braid last week, so I ordered 300 ft of 5/16" line for about $75 to rig my spinnaker. That's an unheard of price for yacht braid, so I'm crossing my fingers that the rope isn't complete crap.

Setting the spinnaker was on my list of 2011 New Years Resolutions, and it never happened. Hopefully this year it will.

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