Did I tell you that everything electrical on Eileen is disintegrating?
The last of my Raymarine tiller pilots died thousands of nautical miles ago and while the trusty Aries wind vane (a solo sailors best friend), has proved its worth time and time again, it is a bit much to ask that it also steer Eileen in light or intermittent winds.
Not that I haven’t tried.
The trouble is that I can only stave off sleep with coffee and red bull (legal drug abuse) for so long and as a result, while motor sailing off Dominica on my homeward leg, I had a timely complacency wake up call.
The trouble with wind vanes (while motor-sailing) is twofold. The wind can change direction and have you set a completely unexpected course, or the wind may die altogether (and since you happen to be under power), you set a completely unexpected course.
Elementary (and repetitive) isn’t it my dear Watson!
Not that this is an issue when out at sea, but while coasting, as I happened to be doing before nodding off (even after the cocktail of stimulants), it’s a no no.
I only woke up because Eileen was behaving strangely. She was making circles, just sixty metres or so off a rocky shoreline!
Now either I’m the luckiest sailor alive, Eileen has developed intelligence, or Bill Boyall has somehow taken the helm again…
Take your pick.