Crossing the Atlantic – Day Nineteen

The autopilot belt snapped again. We didn’t have a second spare (because I’m a fool) but I repaired the previously-broken one with some loctite and chafe-tape. We resolved to be gentle with it – I put the “break” at the opposite side of the wheel to the gears, so it’ll only be under any pressure if the rudder needs to turn 10 degrees or more (which we can nearly avoid in these conditions, by adjusting the rudder gain downwards and changing course either by hand or slowly). At the same time I cleaned out the innards of the autopilot and tried my best to set it up as clean/neatly as possible. Even being gentle I doubt it will last for long, but will hopefully get us to Rodney Bay where we can source replacements!

We also realised that the wheel remover tool and my largest adjustable spanner were not washed after being sprayed with seawater last time we had to do the autopilot at night. Rusty already – will have to WD40 and clean them thoroughly soon!!

We caught some kelp in a net, and found a “kelp crab” (as we christened it) in it. Despite Hector’s attempts to crush it, and Theo/Arthur’s keen investigation, it survived and was returned to the sea on another kelp patch that we were sailing past. We later found out that it was a European Green crab, one of the most invasive species in the world – given how this specimen was peacefully floating away 2/3rds of the way across the Atlantic I can see how they are so successful!

Dave also ripped the sail – he was shaking a reef out and forgot to remove one of the sail ties, which ended with a 18” tear. We’ll leave the first reef in the sail for the rest of the trip and sort it out at Rodney Bay- sail-tape didn’t look sufficient for the job and we can manage without sewing at sea!

Decent sailing day, but not quick (especially with the extra reef in the main) so it looks like we’ll be arriving in the dark tomorrow. Not a great problem as the anchorage is huge, but not as much fun for the kids.

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