I have managed to survive 4 days now of intensive physical training and slowly my poor body is getting the message, the aches and pains are disappearing and little muscles are starting to emerge again from their Christmas coverings.
My main focus for the past couple of days has been the installation of my new Raymarine autopilots and instruments.
Thanks, thanks and thanks again Raymarine!!
I have upgraded all of the equipment on the boat and now have two complete stand alone pilot systems, running the GP tiller rams, one installed on each side of the boat.
My pilots are the SX5 model, which uses a gyro as well as the fluxgate compass. This is really essential for a boat as small and twitchy as the mini, as any sudden movements from the boat will affect the heading from the fluxgate compass, which can make the autopilot correct the course unnecessarily.
When the boat is moving a lot, rolling on waves or slamming, the pilot uses the fluxgate compass to give a long term overall good course and the gyro senses the small fast movements from the boat itself and corrects only where necessary, making for a much smoother ride.
The other significant improvement is the addition of a rudder reference unit which I have fitted to a tang, on my starboard rudder that comes in through the hull.
The rudder reference unit will complete the feedback loop for my pilot so it will be able to learn how rudder to use to make effective corrections to course.
The rudder reference unit has been giving me a hard time. It is the final item to install and positioning of it is critical. At the moment I have made a bracket out of plywood, just to get the pilots up and running and find the best position in the boat – later I will laminate a more professional looking version.
Last night I gave up on the installation – I was rammed into a tiny space at the back of my boat, in the dark, with a head torch on, not much room to move my arms and an array of screws, tape measures, drills and screw drivers around me, which kept falling into tiny spaces I could not reach them or moving of their own accord out of my reach.
After banging my head a couple of times and getting cramp in my neck I went home in a strop. Today however, I have returned with a don’t mess with me attitude………I am going to show that unit who is boss………just got to have a coffee first.