Of broken winches and autopilots

While out sailing over the weekend, two things decided to go crunch and sproing respectively.

The stripper ring in the port sheet winch went crunch; this became evident when the sheet in the self-tailer guide suddenly went under the lift arm, and doubled up in the self-tailer. I cleared the jam, and found bits of black plastic falling out of the self-tailer mechanism.

A broken stripper ring

Thankfully, the Lewmar Ocean series winches are pretty common, as are spare parts, so I’ve ordered a replacement pair, and will replace the non-broken part in the starboard winch too.

Then we decided to go forward to the mast and just enjoy the view while the ST5000 sailed us in a straight line. Well, we sailed in a straight line, but if I listened carefully, I could hear a beeping coming from the cockpit. Wandered back, and joy of joys, the autohelm display is flashing an error at me, and the rudder registration value was hard to starboard, despite the wheel being centred. I went back out on the boat today, emptied the port cockpit locker, and managed to fit my 6’4″ (193 cm in new money) frame down the hole. Couldn’t see a safe way to fold myself into the access hole to under the cockpit sole, so I stuck the phone in the hole instead.

Well, there’s your problem, the pin has come out of the rudder reference unit

That brass-type pin should be screwed in to the rudder reference unit. It isn’t. So I need to find a smaller, more agile person who can fit under the cockpit sole with a spanner. If the spanner doesn’t do the trick, a bit of Loctite will! K has offered, but she won’t be back on board until early July, so I’ll probably ask around at the club to see if anyone is willing to give me a bit of help.