TWENTY MILES DOWN, 4,689 TO GO

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The anchorage we reached at the end of our very short first day, at Mollon, Sweden

We were supposed to have left yesterday, but did not leave until today.

We’d done a systems check a couple of days ago, but somehow the “OK” button on the cockpit chartplotter escaped our attention.  The kids were dressed and harnessed, the engine was fired up, goodbye hugs were given, and there sat Paul slumped over the chartplotter.

He has a sense of when things are a quick fix, and when they are not.  He suspected that this wasn’t to be a quick fix, and it wasn’t.

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The Chartplotter’s main function or “OK” button.  We had read Columbus’ logs closely, Slocum’s book on Sailing Alone Around the World, and Shackleton’s heroic stories, and could not remember any difficulties with “OK” buttons in those trips. 

The cockpit chartplotter is important to us.  We have two – one in the main cabin and one in the cockpit.  We have come to rely, very much, on the cockpit chartplotter as we dodge in and about the small islands along these Scandinavian coasts.  Without it, we are forced to rely upon paper charts, compasses, and recognition of new objects on the fly, or else run back and forth down the ladder to get position fixes.

Paul removed the chartplotter from its pod, and then pulled it apart.  There was water damage, spoiling one of the circuit boards.  It had happened over the winter, when the pod had been rotated downward in a storm, allowing water to collect on top of and then enter through the pod housing the plotter.

Rather than sailing away up the coast, Paul instead went back to the office to make phone calls to Raymarine U.S., and then Raymarine UK.  We felt sheepish still being there.

We were told that we must ship it to the UK for repairs.  Phone calls were made to DHL Sweden, and then the Swedish post.  It will take a week to ship from our small island.

Calls to Raymarine Denmark.  Then Sweden.  Then back to the UK. Then back to Denmark.  We weren’t able to get resolution.  In the end, after a day and half on the phone and Internet, we settled on a plan of having the compromised circuits shipped to one of our stops along the route ahead of us to Denmark, rather than have us send the entire unit to the UK.  But we weren’t sure that this was the correct solution. Maybe there was more wrong than just this one circuit?  We wouldn’t know until we replaced it.

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The offending circuitry in the chartplotter.

So we tried it all again the next day, broken plotter and all.  It was emotional saying farewell to Smögen and all that we’ve experienced there.  We waved goodbye to Anders on the dock, and it felt like the significant turning of a page in our collective lives.  We were sad, and very anxious too, looking ahead at all of the unknown and potentially difficult sailing pages that would need to be turned in the days, weeks, and months ahead to bring us back across the Atlantic.

The longest journey begins with a single step.  The Caribbean looks like a world away from here.  But before the Atlantic, its the Bay of Biscay that is giving us a lump in our throats, and that not very close.  We’ve got a ways to go, and are getting a somewhat late start in the season.  But we’ll go at it a day at a time.

Once out sailing today, the absence of the chartplotter forced us to get re-acquainted with our navigational skills, which is probably not a bad thing.  We stayed offshore to avoid darting about the islands.

When we finally got started, at a late 3:15 p.m. (with plenty of light still left in the long Swedish day), we moved well and had a good day.  Twenty miles in light winds and light chop.  We got reacquainted with our rusty sailing skills too.  Sails up.  Reefing lines cleared away.  It all worked, albeit a bit more slowly and clunkily than usual.

The kids did OK.  Mostly.  Alexander and Aylin fell asleep within the first twenty minutes, and slept until the last hour.  Alexander is having some six-year molars coming in, and that is making him uncomfortable.  And the boat was pitching a good amount at the end.  He didn’t like it.  Aylin didn’t seem so happy either.  But the anchorage saved us just in time, and we pulled in about an hour and a half before sunset.  The sun is going down now.  It is nice here.  We feel content.

2 responses to “TWENTY MILES DOWN, 4,689 TO GO

  1. if you get the plotter working again take a few packages of desiccant. those little packages you get when you buy shoes or anything. throw one or two inside the unit. They also sell it in bulk its not a bad idea to have a bag on the boat in-case electronics get wet. you can disconnect them and toss them in the bag. it will dry it out in a very short period of time.

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    • That’s good help, Adam. We have a dehumidifier on board too, and that takes the moisture out of everything very quickly. The packets probably would not have done the job here, though, as the water ingress was pretty substantial.

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