Louise is driving all by herself. Katie’s hands nor my own have touched the tiller in hours. Only the press of a button every so often is required to keep us on course. Patrick, is the captain now. I may have introduced you all to Patrick a while back, but since he has recently become an extremely important member of this family, I would like to introduce you again. Patrick, is our SIMRAD auto-tiller. In decent conditions, we plug him in, and suddenly, our house moves effortlessly in the direction we want to go. I do nothing but read, write, and dance around all day, while every once in a while pressing a button to keep us on track. Katie has remained glued to her seat in the shade, I think she has started and finished an entire book today. Patrick changes things. What can be accomplished in a single day of travel with him at the helm, is multiplied. This is great. No wonder people have auto-pilots. I love you Patrick. You are exactly what I have been searching for all this time. Someone to keep me on track.
We sailed the outside from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach. The seas were too rough for Patrick. This meant Katie and Jessie had to command the ship. With wind and waves behind us, we surfed for miles. Some may think how pleasant it must be to be pushed in the direction of your choice by mother nature. The truth is, when the seas are behind you, it is more challenging to steer a straight course. I missed patrick. Surely we added on several miles to our day by not being able to remain linear. The waves were not small, or large, but they were in control, not us. Borderline intimidating, but who were we to complain about heading with them in the same direction. We saw 8.4 knots.
We snuck back onto the ICW at Palm Beach. Rewarded the next day with protection from the land, as a massive, angry, red, orange, and green blob took over the radar. We saw it coming. We felt it coming. Casually we kept tugging along towards Sebastian, our days final destination. The radar looked like satan himself, but for some odd reason, instead of stopping, we put on our rain gear. Suddenly, It was raining sideways Main Coons and Irish Wolfhounds. The wind pushing us backwards, stopping us in our tracks. Visibility became non existent. Our “rain” gear, demonstrated complete failure. May as well have been naked. Wet rubber stuck to goose bumped skin. We dropped the anchor right in the middle of the channel. I could barely hold my face forward to seek a safer spot. Anchor line came flying out if it’s locker. No need to measure scope. Let her rip. We kept the motor on, because earlier in the day, we found our alternator belt shredded to pieces. The engine runs just fine without an alternator belt, however we did turn off unnecessary electronics. Soaking wet, and patiently waiting for the beast to pass, neither of us cared to go inside for protection, we didn’t feel like getting the house wet. I then received a text from our friends we were meeting in Sebastian, only 8 miles down the road. The text read “Pulled pork for dinner. Cold beer. Hot shower.” We pulled up the anchor, and carried on with our day.
Two days disappeared in Sebastian as we tackled some engine problems. Air in our fuel lines resulting in the engine unpredictably quitting, and a case of shredding alternator belts. We were capable of fixing one of the two, spending and entire afternoon “bleeding” air out of the fuel lines until they were free of air bubbles. This process can be simple, or it can be the death of you. I can’t count how many hours we sat in front of the engine, doing absolutely nothing, getting nothing accomplished. All of the sudden we were both wearing alien caps made out of aluminum foil, hoping for answers to fall from the sky. I will say, that Katie and I are getting good at pin pointing all of our engine issues, what’s wrong, why it happened, where its coming from etc… BUT there is a distinct difference in figuring out the problem, and solving the problem. It’s cool when our womanly brain powers go to good use and all, but it’s not so cool when all it means is that we still can’t fix it by ourselves.