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As you can see from the accompaning photo of our dutiful crew, we are following your example by wearing PFDs on w a t c h . H o w e v e r, while we feel safer afloat, we can't help thinking that some of the thrill is gone. — Dudley Gaman and 'Torpedo' Coyote Point Marina The sailing diet. Soul/blues singer Joss Stone, who we swear is Billie Holiday reincarnated as a white British teenager (go figure), unveiled her weight loss strategy in a recent issue of the British magazine Grazia: She goes sailing. According to the in-depth article — well, actually, just according to her friends — "her new hobby of sailing burns 170 calories an hour." The piece didn't say what kind of boat she sails on or how exactly she participates, but we're guessing she doesn't run the grinders on a Volvo 70. Conversation with an autopilot Mark Deppe has sailed a lot with autopilots. The one on his J/120 Alchera steered 95% of the time in his recent overall win of last month's Singlehanded TransPac — as well as during division wins in the two races prior to that. It's also done most of the driving during the last two years he spent cruising Mexico. But as anyone whose ever used an autopilot will know, it's at best a love-hate relationship. During the almost windless early days of the Solo TransPac, Alchera's autopilot had trouble steering the boat in the very light air. "It signalled its distress by flashing every instrument panel red and green, while beeping and showing ‘error 104 fault’ on its display,” says Mark, who — having lots of time on his hands while waiting for wind — proceeded to chronicle a typical conversation between himself and the recalcitrant autopilot. It all starts when you’re down below and the sails start slatting . . . autopilot — beep, beep, beep; flash; error 104 fault! (translation — “There’s not enough boatspeed! I can’t turn the boat if there’s not enough boatspeed!”) me — press several buttons twice until I hit the right one. (translation — “You’re not going to get any more boatspeed. I know you think we’re not moving, but there’s enough boatspeed to turn the boat slowly. So just be patient and do your job.”) autopilot — beep, beep, beep, etc. (translation — “Mark, I really don’t think there’s enough boatspeed.”) me — press buttons again, turn the boat the right way, reengage autopilot. (translation — “See, I just did it! And so can you. Now stop your whining and do what you’re told!”) autopilot — beep, etc. etc. (translation — “Boatspeed! I want more boatspeed!”) me (no buttons pushed, spoken out loud) — “Look, you piece of s**t — see, I’m turning the boat! It’s not that hard! So just do your job and shut the f**k up!” autopilot — beep, beep, beep. . . (translation — “Up yours, a**hole. If you like steering so much then go ahead and steer til your arms fall off. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”)
Page 102 •
• August, 2006
The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.