Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Manhasset - At a free mooring

Notice the Freedom Tower rising at the south end of Manhatten (two cranes)
The current didn't change at Hell Gate until 2:30 PM so we had time to kill before leaving Haverstraw Bay. After a lazy morning, we got underway around 9:00 am and ambled south in the hazy morning sun.

Brooklyn Bridge (and the Freedom Tower just under it)
Right away I noticed something wrong with the autopilot. It seemed erratic, swerving to the right and left sporadically. After some investigation it seemed that the fluxgate compass was not stable and the autopilot was merely following orders from the compass on which direction to head in. However, it turned out not to be the compass. The dealer put the fluxgate compass in the worst location possible, right in the middle of a nest of wiring heading to the 12v panel so anything on the boat that's turned on or off will pulse a magnetic signal to the compass throwing it off-course. I suspect it's actually caused by the charging circuit that's varying between 50 amps of current and 0 amps. Looking on the internet, it could be a bad connection on wiring that senses the voltage of the batteries. That's a chore for the morning after the motor cools down.

The last few days of boat problems got us into a conversation on the number of systems on a boat that could fail. If you required each system (charger, autopilot, GPS, depth finder, etc.) to be 95% reliable and there are 20 such systems on board (there are actually more than that on most boats), then the probability of every one operating without fail for some period of time is only 36% (64% failure rate!) Of course that's an argument for keeping things simple but some need (me!) modern conveniences not to mention navigation aids such as a chartplotter and GPS. At any rate, I now have two "systems" to diagnose: the genset water supply and now the charger that runs off the engine, such fun!  
The East River and Hell Gate was like a millpond and with little traffic. We're now in Manhasset Bay on one of the free moorings from the Town of West Hempstead. There are 10 in all and the best bargain in Long Island Sound. We'll head to Northport on Tuesday.