Miranda Merron, Campagne de France, "Yesterday before nightfall, the B&G autopilot, which has been almost faultless for weeks, started misbehaving in wind mode, pushing the helm hard over each way four times every time the boat slowed a bit in the waves in 25+ knots. It was highly unnerving, not to mention dangerous as the boat slewed perilously close to crash gybing one way and wiping out the other. I tried compass mode which worked for a while until it too started doing the same thing, but only 2 helm hard over rather than 4. I didn't dare switch to the NKE as the compass heading it displayed bore no reality to either magnetic or true, and I wasn't quite sure what it would do. It was too rough to use in wind mode as there is a loose connection or something somewhere aloft.
In amongst all this, I had to gybe, which involves furling the headsail, going dead downwind and unfurling again on the new side to take the pressure off the mainsail and gybe it and the runners without wiping out. I only had time to move half the interior as the wind was shifting. It was pretty full-on trying to keep the boat in a straight line dead downwind as the autopilot didn't take kindly to the lower speed and was steering all over the place. Luckily the wind had dropped for a few minutes, only to kick in at 30 knots straight afterwards. Naturally it was the middle of the night, but it's never quite dark here. Having not slept, I had a siesta on the floor of the boat with it slewing wildly from time to time. Philippe Roger tried to help out before dawn, to no avail. At daybreak, I contacted B&G and NKE for the respective issues, and touch wood, both pilots are working.
Thank you to David at NKE for the quick fix of the compass heading bug, and to Felix and the team at B&G for their trouble-shooting.
Easy conditions now, and just trying ot work out how to tackle the nasty low that on its way in a couple of days. The only thing I'm sure about is having plenty of runway, a long way from the forbidden ice zone.