A tale of caution:
Back in the mid 90s I was crusing singlehanded in the Carib. I was in English
Harbor and I decided to go down isalnd first stop Deshais, Guiadaloupe. The trip is about 50- 60 miles and I decided to leave early and make a day light landfall.
Everything went swimingly. I set a waypoint, the GPS
gave me the heading and I set the autopilot
to track on the highway in the water
... straight and true. It was a reach and I was able to set the exact course to hit the waypoint 60 miles to the south.
Lovely sail and no one out here in the midfdle of the carib.. sun, warm breezes.. making 6-7 knots.. life couldn't be better. Noon arrives and I decide to do some serious cooking
down in the galley
. Down I go... and I start doing up a complex pasta sauce.
There is a small port light at the Galley
and as I looked out across the waves a sailboat scresms past on a reciprocal heading. Holy Moses! A near miss 25 miles from Antigua
, 25 miles from Guadaloupe.
I jump up into the cockpit
and see the other vessel sailing under autopilot on a receiprocal course.. a reach and no one in the cockpit
. Two offended he and me. So I take the binocs and scan aherad and astern.
A parade heading south a parade coming north.. all on the imaginary highway in the water
. Presumable all autopilots aimed at the same waypoints and all potential collisions.
I see the same thing from Watch Hill to Block Island... boata on autopiliots following programmed waypoints on reciprocal courses.
WATCH OUT. MAINTAIN WATCH.. ALWAYS... especially in seal lanes. ALWAYS. Be aware of GPS
driving your autopilot.