We just had an interesting trip across from Bora Bora
. We were headed to Beveridge Reef but the autopilot
died enroute. Took a day to troubleshoot the problem (a broken piece of plastic which joins the shaft of the electric motor
to the hydraulic pump) and then another 24 hours of waiting while the fast setting 5200 did its job. During the troubleshooting, I had to drain the hydraulic oil
twice. We had enough oil
onboard to fill it the 3rd time when the repair was ready. But this also meant that we just drifted about without steering
for 2 days during the whole process of troubleshooting and repairing.
Anyway, the repair only lasted 12 hours, the 5200 couldn't hold the plastic together and it broke again. Didn't want to risk draining the last of the oil again even though we could have recovered most of it, so we just hand steered for 3 days and came in through the pass to here, Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands
A local wood carver has made a couple of replacements
(wooden autopilot!) and I will pick up another two in aluminium today.
Now I also need to get 4 or 5 litres of hydraulic steering
fluid for the next 800 miles until we hit civilization again. There is none on this little island. There is not even any petrol on the island until the next supply ship arrives in about 10 days.
However, I can get hold of automatic transmission
So my big question - thanks for the patience - is it ok to use ATF instead of the correct hydraulic steering
fluid in a hydraulic steering