After we had explored both Faial and Pico, we focused more on preparing for the upcoming sail to UK. As we had fixed most of the things we needed to fix earlier we didn’t have so much boat jobs to do. But still there’s always stuff to do to make the boat better, and also some of the stuff we had to fix we had to order and then wait for it to arrive.
One such thing was the new steering wire, we had ordered a new one with the correct dimensions. When the steering wire broke on the way to Azores we replaced it with the wire from the genoa halyard, which had snapped the day before. So we wanted to have replace that quick fix with a proper one.
We also had to wait for the autopilot drive unit. We got news from RayMarine that they would replace the broken part of the drive unit and that it would be included in the warranty. But it had to be sent to the Azores, and from what we heard, that is something that can take some time…
But while waiting for the autopilot drive unit we had another very important task to do! It is tradition that sailors that arrive to Horta after the Atlantic Crossing do a boat painting on the pier. With a lot of boats passing by the Azores each year it has resulted in a really colorful marina! If you believe in superstitions, the rumor says that if you don’t do the painting you won’t make the sail back home. But anyway, it is a very fun tradition and of course we wanted to do our painting!
We waited for the drive unit for a few days more, during that time we had a fun evening out with Sanuti and Svala, went horseback riding, ate dinners at restaurants and things like that.
After we had waited many days and still we haven’t gotten the drive unit, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer. The weather for doing the sail to Wales was good, not perfect, but good, and would turn to worse in a few days time. So we made the decision that we would leave the Azores without any autopilot and then get it sent to the UK instead. But before leaving we had to fuel up, which took some time. When we arrived to the fuel dock they were just about to fill the tanks, and before we could fill our tanks, their tanks had to “sit” for awhile so that all dirt in the diesel and the tanks would fall to the bottom. So, we bought an icecream and sat in the sun waiting.
After a couple of hours we could fill up diesel and so we left Horta.
…when we had sailed only about 3 nautical miles, we got a call from the boat chandlery in Horta. They had the drive unit part and could fix it. So we turned back, had the drive unit repaired with the broken part, and left for UK once more. Now it was quite late in the evening, but it was very nice to have teh autopilot as we expected a lot of calms during the sail.