Yesterday morning, Pendana left her home Marina for the very last time.
With a spring in her step, she headed out with Claire at her controls; backing her from her berth for the last time, Abi and Bianca in the Pilothouse, cameras were clicking and an air of excitement filled the boat as Pendana made this first very important step forward.
However, before I continue I must confess that a recent purchase of a new mattress I had made - without any input from Claire, I might add, was, a total disaster. I know, I know, who would buy a mattress without their wife's input, right?!
Anyway, Claire and I would wake from our bed feeling like we had slept on a cold concrete floor! It was just so hard to get out of bed without almost cracking stiff muscles that we realized this just couldn't continue. Basically the mattress that was purchased by someone looking rather similar to me, was a total and utter disaster. Yes, I WAS WRONG. To Claire's credit that wasn't necessary to say, but chin up where necessary I say. Anyway we decided that a new mattress was required sooner rather than later, which we happily took delivery of three days ago. May I just say the new mattress is loved by both of us more than is probably healthy. Note to self: Ask wife's input before buying a mattress!
Back to the story, as we headed away from the marina, smiles a plenty, I took the controls and pressed the AUTO button on our autopilot. The auto feature basically holds a dialed-in course and compensates for wind and current making life on the helm a little easier. As we approached our first turn I dialed-in a ten degree course change to port and Pendana responded perfectly, slowly but surely turning her bow to port as she cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. Our peace, joy and smiles were about to end. As Pendana took up her new course instead of holding the dialed-in course she simply kept going adding an extra degree as each second passed. It was crystal clear that there was an issue with our autopilot but what could it be?
After handing back the controls to Claire, I started the process of going through all the things that had changed since we were last on the boat. Checking this and that, moving that and this but still the autopilot wouldn't hold course. Once at anchor in Pittwater, after hand steering Pendana most of the way I went about reading the manual hoping against hope to resolve the issue.
I called Guy (The Professor) and Levi (The Surgeon) from Olectric, here in Sydney and to their credit they came out and met us at anchor within a few hours of the call despite their busy schedules while I continued to troubleshoot. Once Guy and Levi arrived they took a quick look at the autopilot then started to drill both Claire and I as to what's changed. After a short while both Claire and I said in unison, well we bought a new mattress!
Guy, Levi and myself then headed straight to the master cabin and removed the mattress (below which lies the autopilot compass in the actual base of the bed) and wouldn't be you know it, problem fixed! Guy then gave us a choice of buying yet another mattress or finding a suitable position to move the compass so that the mattress ceases to cause problems (which wouldn't be easy considering a number of fuel tanks sit below the master cabin).
Easy choice though! Naturally we chose the harder option of moving the compass! There was nothing coming between us and that mattress - not even the autopilot! Guy and Levi went about performing the necessary surgery to move the compass far enough away so that it worked as beautifully as it had done before the new mattress was installed.
So what actually was going on with this mattress?
It was bizarre. This is our third mattress on this boat - four if you count the original it arrived with, so this was completely out of the blue. I decided to speak to the makers of the bed today as I wanted to find out what the springs were made from to cause the issue and they told me that there are around 800 steel pocketed springs nested into the mattress. If you were to look inside an A.H. Beard (Domino, Extravagance) bed you would find a bed filled to the brim with individual springs and the springs are made from steel which wouldn't help the poor old magnetic compass one bit. Bascially the mattress is a foam box surround for boarder/edge support which has five zones of tempered steel pocket springs for unparalleled comfort and support (I can attest to that as this is without doubt the most amazing mattress I have ever slept on). So in short great mattress, but not so good for the compass!
After we raised the anchor and re-swung the compass and Pendana was once again in perfect working order. Needless to say for us to have access to both Guy and Levi is truly a privilege and both Claire, the girls and I are very grateful for their fast and expert response.
The plan from here is to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Thursday with the view of clearing customs/quarantine and exiting Australia mid next week.
You can read more Pendana here.