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post #523 of Old 09-02-2013
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Location: Sydney Australia
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Hi All - new member here from down under. I love this thread so had to share my own.

Recently bought a "new" boat - the missus and I were taking her for a sail, was blowing only about 15knots. The missus is very much the amateur and this is the largest yacht I have owned (valiant 40). Sailing up Sydney harbour, gooseneckng with the wind directly behind. All of a sudden - steering wheel goes stiff. I have no steering - which I calmly inform my first mate. I start the motor - we are now heading straight for land (still 200m away or so) but finding it hard to alter course. Drop the jib... Struggling with the mainsail then I hear this "beep beep beep" from the starboard cockpit. I look down - autopilot is engaged and is alerting me to being off course...

First mate had leant on the autopilot and unbeknownst to her or me, had selected our course for land!... Hence "losing steering". I switched it off, regained control, dropped the main and put the boat back on the mooring. We decided that that day was not our day to go sailing. The autopilot (which is wired with the rest of the instruments unfortunately) is now covered at all times inshore!

Happy sailing!
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