38/36N 5/21W, staysail, 3 reefs, 12 kts, surges to 22 kts, 301.6 miles in last 24 hours. Had two exciting experiences in the last 24 hours. Last night, at 0230z, with staysail and 2 reefs, hitting 22 knots (fast for this boat and very fast for this skipper!), with no exact end of high-speeds in sight, I decided to go to 3rd reef. Broad reaching, trying to do more quickly than my usual methodical self (pull in each line a meter at a time so that everything–and I mean EVERYTHING–stays organized).

Well, I ended up with a mess of lines up against the mast, spreaders, and rigging. I eventually got the halyard and tack right, but the clew reef line #3 was wrapped around wrong side of sail. So I needed to go out there–to the end of the boom–to sort out the clew reef line. So out I go to the end of the boom, back to the cockpit, and back out to the end of the boom to finish the job–all the while going 20 knots in the pitch black of night. Don’t anybody send that picture to my mother; I couldn’t have been any more “out there” than that! I was very glad to have the pilot steering.

Today, trying to conserve power, I turned off computer, network, inverter, and monitor. Then I no sooner got back to the cockpit when the autopilot ALARMS sound, and I leap to the tiller. But the pilot its still steering on compass but not on wind. What’s up?! I turn off the pilot, hand steer, wait for a calmer patch, leap below, turn off all instruments, back to tiller to make sure everything is OK outside. Then a minute later back below to turn on instruments, back to compass pilot, ok, but there is still no wind speed registering. I look aloft, and the anemometer is still there spinning, which is good because it’s a long way to climb up to fix it. Still trying to figure out what’s wrong, I recycle the whole pilot compass, pilot, instruments, still no wind. So I steer by compass pilot. I’m confused.

Think. I can switch to the backup, but can’t get past the thought that turning off the inverter had something to do with it. It’s too coincidental that it happened within 30 seconds of turning it off. After a while, the windspeed reappeared on the instruments, for about three minutes, then off again, then on again 20 minutes later for five more minutes, then off, then came on again and now it has stayed on for three hours.

There is so much electronics going on in such a small space, with antennae, Iridium, INMARSAT, AIS, etc., that maybe it was a big software glitch. Let’s hope so. Anyway, still on compass pilot, not quite daring to use wind quite yet, but rocketing along nonetheless.