Our new autopilot worked beautifully on the passage from Trinidad to Grenada but we did have some lingering wiring issues. We had trouble figuring out what was powered on which breaker and because the instruments are networked together we were confused about which GPS antenna was feeding which readout. We knew we definitely wanted the chartplotter and its own dedicated GPS antenna to power on and off independently of the rest of the instruments because sometimes we use it as an anchor watch and on long passages we want to be able to turn it off to save power and just use the iPad to confirm our position. And we definitely wanted wind data to be fed into the new autopilot so we could steer the wind.
Our friend Kris from What If peered at the wiring diagram the installer scribbled out for us. “Huh,” she said. “I wouldn't have done it that way.” And she penciled a simpler way to connect our mishmash of instruments of various vintages and protocols in a way that would eliminate any possibility of crosstalk and power looping. “Think about it and if you want me to do it I have time tomorrow afternoon.” How can you repay friends like that?
The next day Kris and Dean arrived with tools, spare parts and more energy than Jack and I normally have in a week. Kris is like a ferret. She gets single-mindedly focused on a task and never admits defeat. In fact the challenge seems to energize her. I love following her train of thought, watching her puzzle out any new conundrum. Up and down she went into the depths of Escape Velocity's wiring access points, then back up to the helm to test her new theory. Dean and Jack and I were her assistants, tugging on wires, turning on and off breakers, writing bits of tape to label cables she identified.
After nearly four hours she had fixed one of the issues but not the other and came back the next day to finish up. What If was planning to check out and head north the following day so this truly was above and beyond. Now our instruments power up and down correctly and the right data goes to each instrument, just like we planned it. Thanks, What If. All fixed.