Now the great thing about buying a new boat is that you get to choose the bells and whistles and the bits and pieces according to your preference and purse. All sorts of options are available to satisfy the needs of the discerning modern sailor. For me I tended to lean towards the technological side and to that end I specified the best option for navigation that Hanse had on offer – the Navigation Plus package. This consisted of a fully integrated B and G Zeus2 system with built in charts, wind and sail options and high specification autopilot, all repeated at both helming positions on deck. I also have Category B AIS which enables us to see and be seen by shipping at distances of 20 – 30 miles – very useful for the waters on which we would be sailing. So the very best of kit …. except that it did not work!
Well to be more precise the autopilot did not work. When we asked it to navigate to a waypoint, it turned the boat through 180 degrees and tried to go back to where we had come! When we set it to go to a waypoint it would fishtail violently before, if we were lucky, settling on a course. Even then, in what was apparently a random process it would suddenly swing to starboard and the bleep alarm would sound. We then had to switch to standby mode and re-set the system. We tried to recalibrate it and that worked for a few hours but then the bleep bleep bleep alarm returned and we were back to manual helming.
Eventually we just had to live with the erratic, temperamental, idiosyncratic beast within the system. I christened him “Mr Bean” for reasons which I hope will be obvious.
Trying to get it fixed proved beyond us and summoning help from Xavier, the boat agent, B and G or anybody for that matter while out in the middle of the Adriatic was challenging. Mr Bean had won for the time being and we just had to get on with it. The bleep bleep bleep became the all-pervading sound of the whole passage. I just wanted you to make Mr Bean’s acquaintance.