The water was insanely calm. Our ride could not have been better. In fact, it was so calm we decided to do something we'd been planning on doing once we hit open waters. Recalibrate our ship's autopilot.
Having used the system a while now we were never impressed with our autopilot. It ambles, swaying back and forth like a drunken sailor! Seriously messed up. Up until now, as a result, we've been driving. Which is pretty easy given the cockpit setup. It's like driving a big bus. But occasionally, when the water is churned, it can be tough to steer and you'd rather have an autopilot make those micro adjustments to keep her straight.
|A bunch of furloughed cruise ships
It was a series of 4 tasks. First, run the engines wide open and see how fast the boat goes. (About 16 knots). Next, do some donuts while it resets the compass (we did about 2 complete circles). Then point the boat into open waters without any obstacles, get to cruising speed, and the autopilot takes over, swaying back and forth a bit until it (apparently) gets the feel of the boat. Lastly, point her straight for a "true north" calibration.
|Hello Chesapeake Bay! Look at that water.
By noon, however, clouds began to form. Our ETA was still around 1 pm but we kept a very close eye out. Storms began popping up around us. And our radio announced severe thunderstorms in the area, with strong winds and hail.
By 12:30 the water started to swell. Not bad, but we had it on our beam so we tottered a bit. Once we got off the bay the water settled, and docking was pretty easy.
|About and hour after docking...
It was awesome!