Saturday, 25 April 2015
Sea trials abandoned today due to the rain. Will have to await our return.
Friday, 24 April 2015
To start with we had a lazy morning not really getting going until 1130 local time. My first job was to go off hunting for fuses, plywood (for another spare vane) and lead flashing to replace the nuts and washers I used to increase the counterbalance weight of the wind vane. Two hours and lots of hills later I arrived back with the fuses. Fortunately the plywood and lead flashing were not essential items.
Them it was time for lunch after which we started on the Genoa furling. After an initial inspection we decided to take the swivel apart (the top of the sail is attached to it so it can be hoisted up the wire stay at the front of the boat and it allows the sail to be furled round it when the right bit of string is pulled.
A couple of loose screws later and there were ball bearings running around the deck and into the water!
That meant we had to dismantle the whole furling mechanism to get the swivel off and replace the ball bearings - fortunately I had some spares. We got that done and started to re-assemble the mechanism when rain stopped play.
That gave me the opportunity to look at the laptop charging issue. Another blown fuse - now replaced and now writing this waiting for the rain to stop.
Also an opportunity to show you how quickly the Spanish can build a block of flats. Last night when we went to bed there was nothing there, this morning......
We arrived yesterday evening after a good sail from Morus.The day started out grey and wet indeed as Tony said, it made one nostalgic for the Channel.
We also started with the two hours of motoring to clear the coast in light but increasing winds on the nose. However, after a couple of hours we were able to turn south and set sail. A couple more hours and the sun came out and we had a most enjoyable sail to the Ria de Vigo and then up the Ria to Vigo itself.
On arrival at about 1800 BST we were given a berth bin the old Real Club Nautico Marina about which we had read mixed reports. We apparently had use of the swimming pool, showers and Sauna a couple of minutes away. The showers were tepid but welcome and we have not tried the sauna yet.
Today we were moved into the new marina which is very posh but so new that there is no water or power yet available.
Last night we had a telephone conversation with Chris who built the wind vane and he suggested a number of areas to look at including increasing the weight of the counterbalance weight. We did that today and the results were most promising but we will have to undertake sea trial to be sure. We might therefore take the boat out for the day on Saturday to test things out.
Not so good news about the Tiller Pilot. To our great surprise the marina people said they would arrange for someone to visit the boat. David turned up in the afternoon and the results of my careless approach to fuse replacements were revealed a burned out motor and a damaged circuit board. David took it away to investigate further and to price the repairs, but it will probably cost just as much as a new one. There's not much else to it other than the motor and circuit board! Worst news was to come though. He said it wasn't powerful enough for the boat. OK for motoring but not up to withstanding the forces of sailing!!! No pressure Wind Vane.
It turns out that we still have problems with the furling mechanism of the Genoa and after fiddling about about with it today we concluded that we'll have to take the whole system apart to investigate. That's tomorrow's major job.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Son = So what happened to the electronic thing?
Father = Well it blew a fuse. I didn't have a replacement so shoved a bit of metal in and because no fuse to blow it must have burnt something out internally. My fault on that count and probably putting too much strain via having mainsail sheeted in too much = too much force on machine = blow fuse or on this case meltdown!!! Pretty bloody stupid of me really but in middle of night in wind and rain just wanted to get it going so didn't think through consequences. Mick was appalled at my stupidity!
Son = Not gonna lie dad that's very stupid. You could have started a fire on your boat
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Today was a jobs day on the boat. These included a temporary repair to a spreader guard that disappeared somewhere between Ramsgate and Dover and which necessitated a repair to the Genoa in Plymouth. Unfortunately the local Chandlers here did not have the right size guard so I had to just tape it up. Also a temporary repair to a signal halyard that tore off the spreader somewhere on the Biscay crossing.
Friday, 17 April 2015
We will have to get the steering systems sorted out before we undertake any further long distance passages and it's looking like getting the Tiller Pilot repaired and/or replaced will require us to get to Vigo. The local Agent here appears to have closed down and I think we may have to get one shipped out to Vigo which we could get to in 3 one day hops if the weather allows.
Meanwhile on the wind vane front, I have spoken to Chris who has advised on potential adjustments which we will try and test out on departure from here. If that fails, I then face the prospect of either having to buy another or get the previous one shipped out from home! I know the it works but removed it in favour of the current one because of concerns about the weight. Either of the above will incur considerable delays and expense!
The first two days of the passage out in the channel were really quite unpleasant, consisting first of strong head winds and lumpy seas and then calms and lumpy seas through which we motored for 12 hours.
The only saving grace was that hard on the wind the boat will steer herself with the helm lashed and we therefore had temporary respite from the chore of constant helming. The motion of the first 24 hours was so unpleasant that I was sea sick for the first time in my life.
Once we had Brest abeam going south however, we picked up the forecasted easterlies and the seas subsided. The next three days were a mixture of light to moderate easterlies punctuated by calms through which we motored to start with but then conscious of the need to preserve fuel we had to just wait for the wind to return. Sometimes we made good speed but often the winds were so light that we were down to 2-3 knots and therefore our average speed was significantly reduced over the passage. We covered roughly 450 nautical miles over the ground in 6 days 6 hours giving an average of only 3 knots. Not fast!
The worst part of the passage which really did take the fun out of it was the constant helming. We were both so knackered after our 3 hour stints that all we really wanted to do was sleep even during the day. Social time was therefore limited to hand-overs some of which were extended when one of us became sufficiently hungry to cook. We did get a bit more used to things by the last sunny day in the bay and hove to in gentle winds to have a decent lunch together. The day before that or perhaps the day before that we were visited by dolphins - the same type of small ones on both occasions. They cheered us up.
Late afternoon on Wednesday we had a period of calm after which the winds went round to the west and gradually built, requiring one, two and eventually, by the early hours of Thursday, 3 reefs. That's when we decided to alter course to A Coruna. Another notable experience of the Bay, half way across (as the winds were getting up) was the amount of shipping. By the Thursday night, we had a constant stream of north bound traffic to port and south bound traffic to starboard and felt like a hedgehog in the central reservation of the motorway. We realised that we'd stumbled into an unofficial separation zone used by the ships going to and coming from the formal zone at Finisterre. If you imagine how difficult it would be for the hedgehog to cross the motorway, that's rather what it was like for us. We were very glad we had the AIS transponder because we at least that meant the ships could see us and occasionally we called one up on the radio to clarify who would pass whom where. Most of the time though we just tried to keep out of there way. Eventually we made a dash across the north bound traffic and made it after about an hour. Soon after that the third reef went in and we headed for Coruna. Our approach there was similarly dogged by heavy traffic going up and down the coast, including numerous fishing vessels that apparently were engaged in fishing and therefore had right of way.
We entered the marina at 2100 BST to find we were the only other visitor...
Sunday, 5 April 2015
At long last after a long if fairly mild winter of jobs on the boat, we started our cruise to the Azores via Lisbon and Madeira on Monday. Mind you we've started during one of the coldest springs I can remember.
It was also something of a scramble to get the boat even partly ship shape. This is what she looked like on Sunday lunch time..
First I could not start the engine. We appeared to have a flat battery but I knew it was fully charged on Sunday. After 20 mins of angst I suddenly realised I had forgotten to turn the battery on. We just managed to get to the Marina lock on time.
I'd overlooked bending on the Genoa but given the strong winds was happy to use the smaller jib instead. It was that sort of sailing.....
However during the course of Monday the winds lessened and therefore I decided to bend on the Genoa under way. All appeared be well until the winds got up again and it was time to furl the Genoa. Of course it was stuck and would not move. The only choice in increasingly strengthening winds was to get the Genoa down completely. Murray and I got a good soaking on the Foredeck but managed the task without further incident.
We got Ramsgate on Monday evening just before the really strong winds arrived and discovered that I had attached the Genoa halyard directly to the sail rather than to the swivel, which of course accounted for why the sail would no furl.
We then discovered that because we had arrived out of hours we could not get out of the Marina on the land side - or more accurately we could get out but would not be able to get back in again because there was no one around to tell us what the code for the gate was. Fortunately we were well provisioned and so Tony proceeded to cook a splendid Roast Chicken dinner that was enjoyed by all.
My friend Chris who left Chatham at the same time at the start of his long sail back to New Zealand, had decided to only go as far as Stangate Creek on the Medway that night and reported he'd had a night from hell at anchor there! Marinas have there benefits even when stuck on the boat.
Next morning we got ashore for a light breakfast snack.....