Wednesday 12 August 2015

Farewell Horta, hallo the Atlantic

Pico at dusk
It's been a wonderful time here at Horta but if all goes well we will be leaving Wednesday 12th August, when I plan to publish this update.

[It's now Wednesday 1230 and we should be leaving in a couple of hours. This entry is rather scrappy but it's been a bit hectic and I have run out of time to tidy it up. Apologies to all.]

A gale is blowing through today (Tuesday)

but tomorrow we should have moderate easterly winds and providing the last major job is complete - the new cockpit table which is being made by the local carpenter, Harry, we'll be on our way, destination Gran Canaria, quite probably via some of the other Canary Islands

The new cockpit table has indeed been completed...

Bernie, Harry & David christen the table with a tot of rum.
The new Bimini can be seen stowed (on account of the gale) in the background.

David arrived on Friday evening and Bernie on Sunday evening so we now have a full crew....

Bernie on left and David with Adnam one of our neighbours in the marina

David is an ex civil servant who has worked with and for numerous big names in government and the civil service and with his wife has a circumnavigation to his credit including a Force 10 in Biscay at the beginning. I think I might have stopped there but they carried on to have many more memorable experiences. Bernie is an ex merchant mariner who has visited many "interesting" locations. He's also a yachtsman, who sails out of the crouch. He's a telecommunications engineer whose skills have already proved invaluable in setting up the boat's satphone/computer link. I'm therefore the crew member with the least sea miles to his credit by a very significant margin.

I've completed a number of jobs over the last few days including replacing another lose screw on the genoa foil that was preventing the genoa from being lowered. Once I did get it down I patched the foot in a few places where it had chaffed through on the rail. I also managed to slacken the leach line and I hope the sail will now set better as a result, but we'll have to see. 

We've spent the last couple of days installing the new bimini that Bernie brought out with him and fighting with the laptop, tablet and satphone in an effort to get them set up to download grib (weather) files whilst at sea. The bimini itself was fairly straightforward to install - we had to drill a couple of holes in the cockpit coaming and insert the fittings along with shims that Bernie manufactured in order that the frame's legs could be inserted vertically. However we also had to move the solar panels which in their original positions would have fouled the bimini. Thankfully there was enough slack in the cables to allow us to move them forward the couple of feet required.

After many hours and we managed a test grib download over the satphone using the laptop. Subsequently we managed to get the link from the satphone to the tablet which consumes much less power.

Jerry, Essen and Mahammed
Jerry is a Dutchman and an ex-marine who arrived here four years ago following a cruise in the Caribbean and liked it so much he's still here. Essen is a Swedish Turk who has also fallen in love withe Azores and like Jerry is now applying for temporary residency so that he can enjoy discounted rates in the marina and amazingly on air fares. Mohammed is a Turkish Canadian who has remarkable tales to tell of trekking through the Amazon. He and Jerry are single handers whilst Essen is so part time, the rest of the time his wife sails with him.

Pico by day - AS is the shorter mast under the peak

Bill on his boat Advent ll from Washington, NC

Adnam with one of the local youngsters

Adnam is an extraordinarily talented young man. An American with a Lebanese mum, he is on a mission to find his Arabian routes. He's crewing for the lovely Bill from Washington, North Carolina. I hope I remember to get a photo of him and post below.

Adnam has already sailed long distances and has worked on commercial fishing boats. He also plays the violin which he has taken with him around the festival. Needless to say he has been a great hit with the local young women!

Local whale boats racing

Essen, Pascal, Jean, Xavier, Susanne

Essen, I've mentioned already. Jean and Xaivier are a couple of very colourful Frenchmen. They built Sycergie

Essen with Micha during Sangria time!

Martin from the Bermuda with his wife Niaha below

Left to right - Jean , Susanne, me, ?, Jean Baptiste

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