Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Update from Pasito Blanco

After almost 7 months back at home I flew back to Pasito today for a short visit to check up on the boat and undertake some maintenance in preparation for what I hope will be continuation of the passage come November.

Over the last few months life has been dominated by the kitchen extension project and looking for work. I found some for a while then it unexpectedly ground to a sudden halt and now I'm looking again. There are a number of opportunities in the pipe line but whether any will bear fruit is too early to say. The extension is finished and the new kitchen is being fitted this week. Hopefully by the time I get back next Wednesday it will be all but done and Mrs Fisher will be happy.

I really need to land one of those opportunities soon so that I have enough time to earn enough money to ensure that continuation with the passage is not a financially risky undertaking in addition to being otherwise a slightly risky thing to do.

I arrived laden with a heavy bag and a long parcel of stainless steel tubes and replacement kit for Angus. I spent hours packing it yesterday only to check the EasyJet website AFTERWARDS to discover it was too big to go as hold baggage. Much smaller than some sports equipment though. To be safe I rang EasyJet and after lengthy discussions during which I failed to convince them that it was no different than some Sports equipment (such as tents which are allowed) I had to unpack it, cut some of the stainless steel tubes so that they would fit in my bag and then repack so that it was within the size limits of hold luggage. On arrival at the airport I had to place it in a sports equipment size guide (into which it fitted all too easily as would the original package). A porter type chap asked me what was in it in very broken English. I don't think he understood my answer but it was waiting for me at Gran Canaria!

I've got loads of jobs to do including improving the mountings of the solar panels and fitting new reefing pennants and repairing Angus. More than enough to keep me occupied for the week I'm here.

However, I've now got event more. 7 months neglect even with Agustin keeping an eye on Arctic Smoke has generated another list of jobs:

  • About a square meter on AS's port side was covered in dried and hardened fender plastic residue. AS had been rubbing the fenders of the next door boat. These are covered in a horrid green gunge caused I think by constant friction. That was ground into AS. That was my first job after re-adjusting the mooring lines to pull her clear. It took the whole of the afternoon.
  • The prow has a six inch strip of gel coat rubbed off when she was rubbing up against the pontoon before Agustin noticed and pulled her off. I will probably have to make a temporary repair from the dinghy. A proper repair will require her to be hauled out when I am back in the Autumn.
  • Her bottom is badly fouled despite the expensive anti-fouling. It might come off easily with no need to anti-foul but.... I'll have a go from the dinghy. I do hope I will not have to anti-foul again!
  • The tiller had been rubbing on the edge of the rear cockpit hatch and worn away a chunk of gel coat there too.
  • The nut on the end of the bolt holding the tiller on the rudder shaft had worn loose and fallen off. I was able to find it and put it back.
  • The outlet sea cock for the loo has seized. I've squirted penetrating oil on it but that might require a haul out too. I might have to replace the whole thing skin fitting included!
  • The LED strip lights in the cabin are behaving like firework displays. So much for cheap LEDs from China!
  • The red warning light on the instrument panel does not go off when the engine is running. I think that means it's not charging so hopefully just need to tighten the fan belt up.
  • More worrying is that the engine stop button is very reluctant to work. I had noticed this before but had forgotten. It's now much worse. For a while I thought the engine would run until it ran out of fuel but after a while frantic repeated pushing did the trick. Now that I think about it, the start button is behaving similarly but I had thought that was a loose connection somewhere. They are ancient so it's not surprising. I now remember trying to get a new panel before we started the cruise last year but they don't make them any more! I will need to seek expert advise. Agustin may have some ideas being an engineer.
Other than that it's nice to be back on the boat even if only for a short visit and with no sailing. Hopefully I'll be able to make some progress this week. Trouble is another long spell away will generate more jobs. She'd be safer out of the water but that's more expensive.