Sunday 14 August 2016


The end of my current contract is in sight - the end of August and I've started planning and preparing for my return to Arctic Smoke in Pasito Blanco, Gran Canaria. My flight out is booked for 25th September. The plan is to spend October preparing Arctic Smoke for the Atlantic Crossing before returning home for a couple of weeks for the birth of grandchild number 4 (somewhere else I had said it was number 3)! This latest will be my daughter's first and another girl apparently, which will make 4 in all. I fly out again on November 13th. A bit of poor planning on my part because the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) East Atlantic Rally is due to depart Pasito on the 15th. I really want to leave with them so at best will face a hectic day on the 14th with final preparations and provisioning. [31/8 update - booked a new flight for 10th November. Hope Ursula's baby is not late - due on 4/11! My long-time sailing buddy, Mick has signed up for the leg to Cape Verde and he will fly out on the 13th by which time I should be ready.]

I've got quite a lot of maintenance and other jobs to undertake to get Arctic Smoke ready for the off and therefore leaving with the rally will be dependent on getting everything done in October. I've booked a lift-out for AS on 29th September. Kiwi Chris will try and get to Pasito around the same time to assist with the chores which would be a big help. He has just returned to his boat JB in Cangas, Atlantic Northern Spain and is at the time of writing, has just arrived in Bayona. If all goes well he'll arrive in the Canaries around the time I fly in. I'll have a reasonable chance of getting the key jobs done with his help.

The main ones are:

  • Check through-hull fittings (they are all only a couple of years old so should be fine)
  • Clean off bottom (I'm hoping that the Verometal copper coat applied in spring 2015 will still be working and therefore that anti-fouling is not required)
  • Fit an internal bilge pump
  • Re-site external bilge pump (the handle fouls the tiller since converting to tiller steering)
  • Engine service (so far my 10 HP Bukh has been bullet proof despite only basic care from me)
  • Check the standing and running rigging (particularly the Genoa roller reefing which gave problems last year when a screw in the drum came out and one holding the foils together unscrewed sufficiently to prevent the roller at the head of the sail from sliding down, leaving us unable to furl or drop the sail until I went up the mast at anchor to screw the screw back in.
  • Repair the prow which has a chunk gouged out when AS broke a mooring line last winter and rode up on the pontoon.
  • Re-fit the windows that were leaking at an increasing rate last year (I've asked the locals to do these last two jobs)
  • Re-seal the hatches which were also letting in more and more water last year
.... plus a host of others and no doubt a number I have not even discovered yet.

I've also started thinking about food for the passage. I've had lots of helpful suggestions from fellow members of the OCC for which I'm most grateful.

Turning to the subject of Crew - I'm not sure who will be with me yet. Mick has expressed interest in the leg down to the Cape Verde. Tom from Boston had hoped to join me but I've not heard from him recently and therefore suspect that he may not have been able to find a means of juggling the running of his law practice with taking a month off to go ocean sailing.

The passage plan will be down to Cape Verde with the OCC East Atlantic rally and Kiwi Chris and then wait for the trades before heading for Antigua. Thereafter my goals are to meet up with Sharon and hopefully some of the kids to celebrate my Birthday in March - in hopefully Jamaica (Sharon's birth place) and then to cruise the south coast of Cuba before starting the long haul home.