Wednesday, 29 May 2013

3s and 8s

Threes and eights look a lot alike, especially when there’s a hole-punch over the number on a sticker telling you when your life raft is due for a revision and inspection.  I thought it was an 8 (August) and decided we should go ahead and send it for its 3 year check up before we head out this summer - ya know… to be ahead of the game.  It was, in fact, a 3 (March) and we have been sailing offshore with a expired inspection sticker for 2 months.  It’s still not clear to me what the penalty for that might be for sailboats, but one article we read suggested that the fine could be around $1000.  Anyhoo… sent the life raft to the shop and they tell us it will be ready before we head on out 16 June.  No offshore sailing for us until then.

In the meantime, we also realized that somewhere along the way our radar reflector tube jumped overboard.  That’s not too expensive to replace but it means yet another trip up the pole.  The weather also finally got above 15 C (barely) so I put 2 coats of anti-condensation paint in the 2 cabins.  So far, so good – a noticeable difference with the areas not painted.  And we painted the anchor to prevent it from leaving rust stains all over the deck.  We need to add a 2nd coat, but will have to wait for drier weather.

Downpours, but at least without sleet for the return leg.

 We just returned from a very wet and blustery trip to Crouesty to get the refrigerator repaired.  During a gale-force gust with sleet on the way there (well of course it wasn’t forecast… they issued a special weather bulletin 15 minutes before we pulled out of port, and we always think we’re protected in the gulf and never listen to these anyway), our anemometer decided it was time to have a meltdown (or freeze up?).  After it dried out a bit, it seemed to be giving more reasonable results, but another bout of rain on the way home today sent it right around the bend again.  We’ll check all the simple things we can do ourselves, but it’s going to be difficult to find an electrician who deals in that type of anemometer and can test a head unit with our cables to identify where the problem is.  I’m all for doing without, myself.  I know where the wind is coming from and if the boat is healed over more than 25 degrees, it’s time to reduce sail, right?… what more do I need ?

During the rain and gusts, we discovered a great little hideaway behind one of the islands in the Gulf (Long Island, it's pretentiously called).  The water there is too deep for us to anchor but there were some moorings that were available and we nabbed one, following the strong recommendations of a neighbouring sailor in Crouesty who heard of our plans to pick up a mooring ball in another part of the Gulf.  We’re buying that man a drink the next time we see him.  The mooring was dead calm … not even the slightest chop slapping up against the hull during the night, which was a pretty impressive feat given that the winds were still gusty and we are in the period of strong tidal coefficient. 

Tucked away behind Long Island while the gales pass north.

Did I mention that we were barrelling down the Gulf at 9 knots SIDEWAYS on the way to Crouesty ?  (Tidal coefficient 97 out of 120 in an area with some of the strongest currents in Europe.)  Short-tacking across such a conveyor belt is no fun (or, rather, it could be fun in a smaller boat where you are not the owner.)  At one point, to keep wind in the head sail, I realized I would have to turn the boat backwards, so we just rolled it up and managed with the main sail (with 2 reefs). 

Now we’re home for awhile getting some work done on the house (yes, things fall apart with a house, too). The weather forecasters are saying that it’s going to be a cool, wet summer here.  We have (jokingly?) discussed putting the boat in dry dock and heading off to Morocco instead…