Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Return to Winter Haven

Like the first frost of the year, Patrick’s winter beard has set in, signalling that it’s time to settle back into life on land after nearly 6 months of boat life:  yard work, appointments with doctors and dentists, reconnecting with friends, travel arrangements to visit family, renewing our library card.  We’ve been so busy with preparing Spray for the used boat show at the end of the month that I haven’t had time to get the back-home blues yet.

But that doesn’t mean my mind hasn’t been wandering wistfully back to our adventures from this summer.  We wonder about the whereabouts of friends we made along the way (sailing friends who don’t blog…how frustrating !) – did Tony find a good place to winter-over in Spain?  Did Ulf and Pia make it to the Canaries?  So much envy …making it to exotic shores, wintering over.  When will it be our turn? 

Back to reality here in our own little winter haven, I found a “note to self” from this summer listing informational tidbits, useful items, and helpful hints from new friends for our next cruise:

1.  Spanish mosquitoes are impervious to Deep Woods Off.  Use plug-in bug repellent in port, citronella candles and mosquito netting at anchor.

2.  To save on cooking gas when in port, use an electric cooker / frying pan (good for baking and more economical than using the ship’s oven).

3.  Wine corks have countless uses for fix-it jobs on a boat. 

4.  We need a real power drill on-board, not just a cordless one. 

5.  Heaving-to in 4-5 meters of swell is a perilous process.  (It may be okay once you are hove-to, but getting into the hove-to position with large swell is tricky.)  Ed and Sue Kelly on Angel Louise have convinced us that a Jordan Series Drogue is the way to go. 

6.  Remember to charge the battery of your backup computer from time to time so that it’s ready when you need it.  (We have a 12V power cord for both computers, but still…).

7.  Useful things to have on board that we didn’t really think of before: 

  • A sewing kit.  I almost never use one at home but boats are rough on clothes.  I ended up sewing on buttons with sail twine a few times this summer…
  • A small vacuum cleaner or handy-vac
  • Hurricane-strength clothes pins
  • Small no-skid rugs (tired of tracking sand into the bed !)
  • Cockpit cushions
  • Indoor shoes / slippers
  • A folding trolley for hauling heavy stuff like jerry cans
  • Big plastic containers or sacs to protect clothes from humidity
  • Umbrellas.  Somehow, we thought we wouldn’t need umbrellas because we have foul weather gear…but walking around town in foul weather gear is no fun, is it?
  • A bike helmet.  Not necessarily for biking, but also for diving under the boat when there is swell.

I suppose there is a positive side to down-time from sailing.  Pulling together all this stuff will take time !