Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cruise Departure Betting Pool

We’re starting a betting pool to see which of the following will block our departure the longest:

The replacement of the Iroko exterior handrail that has a crack in it.  We called the ship broker about this problem over 2 months ago.  It takes time for this exotic wood to be delivered from South America.  The piece arrived last week.  We discovered today that it’s the wrong piece. 

Patrick’s pension papers.  Every year, he has to prove that he’s alive to keep receiving payments.  They send a form that he has to fill out, sign and mail back. They can’t manage to figure out how to send the form by email, so we have to sit at home and wait for it to show up in the mail box.  They said it would arrive around the end of May or the beginning of June.  Still hasn’t arrived.

The new folding bikes.  We decided to splurge and buy some new folding bikes.  We found a great deal with a small company in the south of France and ordered the bikes 3 weeks ago.  Today, after 2 weeks of absence, the owner emails us to say that one of the bikes is missing a tire, but that he’s placed an order for it and will get the bikes delivered as soon as possible. 

Gas strikes.  France is in social turmoil again and the gas refineries are on strike.  They’ve been on strike for the last week, and the government has just approved the use of strategic reserves to try to meet demands.  In the meantime, only 1 gas station in 5 has gas, and there are 1-hour waiting lines at the stations and rationing once you get to the pump. Deliveries are grinding to a halt (apply to #3 above for odds adjustment). It is absolutely positively forbidden to fill up jerry cans. No way are we crossing Biscay without reserves. The government hasn’t shown any signs of backing down and the protesters say they will continue the blockades.

Weather.  It looked like we had a great weather window developing for later next week, but today’s check has scrapped that idea.  The first two days of the crossing would be great, but the last 24-36 hours show 20-25 knots winds straight in the nose. No thanks.

The pool is officially open for bets !  What will it be ?

One result of our delays is that we’ll lose a crew member whose dates are limited.  Another crew member informed us yesterday that he has to have emergency knee surgery.  It looks like we’ll do the crossing “alone together”.  This doesn’t bother either of us too much since we have already done 3 days / 2 nights, hand-steering around the clock on our old boat.  With a more comfortable boat and a reliable auto-pilot, we’ll be fine.  With good weather, it may even be enjoyable. 
The first load...
The good news is that Mareda is now only a 5-minute bike-ride (no gas) from home and it looks like I’ll have ample time to stock, arrange, and clean everything to my heart’s desire.  Being philosophical about the situation, a week or two of delay at the start of a 5-year trip is peanuts.


Astrolabe Sailing said...

Arraghh how frustrating! Particularly as none of this is within your control!

Yay re the folding bikes! What kind did you get? Mine is a Tern and I love it! You will have to send a pic of how much space you have in your lazarette when you have got everything packed on board. At present I cant imagine how we are going to get all our stuff to fit! However we do manage to do it on our current 30' yacht!

I haven't heard anything about the gas strikes over here. That must literally bring the country to a standstill. How frustrating for everyone! My Dad is heading to France to catch up with some of their kiwi friends on a canal boat so hopefully they don't get caught up in all that.

Good luck with getting everything sorted! I am getting excited to hear about your adventures.

On another note - we are off to New Caledonia in a couple of weeks and I managed to book some accommodation in a little hotel completely using my school-girl french! So glad I was such a diligent student all those years ago!


Sailing Mareda said...

Thanks for your sympathetic comments ! I suppose much of cruising is about dealing with things beyond your control. For now, we're being positive about having extra time to really get the boat in shape and take care of all those things that seemed impossible to get done before departure.

I'll definitely take photos of the lazarette when full. There's a lot of room but with the extra 130-litre water tank on the port side as well, the weight distribution starts to be an issue. I'm shifting around as much as possible, but we'll definitely have one tack that will be closer to the wind than the other !

Great for your french ! I'm jealous about your trip to New Caledonia. So much of the french territories I haven't seen yet ! said...

I am placing my bets on government slowing you down. Their wheels always turn at their command. Sorry about tge delay but you have a great attitude about it.

Sailing Mareda said...

Thanks LittleCunningPlan. The government has declared that it has no intention of scraping their new labor laws, and now the electric company says it may join in the strike next week. But Patrick did manage to score a full tank of gas yesterday ! (but jerry cans still forbidden). It's like a black market around here ..."hey buddy, know where I can get some gas?"