Archive for February, 2011

10 Feb 2011

Ready to leave – so what have I been doing?

3 Comments Uncategorized

I have been plagued by a few problems and decided to bite the bullet and splash out on fixing them. Just waiting on a battery to be delivered on Monday and then I will be on my merry way. Although sadly I have missed a perfect weather window which would have been downwind sailing for 4 days, it’s all a bit indifferent at the moment.

Had a great time so far in Portugal, sailing when the wind was there, playing tennis, getting intimate with the sand dunes and above all enjoying the company of fellow sailors. There are four boats with sailors no older than 35 parked in Alvor ready to head of to the Canaries, Jeromy and his missus from France and two Dutch solo sailors Simon and Shelly. We take turns eating on each others boats and help each other with travel plans and maintenance tasks.

Simon, Shelly, me and lots of Edam

Looking at the current weather I will not be leaving till the 17th of Feb at the earliest. Considering getting crew.

10 Feb 2011

Cooking on a yacht

14 Comments Contessa 32, Living

For special occasions the cobb cooker is the chief amongst the hot headed Indians …  it runs on charcoal bricks and puts my oven to shame! The food this thing produces has awed all those who have tasted it and it’s so damned efficient.

On the left it’s opened up for Christmas dinner, with roast potatoes in the bottom next to the coal. It makes the best juiciest ribs I have ever tasted, simply can’t begin to describe how in love I am with this simple contraption. I can use it on the deck of my boat and it doesn’t get hot on the outside which prevents the nasty incineration of my beloved Maria… plus there is no grease!

I have also taken supply of about £300 of food, quite alot of it from a company that deals in selling produce which is ‘defective’ such as incorrectly labelled or even in some cases past it’s sell by date.

Also cooked roasts, cakes and bread. Not a big fan of using the oven and the pressure cooker is a fantastic invention, food tastes great and takes a fraction of the time to cook.

Thought Ben might appreciate these pictures … nom nom

08 Feb 2011

Yarrrgh … we be grounded!!

14 Comments Contessa 32, Sailing

Good times

I took  George and James sailing, two kickass brothers who I had beaten at tennis … mhmm … well I won the tournament. Had 9 knots of wind and made steady progress away from the coast. About two miles from the coast the wind dropped and we made slow progress back eventually turning on the engine.

The tide was an hour after high slack tide 1800, with high tide being 3m I thought I would be safe risking it through the Alvor sand banks… how wrong I was. I headed directly for the green bouy, which you keep on your starboard side. I knew the water was deeper approaching it on the port side, even so we didn’t get far past the entrance before the sand kissed the keel. As the keel drove itself deeper into the sand bank I turned hard to port and tried to drive out of the bank with no success.

I rowed out, after getting the chain wrapped around my outboard, dropped the ketch anchor and started to winch her into deeper water … little did I know we were actually going into shallower water. By the time I had sounded the water around us for the deepest area the water had left Maria firmly lodged in the sand.

Angle is getting steeper.

As the water retreated and the sand drew us deeper into it’s grasp I was worried what would happen having heard stories of water lapping over the cockpit coaming and filling the boat up … I was damned if I was going to lose my boat!! The tide was moving at a steady 3 knots we had 2 hours (2000) till low water and already we were over at 45 degrees.

We had to make a quick decision … we needed beer. High tide would be at 0300, I had no heating, it was going to be a long wait and once the sun goes down the temperature drops to 4C. A local fishing boat took James onboard to complete his quest of acquiring some food and beverages.

By 2000 the water had dropped to it’s lowest and I could walk around ankle deep, I had tried to use the spinnaker pole to keep the hull out of the water … which was a stupid idea. 4.5tonnes versus an aluminium pole is not a fair competition. At 1900 the traveller broke of the rail and we went down to list at a good 70 degree angle.

At this point we are moving pretty much sideways along the boat. We directed James over the phone to Tom who had invited me over to his boat for dinner … I had a good excuse – I was beached 1 mile away. To much amusement and jeering my dinner was kept warm in the oven till I was due back on the high tide at 0300, a bottle of whiskey would be waiting … not to mention the level of mocking only a Scottish man can lay down!

Didn't have the heart to tell George his calls for help would be futile.

Simon another fellow sailor offered to motor James with essential supplies out to us. When they arrived I was walking around the boat and picked up the kedge anchor, 30 meters from the boat, and placed it on our starboard side which was standing high out of the water and would provide the quickest route home once we floated.

Beer, wine lots of episodes of Archer (best TV comedy show – ever) and the incoming tide started to relinquish the sands’ reluctant grasp on Maria returning us from a humorous right angle to a more steady horizontal that took some adjusting to. The boat behaved like the queen of the sea that she is, fully loaded with 350kg of water full to the brim with fuel, jerry cans and food she never let the sea dominate her above the genoa traveller.

Gracefully she stood tall again and scowled me for my doubt in her ability to deal with my inability to navigate through a small 2m trench that could possible have gotten me through on the lowering tide. Humbled I smiled while

All hail hail the heroes Simon and James ... the deliverers of good tidings

shivering at the cold. The warm water and cold air produced ghosts which whisked over the water greeting the bow as she carved her way very slowly through the surreal landscape. As we got to our mooring a shout from Tom on a Rasmus 35 invited us over for a bottle of whiskey at 0200.

Would I risk it again …. yes, did I enjoy it … when I knew I wasn’t going to sink .. yes … it was a great experience and I enjoyed the company.

Gets confusing eating at such an acute angle.