Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

The Sailboat

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sailing south...soon

The race against time continues, but I'll be sailing south soon - the latest on August 2, me thinks. 

Thursday afternoon I drove out to Peniche with my newly acquired Barlow 28 winch. It's heavy, I tell you.

Changing the bearings on the Rutland 913 wind generator was the priority. No way I'm going to run the engine to charge the batteries. Besides, I'll be leaving the boat anchored in Culatra for a while, and I need power for the anchor light. The LED bulb I'll be using won't draw much power, but the house battery is going on 7 years and not holding its load so good any more.

Rutland 913
Ready for the beheading.
I lowered the post, pulled out the turbine, cut the wires and then called Fernando the electrician. He's too busy, way too busy, so I called Luis the mechanic. Luis loves to fiddle with new gadgets so he told me to bring it on over.

Next, I dismantled the Barlow winch. It was all dried up and gummy but the gears and bearings are in great shape - must have been owned by a non-sailor. I removed the part I needed, stuck it in the other winch and installed it. 
Barlow winches
The winch operation. Nurse, hand me allen key no. 8.
Like solo sailing, solo maintenance also requires a certain ingenuity. How do you hold a nut inside the boat and turn the screwdriver on deck?
Vicegrips for boat maintenance
Vicegrips, a solo sailor's best friend.
On the way home, took the wind generator to Luis' shop and wrote down the URL for a Youtube flick for him to watch. 

Why didn't I do it myself? I already did it once years ago, but it took me all  day and I'm busy.
I crave the day when I'm not always so fuckin busy. It better happen soon.

Your boat slave...better a boat than a car, but that's just my humble opinion.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Multicolored Cats, Cheap Barlow 28 Winch and Getting the Ship Ready

I have exactly 15 minutes to write this post. That's how life is now - I'm a dog chained to a time leash!
multicolored cats
Did you know that, except for rare exceptions, only female cats have 3 colors. Here's our new Roni and Pati in the yard.
I'm not going to bore you about the new kittens, other than to say that they have consumed some of my free time (or, should I say, unfree time).

In the last regatta one of my big Barlow 28 genoa sheet winches gave up. All it needed was a sliver of bronze braised on to keep a pawl from slipping out. That would take more of my unfree time, so I had a look on Ebay and - low and behold - I found a used Barlow 28 on auction. Hold your breath. I bought it, delivered to my door yesterday, including customs charges, for a total of 70 euros. I think I deserve a break now and then.

The PLAN. The plan is/was to sail out of Peniche to the Algarve on July 22/23, with the usual three stops at Cascais, Sines and Sagres or Alvor. After getting drunk in Alvor watching the crowd of British women walking up and down the narrow streets, I'll sail to Culatra, drop my big Rocna anchor, hang out for a while and take the bus back home to take care of business.

This plan implies doing a few tasks first: rearranging my winch setup; installing new bearings in the busted wind generator; buying a LED anchor light; scraping the obscenely dirty propeller; and a few other things I can't recall right now.

If that plan falls through, I'll be leaving on August 2. Ana's birthday is on August 3. Ouch! No matter how hard I try, life just keeps getting more complicated. Damn!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Regatta in Peniche

Regatta in Peniche
Jakatar on the upwind leg. Photograph taken my Manuel.
I called Manuel on channel 9. "What's the starting time? Over."
"Jakatar, in fifteen minutes at exactly 10:45, over."

Zé, a ship captain and sailor had an idea: "Why don't we sail exactly seven and a half minutes south, then tack and go full speed toward the starting line."

It sounded like good a plan. We started in last position.

The warm sun tinged the ocean to a deep blue, and the wind was a nice 12-15 knots. I was at the wheel with all three sails up doing 6 knots, even with a dirty bottom, and I didn't answer the phone when it rang and rang in my pocket.

By the time we rounded the first buoy west of Cape Carvoeiro, I had passed two Bavarias, a Beneteau First, and a heavy Swedish boat whose name I can't remember right now.

On the downwind leg, we eased out the 475 square feet  genoa and soon Jakatar was hitting 7.4 kt with the wind abaft the port beam. We passed another Beneteau First, and started closing the gap on the seven boats ahead of us.

I was happy as a lazy dog sunning his hide. This meant I didn't have to scrape the bottom before sailing to the Algarve. Nine or ten dives to clean the propeller should do. I'll scrape the bottom down south in the Culatra anchorage where the water is warm and shallow.

On the upwind leg, the fowled bottom made catching up impossible.

We finished 8 in a fleet of 15. I might have come in the top places with a clean bottom, but that's probably just bragging on my part.

When the gang was finishing lunch back at the club, I realized I hadn't taken a single photograph out on the water. Luckily, my friend Manuel emailed me some high quality pics.
Sailing in Peniche

Dining in Peniche
The post-regatta lunch. Am I going bald or what?
Arriving in Peniche
Funny how the two lasers (one on each side) can really fly. That's when the question comes to mind: do you speed or comfort?
Bavaria 32 in Portugal

Port of Peniche entrance
It's over.

PS. One post without complaining about work! I'm impressed with myself.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Spring that Needed Viagra

Drove to the boat thinking about a new gig writing short articles for a website. Sounds like fun but it's real work and not much boat money. Even if I worked all day pumping out articles, I'd starve. I guess that's why some activities are called gigs instead of work. Here's my first article.

Anyway, having recovered from my Berlin cold and the consequent laziness bug, I got to the boat ready to strike something off my bucket list. Walking down the pontoon in long purposeful strides I noticed that Nigel the unlucky sailor had finally left for England where he plans to sell his Bowman yawl which is already listed on yachtworld.

During Nigel's 18-month stay in Peniche he had the boat hauled out at the shipyard where the yard's highly professional workers ironed out some bugs. These guys build and repair huge and small ships and anything in between, so his boat should be in fine shape. I was saying, at the boat I ran the engine in gear for a while, shut it down and then changed the oil and filter. Hardly spilled any oil this time.
Changing the oil on a boat
Used the bag-over-the-filter trick to remove the filter with only a few spilled drops.
Kubota oil change
My highly complex oil removal kit. Cut the top part of a 5 liter water bottle, tie two garbage bags to it, slip it under the engine and unscrew the drain plug. Obviously you need a certain amount of space under the engine for it to work.
What I like about this oil-change method is that it removes practically all the old oil. I know it because even after running the engine for quite a while it remains nice and clean.

After lunch I attacked a big winch.
Servicing a Barlow 28 winch
No way any parts were going to fall in the water with this big bucket over the winch base.

Barlow 28 winch parts
All the bearings in the order I removed them so I don't forget the sequence. If I screw up, I'll know it when I open the other big Barlow 28.
I had a hard time removing the plate holding the sprockets in place. Lot's of WD-40, a screwdriver and some tapping with a hammer got the job done. 
Each gear has two pawls. The spring on one pawl was in need of some Viagra. I tried fixing it with pliers, without much success. As I fitted it one last time to the pawl, the damn thing went "ping" and disappeared. Ain't that a bitch - it didn't have enough thrust to erect the pawl but it had the balls to fly out of sight, sneaky bastard.

Luckily I have the springs from the failed Barlow 24 that are the same size. Next time I'm going to fit the springs and pawls inside a clear plastic bag. I cleaned the winch parts with old outboard engine gasoline but didn't have time to reassemble it. It won't be long before I'm sailing instead of playing with springs.