The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Friday, January 27, 2012


Red fishing boat
Red fishing boat
Yesterday was my boat day again, spent down below working at the laptop nearly non-stop. It could be worse, if I were doing the same work in a windowless fluorescent cubicle.

As you can see, it was one of those ominous-looking days. Thick masses of low dark clouds swept by overhead until it finally rained for a while.

Luis and a buddy motored by on a rib and showed me some of the large sea bream they had caught. I remembered telling myself some time ago that I'd start fishing once in a while just to get out there on the water (marina water is not real even though it's full of fish), run with the stay sail and troll a line while whistling the morning away. Right!
Fish in Peniche
Here they come with a cooler full of fish

I noticed that the Wauquiez is now out on the mooring with his mast stepped.
Wind generators
Look at all the wind generators in the background
Now I'm home again pounding the keyboard like there's no tomorrow. Zany translation deadlines are killing me. My stomach is starting to pinch and my shoulders are sore.

I should stop being a could be worse, Right?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ocean-front Farm

Thursday is my boat day. But not this week.

I had to run an important errand: taking a bottle of red wine and a step ladder to my 7,500 m2 ocean-front farm. A bottle of wine and a stepladder, that's what the two tree pruners requested.

This is Portugal, people still have fun around here!

I hung around for 30 minutes or so mostly complaining about how much work I have (which is true) so they wouldn't get the impression that I couldn't even be bothered to hang around or help.

So I went to the boat today (Friday), lugging the laptop filled with stinking work. OK, so it pays the bills.

This time I took the heater, even though it wasn't that cold, about 14 ºC. That may sound cold or warm for a winter day depending on whether you live in Norway or Mexico.

Which brings to mind the youngish Dutch couple living on the big steel boat. They go for long walks, jogs, bicycle rides or just dally about wearing shorts and T-shirts. Brrrr! Maybe it's because they're built like Olympic athletes and want to show off their chiseled bodies, who knows.

Today Ryker told me that the Dutch woman goes jogging with special lead weights strapped to her feet and legs. No wonder she walks like she's got springs in her shoes.

Ryker's pet birds, double-click so see them better
Just to prove that they can fly too

I worked until lunch, had lunch, walked around and talked to a few people, admired the tall Dutch woman walking by (I swear she looks like she could easily jump over me if I didn't move aside). I'm too shy to take her picture and I'm not too keen on posting pictures of other people without their permission.

Went back to work, and this is my view when I look up.
Having skylights is one advantage of working in the boat, no barking dogs is another
Later I took another short break and started the engine. Shifted back into forward and reverse various  times trying to convince myself that the stupid transmission is working fine. Discovered a trick while doing this though, if I shift into forward and immediately rev the engine a bit it engages just fine. No problems in reverse. See, I'm almost convinced that it will last another decade.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A cold day

I parked at the marina in the morning and realized I had forgotten my boat key. I usually keep a spare key in the jeep as a remedy for these occasions. No luck, I had removed it from the jeep before the trip up north.

Drove back home and got the key.

Back at the boat, as I was looking at the heat exchanger deciding on the best approach for removing it, the mobile rang. An urgent job for the next day. Damn it, the heat exchanger will have to wait one more time.

Broke out the laptop, set everything up, sat down, downloaded the PDF file and started working. But it wasn't long before the cold started to gnaw at me.

Searched for the little black heater, but then remembered that I had taken it home last summer before sailing off to the Algarve. I mean, who needs a heater in the Algarve?

As an alternative, put on a ski cap and draped a towel over my legs and started working.
It was about 12º C in the boat, but it felt cold, and I felt like I was coming down with a cold and my nose started to get wet.

So much for my boat day. Packed it up and decided to go home.

Talked to Ryker on the way out. He was feeding his pet birds...they're like tiny seagulls that flock around his boat because he feeds them and leaves out a tray of fresh water. I'll take a picture of these cute little birds soon, I promise.

The Wauquiez I photographed in the last post put the mast on the transient dock and grabbed a mooring. He'll be covered in seagull shit in no time. I kept Jakatar out there for a year, it was like owning a public toilet for marine birds.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trip North and Other Trivialities

During our four-day New Year's trip to Barcelos I spent half the time translating sitting on a chair in our room.

downtown Barcelos
We were visiting Ana's family and were treated to food, drinks and the usual merrymaking that was fun but does not make great writing material.

While up north the office called to drop another bomb: one more translation for the 9th, a lawsuit involving millions which also puts my head on the chopping block: I have to start as soon as I complete the one I'm working on now and it's got to be good. OK, so I've been hearing these pep talks for years and I still have my head where it belongs, but barely.

Millions or not, Thursday was my boat day and off I went to the marina with my computer in hand.

There's always something new at the marina, and the picture below depicts this week's from Peniche.
A local marine biologist bought this old Wauquiez in northen France and sailed it as far as Figueira da Foz (about 60 miles from here). For unknown reasons, he unstepped the mast there and then motored to Peniche. The mast seems to have a slight curve near the top. Would love to hear the whole story.

For those of you who have never motored with your mast horizontally, let me say this: unless you're just going through a canal, take extreme measures to secure it. It has to be fastened rock solid or you'll lose it in waves that normally you wouldn't give a hoot about.

Nice old boat needing tons of work. Good luck.