The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Yellow Sailboat

Why am I smiling?
Is bigger better
Headroom problem, size matters (either me or the boat or both)
I'm actually laughing and smiling. I'm laughing because I can't stand up completely straight in a 39-foot boat (OK, I'm tall, but man the boat is 39 feet long). I'm smiling because it's a beautiful day, I have no work and I decided to be lazy for the day. Lucky dude!

It didn't take long for the smile to evaporate. "Pling," a translation made it's way to the marina through thin air. Nowhere to hide these days. But in truth, work is slowing down and I'm actually not really pissed about getting some.

It was a small job I dispatched in an hour just in time for lunch.

Sticking to my routine, after lunch I scrambled out of my low-ceiling habitat and into a gorgeous day.

I want to show you a work of art built by a Russian boat builder. I call it the yellow rocket.
Amazing yellow sailboat
The yellow rocket
I'd wager nobody has ever built a boat like this one...and never will again. But you never know.

Norwegian tank
The Norwegian Tank
Here's another boat owned by a Norwegian who visits once in a while. He's been working...I mean he's had a retired boat carpenter working on it off-and-on for about 10 years. Interestingly, in all this time he went sailing once during a gale. According to him, its a really heavy boat and needs a lot of wind.

Here's how it went. He, the carpenter and another local headed toward the Berlenga Island under a howling wind. They attempted to reef the genoa but the furler got stuck, thus dooming the sail to a quick and violent flogging death. I can imagine the deafening firecracker-like whiplashing all too well.

So they started the engine. But, in keeping with Murphy's law, the exhaust elbow blew the hose out and started pumping smoke and water into the boat.

There they were, the shredded genoa crackling in the fierce wind, the boat filling with hot water and smoke while being driven toward a lee shore mighty fast.

Time for the dreaded "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday this!!!!"

So the ugly and obscenely powerful lifeboat (which looks like a square box with a cabin) rushes out, throws them a thick line and starts to tow them to safety. Did I mention the gale force wind, the waves and the fact that the boat weighs 30 tons. The line stretched until it was real thin and snapped.

The shore is just spitting distance away...spit travels quite far in howling wind.

So the lifeboat comes around again and this time throws them two thick lines and tows them away from a rocky shore just in time.

Meanwhile, there were a few live media reports saying things such as "boat on fire off the coast of Peniche," "Sailboat sinking outside Peniche" and a few other attention grabbers.

They haven't gone sailing or motoring since then, but maybe they're waiting for another gale this winter.

I feel like a detective today. Look at what else I found.

Inspecting your rig
Back stay of a 36-foot Wauquiez. Notice the stainless shackle linking the chain to the turnbuckle.
In another post I already described how this guy's mast toppled over when the back stay snapped. Amazingly, the boat suffered very little damage and the mast endured the ordeal almost without a scratch.

How long will this shackle last? If the boat sits at the marina or never gets sailed hard, maybe for decades. I zoomed in and the shackle looks larger than it really is and was most likely made in China. According to my parts catalogue, it has a safe working load of about 1,000 kg. The shock force or an accidental jibe will most likely exceed that by far. It will probably last a lifetime and I'm just being a doomsayer.

The best cruising boat
A real cruising boat. If not, it looks the part
Went back to the boat, lay down in the sunny pilothouse and took a shot at learning to use my new mobile phone. It's a Samsung Chat@t322 which I got for 50 euros with 50 euros worth of credit. So, essentially, I got it for free. It takes two SIM cards from different service providers. But look at those tiny keys! My index finger covers 3 at a time and I can't see the letter or numbers stamped on them without glasses and good light, and even then just barely.

Samsung Chat@t322
I zoomed in, it's smaller than it looks.
I had my other 24-euro phone for years and I repent getting this one, even though it was free and will allow me to make cheaper calls. It also takes pictures, so that might be useful some day. See, it's really easy to pluck a justification out of your pocket along with the cash.


  1. Hey!
    New phone = new glasses! lol
    Great post. Why are stories of other boat mishaps so interesting?? And why are Norwegian boats so heavy?! Zoot Allures is an 8ton Fjord slug(and I love her so)!
    As for the Yellow Rocket, walking on a wet deck looks like it would be "fun".
    Oh, yeah, keep an eye on the work slowing down. Hopefully you guys wont have to go thru whats going on over here in GR

  2. Thanks.
    You're perfectly aware that the worth of boats is determined by their weight...if they have a bit of style, that is. I think your boat is perfect. Did you make a smart decision or did you get lucky?

  3. The decision was for a heavy long keel (eg westsail). Pretty rare around here... I was lucky I found her.
    Hey, just by chance I found your response to my comment. These blogging softs are for the birds!

  4. I just took a better look at the yellow rockets rigging. WTF?!? It's like a tower with a ladder!

  5. It's a work of art. A revolutionary mast (tower).

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