The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rocna anchor bent shank

I was practically kissing my Rocna every morning until I discovered the horrible news!!!
A bent shank!!! Photograph kindly stolen from a very good blog at Sailinggromit.
It appears that Rocna's production moved to China where all the high quality steel is reserved for making more important objects. What the hell could be more important than an anchor? Some people will do anything to make a few more pennies, it's disgusting I tell you. 
Practical Sailor magazine put the anchor to the test by bolting a 10-kg Rocna to a concrete floor and applying side force to the shank. It bent 15º at 230 kg of load. From this finding they mathematically deducted that it would take a 500-kg load to bend the shank of a 25 kg Rocna. But they didn't mention whether the Rocna they tested was made in China or Canada.

After stumbling onto this dirty little secret, I wasted hours sweating it out in boating forums, such as Cruisers Forum,  reading about "the horrors of buying a "Chinese" Rocna. Forum junkies go really nuts when discussing anchors and anchoring; the topic seems to transform placid sailors into vicious dung-throwing warriors. Have a look for yourself.  

Then I checked out a reputable site Attainable Adventure Cruising where very experienced sailors repeatedly state that Rocna is God's gift to boaters, regardless of the fact that an unspecified number were fabricated with inferior quality steel some years ago.

"Some years ago" has a sweet sound to it; I bought my anchor 2 weeks ago. Time to step out of the house and into the real world where life - as opposed to Internet life - is much more satisfying. 

 I went for a walk along the beach promenade and came across this amusing graffiti. 

So I looked back.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rocna 25

During a two-day trip to visit traditional villages in the center of Portugal, I got a phone call from a friend.

"Did you buy the anchor yet?"

"No, there's plenty of time before I sail south."

"If you're interested, I'm in a shop in Ayamonte looking at a Rocna 25 and I really feel like buying something...with somebody else's money."

The price was good, the shipping was free, so why not?

Rocna 25
The Rocna 25 (55 lbs) next to a 5 l oil container for perspective. It's massive and beautifully ugly. I love it!
Don't know if it will fit the bow roller. What really matters is that it doesn't drag in a blow.

And now some trip photos. Yeah, I know, this is supposed to be a sailing blog...but it's winter.

Standing by the Pelourinho where "criminals" were once publicly punished.

Taking the notion of ornamental rocks a bit too far.

Typical houses in Piódão deep in a valley.

Having lunch in Piódão.

Weird pet.

Hike up the castle of Monsanto. Can you see the turtle?

In the last village, there was no restaurant. Luckily we found this community bakery that sold us a huge bread loaf and an equally gigantic goat cheese.

Removing loaves of bread from the wood furnace.

Stork nest. Storks are everywhere. Although they're mute, you can hear them clacking their long beaks from quite a distance.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On the Boat Again

Finally got my jeep back Tuesday afternoon with a "Cuban-style" fabricated part - but it was a short-lived victory. 

The next morning the battery was totally dead - it coughed a little "click" and croaked. To be fair, the mechanic had warned me of this (and I too had noticed that lately it had been losing its engine-cranking enthusiasm); but I though I could get away with it for a few more days. Wishful thinking always gets you into trouble.

After a healthy dose of curses and expletives, I cleaned the dirty terminal connectors. There's the problem, I thought, more out of wishful thinking than conviction.

This time around, it actually groaned for a moment, but that was it.

I hooked up my old boat charger (5 amps) and an ancient 8 amp charger that I inherited from my dad. I was a little hesitant - never heard of anybody hooking up two chargers to one battery. There were no sparks or explosion so I left them for a few hours until I got enough juice to start the engine. 

Then I drove into town and handed over 90 euros for a new 72 Amp battery. By then the day was shot.

What matters is that I've got wheels again. Kind of pathetic when my life is ruled by a vehicle. 

Thursday morning I drove out to my "second life." Never thought about the boat in those terms, but that's another way of looking at it. After setting up the laptop, tying down the ripped mainsail cover, freeing the wind generator and removing the extra storm lines, it was time for lunch.

Working on a boat
Lunch with a healthy glass of wine (actually 2). I look like a twerp in the hat, but I don't care.
Then it was time to go for a walk and check out a couple of transient boats.

Corbin 39
Jakatar with the sail cover lashed to the mast - the zipper completely disintegrated. You'd think that the spinning wind generator would create a blurry effect in the photograph but, no, it looks as immovable as a statue.
Heavy duty fenders
If you don't mind getting you topsides a little black, these tire fenders are cheap and will last you a lifetime.
Three young French guys on a catamaran going someplace.
Here's a real folksboat crewed by a young couple - spend 20k and see the world with a bit of style. [Saturday morning update: I just saw them sailing south from my window]

Boat inventory
Running my very old Toshiba charting computer so it doesn't freeze up. Also taking inventory of some odds and ends.
While doing my inventory, I found the old thermostat gasket. That inspired me to remove the thermostat housing, clean the mating surfaces, spray the bolts with a bit of WD40 for good luck and YES, it stopped leaking. That made my day!

Here's a video of my trusty Kubota humming least to my ears. Ana says it makes a racket and smells. Feelings toward this engine epitomizes the basic differences between men and women.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Big Ideas

I've had a lot of big ideas in my life; I've also had my share of ups and downs. One of my favorite plans so far was to stop working today - yes today!

That's not going to happen today, tomorrow or anytime in the near future. Plan B says "another 5 years." The funny thing is that I could stop working today; I could if I were an island or the only coconut tree on that island. [Read my lips: if I lived on the boat.]

Life would be grand anchored here.

Porto Santo Ferry
Having a drink on the Porto Santo Ferry about 4 years ago. I look like I'm drinking lemon juice. Ana has since lost the little tummy through persistent jogging, cycling and gym sessions. But I like the picture anyway.
During our visit to Madeira, we took the ferry to the smaller island of Porto Santo, which reinforced my fondness for dry arid landscapes surrounded by ocean - preferably bays and beaches.

I've heard that a cold rainy climate has its practical and poetic virtues and is also a stimulant for an industrious mindset. I believe it because I've been a pack mule a good part of my life, except when I was busy being a book-reading dreamer and a bum. 

Regardless, I don't want to work anymore. I'm now totally ready and willing to waste my time doing something worth doing in a warm, sunny setting - I'd rather sweat than shiver.

Back to reality and to Jeep news: as I head into the third week of waiting for a stupid little engine part, the mechanic decided to have a local machinist manufacture it "Cuban-style."

Don't ask me about the boat. I haven't been there since the storm and it must look odd all lashed down with extra storm lines in this calm weather we've had lately.

I was going to take the bus into Peniche yesterday but didn't when an unexpected situation popped out of nowhere. Man, sometimes I feel like I'm moving but going nowhere.