The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anchored in Sines

Sailing is like sex: a lot of foreplay and short ecstacies. After a long time of abstinence I'm at it again...sailing that is.

Left Peniche early on Tuesday, motored for 3 hours and then, when a bit of wind picked up, sailed to Cascais. Anchor down at 6:30 pm (44 miles).

Woke up the next morning and pretty much repeated the same thing - motored for 4 hours and then sailed the rest of the way. The conditions were nearly ideal; the sea was calm, the wind pushing us (me and Jakatar) at 2 to 5.5 knots. It was so smooth it felt like I was at the marina when making lunch down below. Arrived in Sines at about 6 pm. (more distance, but got an earlier start).

This is my second night in Sines. Guess what? They're having their annual international music festival and I'm anchor right in front of the stage. Before you start thinking "oh, wow, great," let me tell you that it's hell. I mean this is Portugal for Chistsake, an incredibly loud band was still playing at 5:30 am. No wonder we need an economic bailout.

Set the alarm to 5:00 tomorrow morning, so I'll probably be leaving the anhorage to the sound of guitars and bongos on fire.

Tomorrow it's a long haul to Sagres. Hope it's not foggy.

More details and pictures to follow. Right now I'm on my fourth glass of wine hoping that it will enable me to fall sleep. Hell, the band might as well be playing on my's that loud.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Are you a boat person?

When I drove to Nazaré to sail back to Peniche, I left the Jeep at the boat yard. My original plan was to take the bus there the next day and drive back home.

But plans and boats aren't very compatible. 

It just so happened that Manuel was sailing to Nazaré the next day and invited me to tag along. I mean, what would you rather do: sit for 90 minutes in an air-conditioned bus with a flat-screen TV showing action movies or sit on a hot rolling boat for 5 hours? The answer - the real answer - is the litmus test that determines whether you're a boat person or not.

The added bonus is that I got to talk to a like-minded sailor for 5 hours. Funny how when two sailboat owners get together - regardless of the fact that they may have read a thousand books each, have all kinds of opinions about politics, and so on - will nevertheless spend 99% of their time talking about boat-related issues. Is boating a disease, or what?

Nazare Port Entrance
This year's winter storm really walloped this beacon in Nazaré. Beware of the submerged rocks seen next to the wilting beacon. The light was replaced by the skinny metal one farther back.
To change the subject - which I always do in just about every post, a bad habit I must give up - the next day I had the pleasure of watching three buddy boats leave Peniche in thick fog.

For me, watching a boat disappearing into a cloud of fog really turns me on. Call me kinky, I don't care. Don't get me wrong though, I hate sailing in fog. Even so, there's something magical about watching boats being slowly engulfed by it on their way to some other port of call.
Amal Super Maramu
Leaving me behind...good thing because you wouldn't catch me in that soup without a radar.
Fog along the Portuguese coast
See the flag, he's French...that explains it.
Working on a translation about a famous ship.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sailing Home to Peniche

Thursday, June 27

It's dawn and I'm on the road to Nazaré. I've got a bag of sandwiches, apples and bananas and I'm hoping the IPTM staff hasn't gone on strike, like a lot of other civil servants. You see, the yard and travel lift are government-owned.

On arrival, I cleaned up the huge mess - piles and piles of stuff everywhere. The boat looked like it had done a 360º and disgorged all it's storage compartments. I gave the transmission and stuffing box one last inspection and hoped for the best.

At about 8:40 I heard a magical sound - a forklift - which meant somebody was working...followed by the unmistakable rumbling of the travel lift coming my way. Hey, I'm not ready yet, I thought. But they only came for the skiff beside me and hauled it off into the water.

I talked to Alberto and he said I was next. In no time Jakatar was dangling from two straps, Jefferson was removing the supports and I was right behind him slapping on some antifouling. In a wink we were in the water.

Travel Lift in Nazare
Going back where it belongs.
Once Jakatar was floating, I fired up the engine, quickly prayed to all the Gods in the world and shifted the new gearbox into reverse. It clunked loudly into gear, like it should, and I was out-of-there (it also clunked into forward just as sweetly and loudly).

I motored over to the fuel dock at low RPM's smiling to myself, remembering how the old transmission had gotten so bad it sounded like the devil rattling inside a tin box. I botched the first docking attempt - didn't get close enough - but got it perfect on the second try. 

Dove below and checked the stuffing box. Not a drip of water. I was so happy, you'd think I had just won a lottery. Gotta laugh out loud (lol) when I think of the peculiar world inhabited by boat slaves and the little things that make us rejoice. If I had anything other than water to drink, I'd have raised a glass and proposed a toast to all sailboat owners least to all the ones that get their hands dirty...the ones with clean hands can't join the slave club.

So I pumped 150 euros of diesel into the tanks (about 107 liters) only to realize that the fuel level barely went up at all - big tanks!

By 11:00 I was motoring out the port entrance and hoping for some wind, with the mainsail and staysail ready to be hoisted. I eventually hoisted the boomed staysail just for something to do, but ended up motoring all the way to Peniche.
Lifeline at midship
Lifeline at midships. With a harness and short tether I can safely walk up and down the deck. Lifelines running along the edge of the deck are pretty much useless unless another crew member with a bit of experience is aboard. If you fall overboard attached to your harness, what in the world are you going to do? Die, that's what, because you'll never climb back aboard.
The boat rolled in a nasty crosswell that got a little tiring after a while. But hey, better a rolling boat than a static office chair.

Funny thing is I couldn't get the engine temperature over 65º C. I had also changed the antifreeze/coolant to a 50/50 mix as opposed to my previous 10% mix. Could that be it? Theoretically no. 

I realize that the prop and bottom were clean, but the temperature always goes up to normal operating temperature: 80º C. Another problem to worry about. At least it's better than an overheating engine.
Some sort of exploration ship near the Peniche entrance.
Capella Sailboat
Sleek transient sailboat docked across from me. Notice the TV dish and other antennas.
If you want to know why I sailed back to Nazaré the next day, you'll have to read the upcoming post.