The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sailing Slowly vs. Motoring Fast

My summer is a mess - well, not really. The boat is anchored in Culatra and I'm back home working on a Sunday...that's messy enough, I'd say.

Since I can't spare the time to write a proper post, I'll describe the trip with photographs. This is the leg from Sines to Sagres.

The dinghy doesn't look bad in the picture. But I can assure you that in real life it looks like garbage, the deteriorating PVC sticks to pants/shorts and, if that weren't enough, it developed a fast leak in Alvor which I couldn't fix even with three patches.

Notice the crusty stainless railing - soon I'll be writing a post about how I polished it to a shiny finish with a few brushstrokes. I'm not kidding. I'm very happy to no longer being doomed to spend many hours rubbing like a slave to achieve mediocre results. The product I used does not deteriorate the stainless alloy, but there's a trick to using it. I tried it last year and failed miserably. Live and learn. My rag-and-polish slavery days are history!! Stay tuned to learn how to polish stainless.

Sitting at the bow watching and listening to the hull slice through the water is mesmerizing until your bum gets sore from sitting on the teak railing.

My favorite activity while sailing. But I assure you that I sit up and look around whenever I hear a ship rumbling nearby, when I get thirsty or have to pee.

Anchorage in Sines. It has a good marina too, but I like anchoring. All the hat-like things along the beach are food and drinks stands and the box-like thing just to the right of the building at the bottom is the bandstand that emitted huge quantities of sonic noise until dawn, every damn night.

Saw less dolphins than usual, maybe because I was sailing mostly under 5 knots. The three pods that visited took a liking to the towed dinghy - they must have thought Jakatar was the mother and the dinghy was the baby.

Sagres anchorage. I was sailing into the port, turned the engine key and nothing, nada, niente, not even a click. Tacked out of there and anchored in this large open bay. 

Here's the culprit. A faulty power kill switch. Removed it and made a direct connection.

Pretty cool tripod for the camera and camcorder whose legs twist and grasp anything that's graspable. Very reliable. A bargain at 6 euros or so at Lidl. 

Alvor at low tide. Jakatar is in the background somewhere.
Kitesurfing in Alvor. I ran aground pretty hard in the channel when motoring in. The sand shifts from year to year and that's why I always enter or leave on a rising tide. I cranked the wheel away from the bank, kept the engine engaged in forward and the boat eventually pivoted and came free. Maintaining the engine in reverse would have been a mistake because, due to the incoming current and sandbar configuration, it would have kept riding up onto the sandbar. I'd need a diagram to explain it properly. Trust me, I'm an old salt and old salts know everything...even if we're wrong more often than we like to admit.

Alvor beach, on the ocean side. It's a fifteen-minute walk from town. I went for a swim and the water was nearly perfect.


  1. Dear salty Horacio. Quit the misery and get back on that boat!! Jakatar all alone on the hook? I can't go ashore it so damn windy, praying not to drag (shoulda hada Rocna). And your holding the stainless secret? Now I'm pissed off (lol)
    Great pics, failed engine, dolphins, beaches, groundings...Great post!

    1. Thanks, nothing like a bit of action to liven up the blog (and life).
      Yeah, I'm supposed to be aboard now but life got in the way.
      Greece is a windy place, no wonder your hair is ruffled.
      The secret for stainless is Oxalic Acid - what they use in Bark Keepers Friend. I bought a bag of the pure stuff, mix it with hot water and brush it on when it's not windy or sunny hot (so that it doesn't dry too fast. Then I go around a second time (like a second coat), wait 20 minutes and rinse off with sponge and fresh water. A miracle, I tell you. Do not use on alumuminum, galvanized steel, paint and wear rubber gloves and glasses. Probably a bad idea for brushing teeth too.