The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Untie the Lines - How to Become Famous

Blogging and Youtubing have become the showroom for a new wave of adventurers, minimalists, spiritualists, contrarians, freedom seekers, back to nature revivalists and a whole lot more. I think it's great. Blogging is the future, not Facebook or Twitter.

I've just discovered a young German woman who has embarked on a sort of "Youtube reality show" aboard an old steel sailboat.

It's definitively a mesmerizing adventure. And although she knows practically nothing about sailing, she does, however, know how to shoot film, is attractive and sure knows how to talk. Did I say "talk"? I meant to say "seduce".

And what could be more seductive than a young charismatic woman abandoning a normal life in Germany to sail an old steel boat with practically no previous sailing experience. The beauty of it, is that the audience will be kept at the edge of their seats waiting for this totally unpredictable adventure to unfold.

This is the type of voyage that will get old salts stuck at the marina foaming at the mouth, either with lust, envy, rage or criticism. That's the problem with Internet: no matter what you're doing, there's always some adventurous soul doing it better than you. Damn it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Adventure on Small Sailboats

Our marina ferry has been upgraded to an improvised trimaran.
marina ferry

Despite the horrible weather lately, the Swedish sailboat in the photograph below arrived in Peniche some time during the week. I'd say it's barely 20 feet long. 

Later, while adjusting the fenders on Jakatar, I saw the young long-haired, bearded skipper standing in the cockpit. He was talking to the young French skipper who owns the smallish boat with the red stripe on the other side of the pontoon. Curiously, the smallish French boat now looks luxuriously large compared with the tiny Swedish one.

guest dock in Peniche

Funny thing is that I envy the skipper of this magnificent little yacht. Why? Because he's living it on a shoestring budget, because he took the saying "go small, go now" to heart. Think about it. When you were young (or if you are still young - as opposed to being merely youthful) would you rather backpack around Europe or stay at 5-star hotels?

After reading a discussion about a brand new 42-foot abandoned catamaran due to a rudder failure 300 miles from land, I can't help thinking that you could probably steer this baby with a frying pan lashed to a boat hook.

You could scrape the bottom in four dives, wash the deck with one bucket of water, hoist sails without winches and, best of all, have bloggers write about you. Nothing but advantages all the way to the tropics. 

Back to reality, either I'm imagining things or the pontoon leading to Jakatar is looking worse.

damaged pontoon

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working, Sailing and Lies

“Life is more or less a lie, but then again, that's exactly the way we want it to be.” -  Bob Dylan

On the other hand, life is so complex there's no sense talking about it much, except when you feel like getting drunk. You can talk and dream all you want; one day you take a wrong turn and end up an overworked hack translator with a sailboat constantly begging for TLC and a bunch of nonsensities clinging to your coat.

OK, now that I got that off my chest let me tell you about what's going on around here. 

Dinghy ferry
The marina is temporarily an island, so the club rigged up this charming self-service miniature ferry.
dinghy retrieval system
Pull on the line on the left and way you go. No rush-hour crowds on this public transport system.
Anyway, I'm working like you wouldn't believe. And you probably don't believe it because if it were true, you say to yourself, I wouldn't be visiting the marina or even writing this blog for that matter. 

And you'd be right, except that I stopped watching TV (well, almost), stopped reading books and looking in the mirror. I don't smoke (smoking is a time thief), I hardly ever go shopping, I don't commute to work, I Facebook about twice a year, I Twittered 3 or 4 times, and that's plenty enough (still don't know what all the fuss is about and don't care), I mow the lawn only when the grass looks like my hair and I cut my hair when it looks like the grass. Instead of going to the gym, I have my own sweat-producing gig in the attic. Sometimes I go for long walks but walk really fast, and I shave only every other day. However, I do shower every morning, except when I'm living on the boat.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Storm Damage

The storm knocked on the door and broke it down.

In my last post I showed an amazing video of a marina being destroyed by a storm. Never imagined the same thing would happen yesterday evening here in Peniche. Hard to believe, but 14-meter waves were recorded by wave buoys.

It didn't look good when I arrived early this morning. Waves were still coming over the breakwater, just babies compared to the monsters that came crashing right into the marina yesterday. Six boats sank, others were damaged, but Jakatar is fine. I couldn't get a dinghy ride out so I went back home to work on a translation.

I came back in the afternoon and got a ride to a marina that is now an island. There's no water, no electricity, no access, probably no funds for repairs - might as well be docked on a desert island. Doesn't look good.
I have to walk this now to reach Jakatar...What am I thinking, from now on I'll have to take a dinghy ride and tie up to Jakatar. I could kick myself repeatedly in the butt for having sold my bullet-proof mooring.

The power of water.

1 minute after I took this shot, the boat splashed back into the water and the crane was left holding a couple square feet of fiberglass and two cleats.

I'm OK, Jakatar is OK, what are you gonna do when you're a boat slave?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Storms and Marinas

I woke up in the dark to the sound of howling wind and rain pummeling the shutters, just like Windguru had forecast, plus 8.5 m waves.

Ana is visiting her family up north, so I got up right away, had breakfast, fed the cat and drove up to Peniche. I wasn't seriously worried about Jakatar; it's not as though I was expecting the hellish scene that took place in Machico, Madeira Island, a few weeks ago.

Imagine showing up at the marina and finding this. A good time to own a steel boat, I suppose.

When I arrived, the wind was already subsiding and only some waves were timidly leaping over the breakwater. There was nothing to worry about, for now.

I ran the engine engaged in reverse for 10 minutes, dried the bilges, sprayed the hydraulic fittings, the engine and the stern post with WD40 and checked the dock lines. After that I checked on the other sailboats and headed back home to WORK. Needless to say, I haven't done a stitch of work yet as I write this. 

Black water ducks
These guys are drying their feathers on a rainy day.
propane tank compartment
This French boat has a nifty rum keg used as a propane tank compartment.
The next morning I saw some photographs of what happened in late afternoon when the tide rose over 3 m.
waves in Peniche
Jakatar is docked to the left of the screen.

Winter in Peniche
Looks like a simulated waterfall