The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sailing, Fishing and Being Lazy

trolling on a sailboat
Peniche in the background, fish lurking somewhere underwater.
Not long ago I wrote a post about the purpose of sailing in which I listed 4 reasons to go sailing ranked according to the "fulfilment/excitement" factor:
  1. Cruising 
  2. Sailing to a nearby destination and back
  3. Racing 
  4. Taking the boat out for a relaxing sail
Since then I have discovered 2 more reasons for sailing: 
  1. Fishing
  2. Escaping boat maintenance tasks (aka being lazy)
The time has come to flash the trench coat and reveal the naked truth.


Not only am I bone-weary tired of boat maintenance, I also discovered fishing. Or maybe I discovered fishing and now I've convinced myself that I'm tired of maintenance work. 

After 14 years of fixing, replacing, sanding, polishing, varnishing, painting and all that stuff, I need a break!

Every summer in the Algarve, in the early morning or early evening, when it's not so hot, you'd see me anchored polishing the stainless, scrubbing the topsides or whatever. Every summer, except for the last two years. So, I suppose my laziness began two years ago. That's about the time when the recently painted mast began blistering and shedding paint real bad. That was a real downer and probably the catalyst for my lethargic ways. I feel lazy and I don't give a shit.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still be doing mechanical maintenance - anything that's important, anything that's really ugly (for example, I do intend to slowly scrape all the paint off the damn mast to a naked pole, and leaving it that way). Other than that, screw it.

So I went fishing the other day and got hooked (lots of puns today). Not hooked on the fishing itself but, instead, on sailing and trolling a couple of lures. 

I didn't get hooked on fishing this summer in the Algarve, where I caught one fish and one seagull (the gull survived unharmed, by the way). I was too busy sailing and having fun being free. But now, back in Peniche, I will either go fishing between my annual trips to the Algarve or the boat will be doomed to collecting cobwebs at the marina.

catching mackerel
Not a big catch, but it's a start.
The important part is the sailing part. And since the best speed for trolling is about 3 to 4 knots, I unfurl the genoa and forget about the other sails.

high-cut genoa

What I need now is a fishing paravane to drive the lure deeper where, hopefully, I'll catch some bass and bigger fish. I may also get some squid lures for days when there's no wind because I love grilled squid...or perhaps I love sitting on the boat indulging, forgetting what's not worth remembering, shedding crap, being still, quiet and appreciative.

fishing paravane

As you can see, I don't need much, mostly fair weather and free time.


Monday, November 9, 2015

No Respect

It's autumn and the French cruiser migration has begun. The transient dock is cluttered with interesting and unique steel sailboats skippered by equally idiosyncratic owners. It's like turning the clock back 30 years. I don't speak French and have no clue where they're going.

reception dock in Peniche

Speaking of steel boats and winter cruising. Here's a flick about a couple that has been living aboard their home-made steel boat Emerald Steel for over 30 years. The video starts as the usual "here we are sailing" flick until the adrenaline starts to flow at a stormy anchorage. If you're in a rush, just skip to minute 10.


Now forgive me but I'm going to rant about the lack of respect for my naked boat. Despite the "Private, no parking" sign on the transom, I'm nonetheless victim of boaters who see Jakatar as a good docking pontoon. 

A friend of mine used to keep his shiny new Beneteau 50 on a hammerhead berth jut like mine and nobody ever tied up to him. I guess money talks, and real loud too. Everybody knows the score. If given the choice would you tie up to a shiny luxurious boat or to an older scuffed-looking boat?

The result is shown below. I'd love to "speak" to the ass who tied up to Jakatar using tar-encrusted fenders. No respect, I tell you. Assholes should be blacklisted from marinas.

Dirty boat fenders

More bitching. Because my berth's south finger is falling apart, I'm now tied only to the north finger and the pontoon. That's because when fingers break away from the pontoon, they flip on their side. And when that happens, the mussel-encrusted floats or, even worse, the jagged metal attachments will continuously bash against the hull.

Hammerhead berth
The bolts connecting the finger to the pontoon are incredibly sloppy because the connection plates (not visible) have rusted to hell. The finger is so wobbly I nearly fell in the water the other day. Luckily I have enough space to move Jakatar forward. That way I eliminated the strain on the finger and also moved out of contact range in case it goes belly-up.
On the positive side, it's a beautiful warm calm sunny day and it's the 9th of November.