Sun27th Sept 2009 - So busy, but a productive weekend!

Photo of new asymmetric - unfurled a bit too soon -  as we were hoisting it!! And, of course, a strong gust came along just then....  Nice view of shoreline of Lanzarote ( no, it's not the Sahara .. although you'd be forgiven for thinking so!)

Lesson learned!! 

I can't believe well over a week has gone by - I seem to have been so busy since arriving here but it's only tonight (Sunday) that I feel as though I've made real progress toward being ready to leave by the end of the week.

Before Tony left for B.C. last Sunday, he helped take down the KISS wind generator to see why it was not turning freely, as it normally does.  That problem turned out to be simple to deal with - the base of the collar that holds it onto the pole just needed loosening a touch.  But I'd also wanted to check that the steel & aluminium surfaces were properly protected from corrosion with grease or silicon sealant, not really trusting the job done by the guys who'd last 'helped' me.... Sure enough, although that aspect was fine, another problem reared its head in that they'd not properly dealt with a torsion spring whose job is to stop the generator from over-rotating  (It has no brushes or commutator ring, being very simple in design) 

I spoke to Doug Billings in Trinidad, who designed it & manufactures them there. (What a fabulous thing Skype is when you've good wifi to the boat! )  Doug informed me that a short straight wire I could see should have been over twice the length - at 4" - in order to position it easily when the generator was replaced on the pole.  He had no problem sending me the item - but receiving it without trouble here in the Canaries  just wasn't going to happen!   After lots of discussion of available options, I heard  that there were visitors were coming out from England this weekend - problem solved.... Quicker and far simpler to get the spring sent to England & they bring it to me - guaranteed quick delivery ...!  It left Doug in Trinidad Wed 1pm, was in Stansted by 7pm Thursday (via depot in USA!) & delivered to Wisbech, UK, before 6pm Friday...!     Monday update:  Well, that's what should have happened - but Fedex completely messed up - so no delivery as promised.. so spring NOT received here.  I'll have to try to use damaged item - unless neighbour can send to Canaries in time to reach me before I leave - We'll try that but unlikely to happen... Pity...! Of course, I now have to fit it somehow ... Another job on the list.... The KISS did a superb job on the way here, in supplying lots of battery power - quietly!!

Did a 'dummy' run wih my weather routers to check on our communications - and also so I could see what info they were proposing to send me & how... That was a useful exercise, so that's now set up.

Updated all my weatherfax radio frequencies and timetables (took ages chasing around the Internet with an unusually erratic connection...) - but believe my Fax408 isn't behaving properly - I suspect that the boatyard omitted to set a small switch correctly behind the fascia - so another job for tomorrow is to disconnect the unit, remove it and check the switch setting....

I had two days with interviews over the week (local LanzaroteInformation website and German magazine 'Yacht') - that took quite a time away from my jobs.... and I'm finding that relaxing in the warm evenings to chat with people here and have a meal, nice though that is, is also eating into my time badly...  I think the thought of being away from people for 6-7 months solidly is affecting me in that I'm enjoying their company (being the highly sociable being that I am!) and I'm unwilling to forgo it .... OK, so I'll leave a day or two later.... Not the end of the world!!

On Friday, I took 'Nereida' out motoring with Paul of 'Atlantic Islands Sailing' ( - he and Sally have been amazingly helpful and kind since my arrival - thank you!) and also Suzanne and Walter of 'Double Moon'.  I wanted to calibrate the log (which has clearly been madly under-reading!), try to locate the ongoing diesel leak source and try out my furling asymmetric spinnaker...  It was lovely to get away from the dock, even motoring...  The calibration involved a whole series of runs, starting around slack water - but the S-going Canaries current was present to complicate matters, and even going over to inshore of the nearby fish farm wasn't so very useful since it showed a counter-current there!  Seems to me that the calibration factor should be around 1.56 so all my previous log readings and speeds need to be multiplied up by that amount since the default log factor was 1.00!  Unfortunately the unit doesn't seem to want to allow me to set the factor manually - keeps beeping at me irritably when I try - I'll try disconnecting the yellow data (GPS/Seatalk) wire to see if I can fool it!

The fuel leak was going great guns - but we did eventually find the source - the on/off valve on the engine supply pipe leaks fuel from its threaded connection to the tank - another job now scheduled for Monday (the yard here will do that for me).  My gas alarm keeps going off- presumably due to the fumes from the bilge.... another job is to clean that out....

We had sudden activity trying out the furling cruising chute - I didn't think to tie down the furling line - so no sooner had we hoisted it than it began to unfurl at great speed .... and, of course, then a gust came through... A good lesson learned - I was pleased to have two other people with me helping to tame it and get it down on deck safely....!!  But my 'sailbin-in-the-forepeak-below-the-forehatch' system looks good...

Propane - took time chasing after possibilities but as yet still no sign of a positive outcome - although it might be possible on Gran Canaria, I was told.  It would be nice to have my US bottles filled before leaving.  The US (propane) system is so much more easy and sensible to deal with compared with the stupid European (butane) system...  The thought of trying to change over Camping Gaz bottles in the stern lazarette in big seas, by rotating the bottles themselves in order to disconnect & re-connect to a fixed supply pipe to the galley, does not thrill me!  It never occurred to me that I'd have so much trouble in Europe filling my US bottles.

Ran two new preventer lines separate from the pole after (lazy) guy - decided trying to combine the two functions was not OK.   Sometimes you want to gybe the main and leave the pole out where it was, with the genoa taken over to the other side, off the pole...

Checked out lines & sheets in general - and shackles, blocks etc..All looking fine, except for the topping lift shackle - pin keeps coming undone so may have to 'mouse' it.  Twice found the topping lift swinging around wildly on my way here.

Suzanne was very helpful and kindly did a few useful jobs for me yesterday while I got on with checking over spares and tools and their organizing, stowing & listing ... and then finally got around to fixing all loose items in place.  My electric drill has been well used this weekend and I only have a couple of minor outstanding items to fix now in the forepeak.

Weather has been good - warm, but not too hot, and no rain, but it often gusts up strongly and then dies away- I hear that's typical around here - keeps sailors on their toes when out sailing!

I'm working towards leaving next weekend - hopefully that will work out - I suddenly realized last week (with a strong feeling of panic at all still left to do!) that 1st October is Thursday..  But I shan't leave without feeling comfortable that my preparations are complete - I'm not in a race (except against my own 'clock')!!

Written by : Mike

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