We are back!!
Actually, we never went far away just buried ourselves in winter projects on Onegin, work and life in general. It has been an exciting time though as for the first time since having Onegin she has been just a ten minute drive from home. With spreadsheets to hand the ‘jobs to be done’, ‘items to purchase’ and ‘general maintenance’ lists got longer and longer but it was all ok because we had time on our side: the whole winter or so we thought….
There are many stories that go with the jobs and the purchasing of items, too many to tell here but as an idea of what we have achieved here is the list.
Lewmar windlass installed
Electric loo fitted
Dingy arch fitted to existing radar arch
Rutland wind charger re-sited and raised above height of radar arch
Repair teak decks
Corian counter tops in the galley
New upholstery throughout
High tech running back stays
Clutches on mast for halyards
Boom vang rigged back into cockpit
Replace crazed hatches and install solar vent
Replace sikaflex in all deck fittings: in particular the shroud plates which were leaking
Remove bolts in backstay plate to check condition
Rewire/replace masthead light
New dingy cover
Remodel sail cover and repair zips
Repair sprayhood windows: replace glass & zips
Build hardtop dodger
Change through hull fitting for new water maker
Purchase and install washing machine (almost done)
- Start researching big ticket items well in advance- shipping to Portugal is expensive/impossible/lengthy depending on who or what you are talking about
- Don’t delay ordering, challenge delivery costs
- Triple check measurements: Onegin is an older boat and has very thick decks so the choices for a windlass because fewer and fewer as the new models are made for modern vessel
- Micro manage the local workforce. ‘No problem’ is a very popular phrase not to be taken seriously.
- Because it was sunny all the previous winter/spring doesn’t mean it will be this season so jobs may get delayed: don’t waste a day when the sun is shining and wind isn’t blowing a gale
- Book your flights far enough in advance with a BA so you don’t have to pay excess baggage with Easyjet when bringing boat parts back to Lisbon
Where we wintered:
Doca Da Alcantara, Lisbon. We were very happy with the service they offered. They were happy to receive parcels on our behalf and kept an eye on the boat whilst we were away. The six month package was very reasonable. It is close to the tram/bus/rail station- within earshot and sight of the April 25th Bridge.
Tagus Yacht Center, Amora near Seixal on south side of Tagus
We spent 10 weeks here: which was about four longer than anticipated as the weather was dreadful throughout March/April making it difficult for some jobs to be done. The workforce comprises Portuguese speaking locals who are all really nice and appreciated our efforts to speak Portuguese (thank you to translation apps and smartphones), they did however need to be managed. Turning up in their workshops and leading them to the boat or taking the relevant part to them was definitely the way to go. Good value hardstanding with a 10% discount with the Cruising Association.
Highlights of the winter:
Highlights of the winter:
- We found a great rigger/carpenter (Jorge & Richard) in Lisbon through an architect who introduced us to an interior designer who happened to own a boat. The two man team fitted the corian for us and did all our rigging work. If you are ever in Lisbon in need of someone let us know.
- Repairing the deck leaks and subsequently eliminating the smell of cats in the Pullman.
- Bright. Light upholstery.
- The dingy arch, Joao Paul the welder: a force to be reckoned with but did a great job
- Buying a flare pack in Bordeaux, France driving to Switzerland for Christmas
Where to next:
1215 May 16th - 1730 May 19th 2016
Left Doca da Alcantara south bound. Very exciting to finally be underway after a very stressful few weeks/days trying to get the biggest jobs completed.
Glorious sunny Lisboa day, perfect conditions to leave in. The Captain was v v excited and took pictures galore.
Wind NNW 15-20kn steaming down the coast with one reef and Yankee jib wing 'n wing, average speed 7.5kn all night. Clear night with moonlight. Some odd knocking sound on or in the hull disturbed our journey in some part. Had we snagged a net or fishing pot or was it something rolling around in the bilge or perhaps the rudder post or folding prop opening and shutting in the large following seas? The sea was running slightly over our starboard side and we were surfing off waves and reaching 10kn so the movement was not usual. After a great deal of deliberation the Captain determined it was most likely the the folding prop which was knocking with the strange wave motion. By daylight the noise had stopped with the changed sea state. We will do some research on this possible phenomena.
Rounded Cabo Sao Vincente at 5am, still dark but as we turned along the southern coast line we were joined at dawn by three dolphins. They stayed with us for around half an hour, which was really fun and lifted spirits after what had ended up being quite an exhausting night.
As the day progressed we shed our layers of warm clothing and migrated into shorts and t shirts. The haze disappeared and sun came out. Wind had stayed from NW blowing around 13-15kn dropped and started to shift until it couldn't make up it's mind at all and died completely. Engine on and all but the main furled we motored for a while until the wind decided what to do. Very little traffic out here. One Norwegian sailboat going west and a few fishing boats. A lovely surprise was that we received a text from the Norwegian friends we had made in Tagus Yacht Center. They have a catamaran called Marecat and a Siberian dog called Nansen. We had spent some fun times doing boat maintenance together including the sharing / borrowing of tools advice, a number of beers and good local meals with our German friend Bernt who was also in Tagus to have his rudder replaced (lost off of the Cape Verdes, but that's his story to tell). Their names are Per Ola and Merete. They left Tagus a couple of weeks before us and are slowly making their way into the Med. We are so glad ur paths crossed again, more in this later.
The forecast looked good for the rest of the day into the evening so we decided to make the full distance of 237nm to Cadiz, Spain. Another clear sky above us we arrived in Cadiz at 0400, on Wednesday 18th were greeted by the night guard who took our papers and signed us in there and then. This was a great bonus because it meant we could fall into bed and know we wouldn’t be woken at 8am by the authorities!.
Cadiz is a beautiful city, lots of great history (Sir Frances Drake sacked the place in 17 something or other and the combined French & Spanish fleet set off from there to an unexpected rendezvous with Nelson's fleet in 1805), fabulous fortifications, a massive cathedral and easy to get round by bike. We also found the Mercado so could buy fresh tuna and fruit.
Our main goal after Cadiz was to reach Gibraltar, reasons being threefold. We are waiting for the watermaker to be delivered to Gib, we have friends staying on their boat and it is the gateway to the Med. With the next weather window being either Thursday 19th or Sunday 22nd, as otherwise the levanter was going to be blowing from the east hampering entry into the Straits, we decided to head off the next day after fuelling up at 0700. It was a breathless day so we motored down to Cabo Trafalgar and round towards Tarifa. There were a handful of other boats heading the same direction and the excitement on board was palpable as the north African coast became visible above the line of low haze. It really was very exciting to feel you could reach out and touch another continent. The amazing statistic we had both read was that Tarifa experiences some 300 days of wind over 30kn, we were laughing how we had arrived in one of the 65 less windy days when literally 'all of a sudden' as we passed the bay the wind piped up to 30kn in less than an instant so we were under full sail for the last few hours approach into Gibraltar and the engine was off.
We are now tied up bow to in Marina Bay, which is right next to the airport (few flights in a day but you could reach out and touch the planes). We have a fabulous view the 'Rock'. We've been busy: We’ve checked out where my mother lived when she was born here; met up with Rick & Julie from sv Believe; been to Spain across the runway for dinner with Merete & Per (don’t forget your passport); hiked up the Mediterranean Steps to the top of the 'Rock' in clear sun only to be shrouded by the cloud brought in by the levanter; negotiated our way down the fortification steps from the top through a rambunctious troop of macaque monkeys; removed our hot water heater, ordered a new one from the UK and are still awaiting arrival of the water maker. Oh and after very tentatively cutting a gaping hole in a teak clad bulk head the washing machine has been sited after coming down from Lisbon strapped to the mast in the middle of the saloon.. It arrived at Doca da Alcantara on Friday 13th May and we left on Monday so no time to unpack and fit it before setting sail.
We love Lisboa, but are glad to be on the water again. Gibraltar is proving a good pit stop to finish up some projects, catch up with sailing friends and get back into the swing of living on the boat. From the top of the Rock we have seen into the Med and are looking forward to sailing east soon.