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Monday, October 5, 2009

You makes your own luck - or not?

Stop yer whingeing, SisyFart. Looked at in any way but as a Conspiracy of Examiners,   we have been lucky.


The AirX died out there in the Bay of Biscay. Not off Tristan da Cunha. We were within easy sail of Lisbon and there's a Southwest Windpower agent here. Score 1.


My tooth went berserk after we got here – not out there in an Atlantic gale - and we were introduced to a local friend who kindly and competently pointed me at his own dentist and organised an appointment. And took us out to dinner. Twice. Thanks John! Score 2.


And the damper plate self destructed here in the Doca. Not out there in the ITCZ. Score 3.


And I can say Dues Cervejas in Portugese. Score 4 and onward.


And who knows what a 3 week delay might mean when we get down to 40 S. Score to be determined.


Been amusing myself with the tools of self justification – proverbs like 'Fools rush in…' or its opposite 'Fortune favours the brave' or even 'Carpe diem'. There's one for every circumstance. Anyone got any good suggestions for this pongy Doca? 'There but for the grace of God…' perhaps for you lot but what about us? Actually, I like the one in the Baez song about the juniper – 'there but for fortune go you or go I' meaning into gin soaked oblivion but it works in more devious ways.


Post them on if you've nowt better to do. And thanks to everyone who have sent us messages and support. Fantastic and I'm trying to reply to you all as we go.

The engine lift, summarised

The first couple of times we lifted the donk, in Dutch Harbour and Falmouth, we had a chain hoist hanging from the boom above the aft end of the coachroof. There are photos on the /tng website if they haven't been corrupted by the bloody Viagra mob. The problem with this is that the hoist is angled forwards (towards the bow) as it passes around the coachroof coaming and down to the engine, so the lift is not vertical but pulling aft and hard against the coaming of the coachroof.


This means that to move the engine towards the bow to get it off its mounts and into the saloon, you must pull it against the backward pull of the hoist – tricky and a pain to do, with tackles everywhere and massive tension on them and having to ease the hoist at the same time.


So this time I pondered a bit and decided that a better way might be to use a couple of small tackles to suspend a bar, post, spinnaker pole or – in Berri's case – the jockey pole under the boom but inside the boat. To do this you do need a hatch somewhere in the coachroof, with one small tackle going up through it. The other end of the pole is suspended by the other tackle just aft of the coachroof. You need to be sure that the pole you use can support the weight of the donk from its centre while it is suspended from each end (I hope that makes sense). Berri's jockey pole is a hefty bit of tubing.


Then a 4 or better still 6 part tackle from the point of the pole directly above the suspension points on the donk gives you a vertical lift. Ever so much easier and you can get fine adjustments by playing with the two smaller tackles. It also allows you to tilt the pole slightly to assist the movement of the engine fore or aft once lifted. Worked like a dream. You can see most of the arrangement in the photos posted on the blog earlier. But here they are again

Sisyphus' shadow in the Doca

I'm told that Sisyphus achieved peace of mind by closing all thoughts of anything but the task at hand. And then got on with the job. I think we are a small jump ahead of him in that we stagger up the hill with our load of trivia but each time we get up there and roll back we have some small achievement ticked off that means that we don't roll back quite as far.


Dunno really. It's the hanging around that gets me. So I'm trying to learn Portugese, mostly by reading the newspapers which gives the words a bit of context. I need a dictionary and the place is closed for the long weekend…Reading it and getting the rough meaning is easy enough but understanding the rules of pronunciation and the way the locals slur the words is another ballgame altogether – it sounds like a sort of bastardised Russian. Little things…Dues cervejas …obrigado is a useful combination and I can pronounce it too.


The wind has changed – bliss! We were directly downwind of a fishing boat alongside the south wall with a pile of nets and dead fish on deck. It hasn't moved since we got here the first time and the fish are not just dead dead but gut curdling meltingly pustulating dead – the smell is probably stirring the great Prince Henry in his grave.


There he is in the top photo, at the head of his heroes, looking outwards to the world on a foggy Sunday. With the help of a Seagull. The next photo (with a large chunk of grot on the photoplate that must have been inside the Nik since I bought it) is one of the old schooners that sailed to the Grand Banks for cod – bacalhau in Portugese . The schooners carried up to 50 dories on deck, all stacked inside eachother – the third pic is  our smelly friend with his modern dory.


My internet access is now limited so doing these as word docs and pasting them into gmail when I have a connection. So they may lack a bit of structural integrity. Right now. waiting for Fernando to arrive with a new generator to see whether we can decide whether the problem is in the boat or the old generator.


Happy 50th Gordie – all y'all please Consult on Oct 8th. I think there will be a huge party in Falmouth. The final pic is a Gargoyle for Gordie – hasn't looked a day over 50 for 500 years – Go Gordie!


Apart from which, trivia reigns. Love youse all.