Almost there…

Boat back in the water!

During last weeks in Belgium, the boat was lifted out of the water and maintenance was done on our saildrive (engine). The hull was repainted with anti-fouling (it prevents marine life from growing onto the boat, with the result of slowing us down when navigating).

Unfortunately, not all the work could be done!

The bearings of our rudder were not delivered in time and so, we have to plan a new time & place to get the rudder bearings replaced (something we wanted to have done before we cross the ocean).

We aim for end of june in Portugal, if the pieces are available at that moment.

Also some pieces on our Yanmar diesel engine need to be replaced and the question remains: when?

Next step is to put the new sails up and keep the old sails as spare!

We are also changing our generator (Cummins Onan) to a more powerfull model (7,5Kw) as we want to have plenty of electricity to power our 2 dive compressors at the same time to quickly fill our dive tanks to the desired 300bar pressure!

A good thing to see, is that the ‘TO DO’-lists we have made, are getting smaller.

A few more weeks of work ahead before we can sail away…

Part 3: weeks of labour, non stop thinking and sometimes a bit too tired

After our final return to France, to our Blowing Bubbles, life changed quickly.

I am not talking about missing the morning alarm clock at whatever time, but living on the boat and just crawling around in every space possible to arrange items, to fix cables, to install 2 compressors,  to get the new generator placed, connected and tested…

3 weeks of daily work in 10-12hour shifts, it felt like being back home, working at Time To Boat.

But guess what? It is done with the help of many others.

Boris (Karen’s cousin) came out to France to help installing the new navigational equipment (we are equipped with 2 Raymarine Axiom systems, a main master system and a back up  system).

A real nice help that gave me the time to focus on other things, like cables and wires.

Another advantage of having Boris come over (he came by train), was the fact that he returned to Belgium by car, our car! Problem solved on how to get our car back to Belgium.

Of course, as Boris is a diver aswell, we could not let him leave without taking him below the surface into the National Reserve of Cerbère and showing him the best of the Med Sea.

Lobsters, Congor eels, abundancy of fish and some nudibranches in 17°C of water, 60 minutes of dive time and tanks were about empty!

We were lucky to have our dry suits with us, so we enjoyed it all in warm comfort.

SY Ornella

When travelling, you meet all kinds of people and although our real ocean travelling had not really started, we were now living in France, speaking french all day long while shopping, talking to people at the shipyard, at the local bakery and eating French bread (flute ou baguette) with French cheese (and drinking French wine).

On the same dock, some more boats were preparing to start travelling and people connect easily when embarking on the same adventures.

SY Ornella, a 50ft catamaran, owned by Nathalie and Thierry is 1 of those boats.

Their catamaran even is a Belgian built.

Helping hands are always welcome and like motorbikers greeting eachother, so do sailors help each other.

It is all an exchange of energy, knowledge and a growing friendship!

Sharing lunches or dinners, but also tools to get things fixed. It all makes part of the day and shortens the list of things to do before we can set sail.

Thierry and Nathalie also decided last year to sell their (coffee) business in France and to start travelling the oceans by boat.

Although Nathalie has some youth-induced panics about water/sea/ocean, they still decided to start roaming the blue waters.

Panic/afraid of water, you say??

Isn’t that exactly where we can help?

So, during the weeks of preparing the boat, we also took some time to get into the water with Nathalie and made her more comfortable in the water to a level of….yes, they started both their NAUI dive course…a story that will be continued soon in the Canary Islands!

Slowly and steady progress towards departing

1 week left and 1 week right, but still working on the boat. Every evening asking yourself the same question: What did I do today, what did I get done today?

How much more to do?

We had some small cracks in the gelcoat in the area around the mast and were not sure how deep they would go. We knew about the cracks when we bought the boat and the owner told us not to worry but still…

Cracks mean possible water infiltration and that is not good for a boat. The water gets ‘stored’ inside the polyester walls of the boat, creating osmosis and worse, making the boat heavier and heavier and once the water is inside, it is almost impossible to get it back out!

The cracks, what to do with them?

As the question remained, we still had to install our new sails made by sailselect in Holland.

When installing the new sails, we encountered a problem in our genua that had to be solved by a local sailmaker and that would set us a few days back…

So that question about our cracks? Well, as time was ‘lost’ anyway, we contacted Carina Ulixes, a local shipyard in Port Leucate and they ‘dug’ in the problems of the cracks.

Opening up the polyester around the cracks made us quickly aware that we had taken the right decision: the cracks were deep and water infiltration was happening.

A few days later and with quite the excellence of Nicholas, the shipyards polyester specialist, the cracks were gone! Even our teak deck, that had some wear&tear on some part, was nicely repaired by Gregory, the shipyards ‘man of all trades’.

Thank you to all crew of Carina Ulixes and the owner Pascal!! It was great working with you and we wish you all the best for the coming years. A great team to put your confidence in!

The sail returned from the local sailmaker and was quickly installed onto the furler.

Some tests done and happy sailing was possible.

But we noticed that some of our  halyards and sheets needed replacement as they showed some wear&tear.

No issues there as we were prepared with 500meters of robes/lines onboard.

Together with master-crafter Thierry (SY Ornella) we changed the genua halyard and sheets and tested the automatic reef lines (to use in case of too much wind/bad weather).

Some small adjustments and some extra parts needed, there is always a store (or 2) around in the harbour!

Acer Nautique and Accastillage Diffusion were our go-to shops in Port Leucate.

By now, I am sure I have visited every corner of those shops and guess what? I was never disappointed and always found what I was looking for…that beats U2?

But this part of the text does not go without saying a special THANK YOU to the team of Technique Plaisance. These magnificent people, owner Jacques and master technicians Laurent, David and Gwendal, have sooooo much knowlegde about boat engines, generators and were always ready to help us with the dozen questions I fired at them!

Even more special was that I was allowed to use their workplace for various little repairs. It felt like being at home, working in my own boatshops. A great team of people, always with a smile on their faces, always ready to help and give advise!

To sail or not to sail, was that even a question?

June 22th 2021, 7am.

Position: Port Leucate

After a windy night (35kn+ wind) and some stormy dreams, we managed to crawl out of bed and get into ‘sailing modus’.

All items that can (and will) shift out of place during sailing, have to be put ‘away’. After 3 months in port, so many items get placed ‘somewhere’ that is definately NOT sailproof.

After an hour of reorganising, time to lift The Bubble, our dinghy, into its place behind the boat and say goodbye, yes, again a goodbye, to SY Ornella.

We had a great, super time with them and we will see them again in a few weeks/months in the Canary islands as we will teach the second part of their NAUI Open Water Scuba Diver Course.

Likeminded souls as we are, our adventures will continue for many episodes to come!

Sails up and Port Leucate is within little time behind us. Fair winds of 25kn, giving us a speed of 6-7knots and off we go!

Just merely 3hours later, we lower the French hospitality flag and we change it for the Spanish flag!

Hola chicos&chicas, España por favor!

First stop after just the first full day of sailing: Estartit and The Medes Islands.

A very known Marine Reserve with some of the best dive spots of Spain!

Now the question is, to sail or to dive tomorrow?

1 Response

  1. Amaaaaai , lieve schatten … een echt avontuur , prachtig om te lezen …. Ik Leer met jullie mee . Ik hoop dat we mekaar toch nog eens kunnen truffent op jullie boot . Hier is het heavy om weer op te starten Corona 😠 lieve groetjes xxxx

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