Alicante, Spain Sept. 14, 2008
As we passed the breakwater into the Puerto De Alicante it was clear a sailing event was underway. There were several Volvo 70’s on the mole as well as a few in the water. Just after Teri received our berth assignment via VHF, we passed Ericson Four; they were busy with mandatory load testing. We had no idea this was the starting point of the 2008-09 Volvo Around the World Race! http://www.volvooceanrace.org The next week and a half we enjoyed the hoopla of the opening ceremonies as well as touring the city. It was fun catching up with some mates I have raced with before, now sailing on Team Ericson, The Green Dragon, and Team Russia. Alicante is a beautiful city rich in history and architecture. Weather and our schedule dictated we could not stay for the start. We were now on a mission to get to Marbella to see Teri’s parents.
QUESTION & ANSWER
During our travels we have been asked questions. Although there are many, these are the top ten, from sailor and landlubber alike.
# 1 What was your longest leg?
Answer: Ensenada, Mexico to Nuka Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. The trip took twenty-one days and was approximately 2800 miles.
# 2 What do you do at night? Do you stop and sleep?
Answer: No we keep sailing. We have developed a watch system that seems to do well for us. After supper around sunset Teri is off watch and back on at one am. I am back on usually in three hours or when she can’t keep her eyes open. I will stay on till sunrise. Then we will have breakfast and share what we both saw since sundown. Then I am off watch until I wake up, usually around noon. As I come up on deck she will tell me how many whales, porpoises and other wildlife I missed. Any needed maintenance, water making, charging the batteries, will be done and if we have time, weather permitting, we enjoy the day together, talk or read until supper.
# 3 What do you eat?
Answer: We eat very well. Going to the markets has been a highlight at each stop, definitely a cultural experience for us. Before a long crossing Teri prepares great dishes such as spaghetti, chili, etc., and then freezes them. People eat all over the world, so we eat what they eat - if we are lucky that includes freshly caught tuna.
# 4 How many crew do you have?
Answer: Our basic crew is Teri and I, although we have imported our daughters Sierra and Brook for some of the legs.
# 5 What is the most wind we have experienced?
Answer: 55 knots. This was in a large squall just south of the equator on our way to the Marquesas. Actually 55 was just a puff, although it was over 35 knots for at least 4 hours. What shook us up worse was a wind called the Tramontana. On our trip between Sardinia and Barcelona just before sunset, a large rolling cloud was quickly coming at us. All weather information we had predicted the 140 degree wind shift but not the wind strength. With fourteen hours to Barcelona, we spent the dark hours with two reefs in the main, no jib, surfing down steep eight meter waves at speeds up to 14 knots. The wind held at over 38 knots until 4 am. As the storm was building Sierra was sent to her room with all the pillows. She was brave and kept her good humor; during a particularly nasty knock which sent, among other things, a spray of peanuts across the cabin she was heard to laugh, ”so much for the stay tight lid” Teri didn’t keep up her good humor; barely hanging on in the companionway she yelled at me to drive straighter.
# 6 What are your favorite places?
Answer: For Teri I know she will say Indonesia because of the people, the culture, and the beauty. We both enjoyed the call to prayer from the nearby Mosques. For me I enjoyed French Polynesia. The combination of surf, fishing, snorkeling, and diving I believe is the best in the world. Not a spec of pollution. I think we have enjoyed many places where the people made us feel welcome. The people in the developing countries are so friendly; walking down the street everyone waves or says hello. I can’t believe the rest of the world isn’t like that. I know we would like to be friendlier but for some reason we hold back.
# 7 What was most surprising?
Answer: 1.It is astonishing the number of people that can speak English even in impoverished areas. Most people we have met can speak at least three languages. 2. The list of countries I have imagined being sub-standard to the US, in areas such as manufacturing, tourism, construction, is now a lot shorter. 3. There are a lot more people from all over the world out here doing the same thing we are with a lot more time.
# 8 Have we ever been scared?
Answer: I know Teri will say yes, it was when we experienced the Tramontana on the way to Barcelona. I have been scared too. We were anchored in a small coral bay off Kelefesia Island, Tonga when an unexpected change of wind came. Sierra and Brook were also on board. I spent all the dark hours at the helm motoring at anchor into a 30 plus knot breeze with a drying coral reef only four meters from the stern. When daylight came all crew took action and got out of there.
# 9 How do you like your boat?
This question will usually come with; how much fuel and water do you carry? What have you had problems with? What would you change?
Answer: We chose a Beneteau because of a race Teri and I did, the Sidney – Hobart, in 2004, all the Beneteaus that started, finished. It’s a tough race, half the fleet that year broke unable to complete the race, including the boat we were on, a previous Sidney – Hobart winner, Helsal II.
We have a fuel capacity of 672 liters, or 168 gallons. We have two water tanks that hold 160 liters each, or 40 gallons. We also have a water maker that makes approximately 26 liters an hour.
Problems have mostly been with the generator and water maker.
An item we would change would be to install dinghy davits; there have been many of occasions that we would have dropped anchor for an hour or two to go ashore for a look-see but our dinghy is normally rolled up on deck during travel and not quick to deploy.
# 10 What will you miss when the trip is over?
Answer: For Teri it will be seeing new things and solitude. For me, I will miss the anticipation of, and making a new landfall, swimming and snorkeling in pristine coves all by ourselves.
Damage report and notes for”Greetings”
Saturday October the eleventh, 2008
Queensway Marina, Gibraltar, after the storm.
This is the first damage “Greetings” has experienced during our time at sea, and she was in a secure marina.
We were told by all we met in Gibraltar that this was the worst storm that they have seen there in their life, young and old alike.
Windows were blown out of many buildings in Gibraltar.
A large bulk carrier the “Fedra” ended up on Europa point that night. She broke in two before sunrise.
The airport was closed with over 70 knot winds and waves of water moving across the tarmac from east to west.
We were up for over 30 hours tending to our dock lines as well as other boats on our slip that kept snapping during the night and through the next day.
A good video of the “Fedra” during the storm can be found on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG-6Z-1GuuA&feature=related
The large swell in the Gibraltar straight was caused by big winds from the east pushing against the normal eastbound current.
All repairs were completed by us in Gibraltar prior to our departure to Morocco, as the local shipwrights’ had there hands full.
Looking back it was a frightful experience for us, and one we will remember.
Peglish - The Book March 2nd 2008
On Greetings I keep a simple list of things to do, buy, fix, etc, etc; mainly boat orientated. I purchased the new notebook in Indonesia after my previous list disappeared overboard between New Caledonia and Australia, taken by a bit of a wave. “Pegly’s Book”, Sierra wrote on the index page, with a funny face and a fish looking up, is hard bound, with a blue plaid water resistant cover and is now kept below during crossings.
Today I’m trapped waiting in Langkawi, Malaysia – bored.
For those that wish to be bored too join me as I review the day to day to do or remember list for Greetings, page by page.
The Index page, has King Neptune’s mustache and goatee which was used during Sierra’s equatorial inauguration, stuck to the inside cover.
Pg.1 Contact information for the owner of Magnitude 80 for upcoming races.
Pg.2 Torn out. Possible list for market or whatever.
Pg.3 21 things to do and all but four things are crossed out. (Some things never go away).
Pg.4 Lat & Long locations for weather gribs, (GRIdded Binary fileS) for the next leg.
Pg.5 Things to get when home, thirty items.
Pg.6 Honey-do list complete with hugs and kisses symbols, four out of the five to date are complete.
Pg.7 Phone numbers of contacts in Borneo. Distance calculations between Bali, Kalimantan, Belitung, Bintan, and Singapore. Descriptions of five colors of wires with there function and location on the air conditioner circuit board.
Pg.8 & 9 Blank except for big note from Sierra saying, HI PEGLY!! , underlined with a smiley face. At the bottom of page 9 she also practiced an interesting geometric way to write her name.
Pg.10 More Lat and Long locations for new grib files to be requested for our next transit.
Pg.11, 12, and 13 gone. Lists for the market?
Pg.14 A drawing of a box including measurements for transporting home the Sasando musical instrument we bought in West Timor, Indonesia. And below that an address of a shipping company we did not use.
Pg.15 Name, address, phone numbers, and email address of our tax man. Below that, new grib locations to request.
Pg.16 Grocery list and more grib request locations.
Pg.17 & 18 Gone
Pg.19 A map of downtown Kuah, Langkawi, Malaysia, drawn by Jay and Patti we met in Langkawi aboard the sailing vessel “Bluejay”.
Pg.20 Places we want to see in Phuket, including a dentist.
Pg.21 Sail repair and canvas shops in or around Boat Lagoon marina, Phuket.
Pg.22 A list of more things we want to do in Phuket.
Pg.23 Contact numbers, and prices of canvas, sail, and bottom painters. A drawing with dimensions of our third crew, the auto pilot. (We later brought a spare from home.)
Pg.24 Sierra artistically practiced her signature and initials, at the top of the page followed by a list to do while home, all crossed out except “make final budget”.
Pg.25 Costs and hours for flying to Greece, the Canaries, and Aruba.
Pg.26 A list of places of interest in Greece, to be used for sailing between islands.
Pg.27 An email address for Harley Florence, and two contacts given to our neighbor, Paul, who is looking for a buyer for bulk cement and large earthmoving tires. (Don’t forget my cut Paul.)
Pg.28 A twenty two item at home list from getting cricket bait to dry cleaning. All crossed out but obtaining boat insurance.
Pg.29 Illustrates a tidal scheme for Phuket, taken from our chart plotter. (We grounded going in and out of “Boat Lagoon Marina” at high tide even though we draw 2.2 meters. The marina is more than a decade old and till today does not show up on electronic or most paper charts)
pg.30 The completed list of our bottom painter, and boat polisher in Phuket. (The canvas work, sail repair, varnish, polishing, etc. done at Boat lagoon was far better than expected.)
Pg.31 The grade and quantity of oil required to change the engine and genset, and a design drawing of a propeller Puller. (Since we have a Max Propeller, we have to be hauled out to remove it. We do have a spare. So the puller would be a supernumerary item, and currently not on board.
Pg.32 A twenty-five item to do list completed except for adding fuel as we spent eighty liters going to Malaysia to update our visas.
Pg.33 & 34 Draft of email sent to Harley Florence to give him advice on a boat delivery from Ensenada to Alaska. Thanks for friends like Alan and Tyler back home. Also thanked Harley for suggested surf spots in Sri Lanka.
Pg.35 Lat and Long’s for grib files between Phuket and the Red Sea. This includes what I would request from the boat as well as from the marina via high speed.
Pg.36 This page first display’s a drawing made to show the technicians working on our propeller how to change our cutlass bearing. And is shared with a list of things to check prior to a newly required survey by our insurance, as well as our last Lat and Long in Malaysia, and a big black blob of leftover epoxy used to repair a supposedly stainless steel pump filter.
Pg.37 Scale drawing of the main interior engine hatch latch made to replace the broken one. (Made a new one on the dock and it works good.)
Pg.38 Name and contacts for boat surveyor in Langkawi, Malaysia (not needed now, have a waiver till Turkey)
Pg.39 thru 173 No entry’s yet.
Pg.174 A list in progress of all the brands of rum, US $ per liter, in all the country’s that we have visited. (I promise to provide those details later.) Sorry Mark, very little tequila out there to choose from.
RACING IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, Spring 2006
It’s true; you can race every day of the week in Auckland.
Monday evening is Stuart 34 one design racing with 20 boats on the line and three races usually finishing up after sunset. Tuesday is lady’s night and again the bay is full of sails.
Wednesday of course is Wet Wednesday. Thursday and Friday is Rum racing. The weekend offers numerous fleet and one design racing.
One out of every four Aucklanders owns a boat and unlike Southern Californians, they really do use them.
Some of the highlights I enjoyed this spring were:
I believe New Zealand sailors are a hardy group willing to sail with a passion in any condition. In the short time I have been in Auckland I’ve met and learned from many great sailors.
Current mysteries I need to unravel:
" How chart plotters are so inaccurate in the South Pacific area, yet good enough to drop bombs down chimneys in other third world countries?"
" Why are Wind/GRIB files still so inaccurate after all these years of weather models?"
" Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism and the connection between. (I'm currently reading a book on them.)"
" Watermakers (next major project)"
" Why I like match racing? (I may need professional help on this - you too Scotty)"
" BOATS! (I stole this from my son)"
" Starboard compass and port spreader lights, still not working."
" Why a boat with swept back spreaders did not come with spreader patches on the main?"
" How or if old explorers sailed at night?"
" What does kava really do? (I was told yesterday a beer chaser with kava is okay but not rum or vodka)"
" How my stainless cleaner, Sierra, got away with out doing any stainless, only interior chrome?"
" Why modern DVD and CD players are so difficult to operate?"
" Why Americans reportedly spend less time each year on holiday/vacation then most other developed countries?"
" Why can't I find Gallo salami, Rold Gold pretzels, Don Julio Tequila, good beef and Bacardi dark rum in the South Pacific?"
" Why can I connect via SSB to Palo Alto, Ca over 5,000 miles away and I can't connect to New Zealand only 1200 miles away?"
" How can Brook be so fast at cleaning up the boat and I can be so fast messing it up. (Teri added the second part to the question)"
" Already I can't imagine doing a trip like this without someone like Greg.
He is strong as an ox and can fix anything, which is good because everyday
he has to fix something. I just have to fix something to eat." - Teri - 4/27/06
The man of leisure has been too leisurely to type to you; so he'll talk and I'll type.
It's a lot more work then you think to be a cruiser. For example: today I'm still trying to work out why the water maker's production is low. I have read the manual several times and will read it again today. There are a number of steps to water production and many possible troubleshooting tips.
The generator shorted out and couldn't be turned off. There is a part on the raw water system that is dedicated as an electrolysis anode. The gasket on this part failed, spraying salt water inside the generator compartment. I have taken this apart three times now, thoroughly cleaning and re-gooping the seals. The goop needs to set for 24 hrs.
I thought I had gone through each system at the dock so I wouldn't be dealing with them out here. That's a boat for you.
Feeling very tired. Don't know if it is just the let down after all the frenzy getting ready to depart or not getting much sleep. It's been cold, bumpy and there are only the two of us to stand watch.
There are the everyday chores to do too. Check batteries, trim sails, rigging a preventer, plot course, adjust polars, request new GRIBs, enter GRIBs into Expedition, clean squid off the deck, fish, read systems manuals, lubricating things. The steering wheels “talk”, they sound like a small child or sometimes like a woman. Glen, I know what you are thinking-it's the wheels. The fittings on the boom at the mast can really get loud too; a little WD40 and they're silent. Teri has a full day of chores too.
The solitude of the ocean is incredible. Out here so far away from every thing, you feel very small.
It's not all leisure to be a man with a boat. For example the heads always need maintenance.
The coordination required between the SSB (Single Side Band Radio), the autopilot, chart plotter, radar and computer is complicated at best. To enable them all to "talk" to each other takes an expert...we called in Joe Buck. For little more than a case of Hot Chocolate we're up and running.
When we email you from the boat thank Joe ...
Note: Never have your wife, no matter how sweet she is, stay on the boat while in the ship yard.