Showing posts from July, 2012

Problem Avoided

As I checked the bow of Reboot today I discovered that the cotter pin that holds the clevis pin that holds the forestay had rusted out.  Fortunately I had another cotter pin and got the rig back together. I am so glad that I discoverd it before the rig came down in the middle of the ocean. Of course I then checked all the other stays and shrouds.


Fair winds and following seas.

Night Life in Rota, Spain

The past couple of evenings I have gone out in Rota. I found an Irish pub (I am still playing with the idea that I should be in Ireland) called O'Grady's (of course.) It is a short distance from the marina and also the library where I use the Internet for free. I should have caught on when I discovered that they don't open until 7PM.  In Rota (like Cadiz) nothing happens before midnight. The clubs close at sunrise. It is quite a shift of experience.

As I have previously mentioned there is a large Navy presence here and O'Grady's has a large military presence. Patrick, the bartender is Irish but married to a Spanish lady. It is fun to watch the Spanish speakers come in and order in Spanglish only to discover he is fluent in Spanish.

There are a group of contractors from Phoenix International. The company specializes in deep sea recovery. They are here in Rota to use their ROV's (remotely piloted vehicles) to recover something (unspecified at least to me) for th…

Happiness is ...

Finding the laundry right out of the dryer...

Naval Base Rota

I walked over to the US/Spanish Naval Base at Rota yesterday. Apparently the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Spanish prevent US military retirees from using either the exchange or the commissary on the base. One can use the mini-mart which is like a small "C" store in the US. So the major reason I came to Rota was a failure. Nice.

I decided to actually go out late in the evening last night since nothing much happens until sundown. Sundown is around 10 pm. I wandered over by the tourist office to find an outdoor concert setting up. Then I wandered down a side street and found an Irish pub. Since I was supposed to go to Ireland I decided to stop in.

While having a burger and a beer I met three Navy nurses from Rota and they adopted me for the evening. They were celebrating the end of tour for one of their number, she was headed to Charleston. The other two have about two months to go.  Navy nurses are RN's which means that they are all officers. They e…

In Rota, Spain

I crossed Bahia Cadiz this morning and am now in Rota, Spain. I published a number of posts that have gotten lost, once I get free Internet I will post them again.

I guess some Spaniards have not forgiven the British


N.R.P "Sagres"

I took some time today to walk down to Cadiz and actually found a free internet spot. After sending off a number of messages I walked down to the Tall Ships festival. I got on a couple of them, in particular the N.R.P. "Sagres", the Portuguese Navy training ship. I discovered that the Sagres was built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg and named Albert Leo Schlageter. She was one of four ships planned of which three were built. The other two were the Horst Wessel and the Gorch Fock. Coasties may recognize the name Horst Vessel. It is the former name of the U.S. Coast Guard training ship Eagle!  A delightful surprise. I boarded a couple of other ships. Of course with the crowds all you get to do is walk the main deck. Even so it was fun. The most amazing thing is that although they have modern equipment - engines, navigation equipment, and so forth there is not a winch to be found. All the sails are raised, lowered, and trimmed using man (and woman) power. One cadet sho…

In Cadiz, Spain

Arrived just in time for the Tall Ships race. That means finding a berth is proving difficult. In Cadiz today, may have to relocate tomorrow. If so I will go to Rota.

Details of my passage from Cascais, Portugal when I am not on a pay by the minute Internet terminal.

Cascais, Portugal to Cadiz, Spain

SITREP Departed Cascais, Portugal on Sunday, July 22 for a two day trip to Cadiz, Spain. From Cassias the trip south to Cabo de Sao Vicente (the sacred promontory) reminded me of everything I dislike about traveling the coasts of New Jersey and Florida. Strong winds, primarily from the North to Northwest which was fine. Very short choppy waves, confused most of the time, that made the ride a pain.  Add almost getting run down near Sines and I was having an attack of the blue meanies.  Turning the corner about 10 miles offshore I could not see the famous lighthouses but as I started heading east everything calmed down. In fact it calmed down to the point where I was bobbing along at 2.5 knots in 1 to 2 foot seas.  About 30 NM from Cadiz I realized that if I did not motor I would be coming in during the middle of the night so I cranked up the iron genny and away I went.  About 10 miles out I was casually scanning the horizon and saw my first fish net.  This was about 8 miles…

Cadiz, Spain

Expecting to only have one night at Marina Puerto America (30 euros) I got up early to head into town. On the way to get some breakfast I stopped in the office and was told I could stay for another day. This was a relief but I was still motivated to get into Cadiz and Roger's great cathedral tour. (An aside: Cadiz Bay is the site of one of the most, if not the most famous sea battles - the battle of Trafalgar. England won at the cost of Lord Nelson who was killed. But that is a story for October.) Cadiz is a very old town, founded by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago, settled by the Romans and Moors, attacked by Carthage and Hannibal, destroyed by the Visigoths, settled later by the Portuguese and in 1902 was the site of the signing of the first Spanish constitution. It is much smaller than I expected with a population of about 125,000 and a size of 12 square kilometers. Given that it is an island one would expect that it had not been overrun as much as it has been, …

MSC Maria Saveria MAJOR FAIL

I take a certain amount of comfort in the fact that I have a transmit/receive AIS transponder. Not only can I see the other ships but they can also see me. Coastal Europe has far more ship traffic that I experienced traveling the coast of the North and Central America. As a general rule this is not a problem as the ships alter their course and go around me. I have stopped calling each individual ship as they all tell me "don't worry about it, we have you covered." Even so the AIS has a proximity alarm and if anyone gets within 2 miles of me the alarm goes off. This can be really annoying but, as you will see, a very good thing. I was just south of Sines, (N 37 09.254 W 009 17.871) early in the morning but daylight, 25 knot winds, 6 foot seas. The alarm goes off and I see MSC Maria Saveria heading at me. The closest point of approach (CPA) is 100 feet. I don't worry, everyone else would start turning and the CPA would open up. As they taught me many years…

Gypsysails Does a Reboot

From my friends Maury and Ginger on Gypsysails: "What a joke ...
We finally made it out of Hawk Channel ... with the help of a 6 hour seatow.
Hit a really nasty thunderstorm this AM. Last reading we had was 54 knotsof wind .. that was before the TWO flash-booms that blew out our autopilotand the aerometer (the wind speed/direction gizmo), the new isinglassfront covers, and caused use to loose our directions in the blinding ( 50foot visibility) which is when we obviously ran over the lobster pots whichfouled the prop but we didn't know it at the time. The dingy then filledwith water ( sound familiar???) and started jerking the davits out so wecut her loose. Then another storm hit and started driving us onto a leereef ... anchor plowed into the grass but would not hold. Pulled it backup and got it cleared and holding ... not an easy task in 30 knot winds asyou know. Anchor was holding but I had no propulsion ... engine ran ...transmission good ... shaft connected. C…

The Toll of Emotional Uncertainty

It is early morning here in Cascais, Portugal and I am planning on leaving today in the general direction of Cadiz. I have those last minute things to do, top off the water tanks, purchase fuel, check with the officials, and then I will be ready to go. Hopefully I will be able to leave in the calm and then get the benefit of the afternoon winds to carry me down to Cabo de Sao Vicente (the end of the world.) Cabo de Sao Vicente is the southwest corner of Portugal. At that point the Portuguese explorers waved goodbye to Portugal on their way to the new worlds. As I have been planning my next steps, in specific how far into the Med I want to go, and wintering over. I have even considered leaving Reboot for the winter and flying back to the United States. That would be quite an economic hit for me. I realized this morning that what is driving my thinking is emotional uncertainty, another unexpected consequence of the cruising life.  Even in Canada,Mexico, Belize …

Jiffy Furl Battens

As I pointed out yesterday my new batten for my jiffy furl arrived and cost me 90 Euro. Today I unpacked it (actually unwound it) and discovered that I had purchased two battens instead of one. Since they are 20 feet long having the second batten on board was a bit of an issue. Solution, replace the missing batten, remove the batten on the other side that I had so carefully put together yesterday, disassemble it into its short sections, replace with the second new batten.

Ah, the cruising life!

Marina Internet - Major Fail

I have noticed in my travels that marinas, no matter how upscale, can't get Internet right. Here at the Marina Cascais there is a very powerful Internet network. It is secure and available only to the marina staff. On the other hand there is a totally useless "free" internet that does not work on any of the docks and is broken about 50% of the time.

As I walked around the restaurant block at the marina tonight I figured it out. The restaurant owners pay the marina to keep their Internet crappy. Virtually every restaurant with Internet was populated with at least 75% of the patrons on the Internet.

So that's my story and I am sticking with it!

SkippeR restaurant, Cascais Marina, Portugal

My first stop after checking in at the Cascais Marina office was the SkippeR restaurant. This turned out to be a real blessing. I was adopted by the staff. They feed me, not only from the menu but made some typical Portuguese dishes for me to try. The ladies in the kitchen also fed me after closing as I kept coming in very late at night. The staff also provided great advice on places to visit. I would never have gone to Sintra if it had not been for Nuno. Another benefit was that they had a good internet connection and were open late in the evening. This let me Skype back to the United States at a time when my friends were awake and not at work. We even had a visit from XO (who had to stay outside but was delighted to be off the boat and able to roll in the dirt in the flower bed. Then of course he had to clean himself for the next three hours.
If you come to Cascais be sure to visit and tell them I sent you. Also, you can like them ("SkippeR Bar and Restaurant") on Facebook.

Lisbon - Tram 28 and the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

Today I went to Lisbon. It was a typical Roger trip. First, I stopped at the tourist office in Cascais and purchased a Lisbola Card for 18,50 euros. That paid for the train ride to Lisbon (4,60 round trip) admission to the museum (6 euro) and unlimited use of the Metro, Trams, and buses (a good thing as it turned out.) I went to the "must see" Mosterio dos Jeronimos first. I took the train from Cascais to Lisbon. Then I got on the Metro and discovered it didn't go where I wanted. In fact, where I wanted was a train station on the train I had taken to Lisbon. So I got back on the train, only to find out that the reason that I had not figured it out in the first place was that there were express (rapido) and local trains. Of course it was a local stop and I was on the express train. So after sorting that all out I finally got to the Mosterio dos Jeronimous. I kind of jumped the very long line and showed my Lisbola card. It got me in about 30 minutes before I would have had…

Working - Lisbon (again) - strong winds

I spent all of last night (and I mean until the sun rose) playing Sid Meyer's Civilization V. At that point I decided I should go to bed only to discover that I was still not tired. I had napped in the afternoon. So I got up on the foredeck and added 5 wraps to the jib furling drum. I had noticed when I came in that the last time I had furled it I had used up all the wraps and only got one wrap of the sheets around the drum. The jib is new and I guess that between crossing the Atlantic (which loosened it up) and furling it in a 30 knot wind it got wrapped up pretty tightly.

Encouraged by the highly unlikely burst of ambition I decided to unpack and inflate my new dinghy. It has been strapped to the foredeck in its original packing. Since it had never been inflated it was quite compact. I decided to take advantage of this for the crossing. After pumping up one cell I discovered that I was pumping so quickly that I  was only getting about 1/2 of the air per pump. When I slowed down …

Cruiser Night

There is quite a bit of turnover in Cascais Marina. Last night the slip next to mine was occupied by a Swedish boat. When I got back from dinner they invited me over for a drink. It turned out that it was the Swedish owner, his son (who lives in England) and the son's father in law who is English. Got all that? We had a couple of drinks and lots of good conversation. We were having such a good time that we didn't realize how late it was until the sun started to rise in the cockpit.

I thought I was too old for this.

Do nothing

Every once in a while I believe you have to do nothing. Today was my day.

Lisbon (sort of), Sintra

Yesterday I took the train to Lisbon to a distributor of the RCC cruising guides as I have no guides for Portugal and Spain. I arrived at the train station and looked for the store. First I headed one way, after about a 1 mile walk I asked for directions and was told it was back the other way. I walked back to the station and continued about 1 mile past it in the other direction. I again asked for directions and was told it was back the other way. Returning to the station I asked for directions again and was pointed in the third possible direction (the River Tagus being in the way of the fourth direction.) After climbing a steep hill for about 1/2 mile I once more asked for directions and was told it was the other way. Arriving at the bottom of the hill but across the street from the station I notice a store front with nautical goods. Not the store I was looking for but I figured if anyone knew where it was the clerk in this store would. So I went in and asked. He looked at me like I …

Cascais Portugal - Report 1

Spent my first half day on shore in Cascais in depressurization and sleeping. Reboot is at the dock at Marina de Cascais.  Winds are still strong - hitting the high 20's in the marina.

The marina is beautiful but also one of the most expensive in Portugal. It turns out that this is where the America's Cup race was held last year and the marina is truly "world class." The breakwall must be 15 feet high.  There is a large central "technical area" and next to it a block of marina based industries (you know, bars,) OK, chandleries, sail makers, various mechanical technicians, etc.

View Larger Map

I spent most of the day walking around Cascais. This is a beautiful resort town. There are three beaches within walking distance of the marina. The actual downtown area is full of shops and restaurants almost all of which have outdoor dining. I have been adopted by the staff of SkippeR - a restaurant in the marina complex.

I spent most of the evening drinking a half bot…

Big Brothers

The problem with big brothers is that they always seem to one up you.  As Reboot's engine was stuttering into Caicais my big brother Al's engine was also stuttering. The difference is that he and Sally were in their turbo Mooney airplane making an emergency landing at Oshkosh (by gosh.) At least he did not have to contend with the annual EAA fly in.

Apparently we both had fuel problems. With me it was dirty fuel, with Al the fuel pump.

I am glad we both made it to safety.

Voyage Summary - Horta, Faial, Azoes to Cascais, Portugal

Will not repeat my previous post. (see A very hard passage but I made it. They say that women forget the pain of childbirth for the joy of raising children. I will have to ask Diane about that the next time I see her. I really doubt it. Spent the day walking around Cascais - it is beautiful as is the marina.  More in a separate post.

Furthest East for Reboot and XO (I was in Nice on my honeymoon so I haven't made it yet.)
W 09 24.781

Dates: July 2 - July 12, 2012 (Including the day at anchor in Cascais to fix the engine.)
Voyage Length: 1036 NM
Great Circle Distance (overlooking I would have hit a couple of Azores on the way out: 911 NM
Distance lost to weather, tacking, missing a couple of Azores, etc.: 125 NM
Average Speed Made Good 4.9 Kts
Hours motoring (and not so motoring:) 16.5

Lake Worth, FL to Caicais, Portugal
Dates: May 30 - July 12, 2012 - 44 days
Voyage Length…

Thomas Paine, in Cascais, Portugal

December 23, 1776 - Thomas Payne:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; ...

Of course Thomas Paine was not talking about crossing an ocean (the Atlantic.) But the thoughts really resonate. It has been about 5 weeks since I waved goodbye to Ed and Claudia (Door into Summer) and headed for Ireland. I have now joined that fraternity of those who have crossed an ocean on a sailboat. In fact, I have joined that more exclusive fraternity that have done it alone. In the vernacular, "good on me.&q…

Azores to Portugal (Cascais - near Lisbon)

Position: 101200Z JUL 12
N 38 57.1
W 011 18.2
935 NM Traveled
5.0 Ave Kts
112 NM Last 24 hours
91 NM to Cascais (105 NM on track last 24)
Distance to Kinsale 772 NM (45 NM more than yesterday!)

1. Very light winds all yesterday. Was surprised that I actually made over 100 NM. This morning winds very light, doing 2.5 to 3 Kts. Prediction was 30 hours to Cascais. Bill (KI4MMZ) told me that there is a wind field closer to shore. Decided to motor for a few hours and see if I could find the stronger wind. Then will go back to sailing so as to not arrive in the middle of the night.

2. I am in the North - South shipping lanes. I have seen (and the AIS has seen more) several cargo ships. The closest has been about 7 miles away. My visual range to the horizon is about 3 NM so I only see the superstructure of the ships.

3. One nice fact of motoring is I have hot water. I took advantage and bathed and had the first shave since leaving Horta. Feels good, there is a point where I find fa…

Azores to Portugal (Day 7)

Position 091200Z JUL 12
N 40 00.0
W 013 15.3
823 NM traveled
5.0 Knts. average speed
113 NM last 24 hours
196 NM to Cascais, Portugal (Lisbon) 116 NM on track {adjusted for destination refinement)

1. Despite the very light airs and not a few times banging around with no wind during the night we made good progress in the last 24 hours. It seems silly to admit that I didn't do a very good job of checking the weather before leaving Horta. I never expected 7 days in a row of North winds. Live and learn. I have been tracking a couple of other boats headed to Ireland or the UK and they are not having very pleasant sailing so maybe it is all for the best. According to Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Routes" the passage to Ireland should be done in May - June. The pilot charts show the prevailing winds shifting more to North in the July - August timeframe.

2. Today has been that perfect sailing day. Strong enough winds to move Reboot alone nicely, sunny and warm (at le…

Azores to Portugal (Ireland) - Day 6

Position 081200 JUL 12
N 40 29
W 015 32
710 NM Traveled
5.1 Knts Average speed (for the entire trip, not the last 24 hours)
113 NM Last 24 Hours
731 NM to Kinsale
20 NM on track
312 NM to Lisbon, Portugal

1. It should be "immediately obvious to the most casual observer" (I think that was the line of Thomas of calculus textbook fame) that Ireland is not happening. The Azores high - which was not being the Azores high when I was trying to get there, but is now just a big blob of high pressure in the eastern North Atlantic - is sitting behind me giving me North winds. Light North winds. In addition to not being able to go North, I am not feeling like I am going much at all. At least the seas have also calmed down. The rocking (of course they are beam seas) is not too bad.

2. I expect to make landfall somewhere near Lisbon. There are a couple of smaller ports within 10 km of the city. I hope to berth in one so I don't have to do the find the expensive marina in the …

Azores to Ireland - Day 5

Position 071200Z JUL 12
N 40 57
W 017 54
597 NM traveled
5.1 Knts Average speed
143 NM Last 24 Hours
751 NM to Kinsale
61 NM on track

1. It should be obvious from the above that the plan to go to Kinsale is suffering from the wind direction. The normal wisdom is to head due North from the Azores until one gets into the established westerly flow. Well, I could not sail north to get to the westerly flow and I have not been able to make much North since. The closer one gets to Europe the less likely the flow is westerly and more likely it is northerly. I am just sailing on East. Don't be surprised if I make my first landfall in Portugal.

2. The sun is out today and the winds have moderated. I was in a terrible mood yesterday. I was just being tossed around inside Reboot, it was cold and wet, and the rig was making noises. Well, it always makes noises. But since I was cold and wet and really didn't like these noises at all. Today it is making noises, just different nois…

Azores to Ireland - Day 4

Position 061200Z Jul 12
N 40 55
W 020 27
456 NM traveled
812 NM to Kinsale
5.0 Knts Ave
136 NM last 24 hours
115 NM on track

1. The wind backed as forecast. Winds are now force 5 and 6 relative. Still close hauled with 0 points free. Heading is much more to my liking, the ride has become most unpleasant. There are far more comfortable places to sit on Reboot on Starboard tack, so of course we are on Port tack and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. It would be nice if the wind would come further west so that I would be more on a reach.

2. Bright sunshine this morning. Overcast much of the rest of the day. The waves are building. After being 2 - 4 feet since the beginning they are now running 4 - 6. With the wind shift the bow now falls off a wave about every minute or so with the resultant crash.

3. Ruing my lack of books. Horta just didn't seem to have a good selection of English language books. Wonder why?

Fair winds and following seas

Azores to Ireland - Day 3

Noon Position 051200 JUL 12
N 39 52
W 022 53
Distance Traveled 320 NM
Average Speed 4.7 Knts
120 NM last 24 hours
927 NM to Kinsale
65 NM Made Good on Track

1. A quiet but frustrating 24 hours. Am sailing "0 points free" and am now 137 NM East of the great circle route. Winds have averaged force 2 to 3 which has prevented me from sailing in a more northerly direction. Note that my current position is actually south of my noon position yesterday. Forecast for this evening is for the winds to back. If so I will be able to regain some distance North. The up side of light winds and seas is a pleasant ride.
2. I love my Monitor wind steering device for this kind of situation. As the wind shifts the Monitor follows the apparent wind. It prevents me from either stalling (in irons) or not taking advantage of staying as close hauled as possible while not loosing speed. The Autohelm autopilot has a wind steering mode but for NMEA 2000 vs NMEA 0183 reasons it is not function…

Azores to Ireland - Day 2

Noon Position 0412000 Z JUL 12
N 40 22,6
W 025 18.4
Distance Traveled 200 Nm
4.6 Kts Average Speed
972 NM to Kinsale
100.4 NM traveled last 24 Hours
94 NM on track
Waves 2 - 4 feet WNW

1. Light winds for the last 24 hours, mostly force 2 and 3. Wind shift since 0600 has moved wind from West to North. I have changed course from 041T to 90T to keep from having to run very close hauled as I have lots of East to go anyway. This is cost some in distance made good but will result in a much smoother ride. The wind is so light that I am having difficulty maintaining 90T, I am giving up northing. If I tack the winds are so light I give up both North and East. Ugh!
2. Mist this morning, 1005 overcast at noon, clouds slowly burning off. I have noticed in the entire trip that in one day I can go from clear to 100% overcast and back to clear again.
3. Got to talk to Spencer via phone patch last night, it was good to hear his voice.
4. Checked into the UK Maritime Net this morning. They…

Azores to Ireland - Day 1

Noon Position 3 July 2012
N 39 32.4
W027 13.1
Traveled since departure at 021550 JUL 12: 95.1 NM
4.8 NM Average
1066 NM to go

1. With the help of several people we got Reboot pulled out of the stack of 3 boats. This was made more difficult by the fact that there were three boat raft ups on either side. Just before we started the wind was very favorable to just be blown out, but of course the wind reversed as soon as I cast off.
2. Clawed, and I do mean clawed my way out of Horta. There was an adverse wind and current between Faial and Pico. When I would tack the current would push me back and give up almost all the northing I had made. Once I got out the wind shifted and I was able to get around Sao Jorge and Graciosa without further incident. I did have to run the engine the entire time as the winds were light to non-existant.
3. Quiet day of very light winds from the West. Shut down the engine this morning and was finally able to set up the Monitor wind steering. This mak…

Port Visit: Horta, Faial, Azores

We did an unexpected port visit to Horta in the Azores. Weather had kept us so far south that it made sense to stop in as it was only a detour of about 100 NM.

The marina at Horta is truly the international crossroads. People and boats from every country in the world stop here as they transit the Atlantic. The down side is the marina is far too small. Reboot was rafted up with two other heavier boats and we were on the sea wall. Fortunately the weather was benign but I sill had to pump up my fenders on a daily basis.

The most amazing attribute of Horta is the prices. Everything is very inexpensive. Compared to Bermuda it was a wonderful relief. Also the kind of poverty that you take for granted in the Caribbean does not seem to exist in Horta.

The last day I was taken to the whaling museum and the beach. What a beautiful place to go for a swim. I only wish I had found it sooner. Summary, inexpensive, lots of interesting people, great food.


Cycling Up - Again

Today I got the laundry done and made the trip to the grocery store.  Tomorrow, unless something changes it will be good bye Horta and on to Kinsale, Ireland