Friday, August 31, 2012

220 Volt

I decided today to add a limited 220 V 50 Hz power system to Reboot. We are going to be here for another 10 weeks. The solar panels keep everything charged but we have not found a source of propane for the stove yet. So the plan is to purchase an inexpensive electric skillet that we can use to do some cooking.

Since the power is 220V ohms law says that the wires can be a lot thinner.  What would have been a multi-hundred dollar expenditure in the US was about $75 here in Tenerife.  This also resulted in finding about 4 of the chandlers here in town. They vary from very small to one that is pretty well stocked. Next step tomorrow is to run the wires. Then off to the store to purchase some appliances.

I also purchased a Nikon Coolpix S2500 camera today. Although I have a beautiful Nikon D90 with an image stabilized zoom lens it is heavy to carry around on a daily basis. So I wanted something that would fit in my pocket so I could take more pictures when the spirit moved me. Hopefully I will be doing a better job of documenting my travels in the future.

We continue to work on finding two more crew for the Atlantic transit. In fact we are sitting in Cafe Atlantico once again getting ready to do an interview over Skype.

Jim The Birthday Boy
On Wednesday we attended a cruiser's birthday party on Akita. She is just down the dock from Reboot. We had cake and champagne and lovely conversation for a couple of hours. Since we were multi-cultural Jim got Happy Birthday sung in English, Dutch, Gaelic, and Spanish (I think that was all of them.) Then the Irish and Scotch whiskys came out for toasts. We all stumbled home smartly. It was a great party.

Fair winds and following seas.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Engine Issues

As you know if you read my blog regularly the engine alarmed on the way into Santa Cruz de Tenerife. I t appeared to be overheating so my first thought was to check the thru hull and the impeller. The thru hull stuck in the closed position, then on a cool day I was able to open it with no effort at all. Then it warmed up again and is once again stuck. Anyway, its open so today I started the engine. Good water out the exhaust so I presume that the impeller is OK. Since it was not warming up very fast I put Reboot in gear to put a little bit of load on the engine. There was some vibration but I wrote it off to the fact that we were tied to the dock.

All of a sudden I looked at the stern and found a piece of plastic netting floating away behind Reboot. So my take is that there is something (or was something) wrapped around the prop.) Tomorrow I will dive and take a look, not my favorite occupation given that we are in a marina and the water is less than perfectly clean. I will let you know what I find.

Fair winds and following seas.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to Human

Quana has spent most of her time here while on Reboot cleaning up the mess of my four year bachelor life. Reboot just shines - and we still haven't done the topside compounding and waxing. I am really pleased. Yes, I have been cleaning too, but somehow it seems that she has done most of the work.

We have also spent quite a bit of time shopping and walking around Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We found the big mall with the local version of Walmart. We have been tossing out a bunch of stuff I haven't used in four years and replacing some of the things, like the dish rack, that have rusted with plastic versions.

Getting Reboot clean has also motivated me to spend part of each day doing the checking and repair work so necessary to keep a boat safe. Today we spent about two hours locating distilled water (the water maker is broken, again!) to fill the batteries. They were in sore need of it. I also was able to open the stuck engine intake water thru hull yesterday when it was cool out. It opened easily, and lots of water flowed in. Today it is warm and it would not close so I left it as it is. I started the engine and got decent water out the stern, so I think that I must have had some kind of water lock in the exhaust line. We were working inside in the salon area so I decided to shut the engine down. I will let it run for about four hours sometime over the next few days to make sure it doesn't alarm again.

We still have a bit to do - the list is quite long - but I am confident that we will be ready in November to head for Martinique.

Fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quana Arrives

My first crew member for the transatlantic crossing, Quana, arrived from the UK yesterday. She woke this morning and told me that we need to get some vinegar so that she can scrub all the tobacco stains off the roof of the cabin. I am back in civilization again. It looks like I will have to bathe more than once a week. I am amazed that she didn't leave this morning!

It is great to have company on the boat.

Fair winds and following seas.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Too hard - too easy - Sid Meier's Civilization V

After being totally trashed at "normal" I decided to crank back the difficulty level on Sid Meier's Civilization V to easy. So, now I have trashed the AI of everyone else. There is some randomness in the game. For example I have learned never if at all possible to found my capital anywhere but on a coast. And I have gotten hammered by barbarians in the first ten turns. But I am clearly not ready for "normal." Perhaps that is because I am not normal?

Tomorrow I have to clean Reboot as my crew for the Atlantic crossing is starting to arrive on Tuesday. XO needs to put a clean paw forward and I need to do the same.

Fair winds and following seas.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Sid Meiers Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game, where each player represents the leader of a certain nation or ethnic group ("civilization") and must guide its growth over the course of thousands of years. Trevor in particular turned me on to playing it. Now that I am in port I took some time yesterday and the day before to play. It requires quite a bit of computer power to play, particularly in "normal" game mode. In theory I can only play it in port or if I am motoring.

In Europe with 220 volt 50 cycle power I can't plug Reboot in. Since I have an inverter I can play off the batteries but not very long unless the sun is out. This is actually very good or I would be playing 24/7.  The game is very seductive. "Just one more turn." I know that the gold standard for computer AI engines is winning a game of chess. Well, its not so easy, in fact for me impossible, to win Civ V at "normal" difficulty. I can imagine may hours of reading the game guide and playing before I get very good. Unfortunately first I have to get Reboot ready to cross the Atlantic. LOL

Fair winds and following seas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reboot under tow, Canary Island Winds

Reboot under tow, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Did you ever wonder what it looks like from the tow boat? Captain Hernández was kind enough to send me some pictures. Apparently their SOP is to take pictures during a rescue and again when they have brought the boat to safety. I guess there are lawyers in Europe too!

Yes, it was a bit bouncy out there. After a long and quite pleasant passage from Rota with 10 to 15 relative (sometimes on the beam, sometimes on a broad reach) the wind picked up to 25 to30 as I approached Tenerife. The waves also picked up. My assumption was that this was a result of Tenerife Island "bending" the wind around the end of the island. Of course I also said "once again I have to make port in strong winds." As I approached Santa Cruz de Tenerife the winds started to moderate. While bobbing around (the jiffy furl for the main was just enough sail area to keep me in place one mile off the breakwall - hows that for luck?) I still had 10 or so as the rescue boat was towing me into the marina.

Since then I have noticed, as was true in Cadiz and Rota, a cycle of winds. After dark it is very still, no or almost no wind at all. At some point in the morning the wind starts to pick up. It moderates in the middle of the day, then picks up again around sunset. Now I understand about sea breezes and land breezes. What is interesting to me is that this same cycle happens several hundred nautical miles off shore. It does make it easier to plan reefing.

Fair winds and following seas.

Paying the Bill

Sergio López Hernandez
I went over to the Salvamento Martimo today to pay the bill. What a beautiful boat. Two 2,500 HP Caterpillar diesel engines. An electronics suite to cry for.  While there Captain Hernández gave me the tour. What fun. I would have preferred to meet them under different circumstances but I am sure glad the

Monday, August 13, 2012

First full day in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Today was my day to do the formalities of checking to Tenerife.

This morning the Captain of the rescue boat came by with the bill - 130 €. Cheap at the price, but better to have been avoided. Of course they only take cash so I was required to find an ATM.  I did and went back later in the day to pay him but there was no one on the boat. Tomorrow morning I will walk over again.

Then to the marina office. I took a berth for three months at 2,400 € or about $3,000 for the three month period (e.g. $1,000 per month.) That included a 20% discount for prepayment. Of course my credit card did not work so I am now in discussions with my bank about how to do an international wire transfer. Fortunately the people here are quite understanding. They also reminded me that Wednesday is a bank holiday - Assumption of the Virgin - and there will be some festival. I am looking forward to it.

Since I am departing Spain when I leave I then went to the local police office to clear in so that I could clear out later and not have problems when I arrived in Martinique.  The gentleman was most gracious and took care of the formalities. His English was as bad as my Spanish but we worked through the forms.

I am staying at the Marina de Santa Cruz in Tenerife. It is a clean and well run establishment. I was relieved to find that they have finger piers so I don't have to deal the "Med Mooring." I have already met a Scottish Couple on the boat a few docks from me who were quite friendly. The marina is pretty empty but I expect it will fill up as more boats arrive for the Atlantic transit in November/December.

Tomorrow will start working on Reboot. The first priority is to give her a thorough cleaning.

Fair winds and following seas.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In Port, Tenerife, Safe

Another spectacular Reboot arrival. One NM from the harbor entrance my engine alarm went off. All the gauges were normal but with the alarm sounding I shut down. Tenerife Rescue came out and towed me in. I am so glad that I intend to spend 3 months here to go over every part of Reboot before I set out again. What is most frustrating is that the engine worked perfectly when I left Rota. I did not use it on the entire trip and it conked out just when I needed it. I checked the raw water intake and it drew a big vacuum so I think it is clogged. Of course the thru hull is now stuck, once again I say thanks for the next three months.

Passage summary to follow.

Fair winds and following seas.

Rota to Tenerife, August 11, 2012

Noon Position
N 29 59.690
W 015 18.992
C 236 S 5.5
663 NM Traveled
131 NM Last 24
5.4 Ave Knots
58.6 NM to to

I am too close to Tenerife so I am doing S turns to slow down. If I keep going at this rate I will arrive in the middle of the night.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rota to Tenerife, August 10, 2012

Noon Position
N 30 39.104
W 013 59.158
C 222 S 6
532 NM traveled
144 NM last 24
5.3 Average Knots
177 NM to go

Another relaxing 24 hours. Winds have picked up to about force 5 so I am running on a furled jib. The monitor makes it easy to tell if Reboot is overpowered. If the rudder is not finding the center of the device then it is being overpowered, even if it is still able to hold course. When I reduced sail it came back to neutral and the ride was better.

Unfortunately the waves have picked up a bit so we are rocking and rolling a bit more. It is not uncomfortable but one has to be careful with one's footing and make sure there is a place to hang on. The other problem is that since we are heading mostly downwind the rocking tends to get air behind the jib every once in a while and it flaps its discontent. I also wonder if I will, once again have to change the fuel filters. I did before I left Rota and have put biocide in the fuel. We will see what happens.

At this rate I will reach Tenerife in the middle of the night so I will have to find a place to drop the hook. I don't like the idea of trying to make an approach to the marina in the dark.

There is still quite a bit of ship traffic. I encounter a vessel about every 2 hours but most of them are 10 or so miles away. In most cases they see me on their AIS and give me wide berth.

Fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why the Canaries?

I realize that most of you are wondering why I didn't go into the Med. I realized that I would be stuck in port for 6 months of the Med winter and didn't feel like giving up the time. By going to the Canaries I can either re-cross the Atlantic in November and spend the time sailing the Caribbean or stay there (the weather is much more pleasant) and head back up in the spring.

Rota to Tenerife, August 9, 2012

Noon Position
N 32 22.430
W 012 05.482
388 NM traveled
128 NM Last 24
5.1 Average Knots
318 NM to go

Another very pleasant 24 hours. Moderate winds, moderate seas. The wind has been slowly veering. I am 10 NM right of track. Since Reboot does not like to go dead down wind (without either poling out the jib, something I don't like doing single handing, or using a symmetric spinnaker, which I don't own) I will continue to drift to the right for a while. At some point the wind will have veered (according to Bill - KI4MMH) to the northeast. At that point I will gybe. If I do it now my VMG Waypoint will drop quite a bit. The Monitor wind steering is quite a gadget. It keeps the same heading to the wind. So once an hour I adjust it back on base course.

I should point out that not only have the winds been veering but the waves have been coming more to the stern. This has made the ride even more comfortable.

Fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rota to Tenerife, August 8,2012

Noon Position
N 33 45.328
W 010 11.258
C 226 S 5.0
260 NM traveled
123 NM Last 24
5.0 Ave Knts
445 NM to go

Another quiet day of moderate seas and moderate winds. Started reading War and Peace. That should take a while. XO and I well. Occasional shipping traffic, but most quite a distance off.

Fair winds and following seas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rota to Tenerife August 7, 2012

Noon Position:
N 35 05.161
W 008 21.858
C 228 S 5
137 NM from Rota, 116.1 Last 24 hours, 5.o Kts Average, 565 NM to go.

Winds built to 20 knts yesterday afternoon then moderated overnight. Spent most of the night dodging ship traffic (actually they dodged me but that is no less concerning.) Pretty day, clear skies, moderate winds but still beam seas (ugh.) Found a few things rolling around that drove me nuts all night with their banging. The Monitor wind steering is a delight, no power usage, does a good job of maintaining a course. If the wind shifts Reboot follows so there are no unexpected sail changes. XO has adjusted to being underway and sleeps most of the time.

Fair winds and following seas.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Noon Position 6 August 2012

N 36 23.338
W 006 38.999
S 6 C 228
Underway Rota to Tenerife
680 NM to go

Motored 3 1/2 hours out of Rota to avoid fishing nets. Crossing shipping lanes for boats headed to Cape Cabo de Sao Vicente and the Med.

All well except for the beam seas of course.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Last Night in Rota

I intend to leave on the afternoon tide tomorrow and head for Tenerife.  That is a good thing as there has been a festival here in Rota this weekend. Not only is it pretty noisy on Reboot but it is pretty tempting to just go down and mingle with the crowd - which is of course what I did.

I wandered into an open air Salsa club and had a great time just watching the dancing. I also hosted a crew of Air Force guys who where stopping over in Rota on their way home after several months in Qutar. We had a good time swapping stories.

Festival means that every woman in Rota from 18 to 80 is dressed to the nines and down in the festival area (which happens to be right in front of the marina. No jeans, all pretty dresses or shorts outfits. Quite a difference from what I am used to in the US.

Fair winds and following seas. I will be filing position reports as the technology alows. It will take 6 to 8 days to get to Tenerife.