Jobs, Jobs and Custard Tarts

It's over a month since Ariadne and I arrived in Lisbon with our pages and pages of jobs to do. Most jobs onboard were straight forward, just time consuming, all but one… the job to fix the water coming in, that shouldn’t be. Coming across the Biscay in late October I would check the bilges everyday, and overtime there was a little more water in the main keel bilge. Any water coming into Ariadne ends up in the keel bilge, it doesn’t gather any where else so to find the water ingress took a little longer than if there were separate bilge compartments and water coming in would stay in that department. It wasn’t immediately obvious where it was coming from as it wasn’t a lot but any water coming in especially when I am about to take her across the Atlantic and back is too much. How I didn’t get sick from the amount of times I tasted the water I will never know, I think I was secretly hoping that it would magically become fresh and the problem wouldn’t be so big. With no difference in the amount coming in between motoring and sailing meant it must either be in the keel or a thru-hull fitting. Thankfully the latter, and not just one but the two forward seacocks, old blakes ones were the problem. The heads inlet and outlet. One of the reasons I chose to stop in Lisbon was because they had a yard where the boat could be lifted out if it needed it, not that I ever expected that. She was inspected and pulled out of the water by the boat yard, I couldn’t be there when they lifted her so I explained how to start the engine, where the strops for the lift go and that she will not steer in astern. “Yeah yeah yeah we know” was the response, naturally I was a little nervous about her coming out especially not being there to over see it. They could only haul her out at the time when I was in Paris for the annual Golden Globe race conference which I couldn’t miss so I let them do it. I get back to the boat and they had lifted her on the rudder, luckily it hadn’t come off the pintles but had sheered off the split pins. But to make up for that they did an exceptional job in replacing the thru-hull fittings which are now looking superb but that meant a sizeable dent in the wallet. I guess I will be living off lentils for the winter, as a special treat on a Sunday I will put a stock cube in for a bit of flavour! Just over a week and she was back in the water where she belongs with nearly all the jobs done for our Atlantic loop. The date for leaving Lisbon has been set back a little until mid January, all very exciting reasons for that, but the last things left are a few more bits of safety equipment, because you can never have too much, my family sleep better the more I have.

Its been a busy month with trying to secure sponsorship, the Golden Globe annual conference which this year was in Paris, and all the jobs to get done on Ariadne. It hasn’t left much time to actually see anything of Lisbon. But I still had the time to get to know my lovely neighbours, Andrew and Angela, who would very kindly offer more exciting meals than my usual easy meal of lentils. That came along with lots of wine and coffee and fantastic company. One of the great things about sailing to so many different places around the world is the people you meet in port.

I did find the time to discover the best custard tarts in Lisbon though. The supermarkets are not the place to go, the pastry is never crispy, When in Portugal… 

As I do what I think will be the final few checks before I leave, all straightforward stuff, I discover that the impeller housing had a little crack in. How? I have no idea. But anyway, vital to fix so I have been frantically trying to find the spare part before I leave, its the one thing that will stop me going next week. But luckily I have managed to get hold of one which Mum is bringing out so fingers crossed all should be well with the engine before the weekend is over.

Lastly my engine battery has had to be replaced, always one last thing, but obviously important.

But now I am off, finally, next stop Canaries for 2 days and then across the pond!