We should be leaving Gibraltar in the morning

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Thu 20 Oct 2011 22:39
Coming into Gibraltar we had a battery warning on one of the engines.  The motor alternator had failed.  Sheppards, the only ship repairer in Gibraltar, did not have anyone who could help at short notice but they recommended someone (CrisNaval) in Spain who do a lot of work in Gibraltar.
Crisnaval said they could have a new alternator  by yesterday afternoon.  Great, I said, we will take two (because the other engine will probably fail at some point soon).  What they didn't tell me was that the second one would have to be ordered and the chances of it arriving in time were zero.  So, at 4pm today, I was crossing the Spanish border with Eric, the CrisNaval mechanic, to go and pick up the second alternator because it had only just arrived.  By the time we had the alternator on board we were facing a sunset departure, which would not have given us any time to show Ian and Denise the ropes before dark.  So departure is now scheduled for tomorrow morning.
But it has been a productive couple of days day nevertheless. 
  • Yesterday I bought the paper charts (to back up the electronic charts we will be using).  Andrea bought and stowed a shedload of food from Morrisons.  Bertie finally found a fishing shop that could sell him the tuna lures he wanted.
  • Andrea gave me a list of drugs that we needed, from which I produced an official-looking ships requisition form, stamped with the ships stamp.  As an ocean-going yacht you are entitled to requisition drugs from a pharmacy, and they are permitted to supply them to the ships owner or master, under the maritime act of 1995.   In actual fact the pharmacist was quite familiar with the routine (I guess it is done a lot in Gibraltar) and he didn't bat an eyelid at handing over large quantities of antibiotics of all kinds.  I bet we could have got most of the drugs without an official requisition form.
  • Bertie got into boat cleaning in a big way and scrubbed down the entire deck, plus woodwork, which is no small job on Anastasia.  He also cleaned the tender and installed new hooks on the tender lines, which hopefully will not snap like the last ones (they dropped the tender into the sea from a height of 6 feet).
  • Finally, Eric of Crisnaval installed a new alternator on the starboard side, plus we have a second new one as spare should the port side fail.
The only problem with setting off tomorrow is there is a nasty depression bringing strong winds in exactly the wrong direction.  It is not so strong that we can't sail against it, and given we are pushed for time we will not be waiting for a more favorable wind.  Tomorrow it is.