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Date: 13 Jun 2017 14:45:03
Title: The Merry Month of May ....well Maybe not

Well that didn’t go quite how we expected!  Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised given our track record!!!

(A longish post so you may want a cup/glass of something before starting!)

The big news this month is that Andromeda has been, once again, playing with our minds. There we were looking to go for a shakedown sail with Sue and Paull when, while moving about the marina, we lost all steering. Not a good situation under any circumstances, let alone in a marina full of expensive yachts and very limited room, especially for mistakes! Potentially very expensive mistakes.


But let’s go back to May 1st.........


No maypole dancing here in Lagos but still lots of other things to see at the Medieval Fair and local brewed beer and ale to taste …….


We woke up to a glorious blue sky and very bright sunshine, such a lovely morning for our daily walk. The route this time was down the Aveneida looking at river and fishing boats and seeing how flat and calm the sea is at the moment then up towards the Bombeiros (fire service) station before crossing the road to HooPoo land so called as we have seen Hoopoes a few times there. There were only three of us (Debbie, Andrew and Susan ) on this walk, numbers being depleted by trips home and other folks leaving for pastures new but we still managed to natter most of the way round.  The walks are certainly getting busier in terms of people we encounter, on this occasion there seemed to be many more dogs being walked than usual. We checked out the progress of Casa Mae and Susan even said hi to the guy in the kitchen, where the window was open and she peered in…….another visit to this lovely place beckons. We returned to the Marina going past the Tivoli Hotel, the sail makers and then crossing the roman bridge……all in time to get to Oasis where a nice little reserve sign awaited us on our table…..best tea in Lagos served here. Meeting up with Rick (Debbie’s other half) we watched the world go by before it was time for Andrew’s broadcast…….


Marina life has its own rhythm ­­­and you get into a routine, our week follows its own pattern with the various activities we are involved ,with the odd day on which we don’t do anything regularly, these become the “working” days when we get things done from boat work to washing, trips out etc. There are some days though where unexpectedly you find them full up somehow…..this particular week we were helping another yacht going round to the yard and had all assembled in plenty of time to have the boat ready for the slings at 9am. Hamish, Low Profile’s owner, had taken the boat on to the visitor’s pontoon the previous afternoon, as the office and therefore the bridge controls, weren’t open before 9 am. Having assembled his motley crew ready to cast off and head round to the boatyard we all became aware that the Boa Esperanca – a replica of one of the caravals that made some of the Portuguese discoveries – was about to cast off itself.  The ship is usually moored facing up the river and to leave it had to be turned round. This the crew did using the warps to ‘walk’ her round to face the other way down river and be able to sail off…. It was fascinating watching as the crew achieved this only using the warps to get the stern out into the middle of the river before pulling the lines round so that the prow now faced the right way. A great way to do things when room is tight. After this we had time to go for another cup of tea before heading back to Andromeda to do a couple of things before we headed back out to have lunch with Harry and Sylv­­­­­­­­ie from Solent Lady who were leaving next day. Somehow lunch lasted till mid afternoon and then suddenly the whole day seemed to have disappeared……and the jobs put back once again till the next opportunity.


The days leading up to the rudder event were now filled with preparations for Sue and Paull arriving and, once they were here, getting some pretty good weather, enough for a few swims in the sea – which was a lovely temperature, good walks, fine meals and socialising. So we planned to head off for the weekend in Andromeda and spend a night or two in Ferraguda. Nice thought.


However, on the fateful morning (Saturday) all was well – dawn patrol walk, tea and coffee in Oasis, planned lunchtime departure. Great. Boat sorted – stuff that could fall prevented from falling, water tanks full, gas sorted, bits and pieces stowed, good stock of supplies, Light Dues paid, fire extinguishers in date – all seemed well. Aha – so much for thought.


We cast off and went astern quite well for us; going astern is a bit of an art form as far as Andromeda is concerned. Then Andrew tried to turn to port, but Andromeda would not respond. He put the engine into reverse (the prop kicks to starboard when engaged) and the bow came round a bit, so we headed for the pool behind F pontoon. Realising we had a major problem we tried to turn Andromeda around so we could get back to our berth. We had power but no steering. Failing miserably we managed to get the stern around enough to get into a berth on J pontoon – the VIP pontoon, and, after fending off against a 57ft Oyster (very expensive) we managed to secure Andromeda. Not sure how long we were trying to sort things out, but it was pretty nerve wracking none-the-less.



Off we went to the Marina office to explain what had happened and ask for assistance to move Andromeda as she was occupying an expensive (for the marina and those who use it) berth. Rick and Debbie kindly took Sue and Paull out on Farr Horizon for a couple of hours sailing. The dock masters boat was out of action! George from Migration, who had come round in his rib as we were about to leave, said his engine had died! We had to stay where we were, but Debbie offered to dive on Andromeda the following day, as she and Rick have dive gear on their yacht. In the meantime we emptied the lazarette and checked the steering gear. All seemed ok – cables in place, nothing missing, and above water all seemed ok as far as we could ascertain. Very, very puzzling! We stayed the night on J pontoon.


We had two ribs on standby (Rick and Mike) for an attempt to get back to our berth the following day as winds were very light and therefore an ideal time to move a yacht we couldn’t steer. Debbie dived and came up somewhat puzzled and said we had no rudder! Bit of problem! Bit of a major problem. Oh flip – doubled!!! No wonder we couldn’t steer – we had thought it was mechanical issue or something jammed in the slot between the rudder and the skeg. But no rudder was a whole order of magnitude different. Debbie took some video underwater and when we saw it we could see just what she meant – there was no rudder!! Oh flip. As the wind was light we moved Andromeda back to her berth with the two ribs acting as “steerers”. Thankfully, “Nike”, a Najad 51 that is usually berthed next to us, was in Sopromar, so we had some extra space to work with to get Andromeda back into her berth. Debbie dived and looked under Andromeda’s berth but could find no trace of the rudder, though in fairness the water visibility was next to nothing. Oh flip. Oh flip. Oh flip.



We invited all who helped to a drink in a bar called Madness to say thank you – well that developed into an evening, inevitably.  Good band though, called MT80. Actually a bit of a mad evening developed really, but a way of relieving some of the stress we were all going through.


Andrew went to Sopromar on Monday morning, after informing the insurance company that we had an issue, probably a bit of an understatement, to ask for a tow and lift date. Pedro from Sopromar wanted us to contact Chico to dive and see if he could find the rudder. Chico came the following morning but after 2 hours of searching could not find anything. Pedro decided he wanted another diver to look. He arrived on Thursday afternoon just as we were saying farewell to Sue and Paull whose bus to the airport had been delayed and we were trying to get their transfer sorted - typical. The rudder was located by the diver and hoisted onto the pontoon by three folks and a spinnaker halyard – it cannot be moved by one person alone! However it is relatively easy to see what has happened. Naturally, Andromeda and the rudder is the talk of the marina!


Andrew contacted Contest, Andromeda’s original builders, to see if they had the technical specifications for a rudder – alas, no; their copy of the plans were destroyed in a fire 15 years ago. However, the yachts original designer, Dick Zaal, is still around and has agreed to work up some specs so the cost of a new rudder can be established for the insurance claim – it looks like a combination of corrosion and metal fatigue. By this time one ode and one poem/song had been composed, separately, by John (Out of the Blue) and Joe (somewhere on C pontoon) who are in the marina. Quite special and very touching.


Finally we had the call from Pedro to say that if one of his ribs was fixed we would be moved from the marina to Sopromar – the boat on the hard should be much safer as far as Insurance companies are concerned; no water getting in through unplanned and unprotected holes. The day and time arrived and we were greeted by three ribs and many willing hands for the trip from the marina, under the bridge and into the travel lift. It all worked extremely well and the photo’s are magnificent. The trip, the lift and the co-ordination for the move were first rate. Many, many folks were obviously very curious at our little flotilla as the bridge had to stay open for quite a lot longer than normal, but hey, we hope they enjoyed the flotilla and the spectacle.


We are now on the hard (once again) and must now wait for designs, quotations and agreements to be arrived at before we can continue. It may be a little while before Andromeda is back in the water. Sopromar now have the Technical Specifications and we are waiting for a quotation to send to GJW, the insurers.


When the rudder failed we simply do not know. It was pretty deep in the mud under the berth, so may have been there since we last sailed with Chris, Tanya, Alice and Isaac in October last year at the end of the cruising season, or it may have collapsed more recently. The rudder is filled with cement and resin which is why its nigh on impossible to move.  The new design, so Mr Zaal tells us, uses foam infilling so may be a bit lighter. In the meantime lots of folks have been checking they still have rudders!! Not something you often think about when in the water, but more usually checked when on the hard for maintenance or anti-fouling. Rudders are quite often difficult to see from a pontoon which adds to the challenge.


In the meantime Sue and Paull said they enjoyed their visit and they were both made very welcome by fellow yachties, and got back to rain in Southend. Bev and Alan arrived back after a UK trip for tests and will be here for a while. Folks, including John and Rosie and Michael (who plays guitar and sings and has played in Irish show bands in his youth), continue to enjoy Music Nights, the last of which for this season was last Friday and for which we have had great feedback – we will see what the autumn brings. The last VHF Net has been broadcast – we will see whether they resume in due course. Oasis have a new chef so Pie and Pud evenings are on the menu!!! Some folks are very, very happy.



Oh, and Susan won the last weeks Mexican Train Domino’s!


At the bottom of this post is the song and ode written about the rudder.....just carry on scrolling if you are interested.

We are looking forward to the trip to the UK.

More in due course...........


Andrew and Susan

Andromeda of Plymouth



Ode to a rudder


I had a little rudder,

It told me where to go,

Across oceans deep and wide

It never went too slow.

It comforted me in deep seas,

It comforted me alone.

I never looked to see it there,

Deep beneath my prow,

Until one day it dawned on me,

Where's that f"Ing rudder now?



Ode to Dutch rudder:


Dey seek it eere

Dey seek it dere,

Dey seek dat rudder everywhere.

Is it in Sagreees

Is it in Silt

Was it even dere ven it vos built.

Dey seek it at dawn,

Dey seek it noon,

It beggars belief,

It's under pontooon.



Ode to Yorkshire rudder:


Andrew had a rudder,

A little while ago.

He left pontoon

One day,

In something of a blow.

The wheel turned left

The wheel turned right

No matter what was tried,

Something sad happened,

The rudder, It had died.

Andromeda was a canny boat

It knew a space was there,

It parked itself uncannily

For Debbie to appear.

"What does thou see" said Andy

Full of anticipation

"Bugger all" said Debbie

'"Tis a bizarre situation".


A Rudder’s Lament


When you’re in the marina living is so fine,

Drinking your sangria and large glasses of wine,

It’s time to head seaward, then lines they are detachted,

You turn to Port and Starboard but your rudder has gone.




Me rudder is gone, Me rudder is gone,

No port or starboard,Me rudder is gone.


Now this is such a problem we can’t go anywhere,

So quickly call a diver, let us not despair,

He surely will find our rudder lurking in the deep,

And raise it to the surface for us to keep.




Dive one was unsuccessful no rudder could be found,

We sought help from experts, they were all around,

Good advice was taken and another diver employed,

But we still had no rudder and it’s sailing time.




Down into the deep they went, all divers three,

The mullet they were all below,

Glistening in the shadows a treasure they did find,

It was me rudder, it will soon  be sailing time.


Me rudder is found, Me rudder is found,

We will now have Port and Starboard, Me rudder is found.


Now the moral of the story boys is very plain to see,

You will always need a rudder if you go out on the sea,

You will never find a diver a hundred miles from land,

So always bring two buckets when you’re out of sight of shore.


Me rudder is on the shore, Me rudder is on the shore,

We will have Port and Starboard now me rudder is on the shore.




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