Thursday 13th October 2011 - Lagos at Last
Thursday 13th October –
So, here we are alongside the boatyard in
We left you last alongside in Oeiras on Friday having formed initial very
favourable impressions of the marina.
They were fully borne out by our subsequent experience there. We had a very decent day out in
The 50NM trip south to Sines started promisingly enough at about 1020 on Sunday 9th October. We had a good Force 5 from the NE (Mrs D says this was her first experience of the fabled beam reach – she’s lying, of course!) and cracked along at 7.5 knots in glorious sunshine for a couple of hours under full mainsail and yankee. But, the wind didn’t last and by lunchtime Mr Perkins had been invited to step up to the mark and get us there. Endlessly obliging, he did so and we tied up at 1820.
We stayed in Sines on Monday. Sines is fine and it works well as a marina but it’s a bit lacking in zest. The loos and showers etc are excellent and it is adjacent to an extremely good and well tended beach. The small town is a little distant, up quite a steep hill past an imposing medieval fortress, but is both quaint and interesting. It boasts a huge modern (faux solid) marble library and arts centre. Difficult (or, perhaps, not) to know from where that funding came . . . In addition, many streets are closed off as a major ‘regeneration’ proceeds. But, there is plenty of attractive older stuff to charm and surprise the visitor – one slight surprise being the local branch of the communist party – a dreary bar with one occupant watching day time television. We just hope that the ‘regeneration’ doesn’t produce the worst excesses of tourist trappery.
We met some interesting people there – you always do, if you have a mind
to, on the pontoons. That done, we
set off on the final leg of our trip down the Atlantic coast of
To begin with, the journey had a familiar feel: sun shining, wind too
half-hearted, Mr Perkins doing his stuff below decks and us heading south. But, at about 1730, as we rounded Cape
St Vincent to head east to
So, that was fun for about half an hour, during which we wished that we’d been able to accommodate the full genoa foresail aboard in addition to the much smaller but more versatile yankee foresail. What we’re intimating is that we think we lost. But, obviously, we weren’t racing, so nobody could lose and anyway we weren’t really trying at all. In fact, we deliberately sailed slowly so that the young servicemen aboard Dasher could feel a sense of achievement even if they were in a much bigger boat. We trust that our friends will know this all to be absolutely true and that we are not being in any way defensive. Much . . .Nicely done; Dasher, and your largely completely novice crew.
Then the wind died.
Well, if not actually clinically dead, its perch-clinging capabilities
were in Monty Python Norwegian Blue territory. Mr Perkins was re-awoken. An hour later a
big red light and alarm came on at the engine control panel saying, in effect,
“Unless you close this engine down immediately it will metamorphose into a lump
of molten pig iron”. Investigation
revealed that the engine bilge was awash with engine coolant. Even the least technical will recognise
that this stuff is best placed to do its job when it’s actually inside the
engine. Removing the heat exchanger
cap (radiator cap to you car types) revealed no coolant left inside the engine
at all. Having had all the coolant
hoses replaced before we left, we checked to see if any of those had
failed. They hadn’t. So, it wasn’t a screwdriver and gaffer
tape job to be undertaken by Dutton at sea. We had 18 NM to do to
The Sopromar boatyard despatched a boat to see us very
shortly after we’d rung them and the two mechanics aboard rapidly diagnosed the
problem as being a dead coolant pump.
To get at this involves dismantling quite a lot of the stuff at the front
end of the engine (we’re back to Mk 13 Centurion tank days here). So, a RIB was despatched to tow us
in. It briefly crossed our minds
that a switch of ensigns might be appropriate for this evolution but felt, in
the end, that we’d done honourably enough, in the circumstances, in getting to
anchorage right at the harbour entrance, in the first place. The engineers did their stuff quickly
and the new pump and one or two other bits and pieces are due to arrive on
Monday 17th. They will
take a couple of hours to fit. So,
we should be good to sail to
The boatyard held a party last night and we were invited. A very good barbeque, hog roast, beer and wine. And, again, lots of interesting people to meet and chat with. So, all in all, whilst being in this boatyard wasn’t part of the plan, it’s just fine.