Groundhog Day

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sun 4 Mar 2018 20:15
The first day of spring in the northern hemisphere (autumn down here) has been and gone and we are still in Valdivia waiting for the Chilean postal service to deliver our fridge. If it doesn't arrive by the 14th of this month we will leave without it as otherwise the winds will change to northerlies making the first part of the journey up the Chilean coast very tedious.

Meanwhile while we plan our journey to avoid the hurricane season we have heard that hurricane force north-easterly winds have destroyed Holyhead Marina and sunk all but two out of eighty boats. Our hearts go out to those of you who have lost your boats and in some cases your homes and personal possessions. The only good news is that nobody was hurt.

The good thing about our enforced delay is that we have not only worked through the 'can't leave before this is done list' and the 'would be great to do before we leave list', but have even got through most of the 'must get around to doing this one of these days list'. Some people have expressed an interest in what is involved in getting ready for a 40-50 day crossing and a six month journey across the Pacific. So below are the contents of the first two lists. 

Higher tides than usual, time to leave our old berth!

Autumn mists and Caramor, a little low in the water but ready to go

We’ll have to evict the spiders!

If you are not into this sort of detail read no further!


Hauled Caramor out. Antifouled hull, serviced feathering propellor, changed main anode, serviced seacocks and checked all through-hull fittings.


Checked instruments and replaced damaged wire on log.
Replaced starter battery and 4 'house' batteries. Installed new battery monitor.
Checked electrical circuits.
Checked wind generator, stripped and cleaned corroded terminal on switch.


Checked wires, attachment points and cotter pins on standing rigging. Checked tension of same.
Checked all running rigging, sheets and halyards (ropes that pull up or control the angle of the sails) and reefing lines.
Serviced roller reefer.

Ground tackle

Greased the shackles on the main, secondary and kedge anchors. Cleaned anchor chain.


Checked sails. Re-stitched the luff of the No.1 Genoa, minor repairs on No.2 Genoa, minor repairs and new tell-tales on Main; cleaned and lubricated carrs on mainsail.
Minor repairs to stackpack canvas.


Had new spare tiller made (to replace the one we broke in the Southern Ocean).
Checked windvane self-steering and found corrosion in one part, which we managed to get fixed locally.

Gas system

Checked gas system (unlike some Breton friends we have, this didn't involve passing a naked flame along the pipework!).
Painted gas bottles to prevent corrosion.


Serviced engine. Topped up with diesel. Adjusted and greased throttle/gear lever. Fitted new copper washer seal to stop minor but irritating oil drain plug leak. This latter is an interesting example of the difficulties of finding things in Chile. Instead of one shop where you can buy or order everything there are hundreds of little shops that specialise in different engine related products. None of these advertise online and the only way you can find it is by word of mouth. Eventually I explained what I needed to my friend Jorge and he drove me to a very efficient shop where I bought two copper washers for 60p and several hours spent in fruitless research.

Checked and fitted out new lifejackets; had life-raft serviced; replaced out of date flares; replaced horshoe buoy and light lost in a williwaw in South Georgia; replaced powder fire extinguisher; replaced guardrail fastening lines; replaced jackstay (for clipping your harness line into) fastening lines; brought Jordan series-drogue up on deck; checked contents of first-aid kit and replaced out of date medicines; checked contents of grab bag, replaced food and charged portable sat-phone; updated Coastguard form CG66.

Canvas work

Kath has made a massive amount of canvas work to deal with the heat of the tropics. These include: A shade-sail for the foredeck; a cockpit awning (the cockpit tent minus the side panels won't do as you need the breeze to blow through the front end), Two small tarpaulins; sunshades for all the windows and a rain-catcher.


Teak-oiled all the woodwork.

Kath busy oiling the woodwork


Cleaned all the lockers and re-stowed all our possessions as we now need things for the tropics handy and our high latitude things less so.


In addition to the six-week crossing to the Marquesas, there are large parts of the Pacific where it is hard to buy any but the most basic provisions. So we won't be able to re-provision until we get to Papaete in Tahiti, and even there it will be expensive. So we are cramming four months of provisions into little Caramor.

To give you some idea these include: 50kg of flour, 229 tins of food, smoked and vacuum-packed charcuterie, 60 litres of UHT milk, 6 bottles of wine (I can hear my brothers comment if they read this: "You lightweight – lose the milk!), 10 litres of yoghurt, 24 small tubs of cream, 6kg of dried milk powder, 6 large round cheeses, 32 packets of soup, 54 eggs, 10kg of Granola, 20kg of oats, 5 kg of coffee, 1 kg of sundried tomatoes, rice spaghetti, gnocchi, couscous, smash, polenta, cakes, biscuits, jams, chocolates, hundreds of tea bags, and 500 litres of water. We will of course top up with fresh food just before we leave.

Post by Franco