Week Ending 13 January 2008

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Mon 14 Jan 2008 00:21

Week Ending 13 January 2008


Week 2 already, but not a good start.  I phoned the computer shop and they told me to come in, but when I got there they did not have the computer.  On the way back I got off the bus early and went to check on my autopilots that Gui had had for a week, he had not had time to look at them.  I was now stranded on the wrong side of the lagoon from my dinghy.  I could have got a lift across, but decided to walk.  I was going for an ice cream, but settled for a frappe coffee and it made me feel sick.  Tomorrow must get better.



I set off early for France in the dinghy and bought the little 230v generator, they only sell 110v over on the Dutch side, which is basically American.  The generator was heavy, but I got it down the road on my trolley, across the building plot to a decrepid dock and into the dinghy.  It is about 45 minutes each way from Marigot to Simpson Bay.  Once the generator was on the boat I could breathe again.  The generator is going to live under the cockpit table, the cockpit table that I now had to build. 


I had the footrest to the helm seat that did not fit on the boat.  I put some petrol and oil in the generator and started it up, the instructions are in French.  I tried to run the small drill, but it went too slowly, so I put the drill bits in small sockets and hand turned the holes.  I attached the frame legs to the binnacle and the drop down part goes down to the cockpit floor.  It took a lot of effort and all afternoon.  The generator fits nicely underneath the frame, now all I need is a table top.


I had to run the watermaker, but that took my batteries down to 82% and It was dark by the time I had finished.



This morning we were told about a dinghy accident last night.  Two dinghies collided at the French bridge, one person in hospital, one died and the other driver was fined.  There is a requirement to carry, not wear, a lifejacket and an anchor  in the dinghy and to show a white light and nobody keeps to the speed limit – except those of us who row or have such small outboards that we cannot possibly reach the limit. 


I dug out the small ironing board, having dumped the iron on Sunday, stripped it down and attached the top upside down to the frame.  I now have a table top covered in antislip which drains and has a lip.  Temporary, but good for now.


I ran the generator to charge the batteries and charged the computer from the 12v socket at the same time, I am very impressed; although petrol generators are noisy.  I refuse to put the engine on just for charging and it is nearly three weeks now and with no wind since the weekend my batteries were down to 78%, dropping a little every day.  Every hour I do not run the engine is one hour less to the next service and the cost of oil and filters more than covers the generator.  I can put off the extra solar panels and batteries and manage with what I have got.


The Coastguard here patrol and I was dreading a visit, because they do not leave until they have found something they can fine you for.  One boat was fined for not having flares, the fact that he did not want explosive devices on his boat did not matter.  The Coastguard came calling, I was indoors and I thought if I ignored them they would go away, but they did not. 


They asked if they could board and I said they could; did I have a choice.  I could not ask them to take off their big boots, so I asked them to come the long way to the cockpit, which meant ducking through the washing on the line at the front.  It was just to let them know that it was my boat.  They only wore their pistols, they leave the machine gun on their boat, so as not to frighten the cruisers; but even a pistol beats 4 aces in my book.


They wanted to know where the children were, from the washing they had assumed there were children on board.  I said that was not a fair comment to the vertically challenged and I wanted the name and number of the guy who had said it; he should not have been looking at my knickers.  This put us on a good footing and they looked through my papers, I gave them homemade cookies and they went away happy; hopefully they will not come back.


I went to the hardware store with someone who should probably remain nameless.  Some of us went for drinks and a meal afterwards and the lightweights left at 8pm, including me.  The remaining person went on to make a night of it with others and did not make it home.  No harm came to him, but that did not stop the worry that had been caused.  It was quite amusing to hear the radio calls relating to this episode.



I took the sprayhood into the sailmakers to have zips put into the windows, this means that I can open them for air and visibility and I will not have to put the sprayhood up and down.


I went into town and collected the computer, the freight cost $165, which put a dent in the bargain that it had been.  I bought a wireless mouse, which I have called Benjy.  I wanted to find the quickest way to transfer the data from the old computer to the new one.  The stores selling computers did not have easy solutions, but the little place near the lagoon sold me a hard disc case for $20.  I took the hard disc out of my old computer, plugged it into the case and with the USB connector my new computer now has access to the entire contents of the old one.  The easy solutions are the best.  I still have to find out what programs will run on Vista. 


I bought a dinghy/anchor light, they come at all prices, but at $4.50 was no more than the battery to run it and one thing I have in abundance is D batteries.


I also bought a water saver for the tap and it is brilliant.  I am very careful with laundry and showering, but washing up can waste a lot of water and this leaves the tap on, but not running unless you touch the nozzle.



I had to run the generator because the watermaker needs the power.  I put up a cleat on each back stay to support my awning, the front clips on to the sprayhood and it is the solution to not having a bimini; all I had to do was drop the boom down to the side deck out of the way.


I went and collected my newly zipped sprayhood and checked on my autopilots.  They are still not looked at, but I left the chart plotter for checking.  It had been playing up, I am hoping it was just a loose wire, but I will feel better if it is checked. 



I had got out lots of tools and fittings that have to go, over 50 spanners amongst them, and will take it to the fleamarket tomorrow.  I hope the dinghy can take it.


I have one large empty locker, but I am sure I can find something to put in it, perhaps some of the stuff from the back cabin, which has become my shed.


I changed the wire for a small chain for the dinghy, I was told I had been lucky so far that no one had stolen it.  Someone might want to steal a very small dinghy with a very small outboard with no gears, but it would only be if all the others were seriously chained up.



I managed to get all the tools into the dinghy and there was just enough room for me to perch on the edge.  I did very well and sold most of it.  I have brought back the mouse sander and some through hull fittings.  The rest I have given to John to put in the shed at the boatyard, someone might offer me something for them, but at least they will be used.


We were going to have dominoes this afternoon, but it was not well supported and John had hired a car to get his brother from the airport.  We went to the beach next to the airport.  The planes take off from the other side of the road and you can hang on to the fence or stand on the beach and try not to get washed into the sea.  There are lots of signs warning how dangerous this is, which presumably absolves the airport of liability.  What trade would the beach bars get otherwise this close to a runway.  We started with a small plane and worked up, I did one on the fence, but the stones really hurt when they hit you.  The other times I stayed on the beach.  The pilots join in and wave to the crowds before take off.  It is best if they keep the brakes on and rev the engine for the full thrust effect, but how much sandblasting do you really want.  The big 4 engined one was good, but you have to stand right behind the engines.  Perhaps dominoes would have been a more sensible way to spend the afternoon, but hey.


I had to configure the sat phone to this new computer and I will now see if this works.