So that was Christmas

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sun 28 Dec 2008 15:18

Monday 22 December 2008

I had 2 pieces of 1/2� ply 4'x2', left over from the shelves, which would not fit anywhere on the boat. I put them under the aft cabin mattresses, but the cabins are not square and the mattress was rather up in the air. I did not want to let the wood go as it is difficult to get, it comes in 8'x4' sheets and this is a bit tricky to get in the supermarket minibus. Someone had a pickup to get the original sheet.

Lloyd wanted a piece of ply and so I took out two shelves I had made in Trinidad of 1/4� ply and made new shelves out of the 1/2�. They may not look a lot different, but they are more solid and one fits better; I got the sloping side right. The jigsaw would not run off the inverter or the generator and so I tried to cut the wood with the big hand saw, but the 'quality' plastic handle disintegrated and I had to use a hacksaw blade. The blades kept snapping off, eventually too short to use, so 3 were destroyed in the process and my hands are very sore.

I gave one of the thinner shelves to Lloyd and continued the huge tidy up that is in progress � and seems to have been continuous from at least the Canaries onwards, too much stuff or too small a boat.

The Trade Winds are very strong at the moment with gale force gusts, with a few boats dragging around. I had hauled the dinghy up in the evening and it was still on the harness. 2 in the morning the gust came and lifted the front up and it was hanging straight up, this was not good for the engine. I tied the front down to the bow cleat and it was fine.

Tuesday 23 December

I wanted to go to Centrum supermarket, I waited with other people for the bus before 9. The bus did not come down to where we were waiting and so we had to take the 10am bus to a different supermarket, that was not where I wanted to go.

I had not put the engine on for the trip in to the dock as the wind was with me, I just got blown there sideways, hardly rowing at all. On the way back it was very windy and choppy and the motor was needed, so obviously it gave up on me half way back. Probably paying me back for upending it last night, not very forgiving sometimes my outboard. Luckily Cloud Nine gave me a tow. I was soaked through, but the wind soon dried the clothes on the guardrails.

Lloyd had decided that the 1/4� ply was not thick enough, so I would give him a piece of the 1/2� that I had left over from the shelves.

I was still not happy with the sheet I had left as it was preventing me from getting to the engine and was still lumpy under the mattress. Lloyd came and got me and we took the ply to his boat where he had a 2000w inverter and a jigsaw. I had a place for the wood if I cut 3� off the 4' length as it was that much over 2' wide which was the maximum I could fit. Lloyd cut the edge off the big sheet and then we cut what he wanted from the remainder of the first sheet. I would have done it by hand, but a power tool is so much quicker and less painful � and I get ice cream on Puddle Jumper. I now buy a tub when they have room in their freezer and we share it, surprisingly it is chocolate � works for me.

I have the extended bunk in the forecabin, under which I have made a tool locker. There were 2 small lockers each side about 8� down and I could fit the ply across this space. I can only get to the space underneath the shelf by sliding the bottom part of the door up and crawling into the space. It is tight, but I think I can get to everything I need quickly enough.

It is amazing how much I can get on the shelf, which was just unusable space over the top before. This shelf took the stuff from the extended bunk in the aft cabin and led to a super move.

The sea anchor and two big ropes had spent the last week in their new home under the bed in the front of the forepeak, now they were moved into the aft cabin locker together with the spinnaker, this is brilliant. I put stuff that I really do not need, but might, in the forepeak. This time last year it was home to my paragliding helmet and ski boots, which I left in St Maarten, so I am making progress.

The dehumidifier had spent one week in the tool locker, but that was impractical and so it is back under the table, where it has been quite happy for the last 6 years.

Wednesday 24 December

The bunks are clear, the shelves are tidy. The lockers need revisiting one at a time to perfect them and it may not be advisable to open some of the cupboards, unless you are good at catching what might tumble out, but now it is just a matter of continual revision of each section in the future. I am exhausted, but presentable for visitors.

It is still very windy and it is not expected to calm down for a few days yet. I had not dragged, some others have. I wanted to let more chain out, but the snubber was under too much strain to get off. I had to motor up to get the snubber off and then let the rest of the chain out. That done I went Christmas shopping with Val into Willemstad and that took 6 hours by the time we had waited for the bus each way. We also went to the harbour master and got an anchoring permit for Fuik Bay for New Year. The day was also exhausting, but at least it wasn't work.

I am running the watermaker every day to get the batteries down from going over 100% and that is just the solar panel, I have the wind generator tied up. I am running it direct to the tank as I have taken the raincatcher down. It is a shame to miss the rain, but I cannot risk the windage in this weather. I have also taken the breezebooster, the awning and the sun blinds down and closed the window in the sprayhood. As I said, it is very windy.

The fridge is working again, the compressor was running, but nothing got cold and so I had turned it off for a few days. Perhaps it is an air bubble freezing in the gas, I might have it drained and re-gassed and hope that fixes it.

Thursday 25 December

This is my 7th Christmas on the boat.

1st Hayling Island, UK� very cold

2nd Vilamoura, Portugal

3rd Portimao, Portugal

4th Lanzarote, Canaries

5th Barbados

6th St Maarten

7th Curacao

I got up at 5.30 to contact people back in the UK. It was blowing up to 40 knots, dark, raining and cold (for here). There is a boat parked two boats across from me that had dragged, he re-anchored and put out a second anchor and he had dragged. This morning he was dragging and had gone a good 100 feet, I could not raise anybody in the anchorage on the VHF - is nobody awake Christmas morn?. My spotlight had not held its charge and so I had to resort to a small light and the horn. He and the boat he was aiming to steal a kiss with, no mistletoe either, did wake up and he has stopped. Presumably he will watch until it is light and re-anchor. Sometime before this point should he have taken the hint that he has to try a different spot, this one is definately not working for him.

I have found a half reasonable radio station, in English. I have had to listen to some awful modern versions of carols and christmas songs, bring back Bing Crosby. I know it is not a Christmas song, but there is a French version of what was 'An Englishman in New York' and is now 'Un Italian en Paris', yuk, I hope it is not being played in whatever country you are in.

Time to go off to Puddle Jumper for a traditional turkey dinner with Slow Dancing, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream and chocolates. Ch-ristmas, Ch-ocolate, surely you did not think this was a co-incicence.

Friday, 26 December

Boxing Day � I could not find any light stain for the new wood and so have been painting it everyday with PG Tips after my cup of tea. I should have given over a whole tea bag to the satin, but that seemed a waste. It is getting there, but will need much more tea, the clothes and bedding seem to be taking the stain better than the wood. I decided not to rush it and leave it until after the visitors have gone and I can take everything off the shelves.

I changed the bed and the towels, some are ending up as rags. I made the bed properly for the first time since the Canaries. I put the double duvet, albeit now triangular shaped, in the cover and have matching sheet and pillowcases. The only difference is that the duvet is on the bottom and the sheet is the cover and it is lovely, quite civilised.

The fridge is playing up again. I think the air bubble idea is out.

Saturday, 27 December

The problem with sorting the lockers is that I find things that can be fitted and making space in the locker makes work outside the locker. I had a piece of vinyl that would fit under the bathroom window and cover the cleaning materials stacked on the shelf. It rained on and off all day, I was catching it in the inverted awning. I do not need the water, but cannot bear to see it wasted. I went over to Puddle Jumper and it tipped down, and I missed it all.

Unfortunately I had left the bathroom window open and the floor was awash, the vinly cover had come in handy within hours of fitting it.

Barry came later to look at the watermaker. He thinks it is running ok and best to leave it, but he will bring me a new top and fittings to the filter and I might review the hoses again when I fit it. I will not touch the loo plumbing again as there was really no need and now I have to trace the small leak. I could not see how it was leaking where the water was, but I sealed it anyway and will see if it has stopped in the morning.

Sunday, 28 December

The wind has died down and the sun is punishingly hot.

I had charged the battery for the drill overnight and drilled holes in the wooden batten that I tie the fuel and water jerry cans to. It is wonderful to have a working power tool, pity the jigsaw is not rechargeable as I still had to saw the ends off by handsaw.

I think the loo just needed a screw tightened, which makes more sense, at least that was something that I had undone.

I glued the vinly in place as I think it has justified its existence.

I am going to finish an embroidery that I started years ago. The frame had been in the locker taking up too much room, so I had put that up as a reminder to finish the picture.

I am running out of excuses not to have another go at sewing the spinnaker � now it is in a locker it is rather out of sight, out of mind.

I am fiddling with the wires to the fridge and I am sure it will work. The chocolates are suffering without the fridge, so I am taking pity on them and putting them out of their misery before they get too soft. Some of them have little phrases on the inside of the wrappers, how daft is that, who reads the inside of the wrappers. Then you have to have another one to see if the sayings are all the same; what suffering has to be borne in the name of research.