Maintenance in Gibraltar 10-14th Nov

Kingfisher 2013
Peter Smith
Thu 14 Nov 2013 15:51
Apologies to those following our progress for the radio silence while we have been in Gib. It has been a very busy time for the skipper (and for the long-suffering crew) but we have achieved a lot.

The gel coat repair took a couple of days - it is shiny again, and well protected, but the colour matching leaves a bit to be desired. I am pleased to have had the chance to repair it and less pleased than I thought I would be with the final result - but it is at least done. The sat phone antenna has been moved to the arm of the antenna mast (where it should have been all along) and we re-ran the correct cable (LMR400) all the way through to the handset docking station. The signal seems to be much better although it is still not constantly on the 5 bars that seems to be required in order to use the data connection most effectively. We are going to test it on this leg to the Canaries and see how we get on. We also managed to fix the cross talk not the anchor chain sensor, the tricolour wiring and the VHF/AIS connection issue. The only outstanding electrical problem (very minor) is the lighting up of the jib furler buttons when using the genoa furled on the port side.

Other major milestones include filling the 6kg propane gas bottles which involved 4 trips across the Gib/Spanish border using a hire car and a secret assignation with a German guy called Dirk in Estepona (40km away down the coast). I am highly relieved to have got the gas sorted as these two bottles will now last us all the way to Grenada. Some of you will know that we have been searching for a place to fill them in Spain since the end of the summer (in 2012!). Wonderful to know that the EU standardisation process is working so well…….

Tash arrived in the middle of all of this, on Monday at around 3.00pm. The boys cooked a splendid lunch for her and proceeded to eat almost all of it as Tash had,in fact, eaten on the plane. We went out for dinner ashore that evening at Gatsby's, the number 1 restaurant in Gib according to Ben Advisor. It was good but the prices matched. No more great meals for under £10 a head once you let the Brits into the equation. (This also applied to the rest of the prices - the hourly rates for getting the work done on the boat came pretty close to our consulting charges for a 1st year associate at LEK. Gib is not a cheap place to get work done)

Albert Poggio, the UK Govt representative for Gibraltar who I sat next to, by chance, at the De La Rue diplomatic corp dinner in May, very kindly organised for the Gib Tourist Board to give the four of us a proper tour of the "Rock". This included St Michael's cave, the Siege Tunnels, the lighthouse, the famous apes on the rock and a whole lot of historical information from our charming tour guide, Pat. It was a great diversion from the dreaded "jobs" and very much appreciated by all of us. Thank you Albert….

Colin duly arrived on time at 12.00 on the 14th. We had lunch, paid our dues and slipped our berth at just after 13.00. A quick stop at the fuel jetty to take on 960 litres of surprisingly reasonably priced diesel and we were off into the Straits. Lovely sun again and this time a following wind. As I write this, we have just passed Terifa lighthouse and are about to cross the shipping lanes as we head over to a new continent - we are closing on the African coast and into the Atlantic…..