Let go of Lagos but parked in Portimao

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Mon 13 May 2013 13:01
One day we’ll get outta here, but for the mean time...
Louva a Deus was the previous name of Moxie, it is Portuguese for Praying Mantis, this little guy popped over to pay his respects the other day.  I think he must have modelled for Hollywood at some stage, he’s pretty close to what I understand an alien would look like.
We have progressed from pet snails, which I have to say have turned out to be surprisingly interesting wee critters and not too challenging to look after, to snails and crabs.  Separate cages naturally what with snails being salt averse an all.  Anyway, Asia is on to her third crab in almost as many days, the previous two Houdini managed to disappear, hopefully off the back of the swim platform rather than into the cabins.  Houdini number 3 is a bit of a monster being 4 or 5 times the size of the previous two and we have to be a bit cautious of the sharp end with this one.  Aranya’s more sensible petite crustacea seems less determined to escape and has been aboard for about a week now.
3 crabby girls
We have been making good use of the tinker and the girls have progressed quickly.  It’s a tricky wee boat to sail and not particularly well suited for learning, but I guess if they ever manage to get themselves into something like a laser they’ll think it’s a piece of cake.  The tinker is the ideal sailing dinghy for us though due to it’s foldaway ability, extremely light weight and three piece mast.  It also rows very well and can take a small outboard making it a very versatile wee accessory.  We have been quite pleased with Moxie too, in 8 knots of wind we’d motorsail on Moxie 1 but unexpectedly, as we had been told that we’d never move in light airs, we seem to manage about 4.5 knots on a beam reach on standard sails which is fast enough for us to not bother with the iron sails.
We love the new tender, it’s an aluminium hulled AB, 3.2m long and an awesome 18hp 2stroke engine which is good enough to plane with 3 adults and 3 kids.  With one passenger it’s like a rocket ship, totally uncontrollable at top speed but a hell of a lot of white knuckle fun.  Also it’s high and dry, so no more bobbing cans of food and soggy bread for us, long may it live!  Emily has had a few sleepover nights now and we took the girls out on the body boards behind the tender, it was a bit choppy and cold but everyone had a good time nonetheless.  I’m loving the ease with which we can launch and stow the tender, 5 minutes after dropping the anchor I can be on my way ashore without any help from anyone else.
The Bimini was supposed to be finished last Tuesday, we returned especially to the marina to have the covers fitted but could not get hold of the guy.  Eventually I tracked the canvas man down, he was making a mould for a bimini on another boat, actually our friends boat Sudoeste.  ‘What are you doing here when you are supposed to be on my catamaran?’ I enquired.  Excuse, excuse, excuse, all of a sudden his English was failing him (and I was not even using any colourful language – perhaps that was the problem).  Anyway big Brazillian smiles, more promises made, hands shaken, new deadline Saturday and definitely completed before Sudoeste.  Friday I called him, excuse, excuse, lie, lie – now Saturday is impossible it needs to be Tuesday, then on Saturday he completed Sudoeste!  See they hadn’t paid him a deposit and were in a position and mind to leave too so I guess the canvas man decided who had best hold of his sensitive bits and we lost.  All I can say is that he’d better do a great job, if he hadn’t had a deposit from me I’d simply sail off as I cannot abide being lied to, however charming the liar is.  So our newly made and already good friends Jonathan, Kerry and Emily have left heading East just like we want to do.
Well I’d be rather more upset with the canvas guy if he was our only anchor to Portugal, we are waiting for post from England (2 weeks now) and also found our radar and battery charger had a fault.  The radar is fixed but battery charger is being fixed in Lisbon, so we are waiting for those things too.  In the end then it was better for Sudoeste to leapfrog us as we are waiting anyway, but that’s not the point is it?
So we have had quite a few trips between Lagos and Portimao now, it’s nice to be at anchor but Portimao harbour has quite dirty water due to river runoff so swimming is not the best.  Our first departure from Portimao was not uneventful and turned into a bit of a pantomime.  We managed to collect a string of unmarked and presumably lost octopus traps around our anchor chain so we had to launch the dinghy and do a bit of reverse macrame.  Once cleared the Raymarine Life Tag system decided we had a man overboard and we had screaming alarms for about an hour while we worked out how to convince the electronics that everyone was actually safe and sound aboard.  Finally, (well I’m skipping a few niggles), we properly lifted the anchor and found it particularly determined to stow itself upside down.  Eventually we managed to wrangle the anchor around with the boat hook poked through the trampoline, stow it rightside up and be on our way to Lagos.  By the time we had everything sorted out the wind had turned and we had a 20 knot headwind which of course helpfully increased further as we entered the marina and needed to berth.  After a bit of research I found that water flowing past the Rocna will turn it backwards, unfortunately ours hits the roller before it clears the water so can’t spin on the swivel.  Our solution we now know is to completely stop or reverse for the last stage of anchor stowage.
The sea temperature suddenly dropped from 20 to 15 degrees after a few days of northerly winds and has taken a while to recover, even 20 is a bit on the chilly side with wetsuits the order of the day.   Actually if had to don the wetsuit a couple of times now while we get used to this new boat.  See visibility backwards is not simply a glance over the shoulder like Moxie 1 and anything close astern is easily missed.  So number one propeller casualty was our fishing line, number two and a bit more serious was the Tinker dinghy painter Doh.  The poor wee tender was sucked half way under Moxie and completely flooded with water.  On Moxie 1 that could be pretty serious but of course one of the many luxuries aboard a catamaran is having a complete spare engine, so we simply motored around, redropped the anchor and untangled the line.  Thankfully our Tinker survives to sail another day.
One good thing being under the boat was that I got to check the propellers and shockingly both were missing their anodes, the retaining screws were still in place meaning that in just 3 short months alongside a pontoon they have been eaten away.  We have a galvanic isolator fitted so I really don’t understand what went wrong, perhaps it is something to do with our faulty battery charger that was pumping out a continuous 17 amps, maybe it is something to do with the coppercoat?  In water corrosion is a black art as far as I am concerned, anyway thankfully I have spotted the missing anodes and replaced them before the appetite turned to my new Bruntons propellers.
Cash vs Time vs Hassle
We have been pushing school pretty hard trying to build up some summer break time.  The trouble is that we tried to save some considerable amount of money in courier fees and this ended up massively complicating and delaying the initial delivery of the books as well as causing some grief and probably a bad back for our friends Paul and Michele.  So the end result was that yes we saved a few hundred pounds but in doing so we caused some hassle and started school about a term late and we are now wondering how on earth we’ll catch up and fit in some summer holidays.  There’s a balance somewhere between saving money, reducing hassle and inconveniencing friends, I’m not sure we got that one (amongst others) quite right.  Unfortunately it’s a dilemma we face often, in purchasing Moxie 2 we decided lessons had been learnt, time is precious and let’s pay the premium and just get things done quickly and be on our way, the theory was good but then I busted my knee and in the end we have had plenty of time thus have wasted a bit of precious cash.  Well I guess sometimes you can’t beat the system.  Long suffering David and Sam we hear you too!
So Bimini tomorrow then, everyone hold your breath!