Repairing in Falmouth

James & Amelia Gould
Sun 18 Mar 2007 17:17
17 March 2007

Well, here we are a week after the big departure, still in Falmouth. They
say bad luck comes in threes and in our case the extended stay in Falmouth
was caused by a dead engine, no weather and wet socks.

The dead engine was quickly fixed by James the day after our arrival in
Falmouth. The problem turned out to be air in the fuel system, and after
much manly swearing, cursing and using every screwdriver un the boat, the
air was purged and the engine sang again. And, before you all cry out ? I
didn?t fix it because I am not THAT sort of engineer!

?No weather? does not mean that we were stuck on the boat while gale force
winds raged around us. On the contrary, the weather has been gloriously
sunny most of the time. The problem was with our laptop and weather fax
machine (SSB). As I AM that sort of engineer, I was determined to make
the two bits of electronics talk to each other so that we could receive a
weather picture at sea. But, despite lots of knowledgeable clicking,
girlie hurghmphs, and talking very nicely to both machines, all I kept
getting was noise like in a badly tuned TV, instead of a crisp clear
weather picture.

After a whole day of being sucked into the void that is faulty software,
James finally pulled me out and I realized it was time to contact the
Hewlett Packard help desk. There followed an hour long call to the HP
call centre in India. It was like playing a computer game. I quickly got
through the first level by stating that yes, I had switched the computer
on and yes, the two things were connected. I was impatient and grumpy,
which earned me entry to the second level. Here I had someone who knew a
little bit more but was at a loss when I told her I had tried all the
things written on her screen. She had to get the supervisor; this was
serious. The supervisor held the key to level three ? the top level in
this game, which is the hardest to reach. I was put through to a UK call
centre! There I spoke to someone who actually listed to me, and didn?t
just ask me questions written on their screen. Within 10 minutes I had
arranged to have the laptop collected and fixed. 100 bonus points, 3
extra lives, GAME OVER!

The last bit of bad luck was discovered one morning when James reached for
a new pair of socks, and pulled out a dripping wet ball. We had a leak -
salt water had got into our cabin somehow and soaked all of James?s
underwear. We then stripped out most of our cabin trying to find the
source of the leak, and traced it to the anchor locker forward of our
cabin. There was a crack in the fiberglass, which let water in each time
we took a wave over the bows. So, we have spent the rest of the week
sanding, grinding and drying, stripping back the paint in the lockers so
that we could fix the crack. And while we were doing one locker, we
thought we may as well do the one next door? We have now repaired the
cracks, so we are nearly ready to sail again!

All this activity has made us have a rethink about our plans, and our big
rush to get across the Atlantic before the hurricane season starts in
June. We have decided that we will probably not make this weather window,
and it will mean pushing us and the boat too hard which defeats the point
of cruising!

So, we are now planning to take it easy, potter down the coast of Spain
and Portugal, visit Morocco and possibly the Western Mediterranean, before
setting out across the Atlantic in October. We still plan to make
landfall in Brazil (the Amazon), then head up South America to the
Caribbean in time for Christmas.

This will mean that for the next 6 moths at least we will be within reach
of most budget airlines if anyone fancies a holiday!

Looking at next week?s weather forecast it looks like we may be stuck in
Falmouth for another week waiting for all these Arctic storms to pass?
Well, at least it means we can keep eating fresh pasties!


P.S. As the computer is still at the HP hospital I am writing this in an
internet cafe, hence no pictures. I promise to include them next blog!