Ships Log ( much delayed ) "I am Back Tour". Wed 21st Nov 07
Fri 23 Nov 2007 12:46
It is said that it is bad practice to start a letter with an apology, but I
will anyway. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get round to writing
this log. In my defence, both the crew and I have been absolutely full on
getting jobs done etc. The only time that we were not working on Rebel since
we arrived we were sailing it from Lanzarote to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.
That was Friday 16th Nov, when we got there I was so tired that I just slept
again. It is clear that my limiting factor is stress endurance, I seem to do
it all fine but once a "project" is over I turn off for a while.
So anyway, here we are in Las Palmas. Shortly I will relate the tale of the
last 9 days, but before that I will bring you up to date on some other
issues and changes that have occurred since we last had a chat.
At the start, way back last year when all this was planned I put together a
crew and a plan, it all looked most do-able and delightful, but since then
life has got in the way to some degree and impacted on my plan. "The best
laid plans of mice and men do often go awry".
The result is that the crew of 6 tried and trusted was at 5 by mid summer
and in the light of the journey to Lanzarote via Madeira, Portugal, Spain
and the Biscay I felt that the voyage would be fine with 5. There are
advantages to having fewer crew so long as the boat can be safely run. So, 5
it would be....then there were 4!! My right hand man Bon Bon Farrant, or
Marky Mark was put in a no-way out situation with his work and was forced to
retire from the crew. We wish him "Beunos Dias Amigo" and know that his
heart is with us. I am afeared to say that I think that he helped get the
boat down here through some hard sailing and greulling days and that the
best part he will read about on the blog and that is a unfair. He has gone
4 crew was still a viable number but I would have preferred 5. Most of the
friends that I would want to undertake such a journey with were asked at the
outset if they were able to partake and so there was not really anyone to
ask........then Jeff sent an innocent email saying, "Hi, are you out there
Major Tim?" Well, what is a hard put skipper to do when in receipt of such a
missive?...Why, look back to the immortal memory of Nelson to find an answer
and there it is. Press the man there and then!!. Being a weaselly Skipper I
called Jeff immediately but just blathered on in no particular direction,
gauging the ground ahead....then just as we turned a corner in the
conversation...Wop!! Bag over his head, bonk on the head and before he
awoke, we were on board the Good Ship Rebel T. That's the way to do it.
Jeff is one of my oldest friends, we met when I was about 14 and he a few
years older. We met through sea kayaking and have stayed in touch through
lifes ups and downs. indeed we are blood brothers!! Although that was some
lives ago!. Jeff has done a lot of sailing, when he was a younger man he
sailed around England, Scotland and Wales and currently lives on his yacht
on the South Coast in Dorset. Jeff's role onboard beyond all round good egg,
is Media Officer. This encompasses photo's and video and the oft forgotten
tedium of downloading and editing it all and then matching pics to the web
log and packing them up in emails and bundling them off to the real world.
The other thing is the need to constantly check battery life on camera,
computer etc to ensure that when the once in a trip photo opportunuity
arrives it is indeed captured.
Leading on from this , is the following: throughout the journey I have been
saying on the web log that picures will be up-loading any day....well the
truth is that throughout Rebel has had the kit on board to do it but, not
the time and I, not the ability. Trevor is forever asking when I would like
to sit down and do the blog pics, but it is never ,now.
But during the last 9 days Jeff and I have been going through the previous
blog entries and attaching photo's from the various cameras and memorysticks
that have accumulated and placing them in their proper place. The
discerning observer may notice hat some pictures whilst appropriate to the
text were perhaps taken at another time or indeed another country. This can
get politicians into awkard situations, but here on Rebel it is considered
In order to reward the faithful blog follwer for re-reading old blogs and
expending time and effort in clicking away precious moments in a finite
life opening pics, we have added some unexpected and idiosynchcratic
content....all in the best possile taste.
It is this that has taken up the better part of Jeff and my time. Suffice to
say that all has then been overseen by Trevor. But last night Trevor sent
all the emails and sorted them on the website. As I write this the whole
shebang is up to date and that means that I am now free to write this and
add it to the pile.
Dear reader, I want this to be a new beginning for us. I just know that our
relationship is strong enough and we are big enough as humans to work
through this affair and start over. Please let us put the past behind us,
focus on what we have and all that we could be and see this thing through.
I know we can do it. so...
We flew out of Gatwick at 11.30 on Tuesday the 13th Nov arriving Lanzarote
mid afternoon, then to Rebel in Rubicon Marina by taxi late afternoon. The
boat was fine but smothered in red dust from the island wind. We dumped all
kit that we had brought on the jetty, ( more of kit later ) and then
unloaded all the safety gear and outboard engine, ropes etc from the saloon
all over the deck, in order to be able to get our new bags of clothes and
stuff in the boat. This action of course trod red dust just about everywhere
on board and so we went to the Marina cafe for a pot of tea and a planning
I had previuosly arranged with the yard that Rebel would come out of the
water the next morning and so all work related to that. Trevor and Mike set
about re-positioning all the safety equipment and checking that it all still
worked, some did not and so those items were added to the lists and
underwent further processing. Trevor re-established relationships with
satelites and ethers and stuff.
Skipper Tim, Anthony and Jeff set about replacing the trampoline. you may
recall dear reader that we began to suffer with the trampoline developing
holes every time it was trodden on. This clearly is not a good state of
affairs and so a new one was procurred from a very nice frenchman, ( there
aren't too many about). The old one became known as , " our coat of many
colours" becausae of the amount of coloured string woven through it to
repair afore mentioned holes.
Newcomers to a catamaran, (sort of a lemon marange, but longer) look at the
trampoline in terror when told that crew run around on it in the worst of
weather, but old hands get completely comfortable with the idea. The point
is that if you then remove it, it leaves a gaping great abyss which even old
hands find scarey. add to this the fact that the deck slopes towards it so
as to shed water and you have a recipe for an accident. Therefore we
repaired it on the water, on the basis that a fall would be a dunking not a
death. Good decision. all crew remained dry.
Touching on trampolines...Rebel has 4 cabins. Rebel has 5 crew....spot the
difference. Skipper and Colette have one. Trevor and his computers , all
ships manuals and muesli, (more later...) ships papers sextant etc live in
the port aft cabin. This leaves 3 crew. Now, if we were all camping in one
tent there would be no issue, but it is not that simple. Long story short,
Jeff is "Roy,Roy,New Boy" and so at the bottom of the crew pecking order.
Jeff slept on the trampoline. Life before the mast is not an equal
opportunity activity. Skipper had aplan for this, but the plan starts in Las
Skipper and spouse stay in Posh Hotel. This releases Skippers cabin for crew
use, ( Skippers privilege to bestow ) Anthony gets it as he is family and
has golden gonads. then it all works. In point of fact it is a very
pleasant thing to sleep on the trampoline and often crew do so simply for
the pleasure. Skipper of course would never fraternise to that extent and
feels it is best to leave crew members some privacy, after all, we are all
adults here and this is 2007.
There were of course highs and lows. High- Jeff found he could wee through
the netting without getting out of his sleeping bag. Great? Low- he got
rained on. Still, that's life!
Wednesday 14th Nov 07.
Up and about early. we motored round to the travel hoist at 10.30 am. The
solar panels had kept the batteries fully charged and she started on the
button as they say. The guys running the yard were most professional and
Rebel was lifted out without incident and hosed clean thereafter.
As the yard manager watched the event, he casually commented to me to ensure
that the saildrive oil was clean as the oil seals always give out.
I did not even know of such things. as the oil came out it was milky
white...we had a problem. Alvaro the manager rang around and came up with a
new set and a spare set. but of course this put us on the hard for another
Mike took it upon himself to attack the outboard, you may recall dear reader
that since we paid to have it serviced in Plymouth that it had stopped
working. Trevor had taken the carb back to UK and fitted a new gasket set,
but when we fitted it, the engine still did not work.
This is just the sort of thing Mike likes. we left him to it and some hours
later we all witnessed the Yamaha come to life. Well done Mike.
Rebel was returned to her native element later that evening and all went
well. We backed out and as we motored across the marina I smelt
rubber....the starbd fan belt was slipping. We moored up under one engine
and Anthony and Jeff set about the problem. Belt was tightened but it is
clear that there is more to the problem. We are yet to get to the bottom of
this. The belts on that engine keep slipping.
Regardless, we left Rubicon at 4am that morning but kept a nose for the belt
and an ear for the sound of an engine running dry. All went well in the
The forecast was for light winds but going nasty over the weekend, so we
pressed on under engine and arrived at 6pm off Las Palmas at dusk. we were
guided into our berth by ARC berthing and sat down to a cup of tea in the
berth from which we would leave to follow Colombus across the Artlantic.
Whilst making the passage we fired up the watermaker. All seemed well but it
then seemed to flush out nearly all the water it made. I could not speak to
the nice watermakerman until Monday morning,(19th )again a lot of work was
involved but ultimately we adjusted the innards of it so as to reduce the
pressure at which the flush works and the length of time it flushes for.
This all reduced the flush amount from 35ltrs to 18. Bear in mind I was sold
it on the basis it would flush about 5ltrs. The bloody thing only makes
32ltrs per hour at best!! So from now on we need to run it for a minimum of
3hrs at a time if we are to be efficient with our flushing. Very stressfull
From the time we arrived Colette and Mike have been shopping in various
markets for food and now we have most on board. The mind boggles at the
amounts needed. For example we are taking 15kg of muesli. Initial
discussions were 30kg!
Cockroach management has been high on the list and spray is all around the
cleats that we moor to. Shoes are removed on the jetty and bare feet or
ships shoes are donned. I would hate Roaches aboard the boat. Yuk.
Thomas the Parasailor man arrived on Tuesday and we shared a drink or so. We
ended up eating at a restaurant of his recommendation. It was a great
evening...Mike some how swallowed too much brandy and bought a leg of Ham
from the restaurant owner. It was christened,"Betty" and now sleeps with
Mike in his cabin, we are told she hangs on a coat hook, but again a mans
private life is his own affair. Betty is Mike's contribution to the kitty
and will be enjoyed by all as we cross the great Atlanic. Thanks Mike.
OK, today is Friday 23rd Nov and I am determined this blog will be finished
in the next half hour. We have been emailed and telephoned by many people
asking for a proper blog.
You cannot beleive the amount of time it takes and the amount of things
going on on this boat. But I am currently convinced that al will be finished
Lorrainne and her husband, "Copey" arrived last night and brought with them
3 fan belts, 4 shorter fan belts, 4 air filters and 100 cuppa soups!!
She also brought various documents for signature by both Trevor and I
relating to Regency, our company. She also brought a final copy of my will.
This was updated and approved by my lawyer just before I left. Quite
sobering. Most of this venture has been jolly and filled with high spirits,
but all said and done there is a serious side and approving my will rather
clarified my thinking.
3 planes arrived yesterday afternoon in Las Palmas and each held people that
had come from UK and from France and Spain solely to spend these last few
days before the start with the crew.
A very long term friend Grant and his wife arrived. Grant, Trevor and I
spent years working and running a company in Hong Kong and are still firm
friends. Grant's sister and husband to be, John and Terri arrived as did
Grant and Terri's mum and her beau. They are Rita and Bill and are in their
All these people are here to see us off as well of course as Colette who has
worked like a trojan for the boat...You know all said and done, I am a lucky
and much loved person I find. Last night we all went to dinner and as I went
to sleep, I felt like the richest man in the world, rich beyond money.
Tonight all friends and crew are sitting down for a final dinner together, I
just know I will end up crying. My dearest wish is that we are all the best
of friends as we step on the boat and better friends when we step off. I
know now that if that happens, then indeed the whole immense effort of
preparation and the adventure ahead will be worth every effort expended.
OK... enough of that. The Wind is expected to be Northerly for the start and
plenty of it. Now that Rebel is all but ready and I am at the end of my
lists, I have begun to think about tactics and navigation, it is a bit like
when we set off from Plymouth all those months ago. Suddenly it is all
about to happen and somehow I never related the preparation to the event!!
It is three thousand miles in a straight line to St Lucia!!
What the hell are we thinking of, 5 men in a thirty eight foot tupperware
box crossing an ocean and me with my 11 plus exam? I've got A levels and
Trevor has degrees in mathematics. Define sanity.
I will blog more tomorrow. We, ( Jeff and I) are reckoning to send annotated
photo's more than just text. A picture tells a thousand stories or
something and takes less time to type as I suffer from sea sickness if I
don't watch myself.
Thanks for your patience and please do enjoy... on the boat or not you
actually are all part of the journey.
Speak soon Tim xx
Welcome to Rebel T ARC 2007 "Welcome Onboard Blog"
I have exciting new items to share with you over the coming months to 11th