February 25th 0830 local (GMT or UTC -
When we arrived in Cartagena on Tuesday we had no
detailed pilot information and we had no reserevation at any off the two marinas
here so we had to feel our way around to try and find a berth or an anchorage.
The anchorage was easy but we were desperately in need of a real good scrub down
(for the boat I mean) and needed to be along side for that.
The marina we had heard lots about was Club Nautico
but the written information and info from a couple of on-line contacts was out
of date and Club Nautico despite the impressive name looked like a bomb had hit
it. We tried nudging our way into the Club de Pesca but got no VHF response or
no engagement from the dockmaster or anyone else on the dock so we trotted off
over to the anchorage, put on our hard hats and went ashore at Club Nautico
to find the very helpful John who had been out to lunch and therefor could not
answer our earlier VHF communications.
We vistited Club de Pesca but had to apply by
e-mail only to see if we could get a berth, which we did via the office
manager in the office there who sent the e-mail to her club queen to see if we
were worthy visitors.
Last night (two days after enquiring) we got an
e-mail back offering us a berth for 6 days - two of which had already passed!
Anyway we are going to move there as soon as we finish our scrubbing down, which
has inclued scrubbing from the top of the mast, we will move there as there is
not enough water for us here in Club Nautico and we just rest on the
bottom when the 1 foot of tide is at low.
In the meantime we hired a couple of really hard
working young guys who did good business with us at 50,000 Pesos per day
for full days of hard work scrubbing down the boat. 50,000 Pesos is a good days
pay for them and is about £15!
We also hired Emedio Gonzalez who is a specialist
in alternators and boat electrics and a very clever guy with good English too. I
think we have got to the bottom of a long standing problem with the 12V
When we embarked on this adventure almost
all off the cruising people we met said we should not embark on a
circumnavigation with a new boat. I assured them all that while I understood the
issues I would be working through the detail of the build and specification on
the boat and that nothing from an engineering perspective phased
However I am pragmatic and a realist and knew full
well that with a new boat which was also a new design, and although hull number
2, would still not be fully de-bugged before I set off on the
I also knew I would have the support of the
builders which most of the people who had been warning us against setting off so
soon after the birth of a new boat had not had. I also theorised that the trip
down to the Canary Islands, by which time we would have had covered over
2000 miles would be our shake down cruise, and we would take someone from
Discovery yachts with us for the first week or so to do some finishing work
and teething problems and to have an extended familiarisation.
So believe it or not what we have done is
effectively sailed off the pontoon in Southampton at the boat show to go round
the world, with the knowledge and expectation that there would be boat issues,
my willingness to get on and fix the wide range of things that would fail and
the full back up of Discovery Yachts.
So far there have been of course a wide range of
things which have failed for one reason or another but very few major items and
very very few which were down to bad workmanship or bad practice. What we have
had however is unbelievable back up and support from Discovery. This does
not lessen the frustration some days when you are in beautiful place which
you have sailed, literally, half way round the world to get to and you have your
head up the back end of the engine room or slithering like a bilge rat under the
floor in 35derees centigrade.
The service level however has been outstanding and
I know, from talking to owners of other competing British built boats, that
this is an exceptional level of support which they do not
Our first couple of days have now been spent
working on the boat and evenings we have been grazing on South American
beef, but now
we hope to be able to go touring the city today,
via the federal express office to collect