Should we stay or should we go?

Niord's Big Adventure
Tony Gratton
Mon 24 Jul 2023 22:18
Monday 24/07/2023 Povoa de Varzim
Distance covered 5.4nm
We have nothing but questions this morning. At 8:30 the status of our second package of hen's teeth is still "awaiting clearance in customs". Nothing new there. Can we persuade the marina to ship it on to us if we leave? Karen is unsure if she is well enough to move on. We check the tides for Aveiro, all good. We check the weather. The weather gods are not playing ball. The strong wind forecast for Wednesday is now coming in tomorrow, and lasting for two days. Do we want to be at anchor in a place notoriously difficult to enter in strong wind while it is blowing a gale outside? We think not. While this is going on the status of our FexEx parcel changes. It is in the van, but we get an email showing an afternoon delivery. The marina office closes for lunch until 2pm, so it is going to be well into the afternoon before we get it. The discussions go on. We can go to Douro marina 10 miles away. A good test for Niord, but it suffers from a strong surge, and with strong winds forecast for the next two days we rule that out. We can go to Leixoes Marina, a little nearer. It's in the middle of an industrial zone, has a bad reputation for a poor electrical set-up which eats anodes and props for breakfast, and a poor reputation for the facilities which sound as good as the ones here. While this is going on we get a notification to say that the hen's teeth were delivered at 10:30. We decide to stay put and ride it out.
Meanwhile, we feel the need to test out the reassembled coupling and prop shaft. After our second hike of the day to the marina office (round trip 40 minutes or so) to pick up the hen's teeth we decide to take Niord out for a spin. We tell the lady at reception in case she thinks we're about to do a runner. Reassuringly (not) she reminds us to call Channel 9 if it all goes pear-shaped. We head out under engine, no sail. The wind has started to rise and it's a F4/5 Northerly, and we have a 1-2 metre swell running. A light day for here. We head into it, gradually increasing the revs until we're at full throttle doing a little over 7 knots. Not something we would normally do, but we want to stress that coupling and shaft as much as possible. There's a lot of banging and crashing going on, and we hear something fall to the floor and roll away down below, but think nothing more of it. After a half-hour we turn downwind, cut the revs back and everything calms down. We enter the marina, and a marinheiro speeds out to greet us in his rib. Do we need help? No thanks, we've just been out to test our boat, and are returning to our berth. We moor up, and have lunch. Time to check things out. We empty the aft cabin yet again. Inside the aft engine bay, no carnage. Everything is still in place. Tony spends the afternoon checking all the bolts in the assembly, and engine mount. All good. Even the raw water pump is dry. Result!
Looks like we're good to go when the weather abates. We discuss our options. We're running out of them if we want to make Lagos by the end of the month with this new delay. Aveiro and Figuera are no go from Thursday onwards due to the tide. We can only get in there in the middle of the day, and we have some long stretches to do. We start discussing the previously unthinkable. Go direct and sail for three days and two nights despite the Orcas. We'll see. We have another two days to mull it over.
Recently, we've been noticing a slight but unpleasant smell in the heads. As all the tools are out Tony checks the heads.  There's a leak at the base of the pan. He checks the bolts, and sure enough they need nipping up. Not surprising really when you consider the pasting it got when crossing Biscay. Must have been Mr. C thrashing about in thereWinking smile emoticon... It certainly wasn't Neil!
After dinner we feel the need for a stroll. We're just getting off the boat when Karen notices something out of place on deck. This usually means trouble. It's a greasy black washer of some kind. Tony picks it up then looks above it. The main pin to the boom is missing it's nut and washers and is almost out! Now the noise we heard earlier makes sense. We feel sick. On the other hand, we are lucky. Someone is definitely watching over us. If this had happened at sea, at night, we would have had a major disaster on our hands. Note to self: Must get serious about the daily rigging checks. The man on the offshore safety course told you about it. Now you know why. As it is, we have another maintenance job on our hands for tomorrow in the high wind. It's probably going to be an imperial nut, not in our spares box. If that's the case we may be getting an early flight back to the UK to buy another, as we won't be able to sail without it, and we don't have the time to wait a week for another package.