Thursday, July 6, 2017

Here we are in French Guyana. So much so fast ... and little communication

We have crossed the Atlantic with Eric Balleydier. Most remarkable aside from the autopilot leaking oil and thus our having to pilot the boat for more than half the 16 days, was the algue Sargasse which started about 2 days out of the Cap Verde Islands and accompanied us all the way to Guadeloupe.

Thanks to Eric,  we did not suffer too much from having to take shifts day and night to pilot the boat. We could have added olive oil or engine oil, but that would have meant purging the whole system once we arrived and never being sure that the system was "clean". Instead I tightened the head screw on the pump once we arrived and just added compression oil. The autopilot works fine now (this should have been checked when we had the boat reviewed prior to leaving Toulon. I really see the difference between shipyards dealing with people who really "SAIL" like us and those who take care of boats that only go out on weekends or a week during vacations).

Guadeloupe was fine. Annie welcomed us and allowed us to rest. Greatly needed after the 16 days of crossing even if rather "boring" for sailing since we just set the sails and then followed the wind which though it shifted once in a while, took us directly to our destination. I headed a bit south and was right to do so since it allowed us to avoid a couple of days of doldrums (no wind) and gave us a better angle once we neared the Caribbean. Annie has a wonderful companion and I really hope they continue the road together as I find them complementary. We had time to work a bit on AAVIVRE, our association for end of life liberty, but I now have more work to do on this ... next week or so.

Anne joined Eric and things worked out, due to problems with the boat that we could not really sail as planned. As we agreed, this will have to be for another trip. However I believe they really enjoyed their stay in Guadeloupe and found the occasion to discover how wonderful it is to visit new countries in different latitudes. Eric is a great sailing companion and they will be welcomed aboard any time!

The boat continues to create problems due to Beneteau putting on equipment that is not adapted to the size and strength of this 45 footer. We replaced the Boom with a much stronger one (3.5 mm instead of 2.5mm aluminium), installed a new Hale-bat, changed most of the chandlery with at least one size stronger each time (I am finding out that most of the Oceanis 45 boats that sail have problems with the boom and have changed them at least once and often upgrade this component. We have to replace pulleys and chariots which are breaking due to being undersized!). Changed also some of the ropes which were undersized and will probably change most of them by end of the year (they used 6 or 8 mm while the boat should have 8, 10 or 12 mm !!!)
Not that it's not strong enough, but the blocking equipment does not hold undersized ropes.

In Martinique we found competent technicians. They replaced under guarantee the Genois sail roller and found out that the AIS has NEVER worked since we left. The only indication we had was that supplied by the VHF identifying AIS boats. Unhappily this was not detected by QuoVadis so I have to pay since the guarantee is now 2 months over time limit!. Also the VHF was not correctly remastered so I now have to send it to a specialist to have it re-initialized ... again a problem of competency.

The mainsail and Genois are showing signs of use and are burned by the sun. We had the mainsail repaired in Martinique (we replaced the Lattes which according to a Nordstrom specialist were undersized, which explains premature use and my need to repair the end blocks!) and we will repair the Genois hopefully here in Guyane (has a tear on the long side which flaps in the wind). Meanwhile we use the new Genois which is working fine.

It is a real shame that this boat which is a great sailing design is so badly equipped and it's interior storage so badly planned. LOTS of wasted space! only the living quarters are well conceived. The systems for fixing drawers and closets are very difficult to use or not strong, the way the hull reinforcements are set up makes it almost impossible to use properly the storage areas. It would be so easy and relatively cheap to have done it correctly!

Meanwhile the electric generator had an impeller problem (apparently stored too long before being put into use, a regular problem) and we have an electric loss that the specialists of the system refuse to recognise.

All in all I believe that it will take me one year before I'm at last in a program of "maintenance" of the boat. I had hoped that buying a new boat I would not have had these headaches ... but such is life. Another 10 000€ to get there!

Meanwhile, sailing and living the life of the sea is wonderful! Françoise was not too well on the last section due to our contracting a skin disease that I have been fighting for over a month with antibiotics  and that she contracted as well in a lesser form. The antibiotics made her nauseous.  I am hoping that it's now behind us but I'll only know this in a week. Up to now every time I stopped the antibiotics it flared up again! Here it is HOT and HUMID, but such a rich country. After taking care of the boat and putting things aright in a couple of weeks I hope to be able to explore this incredible wilderness.

Françoise, my sailing companion, is back in France and spending a month with her sons. After our serious sailing having covered over 5000 nautical miles it's a good pause. We both appreciate this time "alone" while we apprehend it. It should allow us to find ourselves once again and relax after this serious change of life.

Pictures follow, I hope you enjoy reading. Do go also on Facebook where Françoise posts pictures under "sail2see" I'll try to be more punctual as time goes.

Best to all
we visit on bicycle when we can

Pause as we walk along the ocean front

Can't forget the GOOD life!

colours of Sail2See ... daily

Fishing boats at rest

Sucker fish caught on a lure, top of head is a suction device

That's a good looking Mackerel !

Tazar (4 like that that day! one 20lbs! caught day before arriving, we gave them and made happy folks!) and 2nd mackerel 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cap Verde - Sun Sea and .... more

Cap Verde
We finally reached one of our dreamed destinations. If we cannot say it's VERDE, the islands are mostly barren and mostly rocks and deserts, we are at the end of the dry season and we can well imagine that after the rains the grasses are green and from afar the islands look green.

Yes it's been a couple of months since posting, but it is amazing what is to be learned about a new boat and it's complicated electronics. We are now starting to feel "at home" and sailing is becoming a reflex and living style with much care about the boat. Sail2See likes moderate rhythms and we tend to sail her 30% under it's real capacities just for both our confort and the boat's well being.

Comming out of the Ballears, Anne was too uncomfortable and decided that, despite the fact that it breaks her heart, she would join us in Guadeloupe and not cross over the Atlantic. We had typical Mediterranean winds and waves that are chaotic and jump from cool sailing to strenuous in just a few hours.

As you can see on our map we got the iridium working and now you can follow our stops and even the rate of progress (when it works) as we sail. This is a good way to predict both when you can join us by phone or mail and why not one day meet us at some destination.

Françoise posts on Facebook and albums, I'll try to feed this blog and keep you posted. She says I propose too many words so I'll keep short and post mostly pictures. GOOD VISION and dreaming!