Monthly Archives: Friday September 30th, 2011

Motoren nach Sines

Seit 12 Tagen kein Wind ! Da wir in Lissabon schon etwas Hafenkoller bekamen, motoren wir nun Stueck fuer Stueck nach Sueden. Heute geht’s 35sm nach Sines. Angeblich kommt ja Montag oder Dienstag der ersehnte Wind – keinen Tag zu frueh. Etwas verzagt sind wir ja schon, erwarten uns doch am 4.10. bereits Freunde auf den Kanaren und wir koennen nichts machen als warten….

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If we’re not asleep

On the party pontoon it’s very silent during the days. The crews get a little rest, meditate about the last evening…

Hehehe. It’s surprising but we mostly are quite productive. Today the Rancho Ralaxo will get new paint (again). Yesterday while the captain still was resting, Gui got out all the gratings of the cockpit and cleaned everything with lots of water and soap. The SY Kira tried to repair their windgenerator, re-mounted the solar panel and today they will probably service their winches. The SY Chiloe finally has a running outboard after two days of work and we’ll probably soon hear a shout of joy from inside the Roede Orm, when the toilet is again 100% watertight after intensive repairs. A Bananaboat found a new owner and the ear of the captain was operated by the board doctor of the Kira. In the meantime the kids were having fun getting everyting and everyone soaked with water while in the evenigs they built enormous constructions out of LEGO. Yes. A lot’s happening here…

Today we’ll finally get into town and see a frind of mine. That would be really great – since tomorrow we’ll get out of the marina and probably drop the anchor in Cascais before we start towards the south. We’ve been waiting for wind for one week now and it’s probably not until wednesday that we can go sailing towards the Canary Islands.

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The party pontoon

So what happened during the last days ? Well, please see last days blog entry on the site of the SY Kira. File busy & cheers mates !

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Li li li … Lissabooooooon !!

Uh, this is a city to fall in love with ! It’s sunshine and good temperatures everyday. Jazzmusic in the park at night. Amazing good coffee (Galão), Pastel de Natas and Croissants for breakfast. The girls are beautiful (and even more so the guys – says Gui). There is plenty of nightlife, good food. The sea is close, etc, etc…

But where to start ? Well we’re trying to combine the things that have to be done with little tours through the city. – For example a visit to the Konsulate of Senegal with a tour to the chapel of St. Hieronymus and looking for the best pasteis in town. Or the search for a boat supply store with a visit to de Praca do Comerco. But still. It’s just too hot to be active during the day. So we’ll delay todays todos until the evening hours when it’ll cool down.

Speaking of evening hours: Yesterday we had a big pontoon-grilling-session in the going with the crews of the SY Kira, SY Roede Orm and the SY Luckybitch. (Contender for a top 10 spot in our list of cool boat names !) We were drinking looots of Caipirinhas, and eating grilled delicacys until late in the night. Yay !!

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo | 5 Comments

The Rancho Relaxo races around Cabo Raso

A short clip showing the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas in her element: racing downwind with 5-6 Beaufort while going 7-8 knots. That truly was a wonderful trip !

…and up the Rio Tejo towards Lisboa:

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School starts on bord the Rancho Relaxo

This is actually one week old. – The first minutes of bord school with Bruno, Viola and Gui. Enjoy !

Posted in Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Video | 5 Comments

The race towards Lisboa

Shortly after sunset and with the outgoing tide (for once!) we left Figueira da Foz to use the predicted northerly wind for our 115mile trip wo Lisboa. As it happens quite often, soon after we left the coast the wind dissipated and we had to run under engine for three hours. But right after midnight the capitana woke me to set sails. Soon after, the north wind set in and pushed us with a constant 4 Bft. and increasing waves towards the south.  In the morning the swell was too much for Gui and her face turned a little green. That’s why I was alone in the cockpit when we sailed with six knots in between Peniche and the islas Berlenga and Farilhoes.

Not much later the Cabo da Roca came in sight and as antissipated, the cape effect doubled the windforce – which helped the Rancho Relaxo to sensational speeds. Speaking of: for hours while running along the coast, we were chased by two larger sailingboats which could not take the leading position in our little private race !

We were thinking that the wind would decrease once we enter the Ria Tejo but actually it again gained on force and with strong gusts helped the Rancho Relaxo a whopping eight knots while gliding along quite close to the coastline. So we raced up the river, passing castles, beautiful lighthouses and finally underneath the Ponte de 25 Abril after which we dropped the sails in the last sunlight and entered the marina Alcantara. The SY Chiloe which we last saw at the Islas Cies lies only a few meters away from us.

After we spent the hot midday in the shadow with internet access and a nice Galaõ, we’ll soon take a stroll towards the city.

Today just in the morning, I made the discovery that this will (with the exception of Dakar) be the last time we’re on ‘land’ for about half a year which we’ll spend only on islands. Strange thought – but nice prospect.

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Off we go to Lisboa

We should arrive there in about 24 hours. Planned destination: Doca de Alcantara.

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Beach days and evening feasts in Figueira da Foz

Uuuh. After only one week being six on bord we have to say goodbye to Julia and Oliver. :-/ It was a waaay too short but wonderful time that we and our kids very much enjoyed. Gui and Julia had endless chats in the cockpit meanwhile Oliver tried to blend in with the rest of the crew and slept most of the day on the dinghy. Ah ! And our two guests managed to change their face-color a couple of times from: white -> green -> red -> brown. Hehehe. Have a nice flight & we hope to see you again in the carribean !!

But now I will go back a little to loose a couple of words about our journey towards here: The 39 miles from Aveiro we had the most wonderful wind and blazing sunshine. With nearly constant 3-4 Beaufort we sailed towards Fig.Foz where there is a little cape just north of the city. Still a few miles out on the sea we could already see the surfers whoosh back and forth which is a good warning sign ! And the ‘cape-effect’ soon after set in and we were running more than 7 knots with just the main sail set. The other two ships that left the last port just a little before us (SY HHH und Roede Orm), decided to use the beautiful wind and continue towards Nazaré. Hopefully, we’ll meet again in Lisboa.

We also took advantage of the weather and spent the last three days mostly at the beach and in the evenings to go out for dinner. The kids built castles, buried themselves in the sand, played in the waves – and we made pre-school at the beach (writing and calculating is fun in the sand !). The day before yesterday we had SENSATIONAL food in the Caçarola 1 – kilos of crabs and other seafood and as if that wasn’t enough a big pot of ‘Arroz de Tamboril’ to finish us off.  Uhuhuh !!! Luckily the road to the harbour it usually downwards so we could roll towards our beds… Yesterday we topped the culinary event by using the Touri-train for a taxi ! As the restaurant was about 2km up the beach and the kids (and us) didn’t want to walk, Gui used her charm to persuade the driver to get us there and pick us up ! Yeye !! The people in Portugal are pretty much without exception really friendly and helpful !

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Airmail3 with Bluetooth running on Mac OS X

As I’m trying to stay 100% Windows-free also when under sail, I previously used Linux and Wine to communicate via HAMradio. Now I’ve got the time to try around using Mac OS X and have managed to get everything in working order. Which means, you can use Airmail3 more or less natively under OS X without a seperate Windows installation or partition. Here’s how I did it:

Install in that order: PlayonMac, XQuartz, Wine. The last two components can be installed directly from PlayonMac. Once that is complete, get Airmail3 and install it by double-clicking it’s icon. It should be started/installed via PlayonMac. I’m using the version 3.3.081 which also includes the drivers for the Pactor modem. Install those drivers during the initial installation of Airmail3. If you want to get the propagation automagically from inside Airmail, you’ve got to install the (seperate) propagation programm: Open PlayonMac and run a ‘exe-File’ in the same virtual drive, you’ve installed Airmail in ! It has to be the same drive because otherwise Airmail will not be able to find that software.

Now that everything is installed, it’s time to configure the connection Bluetooth-Modem Wine. First the modem has to be paired with OS X. This is done using the Bluetooth-Assistant. The only thing of importance here: Use a ‘user-defined’ pairing-string ! It’s the last eight letters of your modem’s serial number which can be found on the underside of it. Be sure to use the correct upper/lowercase spelling – otherwise it won’t work. Once the Bluetooth-pairing is done, the connection can be tested by opening a Terminal-window (to be found in Applications -> Utilities) and typing the command: cat /dev/tty.SCSPTC-IIusb-COM1
After a short delay, the init-string of the modem should be printed. Now you can close that Terminal window. Attention: If you’ve played around with your Bluetooth-Setup and/or re-installed that modem or whatever… The name of the device can be slightly different. Use ‘/dev/tty.SCSPTC-IIusb-COM1-1′ of whatever is your correct device name.

Now you have to create a COM-port for use in Wine: Start PlayonMac, enter the Configuration and use the Button ‘open a shell’ in the tab ‘Miscellaneous’. A little shell-window will open, in which you have to type the following commandos:

cd ../dosdevices
ln -s /dev/tty.SCSPTC-IIusb-COM1 com1

This will create the needed COM-port for Wine. Now you can close PlayonMac and start Airmail3. Beside your usual settings, only one thing is really important: The Bluetooth-connection seems to be a bit sluggish and therefore Airmail will not be able to communicate correctly with your modem. You can solve this by going to Tools -> Options… Connection -> Advanced Settings and enable the option named ‘Ignore com-port CTS Signal’. If you now start the Terminal, the init-string of the modem should show after about 20 seconds.

Success !! You’ve got Airmail3 running under OSX with a working Bluetooth connection. Yay !

Posted in Amateur Radio, Apple, Freedom, Linux, Sailing | 1 Comment

The Venice of Portugal

This is what they say in tourist guides…. When we sailed upriver towards that little, private marina we did not really think this could be a place we like. We had a rather unpleasent sailing day, going mostly against the wind while running under engine and our two new crew members where busy feeding the dolphins. So everyone was a little exhausted when we walked along the main channel towards the city centre.

Big surprise ! The old town really is crowded with gondolas and those are decorated with quite objectionable pictures. We found a supermarket and also a fantastic pizza place and went back to the ship in the middle of the night. Next day we sailed downriver towards the beach where we arrived just in time to wave to our friends from the SY Hitch Hike Heidi and SY Roede Orm who we found on board the ferry going towards the city.

The beach is endless and had really impressive waves that day. We enjoyed the rest of the day building sand castles and running through the waves. Beautiful. Beautiful – also was the next day when we pushed further south towards Figueira da Foz where we are now. And now that is when I will finish writing this story to go to the beach – it’s 31 degrees Celsius outside ! Bye.

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For Marco

This one is for you, Marco. Hope everything at the factory is running smooth and the high scores on the Arcade keep coming… Greetings from Portugal !!

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Already two days ago it happened… 2000 nautical miles we’ve sailed since we left Berlin ! That’s not really much will say all those that went around the world or crossed the atlantic. – But it just happened that I was there and had a camera at hand, so I made that pic for you.

Well. – And 2000 miles is pretty much all I’ve ever sailed *before* we’ve started our adventure – and it took me more than 10 years to do that. So… it IS much – or is it not ?!? Hehehe.

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Figueira da Foz

Just arrived in Figueira da Foz. Seems a nice little town – and of course it has a pretty beach we gonna explore tomorrow. We had a really pleasent and sunny ride towards here. More info, pics, stories tomorrow. Promised.

Posted in LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing | 4 Comments

Aveiro – the little Venice

After a rather ugly sailing experience we’ve arrived in Aveiro and had a nice little tour through the ‘Venice of Portugal’. Now we’re heading for the beach. More later…

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Foggy Porto and barnacles

Pfoah. What a foggy soup out there ! Actually we wanted to go more southward because of our hunt for the Summer – and now we’ve got FOG every day. Well. Yesterday we received Oliver and Julia and immediately went into a local fish restaurant where we ate decent fish – and for the first time barnacles. Which are optically challenching but quite tastey.

After a good nights sleep we go towards Porto to go a little touristic. Half an hour with the bus towards the citycentre and we finally see the sun again. But from the Bridge Dom Louis we can already see the fog creeping up the river Douro. When we sit down at the river for dinner, the fog catches up with us and it’s getting cold. We decide to shorten our tour and go back to Leixoes immediately after finishing our Bacalhau. While leaving we run into our friends from the SY Chiloe and soon after hop onto the Bus back to the harbour.

We want to leave… I don’t know whether it’s the grey weather or the rather oily harbour but there’s the city of Aveiro just 30 miles to the south and it’s supposedly very nice there.  – BUT the tide and the wind are against us. Well, we sometimes are a sporty crew and so we’ve decided, tomorrow w’ll get up early and give it a try. If it’s not working, we’ll be back at midday. ;-)

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Dolphins – the (promised) video

On the way from Spain to Portugal once more Dolphins payed us a visit. And this time I got our GoPro cam mounted on the boat hook and tried to film them while they were playing around the ship. The video is a little short as I didn’t know whether it would work at all and also we were going quite fast and it was difficult to not loose the boat hook… Enjoy.

Posted in Animals, LosLocos, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Video | 5 Comments

Through thick fog

So yesterday right after breakfast we’ve decided to leave paradise and sail towards Porto, where my brother and his girlfriend are already awaiting us. The decicion was made easier by clouds covering the Islas Cies. – So we’ve said goodbye to our friends and set sail. Actually not. – Because the first 1.5 hours we were running under engine until right out of the Ria de Vigo, where the wind set in from NW.

The afternoon was beautiful sailing with hot sunshine and nice wind from the perfect direction. From 5pm on the wind (and waves) increased and we were running towards Porto with  a speed constantly above 7kn. Top-Speed: 8.8kn (!!) Around 7pm fog began to darken the sky and soon after we were enclosed in a big white, fluffy something. We could not see a thing but could hear the waves around us – with the wind still at a constant 5 Bft.

We’ve met with a freighter and one fishermen. – The freighter passed about 0.3nm from us (as I could verify via Radar and AIS) but we could not see a single light. – The only evidence of it being there was the humming of it’s diesel engine. – Spooky !

Around midnight we were searching for the entrance to the Porto do Leixões but could find it only thanks to our GPS. – The light on pier that is supposed to be seen 9 miles out on sea, we could only see when we were already entering the harbour and about 200 meters away.

The ‘marina’ itself is quite nasty – good that we couldn’g see it in the fog or we would’ve passed on to the next town. ;-) But good to be here as we’ve our friends from the SY Chiloe as neighbours who waked us with fresh bread in the morning. As the fog is now dissipating, we can see many of the ships we’ve been following for the last weeks, there are the yachts of: Thor, Hitch Hike Heidi and  Roede Orm on the opposite side. Time to take a shower and say hello.

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…and arrived !

Just arrived in Porto. Had a very fast but also a rooooling ride towards Porto. And the last miles we sailed in thick fog. Spoooky ! More tomorrow…

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Towards Porto

After two wonderful days at the Islas Cies, we’ve left Spain and are now sailing in Portuguese waters. We should arrive in Porto around midnight – if the wind stays like it is… We’re running downwind with 6.5 to 7 knots. About an hour ago dolphins came for a visist and this time, I’ve captured them on video with our camera (underwater !!)

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