Monthly Archives: Tuesday July 16th, 2013

A (yacht)

While we get white fingers running around with paintbrushes, Lorenz is racing Bruno’s dinghy through the anchiorage. And as Bruno is filling the third page of my tax papers (he really likes doing that), a weird looking little boat silently enters the bay.

The ‘A’ is 119m long, displaces 5500 tons and carries 750 000 litres of Diesel. Using that, the up to 14 guests on bord can cruise for about 6500 miles at 19 knots speed. After all that’s from Panama to Fiji. But before continuing one should top up the tank. At current prices here that’s a bargain a little above 1 million and it should be full again. I’m not gonna start writing about the ecological footprint as shoes of that size are not invented yet.

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Back in maintenance mode

It seems we’re back in our old modus: One little boat project every day.
Today, I took the third solar panel off the starboard handrail and put it together with the two on the arch in the back. That position is better as the side-panel always was in the shadow with the current wind direction. So I took the panels off, remounted them and hooked everything up to our old solar charger from the Rancho. That is now maxed out at 20 Ampere during mid-day. We still could use one or two more solar panels but for now it’s good. Not much else going on that would be worth mentioning.

Posted in Hardware, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Wintertime – and gone is the heat

Finally I got the engine fixed ! Since we got the Suvarov, the engine had problems with the cooling and started to overheat after a few minutes of regular use. On the first try, a few weeks ago I took apart the water intake and cleaned all the filters. The second time, I took apart the waterpump and got rid of a little leak there. But on our last trip we still had problems with the engine, the ‘water’ lamp coming on after a few minutes and we could see white water vapor coming from the exhaust. Today I took off the rest of the hoses around the engine, cleaned them, drained the whole system of all fluids and dismounted the exhaust with all it’s cooling parts. I couldn’t really find anything that was cloaking the cooling but still – it seems it has worked. After today’s repair I started the engine and let it run for an hour without problems.

That’s one big, bold lettered item off the todo list ! And I’m even more happy about it – since I’m alone here with the kids and usually don’t get too much done these days. The kids – well, they found friends on our neighbor boat ‘living’ and try to spend every waking minute with the two boys.
All well in the South Pacific

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…and landing !

On our way towards the southern pass we have the predicted 25 knots of wind. As we approach the pass, we can see it disappear in front of our eyes : Usually quite wide and easy to sail through, it has shrunken to a third of it’s usual size. The rest is white water and waves. We already had set sails during the two miles we had to motor through the lagoon. The main sail is in the third reef as is the genoa.  We are only a few minutes outside the reef as the Maramu really kicks in. With amazement I see the wind instrument showing 50 knots while I put another reef in the sails and roll both of them to the size of a big towel. Now is also the start of the rush hour on channel 16. During the next two hours there will be no silence on the emergency channel. We hear of yachts drifting through anchorages, dinghies that get thrown through the air and recovered by other boats. The MRCC is in contact with two vessels that are out on sea and in troubles. Later we hear of a catamaran drifting towards the reef in Moorea.

That all happens while we’re doing eight knots going downwind towards the north-east corner of Moorea. Luckily we had our little test run a few days earlier, so nothing comes loose on the deck and also on the inside of the boat everything stays in it’s place. It even is dry inside as the deck vents don’t leak water anymore. But two breakers about half way through our journey bury the whole aft deck and cockpit in white water and a few liters find their way in through a broken seal in the back entrance. It was planned as a fast voyage with 25 knots downwind sailing and instead we get a ride in a storm: For the two hours that we are in between the islands, the wind establishes itself at 45 to 55 knots with gusts reaching over 65 knots. That’s where the beaufort scale ends – at force 12 !

Just after the NE-corner of Moorea we get some more choppy sea after which the waves quickly die down in the lee of the island. The wind also eases to 30-35 knots and we put a little more sail out. We continue sailing along the reef in close distance and finally tack through the pass into the Opunohu bay. The anchorage we enter under sails and Bruno receives cheers from the neighboring boats while he helps me anchoring the boat.
That really was an exciting trip and another good test for the Suvarov and her crew. Especially as we were without our capitana this time. She’s already landed in New Zealand and will continue her travel to Buenos Aires in a few days. – Odysee, LosLocos style. Now I’m gonna pack the wet mattress into the sun and relax for a while

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With the LosLocos, everything always is well planned and organized and that’s why we always are so extremely relaxed. This for example means that the day after we arrived from Bora Bora we spent the whole day emptying out the ship and cleaning everything on the inside with fresh water. The night we had two friends of the Bruno staying for a sleepover. Next day we started at 06h with birthday action and later had a nice party on the beach. Just when everything was over and we had cleaned the dishes, we went anchor-up and left for Tahiti.

This time we stayed at the pontoon in the city. Next morning at 06h Gui was already underway to get her carte de sejours – to extend her allowed time in the country. On the way back through the city we bought about 50 kilos of fabrics for Coquito and had to wrestle everything back to the ship. Right after we get everything on board, we leave towards the Marina Taina. It’s a few miles south and is closer to the airport in Tahaa. But I’m a bit nervous about the anchorage there as the wind is supposed to shift to the south on the next day and that can lead to a Maramu: a strong wind from the south that get’s accelerated in between the islands. We’ve seen it before and know that we could not get ashore in our dinghy in those conditions which means we might have to plan for a water taxi.

When sailing towards the marina we are amazed by the number of boats here. The main season really has arrived. No free mooring balls and plenty of yachts in the limited space there is to put an anchor. But we boldly throw the iron right in front of the dinghy dock into the 16m deep water of the lagoon. While Gui fights to fit 60kg of luggage into two bags a 23kg and her hand luggage, I take the kids to Carrefour where we get some good food for the coming days. While there I run into Lily from the SY Portal who contacted me earlier to talk about selling the windvane of the Rancho Relaxo. We agree to postpone the negotiations to dinnertime in the pizzeria. At sunset we’re in the restaurant and enjoy our last minutes together – and we also sell Wendy our windvane.
On wednesday at 04:50h in the morning the buzzing  of the alarm clock throws us out of bed and I take Gui and her luggage to the dinghy dock where the cab is already waiting. Later at about eight in the morning we see how the windvane is dismounted and transported to the SY Portal. That’s when we also see the dark clouds approach from the south. We quickly say good bye to our friends, get the dinghy up and leave before the Maramu hits…

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