Blog 1 – Work before Play – January 4th – 14th, 2018
Jane’s and my blog is reactivated on the grounds that the stars have somehow aligned to provide me with the thrill of a lifetime. Sylvain Fortier, sailor and environmentalist extraordinaire asked me to come to Patras, Greece, and help him and Lilas get their new boat home. And so I shall, or at least as far as the Caribbean. Patras is the third largest city in Greece and not its most famous. In fact a gal named Maria, a work colleague of son Michael’s in Athens, drove fellow crew member Alexandre and me from our hotel to the bus to get here and when I said I was spending a couple of weeks in Patras she burst out laughing. Unfortunately she had a similar reaction when I said we were then sailing the Mediterranean in January.
That’s Alexandre who travelled with me on the left, and Sylvain, Lilas and son Nathan on the right.
Type A that I am, I was the one that finally pulled out a piece of paper and started THE LIST which is everything that has to be done before we leave. It’s long, but it will get done. For the next couple of weeks we will be living aboard and beavering away, trying to knock things off faster than we add more jobs to the bottom. We’re also awaiting a crate of gear that we have shipped from Montreal nearly a month ago. It should be here soon.
Just kidding. There are a couple of pretty good wrecks nearby. I want to bring them all home, like the lost puppies that they are. I tried to get Alexandre to go in on this beauty but he respectfully declined. I thought it would be a surprise for Sarah. I’d say a surprise for Sarah and Jane, but Jane wouldn’t be surprised.
Here’s the real thing.
The boat is called a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.1 and is magnificent. (You can google it. Look for the site that says “revue”.) It is built really, really strongly; comfy on the inside and very efficient on the outside. It’s going to be fun to sail, when we finally get to that, so I’ll tell you all about that when the time comes. In the meantime there really is a lot of work to be done. Aside from a 60 hp Yanmar Diesel Engine everything else is electric – anchor winch, bow thruster, wind and solar power generators, refrigeration, water heater, bilge pumps, and a host of navigational electronics – radios, GPSs, AISs, – you name it, not to mention lots of lights. Some of this stuff we’re installing. We’re plugged into shore power for now so it all works, but once we set sail the number of components in use will drop dramatically because we won’t be able to generate enough power short of using the engine. We’ll be down to what we need to navigate and maybe refrigeration if we’re lucky. There are six serious 12 volt batteries that keep things running, but they need to be fed in return.
So for now Alexandre (conveniently an electrical engineer) is tracing every wire, examining every device, assessing every battery, and is often seen taking apart switches or soldering bits of wire all in an effort to make sure we can count on things to function properly. I am dealing with everything that involves cordage or carpentry and have spent the last fews days building a spray hood which will hopefully keep us dry (er) in the weeks to come. It is chaotic. We’re having to get under floorboards, bunks and everything else at the same time as we’re living here and trying to keep a 22 month old child out of trouble. The tools aren’t the greatest, we always have to step around people, and then comes nap time for Nathan and we switch to the quiet jobs and forget what we were doing in the first place. But at the end of every day there is progress, and that’s a wonderful thing.
The departure date has yet to be set because of gear to be delivered and registration paperwork with Transport Canada. We’re hoping early twenties of January and consoling ourselves that with every passing day the weather in the Mediterranean gets less wintry and more favourable. I hope we’re right about that.