Engine mounts and rudder bushings
Great news! On Wednesday the guys at Gillingham Marina finally got round to working on Excalibur, which was a huge relief. They ended up having to take the engine out to make a new shimmy to level the engine off as it wasn’t sitting square on its mounts. This meant some of the mounts were subjected to more pressure than others because of the unevenness. The uneven distribution of weight can clearly be seen on the rear engine mounts where the rubbers melted towards one end. They also look like they’ve been dragged up from the seabed along with the Titanic. Look at that rust!!
The new rudder bushing is in, you can barely see it. I would have liked to have seen and felt it before it went in, but its in now which is the main thing.
Trina’s finished her last shoot and has next week off, so we should start smashing through our jobs list.
We have a launch date now, we’re back in the water on the 25th of June. Are we going to get all our jobs done before we go back in? Of course not! We’re in damage control mode, but it is what it is.
Once we’re back in the water we’ll give Excalibur a test run and try and fix the compass heading issue with PSI Marine. From Gillingham the next stop will be Ramsgate. Out of Dover or Ramsgate I’d rather hang out in Ramsgate until we’re ready to push on to Brighton or further.
With some of the major jobs complete I’ve started to turn my attention to our Biscay crossing. Apparently we’re in for a scorcher of a summer here, so I’m hoping this good weather will extend to our Biscay crossing, that’ be nice. We’re a long way off in weather forecasting terms from leaving, but looking at the weather there seems to be a lack of wind rather than too much, which is not what you would normally associate with Biscay given it’s fearsome reputation.
This is what’s happening in Biscay at the moment.
I’d still like us to jump off from Falmouth. Head to 10 degrees west, so inline with Ireland and basically head offshore as quickly as possible away from land. For us that’s where we’ll be the safest. We want to be as far away from the continental shelf as possible, as this is where the seabed rises up from the deep, causing the Atlantic swell to rise sharply and produce steep waves.
Landfall I predict will be La Coruña or Bayona. I had Gijon in mind for mostly sentimental reasons, though I’m concerned that rounding La Coruña from Gijon may make our life difficult with wind on the nose (I need to double check the prevailing winds again). We’ll see. Certainly we’ll need to time and choose our landfall based on the current conditions at the time, so the choice is really in the lap of the gods.
As you can see from here, there’s really not many sailing boats (pinky purple ones) crossing Biscay at the moment (with an AIS transmitter at least).
How to sail along the Portuguese coast
I’ve also read an interesting article on how not to die on the Portuguese coast. It’s amazing what you can find on internet. Swell is equally as important as wind speed, as many places along the Portuguese coast and that part of the Spanish coastline have sand bars at the entrance, sort of like a sandy speed hump. Even on a day with little wind a large swell can form from storms in the Atlantic, and when they reach the Portuguese coast they stack up creating dangerous waves around the entrance to ports, which are hard to see from sea. A life saving tip from this article is never to enter a port in a southerly with a swell of 2.5m unless it’s Leixoes or Nazare.
Hanging with the rents
Other than the above, I’ve been snatching a bit of time with the rents. I’ve taken on another contract, and working on a new business idea because preparing for a big sailing trip isn’t enough. I think I’ve built up so much momentum now its impossible to stop. I need lists and things to tick off, people to call. A few people from our leaving party asked if I was excited about the trip. My response was nope, too busy to be excited, too focussed on the task in hand to have a moment to enjoy the journey. I’m sure the excitement will come as we wave goodbye to Blighty, shortly followed by panic as we look forwards to see the sun disappear over the horizon and the darkness descend 😀
Another day over, 46 days left. Canary Wharf is lit up green in memory of the Grenfell tragedy tonight as I look out of Trina’s flat.