We were told the other day you spend a 1/3 of your time sailing 1/3 doing tourist stuff and 1/3 doing boat jobs. I think in reality we’ve spent 2/3’s doing boat jobs and 1/3 motoring.
In Nazare we spent a week having our wind gen pole fixed. In Lagos we’re spending longer sorting out some batteries.
This is how such a simple task such as replacing 2 leisure batteries can turn into a right old saga.
I’ll begin. The chandlery here charge double what it costs at home (€188 each) for bog standard batteries, on the internet they’re €90 but the chandlery don’t want to know.
I find a car garage thinking it’ll be easier to get them to order some in, they speak perfect English and assure me they know what I mean by leisure batteries and source 2 Varta batteries that will arrive on the Monday (€122 each). The batteries are slightly bigger in size but better quality, we’ll have to cut open the battery box and extend it.
Over the weekend I chat to a few friends and we decide to spend the extra money get AGM batteries instead. AGM batteries recharge quicker and there’s more usable juice in a AGM battery than a standard lead acid one. Seems sensible. Spend the extra, buy better, replace less often.
Monday morning I go in and tell the garage I want AGM instead, as we need to enlarge the box we opt for the next size up which at €295 each are not cheap, but we bite the bullet. No problem, they arrive at 3pm and we take them back to the boat.
Next job is to remove the battery box, cut the side off and fibreglass some plywood in place. We run out of hardener that evening to finish the job. The boat is once again a bloody mess.
Tuesday morning I go to the chandlery. They don’t have any hardener, actually they don’t have any epoxy, apart from a tiny kit that costs €40. Just as I go to buy it, one of the staff says he’ll go check the workshop and comes back with a pot of hardener. We’re in business.
Back to the boat, we finish off the new battery box as a tourist boat passes by, a sax player pipes out George Michael’s Careless Whisper. The box isn’t pretty, but as long as it’s solid nobody on this boat cares.
On Tuesday afternoon I look at these batteries, and something isn’t right. No where on the battery does it say ‘deep cycle’ which most leisure batteries say somewhere on the side. I call up the battery company, nope we’ve been sold batteries to start truck engines.
At the time I felt stupid reiterating we needed leisure batteries to the garage, as they firmly assured me they knew exactly what I mean’t. Guess going to a car mechanic for a boat battery sounds idiotic, but caravans and boats use the same type of leisure battery so there’s some logic there.
Anyway, we go back to the garage with the batteries which weigh a tonne! Their supplier just so happens to be there and Trina gives them the exact model number we require, €500 each! The garage in fairness thought the price was crazy and were shocked. Trina finds them online for €222 each. “Why didn’t you just buy them off the internet?” the woman asked. Had I known what battery manufacturers were available in Portugal it would have been a reasonable question.
We return the batteries, get our money back and order them off the internet which will take 24-48 hours.
Wednesday comes and the courier turns up with only one battery, and as it’s an incomplete order he takes it away.
Thursday comes and the batteries arrive in the morning. We fit the battery box to the sound of the passing boat that plays George Michael’s Careless Whisper on the sax. Now we find the the battery cables have different sized holes at either end, so we have to go find the right battery terminals. The shelf for the battery box needs extending as the batteries are bigger. But now we’ve run out of the resin to make epoxy, which the chandlery still don’t have. The biggest chandlery in Europe and they only have a small €40 epoxy repair kit!
Friday we extend the shelf and fibreglass in the wood after a call to Italy to find out the mixing ratio for their Epoxy kit, that has instructions but no mixing ratio information, as a boat load of sunburnt tourists passes us by to the sound of George Michaels Careless Whisper on the sax.
The weather’s now ruddy awful for the next 7 days, and all we want to do is get to the Canaries for a break, before we have to start preparing the boat for the Crossing in a months time.
I paint the shelf, takes 24 hours to dry.
We fit the batteries, and go to connect them up, and the adapter post which the cables connect to snaps. So close but yet so far. We have another evening by candlelight, no hot water etc.
Monday we finally get them in.
On the first day after we arrived in Lagos we had a knock on the boat. Some friends of one of the previous owners had been trying to meet us ever since they spotted us in Bayona.
Geoff and Nikki knew the owners who sailed to the Caribbean back in the later 2000’s. I knew Excalibur had sailed from Cape Verdes, and had visited Venezuela, she has also been to Trinidad and Granada, and was sailed back to the UK by a delivery skipper. On the way back from the Caribbean Excalibur started taking on water midway across the Atlantic. He called the owner, to which he said ‘have you checked the seacocks?’, no was the answer. Turned out the seacock under the galley sink had failed. The delivery skipper patched it up and that was the end of the drama.
The previous owners are on a new boat in the Canaries, hopefully our paths will cross at some point.
We had a super evening chatting to Geoff and Nikki, and hearing all about Excalibur’s past life and their many adventures.
We found a fishing shop in Lagos called Nauticmar, João sorted us out with the right line (we have braid now attached to a super strong nylon line), a selection of lures and some super strong swivels. All we have to do is throw the squid over the side, no paravane and wait.
Among other jobs, Trina’s made a wine glass box under the table and I’ve Macgyver’ed an LED strip light into a light above the galley for full Submarine mode.
We caught up with an ex St Katharine Docker one evening. Paddy was a neighbour back in the day and is now in Faro doing a boat fit. Good times!
Between jobs we’ve been hooked on Howards Way. Forget Netflix, nothing beats Howards way and the plight of the middle class. Once you hear the theme tune, it’ll be stuck in your head forever!
Departing for the Canaries
We’re literally just having our final lunch in Lagos and shall depart for the canaries in about an hour. We’re heading directly to Las Palmas which should take 5-6 days.
Some neighbours kindly gave us 2 spare jerry cans, so we’ve got 4 1/2 days of fuel.
The forecast is medium to light winds from behind. About 6 Swedish and Norwegian boats departed this morning for Lanzerote, but we’re just holding back a little longer to wait for the swell to do down.
We’re hoping to try our running twin headsails for this trip.
So that’s it, we’re all packed and ready to go!
Farewell Lagos! Hello vacuum packed chilli and curry for 5 days!