As ready as we will be
The summer holidays are finally here, something we have been looking forward to on multiple levels. On the positive side simply because we are looking so much forward to go sailing.
June and Laura have today, Wednesday, been on the boat for one week, and I have been here since Friday. So why haven’t we already thrown the mooring lines? Since we have decided on sailing the long route out on the Atlantic Ocean, there are some preparations that is required before sailing off, and which we didn’t finish during spring. However, now we are as ready as we will be. Freja arrived at the boat today, Nanna and her friend Veronika will join os when we reach Malaga next Monday, so it is time to go to be able to make it.
Education and planning
During the spring we have planned a lot. How far will we be able to go this summer? This is important as the boat will either have to stay at the destination until a one-week vacation during fall, where we might sail the boat a bit further, or we will lift it for hard standing during winter. The plan is to reach Lisbon, and then maybe go a bit further up the coast of Portugal during fall. We have decided to aim for a winter storage of the boat in Lisbon, and have investigated different options. Luckily, there is a rather cheap yard at Lisbon, which also get good recommendations from others. It is Tagus Yacht Center, which will be the planned destination this summer.
Sailing here is different from sailing “Limfjorden” or “Øresund”, with cell phone coverage and many boats close to you. So now it is important to be able to use the VHF for emergency situations, but also to communicate with marinas when approaching, as this is typically done using the VHF. Because of the I spend some time during spring earning the SRC certificate so I can use the VHF. I did this as self-study and an examination at the Danish Maritime Authority.
Another difference when sailing these waters is tide. When we get to the Atlantic Ocean we can experience differences between low and high water up to 4 meters in the southern Portugal. In the English channel this can increase up to a 14 meters difference. Because of this, I have been at a Tides training course at DOCA so I know how to handle tidal information and navigate these areas.
You are never done preparing
June and Laura has been working hard on the boat since they arrived to remove old teak, paint and glue from the cockpit. We will add teak again, but not until the boat is home in Denmark. They have also done some cleaning, provisioning, sealing sinks, organize the cabin, polishing, etc.
The boat has 3 batteries, one of which is for starting the engine. We don’t want to get in a situation, where we will not be able to start the engine due to flat batteries. The 2 batteries for consumption will have the fridge as one of the big consumers, and it is important that there is enough power for navigation lights, VHF, and other safety equipment. The batteries are charged by the engine, and 220 V when in a harbour. So when sailing we only have the engine, and to avoid having to start it to charge the batteries, we have chosen to go all-in on sustainable energy sources. At home, we bought 2 100W solar panels, that can be mounted on the bimini, and which June brought as special sized luggage. Besides that, we have also invested in a wind generator so we can charge both from sun and wind. During night in no wind we might have to start the engine, but that is fine.
I has finished installing the holding tank, and late last night we finished installing the solar panels, which we tested today. The wind generator will have to wait, and we also need some of the parts for installing it, and which we will have to find on our way. We have had plenty to do, but now we have all the important things ready so we can now sail off. We have also decided in an extra project and bought a life raft. It is installed and ready to use, but let us hope it will never be required.
We are looking so much forward to go. Next post will be from our first real leg of the journey home.
A rare but popular guest
I will end this post with our first adventure, which took place during the night while installing the solar panels. A sea turtle suddenly swam by the boat, and then disappeared under one of the other boats. We didn’t get a chance to take a picture. It was unexpected and one of the sea creatures we have been looking forward to see in real life, and which we couldn’t imagine to experience already before sailing off. The locals have told us, that it is very rare to experience this in Torrevieja, so we feel lucky and happy. We hope for more of this.