As I said before, we flew back to Bilbao late on Wednesday evening.
Thursday, the 27th, was spend in basic ‘house keeping’; shopping, cleaning the boat, sunbathing and preparing our new cruising chute. I say new, it has been sitting in its bag since the end of May and I have had no chance to rig it up – it is in kit form. It is a very big sail, 94.3sq m, for down-wind sailing and so I had it stretched along the pontoon so I could get it inside its ‘snuffer’. This is a long case used to cover the sail so it can be hoisted, like a sausage, without it filling with wind before you are ready; the sail is deployed when you pull the ‘snuffer’ up to the top of the mast. To douse the sail, or, snuff, it you pull the ‘snuffer’ down. As the wind was light and from behind the boat I decided to hoist the chute and fly it while alongside to make sure it worked properly. I also wanted to get a look at it because I had only ever it as design sketches for the sail maker, and it does look pretty good! I am hoping to be able to use it on the way down to Lisbon.
That evening we sat and chilled on the boat over dinner and some wine and watched the moon rise. In the distance we could hear what sounded like an artillery barrage; in Spain that means only one thing …. Fireworks! Unfortunately we couldn’t see them!
Got back late on the 26th and have been busy shopping, cleaning, visiting Bilbao, testing our new cruising chute, taking the tender for a spin and generally chilling. There being no WiFi here the full exciting up date will have to wait till I get to Porto next week or Valeria does updates when she’s home.
All is proceeding to plan otherwise and I set off for Porto on Monday.
Another spell at home means Windependent being left in Getxo Marina. The marina website has access to cameras but they don’t appear to work.
During these three weeks at home we’ve been busy with making arrangements to move from Bilbao to Porto and then on to Lisbon. Whilst in Lisbon I am arranging to have some more work done to prepare Windependent for cruising.
The plan is that we return to Getxo on the 26th and will actually visit Bilbao; we will also prepare the boat for the trip round to Porto. Mauro will be coming out on the 30th, Valeria goes home on the 31st and Andy flies in on the same morning. The plan is then to sail from Getxo that afternoon for the three day passage to Porto.
Once there Andy flies home on the 4th, Mauro the following day and that leaves me with a couple of days to prepare for the next leg to Lisbon. Alex and Clive are flying out to Porto on the 7th and I plan to leave Porto on the 8th and make a slow 3 day passage arriving on the afternoon of the 10th. Valeria plans to meet us as we arrive, and Alex, Clive then return home on the 11th, leaving Valeria and I to visit Lisbon and liase with the boatyard before we fly home.
Whilst Windependent is in Lisbon I have arranged for some further fitting out work to be completed. Well, when I say I have, I mean Valeria has been emailing the Portugese boatyard and translating their responses for me. I want to put a division in the ‘anchor locker’ to keep the chain in one place, I want an HF/SSB radio fitted and while we have an electrician we’ll have the TV installed. (Will need to find time to watch it though!)
The biggest of these jobs is the radio installation. We have a VHF but that is only useful for short range communication; the HF radio allows communications over far longer, oceanic, distances and gives us access to emails and weather information when at sea. To use this equipment you have to have a ‘Long Range Certificate’ and I’ll be returning home to do that course on the 16th and 17th of September down in Southampton.
Once that is done we can plan the last leg of our journey down to Faro.