Manic Maintenance

It seems impossible but I have now been in Las Palmas for 10 days , and have scarcely been outside the marina. Lynda has flown home ,spent a manic 5 days gathering various spare parts , gourmet titbits and essential publications , and returned with a bag that must have seriously compromised the aircrafts chances of taking off. It certainly seriously compromised me when I tried to lift it!

It has gradually dawned on us that its not the sailing that is difficult – but keeping the ship going – so this has been an attempt to forestall problems with preventative maintenace . I have had everything in bits – and inevitably had some problems putting it all back together again! Nevertheless the “to do ” list is now shorter than I can ever remember , so now its down to the weather – of which more later.

The rumour mill back in Madeira painted Las Palmas as a dirty , unfriendly place with cockroaches the size of large rats and daily visits from armed criminals . The reality is that the marina is big , welcoming ,noisy and full of real sailors getting on with repairing and preparing for voyages similar to ourselves. And there are hundreds of them : old , young , calm , frantic , conventional and wildly eccentric. The chandleries are better stocked and more knowledgeable than those at Hamble and every day the supermarkets and fruiterers deliver vast amounts of stores to boat after boat. Amazingly , as fast as boats leave , more arrive to take their place. Offshore there is serious dinghy sailing taking place – both local racing and several international crews training hard in Lasers and 470’s. In short this is a serious sailing port and I am very glad we chose it to prepare . As for the cockroaches , there are no more or less than in any other Canarian port and I am told they make very good pets!

So with Ben and Bryony due to arrive in 3 days time I have begun to look at the weather . For 2 months now it has been NE from here to the Carribean , and I began to wonder why the usual advice is to head South rather than take the rhumb line course which would have served the ARC competitors perfectly well. Now I know ,as the Trade Winds have disappeared with 35 knot SW winds due the day we were to set off – and no likelihood of the trades til South of the Cap Verdes. Perhaps we will have to turn right after the butter melts after all!

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