More stuff that works , and some that doesnt.

I am now on fairly good terms with my computer!  There was a time when I never thought I would write that , but it would appear that our problem all along was that the e-mail programme was incompatible with Vista. The website guys wrote some new software and hey presto, it works. They have proudly announced a new Vista friendly upgrade – and I am thinking of charging a consultancy fee! Anyhow we have moved back down river to Alcoutin/Sanlucar – and are anchored midway between the two. The Algarve tourist board has a wi-fi zone ashore that we can pick up from the boat so not only are we in paradise – but  with my new friend the computer we can communicate with the world as well.  Free!

Actually , I suspect that wi-fi in paradise is an oxymoron – but it does at least  represent a considerable advance for me!

I think we are the only cruising boat that doesnt have a rolling furler jib. We in fact have the full compliment of Sigma sails , plus a jib top reacher , and packing the forepeak is an artform. We hardly use the No 1 , as offwind the the jib top is easier  and in 20 knots down wind we pole out the jib top or 3 ( or both as we have brought two poles along). The No 1 is our very oldest sail  and if we find we never use it we can dump or sell it and still have 4 others at home! Ideally we would have 2 rollers – one on an inner forestay  – but that would mean strengthening work on the boat and more sails to buy – more cost and no longer a Sigma ! Light airs sailing with the correct sails is a delight – but the jury is definately still out on that one.

Surprisingly the only sail we havnt used is the heavy kite. Under 15 knots the light one is better – and over 15 knots and two handed we go nearly as fast with a poled out genny or even just two headsails. When we do use the kite – especially in the big atlantic swells , the net jib is a godsend to stop wraps. But it is one extra thing to stow!

Talking of extra things to stow , on an impulse I bought a folding lobster pot. We have never used it and it is practically impossible to stow – and presumably once it has been used its going to smell to high heaven . We will put that one down to stuff that doesnt work!

The little folding teak  cockpit table however stows flat against the hull sides in the forepeak to special velcro straps and works really well when at anchor. Ditto our “Boat Sit Comforts ” – those teak cockpit benches can be very hard!

So does the tropical awning with zip on sides that was made for us by Hamble Cover services. Without it we would have fried in the fierce sun inland over the past week. We do not have a bimini – partly cos i didnt want the metalwork , partly because the long low boom on a Sigma makes it impractical and partly because we never helm – that is done for us by the autopilot  or wind vane.  Nevertheless , sailing in the midday sun requires good hats,  long white shirts and trousers  and perhaps some sheltering behind the shade of the dodger for those not able to sleep below.

Our worst piece of kit was undoubtedly the nice little waterproof cover for the outboard made by Lynda – in BLACK to match the stripe. It got so hot the petrol boiled over and a similar thing made out of that nice silver reflective material is high on my christmas card list.

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