Monthly archives of “December 2006

Christmas!

Constellation, 25 December, 2006, 19:41: Heater on full, cabin cleaned, shower taken, mainsail packed.

I woke up this morning at 5am, rushed into the forecabin and gasped at the number of presents under the tree. Heaven knows how Santa made it through the skylight hatch, I’m sure it was locked! Nevertheless, I definitely found footprints, and under the tree was everything I needed for my journey. It was difficult unwrapping the Monitor Windvane, but boy, she’s beautiful. How exactly Santa knew which alternator belt I needed as a spare is beyond me, but quite clearly he (or she) is highly intelligent, and even knowledgeable about boating paraphernalia. So everything I needed on my wish list is accounted for. Wow!

Well, needless to say, it was a rather uneventful Christmas day. I woke up and wondered around the yard for awhile looking at boats. Al, the local catamaran owner invited me in for a coffee which was nice, and Chris the flight attendant (who is also a liveaboard) came by, and as it turns out, will be driving to Gatwick in the morning. I’ll be 12 hours early for the flight, but I figure waiting around at the airport is better than waiting around in Southampton if the bus doesn’t work out.

I have double packed the mainsail to bring back to Berlin. Hopefully if the stars align themselves correctly, I will have enough money to drive over to Poland and have a new duplicate made. If not, I’ll make a duplicate myself out of waxed brown paper and sail close to the sun.

Clearly there are several mysterious (minor) leaks on the cabin roof, as a hose down reveals a little fresh water in the bilge, from who knows where. I seem to have figured out that unless you own a brand new Hanse or similar, yachts tend to just have water hanging about the place no matter what you do. Note to self: Pack lots of sponges.

I’ve made a hefty list of things to bring back from Germany next time I come to the boat. The prices here in the UK are out of control. I’ll come back on an overnight bus, and smuggle cheap(er) German parts and materials in large suitcases. To my knowledge, there are no weight restrictions (within reason) on coaches, and while it’s a 24 hour ride, it seems worth the trouble.

So, I’m looking forward to going back to Berlin, going on my detox diet (a week of Christmas mince pies and triple chocolate muffins have taken their toll) and cranking the coal oven.

Merry Christmas to you all 🙂

nick.

Half Circumnavigation Plan B

Constellation, 23 December, 2006, 19:09: Heater on full, two new books in the library, zero public transport on the 26th, baked not fried crisps winning the daily taste war.

Today was my big adventure into Southampton, to find a calling card and investigate bus timetables. On both fronts, the results leant towards the negative end of a rusty battery terminal. Meaning, I couldn’t find a calling card anywhere, and the buses are not even running the day after Christmas, as I had previously thought (as with trains). So, I closely observed the route home, in anticipation of my long walk this coming Tuesday morning. I can only hope it isn’t raining, or I will be boarding Easyjet Flight 00FUN11 sopping wet. Is it just me, or does everything seem incredibly dramatic and arduous when connected to my endeavors?

It was bitterly cold and foggy again today… The kind of weather that does not encourage doing much at all, besides from thoughts of huddling in the corner with a large and difficult book, or prodding an open fire while exchanging hunting stories with old men. Needless to say, the last thing I killed with a gun was quite by accident when I was 14; a wee bird not worth exaggerating for the sake of a worthy tale. So, I stepped off the bus in Southampton right into Waterstones, a large bookstore that has gone down the Borders model of filling the place up with books, and then dedicating a good third of it to selling Latte’s and expensive muffins. But, as with all big stores devoid of a soul, at least you get a decent price (thats the point, right?). I soon walked out with two new paperbacks, skipped around the town twice (for the pesky phone card) found a German Christmas market (and felt at home) selling Gluwein, and decided the Christmas shopping extravaganza was far too much to contend with, and walked straight back to the open doors of a bus heading to the Burseldon bridge. Which brings me to the corner I’m huddled in right now, wrapped up in a sleeping bag with the heater (on full) eating ‘crisps’ (ahem, chips) and aptly enough, listening to ‘Bridge over troubled water’ by Simon & Garfunkel.

So, without further adieu, the wind has picked up, and it is time to fasten the tarpoline on the roof, board up the door, and settle down with a luke-warm cup’o’soup to cook up ‘Nicks half-circumnavigation Plan B’.

(It’s the plan where I sail home with three pounds fifty in spare change, two bananas and a used tea-bag.)

nick.

Bill of sale, Pubs

Constellation, 22 December, 2006, 19:37: Heater on full, decks scrubbed, local pub inspected, and Tesco’s Triple Chocolate Muffins deemed best buy for 2006.

Oh, and I have Constellation’s bill of sale!

I’m usually a little late to the party on these things, but I have unanimously decided all boat owners utterly mad, most certainly require a few weeks in a calm care facility, and damn well need of a stern talking to by someone with a loud voice. These flotation devices are mysterious black holes for just about everything, sucking you dry of any good sense and claiming every last penny, and then some.

For example, it’s a Friday night, and where would any self-respecting 25 year old be? At the pub maybe? Yes, well down to the Jolly Sailor I went for a quiet Fosters (oh, yes, I had my second pint of Fosters ever just a month ago!) only to come tearing back out of the rear entrance for fear of witnessing too much noise and camaraderie. Not to mention the fact there were no bar stools, meaning I would have to awkwardly sit at a table for two, pretending I was waiting for someone… Or worse yet, tapping on my mobile phone so I looked I was messaging said someone, telling them to hurry the hell up. In my haste to exit, I will admit to taking an extra second or two to witness someone eating fish & chips. Such cuisine is scarce if not impossible to find in Germany. If you know of somewhere in Berlin doing a nice piece of beer battered Flake, please pass on the coordinates…

The five mile hike to the local library is becoming tiring, and I only get internet access for a maximum of half an hour at best. I hiked all over country England, looking for an international calling card today, in order to phone home for Christmas, but alas, I found nothing. Daryl and I always have a whinge about Christmas, and it appears karma has the better of me; by trapping me in a leaky boat alone, without access to the outside world for a change. So, I think Christmas is going to be a quiet one… I’m not too fussed for my sake, but it would be nice to call home and say hello, but what to do?

I inspected my rigging today, and I’m convinced the halyards will need replacing. The topping lift looks like it will be gone by the end of winter, breaking exactly when I am standing underneath the boom no less. The standing rigging appears strong, with about two to three inches of adjustability remaining. I don’t know what re-rigging will cost, but I’m sure it will be a lot more money than I currently have (three pounds fifty).

On the issue of money, I need so much of it, it’s becoming depressing. Not including all the small items and repair work required, I have big expensive items such as the windvane, wind generator, EPIRB, new mainsail and certification training costs to contend with. Looking at my web logs, if every unique visitor gave me $5, I’d be out to sea come first sign of summer! But alas, it won’t be that easy… World poverty would have been solved by now if it were. I do need to formulate a financial plan though, or come up with an ingenious sponsorship bid. My two so far have failed, but I’m a dogged and annoying individual so I guess I’ll keep trying. The boat is finally mine though, so I guess I can relax for a week or two.

Over & out from the South of England, where it’s currently 8pm, foggy, and lacking bar stools.

nick.