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 :)