Friday, 23 October 2009

Amazing boat...

OK, this is amazing day! I am now part owner of 39 ft Nicholson... donated to me and I am thrilled.

This post has now been moved to

Saturday, 17 October 2009

King Malu

Approx 10 nautical miles
Tim and I had arranged to see another ketch at 10am. We expected to spend about an hour or two looking at her and then off for a sail. But... 5+ hours...

The ketch is a Nicholson 39, which is a kind of classy yacht. This one is the third one off the production line and there were only 60 ever made. The Nicholsons are classy all over - Prince Philip owned and sailed a Nicholson. But we're not in that league. This is a old boat, but very well cared for - sailed round the world - the current owner reckons he did more than 55,000 miles in her.

She hasn't been sailed for a few years [5-8] and so is in desparate need of TLC. But in all honesty she is the most beautiful boat I have ever seen. Of course I couldn't rave too much in front of the owner or he would put the price up! The layout of the boat is amazing. She has two cabins, each with en-suite [though the second one needs converting back to working] and a centre cockpit, which means the deck seems to be very much bigger than a rear cockpit sloop.

So, I think we saw every cm of the boat, checked everything out. Stephan, the current owner, told story after story about the boat and we then went for a beer with him and he told more stories about his adventures.

So then Tim and I went out to the club and got my boat into the water... oh yipes, one of the tyres was flat and I only pumped it up yesterday, maybe I over pressurized the tyre... anyway we went out a sail and 'chewed the cud' over the Nicholson. The Morgan we had seen the previous weekend, Sue had wisely reminded me of how much work I had said needed doing to get her in the water... whereas the Nicholson could be in the water a few days after taking her over -- a couple of sea-cocks to fix and anti-foul the hull and she's ready for the water. And with reasonable amount of hard work she would be sail-able next season.

Hmmmm... have to sleep on it. Of course, what I don't have is money to pay for her.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Birthday sail

Approx 8 nautical miles
SMS Text:
Club competition in Limassol on Saturday. We are thinking of sail at 3pm today. Are you interested?
Well... today being my birthday, of course I am interested. So went down to the club and Neil and Paula and I took out Galini for a sail around the bay. We actually sailed over towards the marina and took a brief look at the ketch that Tim and I had looked at earlier in the week.

Great sail. But saw that the tyres were almost flat so pumped them up.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

New jib for Tim's boat

Approx 10 nautical miles
Tim, Mark and I went down to the club this morning and fitted a new jib. Tim had brought the jib back from the USA when he visited. The old one was sun damaged. The new one had a UV protection sleeve which could be hoisted on a halyard around it. So... we removed the forestay and returned it to a combined jib/forestay.

Tim also bought a Hawk apparent wind direction indicator, which we mounted at the top of the mast. Because the mast is aerofoil and rotating, it turns into the wind. This means that although the indicator correctly points to apparent wind, the reference arms are never showing you something useful! However, it's still useful indicator and while I was sailing his boat today found it useful for downwind runs...

OK, so we then had to sea trial the new jib. We went out, with Tim helming and tacked off towards the port. A very large roll-on roll-off ferry was coming out, with a pilot cutter in attendance. We stayed to the north side of the starboard harbour entrance buoy to stay clear.

In the other harbour a number of yachts and motor vessels are moored and we sailed around them and then into the outer visitors area of the marina... taking a look again at one of the yachts we looked at yesterday and then on to the castle.

Hmmm... yes, the Morgan is a beautiful yacht. Too far away for a photo.

We passed a dive vessel coming into the marina. Tim thought it was more like a dive barge and didn't deserve the name boat!

They dive down to the Zenobia, which is a sunken ship out in Larnaca bay. It's claimed to be one of the best 10 shipwreck dives in the world. The Zenobia was a roll-on roll-off ferry that capsized in Larnaca Bay possibly due to a computer fault making the ballasting system go wrong.

Diving is something that I will never do. I prefer to stay on top of the water... I'm not that keen on being in the water to be honest!

We turned back and Tim let me and then Mark helm Saga. I found it quite difficult helming on a boat where you control the rudder with your feet. A new skill to learn. I was sitting there thinking 'Now what do I do with my hands?'

Anyway, she tacked and gybed quite easily and was a gentle boat to sail. The winds were light [Bft 2 rising to Bft 3 while we were sailing] and the sail a nice gentle trip around the bay.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Beirut sail

130 nautical miles
I get one of those phone calls... one that you wish happens everyday... 'Richard, how would you like to sail to Beirut with us?' Does Tim need to ask? I leap at the opportunity. Tim's boss and sailing friend Marwan has brought his new Jeanneau to Larnaca and they have one space available for the sail back to Beirut.

I join them at 08:45 on Saturday morning. We cleared customs and immigration at Larnaca and then sailed off towards Nissi Beach at Agia Napa.

Tim and Marwan set the asymetric spinnaker with me controlling lines in the cockpit. Marwan's spinnaker is bright red. 'They will certainly see us coming!' The wind is light and the spinnaker flies... but only just.

When we arrive we anchor just outside the buoys that mark the reserved swimming zone. Tim and I row in to the beach in the tender and the other three swim to the shore.

When I say Tim and I row in, I should clarify that Tim rows and I am passenger. I am thankful as my shoulder is still painful and on the yacht I am very wary moving around as sharp movements to grab something creates excruciating pain.

From the beach SAGA 3 lies at anchor creating an idyllic image of Cyprus life: Sun, sea and beautiful people. We sit and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice and a halloumi sandwich. Dance music punches through the air, demonstrating the vitality of this tourist haven. There's movement on the beach... always in time with the rhythm of the drum beat.

It's time to set sail. Tim rows out to the yacht with me and Ziad and then Ziad rows back to pick up Marwan and Jamil.

It's quite a long row with the wind blowing the light tender around.

While they are coming Tim and I stow the spinnaker as we will not use it overnight to save going onto the foredeck in the dark.

Watching the sun set and the moon rise while at sea is one of those glorious times when you marvel at the splendour of God's creation. At the same time thankful to Marwan for giving me the opportunity to be there miles from land and enjoy this sight.

Tim cooks enough spaghetti to feed a crew of eight... and there are only five of us. But with the sea breeze and his spaghetti sauce we sit and do justice to the meal.

Marwan, Jamil and I take the first watch and Tim and Ziad take the second watch. Marwan and Tim had agreed to two long watches rather than the more normal shorter ones. It meant we stayed up till 03:30 and Tim took over then. Actually this works better for people that are naturally late or naturally early people. Each watch is optimized for the body clock of the people concerned.

Marwan has a very nice Raymarine E series plotter and integrated radar system that allows you to set warning zones and track radar targets. So through the night we monitor approaching vessels leaving the autopilot to actually steer the boat. He had the system mounted at the back of the deck table. Initially when I looked at it and I thought it was strange place, but Marwan chose well and it is a great location for pleasure sailing in good weather in the eastern Mediterranean. You can sit on the stern seat comfortably between the two wheels monitoring radar or plotting waypoints.

After a few hours sleep I get up to find the rest of the crew on deck as we sail into the rising sun. The sea is smooth and we are motoring along gently. Tim has communicated with the UN warship patrolling off the Lebanese coast and with 'Oscar Charlie', the central Lebanese shipping control.

As we arrive at Beirut, the sun is glistening over the water and the city is draped in mist, at peace with itself and the world. Long may it stay that way. We motor into Beirut marina to pick up fuel, and finally motor round to the Movenpick marina for a champagne breakfast. The prefect end to a delightful voyage.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Sailing back at last!

17 nautical miles
Yesterday, back home in Cyprus, today, out sailing again! (BTW the title should have been 'Back sailing at last!')

I took Jacob and Marie out today for a sail. We did about 16 nautical miles and had a great time. Of particular note we sailed without a rudder for a while... well... we lashed the rudder amidships and then by Jacob moving from port to starboard or vice versa we steered the boat. Then we tried tacking. That was more difficult. First attempt failed. Second attempt worked: I pumped the main when it looked like we were going to get stuck in irons.

Made a short video...

Oh... and Jacob wanted you to know that he was the cameraman (in some of the shots that he is not in and one of them that he is in!)

And while we're on the subject of videos... for those people who have not seen the Marine Band radio conversation between the USS Montana and a lighthouse in the Irish Sea... here goes.

It is of course fictitious!