Downs and ups.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Part V

Today i finally got a second bottle of gas, so now i will not be caught off guard if the first one runs out. And i started tidying up the boat, making (to-do) plans for the next days and work my office job.

With all the action of the past days (visit home with lots of celebration), appointments, boat prep & boat tripping, i am having a bit of a struggle to settle in my “routine” again. And i find the “solitude” a bit depressing. Again. I did have the same feeling when Walter left and it took me a day or two to settle in to calmness, silence and solitude. But it was acompanied by a mental low.
So it is now. Feeling kind of mellow. Also because i know that there is still quite some things to be done.
I will have to do something against condensation under the bunk (the water tank is there and apparently the temperature difference is significant), buy & install a VHF, get a dinghi, install the wind instrumenent the wind-pilot and a lot of other “small stuff”.

In this respect i am very thankful to Nike (WhiteSpotPirates) for her great video-blog where she openly speaks about her set backs. Although not comparable, watching her struggle with Karl (her boat) prepared me mentally for my trip.

And actually there is a lot of cool things!
I do have a working GPS/AIS/Map-Setup on my computer which is connected to the main antenna and shows ships in a really far distance (15 miles under imperfect conditions). Though the connection will most likely change when the built-in VHF claims its spot. I guess i’ll try how well the old antenna works, before throwing it away.
Coming into my harbour later than planned due to the engine hiccup made me switch on the navigation lights – and discovere that the compass lighting is turned on with the navigation lights. So i have that problem fixed too (was not able to figure out the reason for the compass lights not working).
And i got myself the “pro” version of Windguru which i find very use- & helpful.

And i also got to realize an effect of living on a boat. You do not take things as granted as you do otherwise. Everything is limited. Space is obvious. But you also think twice when turning on the water. When turning on the gas to cook. When turning on a light. When turning on the engine.
Going on a two-day excursion without ability to charge the batteries quickly reorders your priorities. The real essentials come first.

(Cover image: Sunset over Amsterdam, seen from Almere/Muiderzand)

First solo sail

Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Part IV

The way back from Hoorn i made on my own. My first solo journey. The wind was fairly strong and hence the waves on the Markermeer where coming in very short intervals. Together with having to travel fairly directly into the wind, it was a bit of an unpleasant journey.
Needless to say that i felt quite anxious for the first hour or two sailing alone.

And, of course, the first excursion needs to have a little bit of a special surprise…
When reaching Marken (the name giving settlement of Markermeer, marking roughly half-way of my trip) i had to turn directly into the wind to go to Muiderzand. So i decided to turn on the engine again and do the rest under engine.
Unfortunatelly i turn the enginge but the engine doesn’t turn… so i had to come up with alternatives.
Either sailing all the way home to the marina and reaching it way past dawn, as i would have to tack my way home. Or sailing to a closer harbour? Or dropping the anchor and wait? And in any harbour-case i would better have someone tug me in, as the wind was fairly strong and an entrance under sails into a tightly packed marina would have been quite a chance for collision with potential damage.

Fortunatelly i did reach my agents from Yachtingcompany by phone and together we figured out the problem… it was none of the many complicated possibilities i have been going through. It was the “choke” was pulled out. I had either simply forgotten to push it in after getting the sails up or accidentaly pulled it out during sail maveuvers.
I must admit, it was a big relief knowing that i can enter into harbor by engine 🙂

Closer encounter
Closer encounter

(Cover image: sailor on his first solo sail)

Riggin-check. And removal.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Part III

So the next thing up was the check of the rigging. The insurance wants it for the crossing of the bay of biscay and i thought that it would not be bad to have a pro look at it. Well, the pro did not look much at it but said right away that the steel cables need to be replaced and thus the mast taken off the boat.
To see it positively, i had an easy opportunity to change the (main) halyard, fix the “Windex” (german term) and replace the navigation lights with LEDs (to save energy). And to install a radar reflector.
Well, bad thing is, i also figured out that the wind sensor was corroded and hence dead. Another unexpected replacement/repair. And while at replacing it i also found out that the VHF-antenna is at the very end of her life span. And not just the antenna, but also the cable (already corroded inside). More replacement necessary.

After this i went home for a week that was full with appointments. It was great to see family and friends again. But also a bit challenging to rush through this many events and to-do’s. And of course it was also not fun to see the outcome of the first round of the presidential elections…

Back in the Netherlands i actually wanted to take part in the King’s Day celebration in Amsterdam. But just after i came to the boat i slipped and hit my leg really hard on the edge of the dock. So i spent King’s Day at the boat doing small stuff and keeping my leg calm.
I also had my aunt visiting and we had lunch at the Harbor House.

The following day Rêverie was taken for a first “real” trip. Saskia, a friend from Tres Hombres with thousands of miles of sailing experience, came with me on that trip – which was really great. The city of Hoorn, to which we went is extremly beautiful. So with my sample of two trips, i can either say that 100% of the dutch cities sitting on water are beautiful, or that my sample is too small.

(Cover image: Saskia next to mala moja in the harbor of Hoorn)

Boat in the water – water in the boat.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Part II

Finally the moment came when she got lifted into the water… So great to have her swim! And drive her the first few hundred meters to her (temporary) berth. There i made the “mistake” to check the bilge. Where water was standing. I was sooo mad at myself for not having checked BEFORE she went into water. Now i was slightly nervous that it might be outside water, and not inside water gathered over the passed months.
Usually there is a pretty easy test to determine this: taste the water! Is it fresh, all ok – is it salty, you most likely have a problem. But since Muiderzand is fresh water this test fails.
Fortunatelly enough the water did not come back (fast enough) after i got it out of the bilge. And in the meantime i know that she’s leak-tight -so far 😉
Despite this little flurry it felt absolutely great to have water under the ship! Cause it ment that i can fill up the internal water tank and use it for dishes and drinking. Also i don’t have to walk 200m in one way to get to the toilet 🙂

Meeting Niek, Rêverie’s previous owner, was great. He was super friendly and took half a day to show and help me with the engine maintenance. We changed filters and oil (a dirty job – not only literally) and then hoisted the sails. Unfortunatelly it was too windy for a short trip. So Rêverie continued to stay in water without travelling.

First trip with mala moja
First trip with mala moja

But the next day she was taken for a short trip to the neighboring settlement of Muiden with a friend who came to visit over the weekend. Muiden is a pittoresque city with lots of water – and a water castle, for which it is famouse for. Fortunatelly we also found a pub for a beer before returning to the Marina an hour later.

(Cover image: mala moja beeing craned into water)


Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Part I

So much and so little at once. Now i am here in the Netherlands for a bit over a month. And it’s hard for me to write about it.
It seems to me as if months have passed since then, and not four weeks. So much has happened since then. But then again, it feels as if so little have i progressed. And so, to sort all of the thoughts crossing my mind is hard.
Plus, the constant delays and lags also drag me down mentally to some extent.

On March 26 Rêverie has been ceremonialy named. I kept her name, as this is (some kind of) tradition. But also because the name fits. Rêverie meaning daydream, fantasy or cloud-castle. So the name “mala moja” intended for her was added as nickname. And in the meantime on english i dub her “boaty”.

Then, after family and friends left me alone with boaty i started working. Walter came to help – and was not only manual support, but also moral. It was great to have somebody to who i could express my thoughts and get feedback from in the early phase of doing stuff that i have never been doing before. And it was 5 hard days underneath of the boat to get the under-water ship ready. Now i have to hope that i did not mess up and that it will do its job.

Working on the underwater-ship

And of course there is potential OSMOSIS that still haunts me. But i try to talk myself into it, that this cannot be prevented by underwater paint. I read so in a fairly sophisticated article that explained how the molecular structure of steam is smaller than that of paint/coating and thus is not hindered by it…
Since i have to believe something and since the posts and articles that warn of osmotic damage if not properly sealed are far less scientific, i go with the “coating does not prevent osmotic damage” theory.

Installing LEDs

Then i discovered the wiring… it was hard for me to see that it will take me a looooong time to understand which wire goes where. And, unfortunatelly, i probably will not be able to understand how the cables run. They are hidden behind an intermediate ceiling which can only be accessed in a few locations. So i guess that i will not greatly change the wiring for the beginning.
But since i could not repair the wind instrument it was clear that i will have to checked it at a later point in time.

Then the boom hit me. Or, more precisely, i hit the boom. The boat was not even in water. I did not watch where i was going but looked to the side while heading towards the entry. And then i just walked into the boom. Hard enough to get a cut worth being stiched.
A few days later i saw into my finger (fortunately a manual saw is slow 😉
Not counting the little daily scratches and bruises.

And of course there was also the “normal” office work that i was doing. So my days flew and fly by.
To relax a bit i took a trip up north to Den Helder and Texel, where i met with people from Tres Hombres, which is always great. Besides, riding with my bike on the dikes of Texel, for the first time i had the feeling: “Now you’re travelling. This is what it feels like to be under way!”
And it was awesome. The island of Texel is beautiful, and the weather was for once gracious.

Texel’s lighthouse
Texel’s lighthouse

(Cover image: family and friends during the “(nick) naming ceremony” of mala moja)