Its been a while since we properly updated the blog so sorry folks. We’ve been pretty busy with an ever growing ‘to do’ list as long as your arm. There are many things that we need to do in preparation for the ATLANTIC CROSSING!!!! Just to give you an idea things like, scrub the hull as the marine growth builds up and slows you down, putting netting up around the boat to help prevent a Scrumpy Over Board situation. Perhaps it will also help stop us losing items over board as this list is also ever growing! Making leecloths so we don’t roll out of bed during rough weather, servicing the engine, making a spares pack & grab bag, repairing sails, fitting solar panels, making a cushion to make the saloon sofa into a pilot berth (this one is really important as it is the most comfortable place to sleep when we are rolling & the last thing we need is tired crew).
Owning a boat is a costly business so we have been trying to do as much as we can ourselves in order to save money. Simon serviced the engine & bought some scuba gear so he could clean the hull…. this will also come in very handy if we drop stuff over board or if our anchor gets snagged on rocks. Jacqui & Freddie kindly donated us lots of netting and I spent the day monotonously rigging up to the guard rails. We also really needed a Dan Buoy which a tall thin float that you throw over with a lifebuoy if someone falls overboard, its about 3-5 metres so that you can see it over giant waves. This is an important piece of safety equipment for the Atlantic Crossing and a new one was going to cost €300, but clever Simon made one for about €15 using an old dive weight, a wooden pole & a banana swimming float my mum bought in what can only be described as a funny Chinese odds & sods shop. We have found these shops all over Spain and although not the highest quality they have been very useful for towels, dog toys, buckets, tools, pots & pans, basically anything & everything! They are huge will aisles and aisles of cheap useful random shite. I got some bike drinks holders in one for €0.90 which beats the €59.95 teak drinks holder in the chandlery. These don’t look as Gucci but they do the job & we are boat hobos after all. Simon has serviced the engine & is going to fit the solar panels, I have ordered various needles & thread so that I can repair the sails with my sewing machine & I have made the saloon bed cushion with some foam from a fabric shop and cheap off cuts of material for the cover.
There has also been the very important task of Provisioning, we have to make sure we have enough drinking water & food for the crossing and extra supplies for if we encounter any delays or problems. If our cooking gas fails we need food that we can eat without needing to cook it, if our water tank gets contaminated then you need to have another alternative water supply.
We don’t tend to drink from our tank so use bottled water instead, the crossing is about 21-25 days so based on 2 litres per person per day for 40 days (worse case scenario) that is 320 litres so we ordered 50 x 6.5 litre bottles… the next thing is finding somewhere to store them!!!! This also means we have the tank as a backup, although we’ve been told to drink from the tank first and use the bottles as back up. Based on this you can obviously guess showers & washing will be out of the question during the crossing, we will probably have enough to have the odd flannel wash but you need to monitor and record water consumption during the trip, you don’t want to use your supply too quickly and you could hit delays in the last few days.
The food shopping list has been meticulous produced, lots of tinned meat and veg as the fresh stuff is only going to last 10 days maximum. Snacks and treats are essential for moral and if its rough you don’t want to be preparing a 3 course master chef dinner in the galley. Cuppa soups, chocolate and Haribo help get you through the night sails. Cured meats & sausages last for months and make yummy pasta sauces. Tinned ham when fried to death in gallons of oil is actually pretty tasty. Onions, Cabbage and potatoes should last the whole passage if stored correctly…. storing with apples stops potatoes growing eyes & onions encourage them to grow. I have done lots of research online and found a useful article called ‘living without refrigeration’ with useful tips; cheese, yogurt & butter don’t need to be stored in a fridge; fruit & veg that hasn’t ever been refrigerated lasts longer; turn eggs twice a day & coat in vaseline when bough to extend their shelf live. The Atlantic Rally Crossing (ARC) is also leaving from Las Palmas, 250 boats which pay a fortune to have lots of social parties & all leave together to cross. They get lots of perks and discounts and somehow we managed to wangle their free delivery & discount on our food shopping from the supermarket despite not being on the ARC! However we still need to get all our fresh stuff the day before we leave.