Log March 2017
It is raining only once today, sometimes heavier, sometimes lighter. Dull perspectives for today, therefore another visit at the do-it-yourself shop LeRoy at La Baule to buy some more screws other bits and pieces. The good thing about the bad weather is the time to work on some administrative tasks and to catch up with the log. Yes, there are administrative tasks to be done, even as a retired person like me ;-) Tomorrow the dry weather is said to be return, and then we could carry on with our jobs on the boat.
Today the weather presents as nice with clear sky, dry but cold, therefore we are already working on the boat in the morning. The cover at the Nav-table is making progress and Doris is trying on sanding the weathered wood of the steering seat as well as the life raft lid. The next few hours Santjana’s cockpit is enwrapped in a cloud of dust. We just interrupt the work to get some Fish n’Chips iat l’Inflexible. We feel our arms and hands after the strenuous and unfamiliar jobs.
Sanding is keeping us busy also today, we have to make use of the dry weather, which continues today. Doris is taking the measurements from the portholes so we can order the correct size of covers. The catalogue is showing the measurements as “L” x “H” ….” L” equals Longeur or Largeur, but what does “H” mean? We have not really a clue, therefore Doris takes a walk to the nearby ships chandlery to clarify the meaning of “L” and “H” ….
During continuous sanding in the afternoon I sprain my knee somehow, no clue how this really happened. Anyway, during afternoon I continued hobbling through the yard.
One again raindrops are waking us in the morning. Actually, weather was said to continue nice and dry and now this rain again…. Everything is wet and needs to dry out first before we can take up our sanding tasks again. But at least some time to work on the log again.
Visiting Lorient, about one hour to drive north from us, the weather is still on the poor side, even poorer than yesterday. The thunderstorm “Zeus” is actually passing Brittany with all his force, including wind gust up to 150km/h (!) The light in our apartment is going off and on several times and also the internet connection is very shaky. Our famous radio station “Oceane” is suddenly disappearing for several days….
The old part of Lorient we push off to a next visit, we rather move inside to have a look at the museum «Cité de la Voile” and the exhibition on the Nazi submarine base with the sightseeing on board the French submarine «Flore».
The old Bunker built in the early years of 1940 is withstanding storm and
rain and still stands there tall and massive. No wonder the massive concretes not only withstand bombing of allied air attacks but also the elements for more than seventy years.
As I am currently limping like a grandpa, only the crutches are missing actually, I’m glad as we went inside to join the exhibition about Europes warlike history.
We are glad to live now in a peaceful time with all the benefits we have.
The visit onboard submarine «Flore» is very impressive and another highlight of our side trip to Lorient. The squeeze of this tube is pressing on us and imaging that over 80 people worked here and lived together possibly over a long period without external contact. Pictures from the movie “Das Boot” came to our minds and we try to imagine how it was in these days jailed in such a narrow tube deep down in the sea, knowing how easily the hunter becoming hunted itself….
Back in the daylight “Zeus” is still blowing and howling in the rigs of all the boats laying nearby. Well this “Zeus” is really too pushy, we vanish inside of the museum “Cité de la Voile”.
The museum is honouring Eric Tabarly, one of the great French sailors, bringing the world of sailing closer to its visitors with many photographs and interactive models.
We close our trip to Lorient with a bowl of Cidre and a little snack at the bistro in front of the museum.
On the way back to our home place we take a small side trip to La Roche-Bernard a small village just two or three miles’ river up where our own boat is waiting to get ready to sail.
Monday, 6.3. 2017
Wow, the skipper is getting 60 today, with the hurting knee it feels rather seventy than sixty and with the elastic bandage at the knee he is not getting any younger either.
The weather is also not really in a celebrating mood either. For this reason and the knee today only a small trip to Penestin's beach. The local Crèperie which we have chosen for having dinner there is unfortunately closed. Therefore we have apero at a local bar, heavily eye-balled by some locals sitting here since god knows when….
Finally, we find a table in the Crèperie “Le vieux Logis” at Guerande to celebrate skippers anniversary.
I’m digging into boat electronics, of course very neat installed and properly documented…. Far from that, I feel taken back to my early times as apprentice of electro mechanics because I have to follow wire-by-wire and figuring out what the heck this connection may be good for….
Meanwhile Doris is struggling with sanding the various wooden parts on deck, a very painful and power consuming activity.
Wednesday, 8. – Saturday 11.3.2017
Several visits at Do-it-Yourself LeRoy and continuing work on board ie. electronics, sanding wood etc.
Today we are just hanging around, it is raining the whole day, some times less, some times more. But we have other occupations to follow and with these it’s not getting boring anyhow.
Excursion to St. Nazaire
We park our car somewhere in the middle of St. Nazaire and continue our discovery tour walking through the streets and alleys of St. Nazaire. There is no old part of the city to be found since the allied air force more or less completely destroyed St. Nazaire while attacking the local Nazi submarine base. The bunker withstand this bombing without mayor destruction. It is still standing massive and ugly in the old part of the harbor and is being used for cultural events.
Behind the bunker lays shopping mall Ruban Bleu, a dangerous place for Doris. From there a zone free of traffic leads to the second shopping mall at Avenue de la République. Gladly all the shops are closed on Monday thus helping our purses. We terminate this visit with a Panachée at a bistro at Rue de la République.
Working on the boat continues, Doris stays with sanding the wood, both banks in the cockpit are looking rather bad, full of dark spots and algaes. After a decent sanding by tender ladys hands they look again like new! I want to remove the old radarantenna, but the last 3 meters of cable to not move a millimeter! Any ideas welcome!
Working on the boat, it’s cold, the works outside stay as they are. I stay inside and work on the electronics, wishing the heating was already installed.
Both banks in the cockpit are finished with sanding, the skipper is giving a hand with the last few bars and is surprised about the exhausting work. The works with the electronics is advancing a bit since AIS receiver and hub are installed and hooked up to the plotter. Only the GPS antenna keeps on refusing its work.
The weather is spring-a-like, the thermometer is climbing over the 20 degrees’ mark for the first time. We enjoy our Greek salad in our new refurbished cockpit. Only the view could be a bit better as we only glance a dusty road with a shed of the yard behind, instead of a blue lagoon and a white sandy beach.
We are driving towards Arazal once again and Oh! The mast has gone already, too late for taking pictures. Maybe when they re-install it again. The forestays are to be exchanged while at the same the radar antenna is to be mounted at the mast. In the meantime, the mast rests on some chariots in the yard of Arazal Nautique.
There is again a lot to do on the boat while visiting the ships chandlery for some more parts every here and there. The insertion of the front panel is time consuming since sometimes it sizing here and afterwards there, no easy working without a professional workshop onboard. Today we stop working a bit earlier and are glad to relax the next two days a bit ..
After a very good brunch in our nice living-room with lots of time we were heading for the sea passing Assérac and St-Molf to La Turballe. After a long walk through harbour and over the mole we are having another coffee at the bistro on the waterfront. The bistro is full, obviously the place for gossiping and meeting each other after a long hard week. Continuing our sidetrip along the headland of La Turballe in direction of Le Croisic. We leave the car and continue our walk along the beaches to the most southern point just across Le Croisic, only a rock throw appart. Passing an old marine hospital, the way turns around the headland. Even here we meet old fortifications rusting away now peacefully but still showing their importance during dark ages back more than seventy years. A bit further on, we spot a luxury hotel with its guest sitting at the table having lunch.
The path opens for a wide overlook over the Marrais de Guerrande with its sandbanks, water flows and oyster banks. Well, oyster sounds like an invitation for a good meal or at least a good apero, so why not heading to Le Croissic and some oyster tasting?
Obviously, also some others are having the same intention, since the weather is clearing up and the sun looks promising between some remaining clouds. We find a place at the very last table in the bistro «Chez Emile». The waitress is stressed, running around on high heels without giving us an appreciating look. I was already on my way back to the door, didn’t I spot the plates with the oysters being served at the very moment on the table in front of us. After a while we were being placed and could enjoy our oysters with a glass of rosé at last.
Again a very rainy and windy day, a bit of wood sanding behind the house and in the afternoon one and a half hour of walking around Herbignac during a longer break of rain. The rest of the day is grey and wet and we like to stay in our comfortable warm rooms.
Today we have several jobs to complete on our task list. Sanding wood on the bathing platform, tedious work, since I can not remove the old hinges. Lowering the anchor to mark the length of the chain, Doing so, I detect a rusted through shackle which should secure the chain to the boat. Incredible what water and air can do to iron. Unfortunately the very last piece of this shackle still got stuck in the plate and needs to be removed by means of drilling machine and hammer. The lowering the anchor turns out to take some more time until everything is cleaned and neat in place again.
Doris is redecorating the inside by installing several fittings in pantry and heads. Afterwards she marks the chain to indicate the chain length. The cover of the paint tin promises a special long living paint, according to the price paid for the tins this must last almost for ever, even in salt-water?
Then we clear up the fore peak, a tight room in the fore ship. We are looking for our Dinghi, after some digging in some other stuff which turns out to be our Geake. The Dinghi seems quite new, maybe pumped once or twice, without any traces of usage. Only the name on it is not according our taste. Unfortunately rubbing with some alcohol, sponge and rag thus not help to remove the old name. And I do not date to try anything sharper on the dinghy's skin.
We lash the dinghy on deck since another blow is announced over the Bretagne. Good we lashed it upside down, since it not only blows but also pouring down the whole night...
It is evening already and the task list still has some open jobs we could jump at. Still we accomplished not only a part of our given tasks but also some others and we are not unhappy with the things we completed.
At home over a glass of Pastis we even find a good solution to overcome the old name on the Dinghi. Thus “Sium” is rewritten and repainted into “Snoopy".
Everything outside is wet, but at least the storm has passed and it is clearing up. But the temperature is still very low and unpleasant. Today the fuel tanks onboard will be checked and cleaned.
A first inspection shows surprisingly little dirt inside. Surprisingly since we do not know if and when the tanks were opened and cleaned last time.
Anchor and chain are back onboard, the dinghy is flattend again and packed and I am bailing out some liters of raining water collected in the liferaft’s compartment since the boat is a bit tilting to the aft on the dry dock and the rain can not drain really.
I'm doing some Feng-Shui with the cable coming off the solar panels preventing the cables to look like lianas.
There is a lot to discover in terms of onboard technique and hidden secrets: Where are all the hull-throughs? What's that box for? How do the valves work in the fuel hose?
Since the engineer is busy with our tanks the whole day we conclude the day a bit earlier at five. Not sooner as I started cleaning and sanding the board from our bow, it’s starting to pouring down and then to soft hail, nothing but great!
Actually, our intention for today was working on the boat again, but we find a temperature of under 5 degrees a bit too cold for our tasks. Therefore, we put off our jobs to the early afternoon.
I'm takeing up the antenna problem once more to remove the old cables from the old radar antenna and the old GPS antenna on the targa foils. After removing the glued cover succeed in removing the thinner GPS cable and afterwards the thicker radar cable – Ufffff....!!!
Doris fidles around with the remaing wodden parts onboard which looks great after sanding and oiling.
We deserved the coffee and the Tartlets aux Apricots for desert!
Side trip to La Baule, à la Boulangerie grand petit-dejeuner avec deux grand crèmes et quelques croissant”s, after that visiting LeRoy where we buy some more gewgaw as usual the bill ends up at about 70 Euros with each visit there.
Back on the boat we have to discuss some details. Since the windpilot is taking the place of the former bathing ladder, where should the ladder be re-installed and how? After a few forth and backs we find and acceptable solution. From Dominique the yards painter I learned where and how to treat the several spots with peeling paint by sanding down to the alu, applying epoxy-primer three times and then applying the white lack (also three times). A challenging discussion for my remained knowledge of French language. Beside that fiddling around with cabling stuff, sanding and scrapping, etc.
Sleeping a bit later than usual we enjoyed the Croissants and baguette for breakfast, In the afternoon we take a little walk through the streets an over the sandy beach at La Baule.
Obviously, it is the opening of the bathing season, since some twenty or thirty people are enjoying the water of the Atlantic. Well, air is about 14 degrees and we estimate the water temperature in about the same region, or even a bit cooler…. Therefore, we decided to do some coffee viewing which means sitting in one of the bistros and watching people passing by, a very entertaining way of spending some time there.
Since the yard is closed on Mondays, we are on the motorway towards Mont Saint Michel also the weather was said to be extremely fine for a change. Passing Rennes we arrive after about 3 hours at the parking lot at Mont Saint Michel, which we could already get a glance at faraway. Wow, we are glad that we will not be here during high-season, since the parking lot is huge and gives an idea of how many visitors this pace attracts during vacation time. The visitor has the choice of either walking to Mont Saint Michel or being driven there by shuttles. We decide for a walk, since we take a lot of pictures during this 45 minutes’ walk over the bridge connection the mainland and the island.
Mont Saint Michel was mentioned the first time around 800 AD. Developing to an important destination for pilgrims. Although a lot of fights around Mt. Saint Michel it remains independent but losing influence and deteriorated more and more. It was during the romance period in the 19 centuries where the site was re-discovered again.
The island is about 1 km away from the mainland and can be reached on a bridge build 2009. The defense walls measure around 900 meters in length enclosing about 55000m2 mainly covered by ancient buildings. At present a lot of renovation works are going on toe prepare the site for the high season. Time flies much too fast I we hardly sav half of the defense walls towers, stairs etc.
It is already past 3 and we want also visit Saint Malo. First, we stop at Port de Plaissance bas Sablons. It was at this very place where I boarded some 15 years ago, for a week’s sailing tripvisiting the channel Islands.
Today we have very busy times on board Santjana since there are four specialists working inside: the mechanic for servicing the engine, the technician is installing our heating system by drilling lots of holes, while the two other guys are fitting the board in our stowage compartment. We two amateur workers leave the space to the experts by taking care of the spots which need some painting treatment on deck.
That’s faster thought than done, since the faulty spots are mostly at places, which are not easy to access at all. Only few spots we can actually sand with our machine tools while most others it is good old work by hands. Then applying the first cover with epoxy-primer. Of course, I prepared too much paint, next time prepare only half of that amount.
We continue our tasks from yesterday by sanding, sanding, sand…. And applying the next
coat of epoxy-primer. This time I mix half the amount of yesterday’s quantity, but still left too much rest.
In between the mechanic comes up with the message that the flange of the heat-exchange on the engine was corroded too much as it was never serviced before. Shortly afterwards we see the whole scope of the problem as the other side of the flange on the heat exchange was also corroded away a needs some welding. Well, the combination of metals, alu of the heat- exchange, flange of cast-iron and coupling of inox, no wonder the alu got’s eaten. Unfortunately, the welding on the heat-exchange cannot be done done onboard, thus the heat-exchange needs to be dismantled and welded iat the workshop. …. Bad surprise!
The rest of the weeks is described very quickly, working on the boat, inside the specialists, we both outside busy with sanding and painting.
Bunty, alias Frederic, the house cat seems to like pastis as well.