Again we had to bash our way up the coast, hard on the wind, when gentlemen never sail ‘to weather’! Mostly 25 -35 knots – when we could get a lick at it Meg sailed well.
The answer to the $64,000 question – would the batteries be in Oporto? Eureka, yes they were! Leo had supplied the crimping tool and heavy cable for linking up all four batteries in the most efficient manner, plus the diagrams so we couldn’t mess it up. Photos in the mail Leo.
Our other little challenge was the repair of the wind generator which is German in design and made in Portugal. After a brief discussion with one Edgar Silveirado from Rulis Electrica near Oporto, he said you ship it to us and we will fix it under warranty. In actual fact they supplied us a brand new wind generator and did it on time – full marks to Silentwind, brilliant. That baby is now making power like there is no tomorrow.
Oporto is steeped in history and the Portuguese are very friendly. I could easily live there. We went into the city to pick up a new inverter which got toasted when some sea water managed to find it’s way through a closed hatch – well it was closed but some 8mm braided line was trapped under the seal and bingo the smell of heavy electric cable cookin’! Goodbye pork pie. Had a great meal on the banks of the Douro river at the area known as Ribeira (all R’s pronounced as H) while gazing at the other bank and all of the port wine houses – Sanderman, Offley’s, Taylor’s, Ferreiras, Warres, Cockburn etc. Well we had to increase ship’s supplies of port wine. How else could we ever lay a hull in a storm!!
The other problem we had to solve before going deep sea was to get the SSB radio working. It had not been necessary in the Med as all communication is on VHF, but long distance radio is essential offshore. We could hear people talking on a number of channels but when we put out an All Ships call on a radio test there was stony silence. One of the marineiros from Porto de Atlantico had a friend who he said fixes radios but he was on his way from Lisbon and would not be dockside until 2200hrs so we waited for him while drinking damn fine red wine at the local yacht club. After 30 minutes he decided that there was a problem with corrosion and the main set. He thought it would take one week to get it repaired.
Result is Graham removed it from the yacht and flew with to London where he rented a car and drove to the U.K. dealer’s location in Herne Bay, Kent – which coincidentally is the home of Rory’s grand parents and where he and Sarah were at the time, but did not know of our plight with the radio. Thanks Graham – what is the saying “a Mountie always gets his man” – he doesn’t fall at the first fence!