Jan 30, 2014

Life in Las Palmas

N 28° 7.643', W 15° 25.510'

Feels like we just arrived, but I guess it's been a while when I last wrote anything.

We like the place we got here in the marina. We are right next to the office, so we think this spot is very safe. All the officials and harbor police coming and going. The shower/toilet building is also very close and there is only a few people using it so mostly we have hot water while taking a shower. We kind of have a long way to go everywhere but we think the extra kilometer (one way) is just good exercise.

We also enjoy being next to the reception pontoon, so we see all the boats coming in. There is also a service station on the other side of our pontoon and they sell very good fresh bread in the morning.

Our old reflex camera stopped working a few months ago in Bayona. Here we finally bought our new Canon 100D. The next  photo is one of the first test pictures I took with it. By now we only have the kit lens. We already know what lens we want to have for long distance photos, but it's such a new product that none of the stores have it yet.

Our estimate for the height of this mast is about 60-70 meters.

The boat carrying this mast also has pretty big fenders :)

Here is our biggest project at the moments. We are replacing all the three hatches on deck.

We have been working a lot, but we also always have time for our friends. First we had our Scottish sailing friends Ruth and Pat visiting us, they took the bus from Pasito Blanco. Then we have had some Finnish people visiting us, who are here for just a holiday.

Last Friday we had our old friends Auli and Hanski vising us. They also took the bus, their boat being in Puerto Mogan. They have this great plan to sail to the Antarctica.

These boys we met for the first time in Brest, France. Here they are setting sail for the Caribbean. I just have to admire these guys. Four young men chasing their dream to sail around the world.

Jan 12, 2014

Finally in Las Palmas

N 28° 7.643', W 15° 25.510'

When we were still in Europe we kind of thought that we'll be in Las Palmas in November or December. Well, what's an other month more?

Sailing from Tenerife was nice and easy for a change. We sailed close hauled for the whole way. 

Our windvane was doing the driving. When wind is shifting a lot, the windvane is much better than the autopilot. Sails have to be trimmed a bit better, but then it's easy when we don't have to worry about the wind shifts.

In the evening the wind stopped and we motored the little way we had left. This was a good test for our newly fixed autopilot. It worked perfectly. So hopefully we don't have to do any hand steering for the next decade or so...

When we left Santa Cruz, we motored out of the harbor. Our speed was not good. When we motored the last miles to Las Palmas we were missing at least one knot.

It was late in the evening when we arrived in Las Palmas. We anchored outside the marina for a few reasons. One, it's easier when you just want to go to sleep and do nothing onshore. Two, we might have to pay for the night we spend in the reception dock, even thought we don't use any facilities. Three, we wanted to know where our one knot had gone. 

After breakfast I took out my mask and snorkel and jumped to the almost filthy sea. Water was quite dirty looking, so it was no pleasure swim.

When I took the first look under the boat I saw the problem. There was lots of thin rope around our propeller.

I'm very bad at diving and I'm actually quite afraid to dive under the boat. So we made me a tool out of boat hook and bread knife.

This is the largest part that was in our propeller. Lucky for us it wasn't stronger so we still could use our engine.

After freeing our propeller we moved to the marina. We got a place that feels very good to us. We are right next to the reception pontoon, so we see the boats coming and going. The nearest shower building is a few steps from our place and so is the nearest mini market (gas station) to buy fresh bread in the morning. And the best part, we have a very good wi-fi connection.

We have started to do the boat work we have been planning to do and I think in a couple of days we are at full speed.

The weather has been good, mostly sunny. Sea temperature is about 20 C and the air is about the same during the day. In the sun it's actually pretty hot.

Jan 6, 2014

New Lewmar windlass

N 28° 7.643', W 15° 25.510'

When I bought Iiris I was told that the 15 years old Lofrans windlass is broken. Previous owner had been very satisfied with the Lofrans windlass, so I tried to order the same device from Finnish distributor Maritim. They promised to check the availability. Weeks passed and nothing was heard from Maritim. I visited them and I was told that there are some problems with Lofrans and it was impossible to order anything from them.

This was becoming a major problem. Reliable windlass is one of the most important equipment on a cruising boat.

Previous windlass had 1000w power and we have 10mm chain. With these specs Lewmar V3 seemed like a good choice.

Installing a different type of windlass means welding a plate over the  the old holes on the aluminium deck. This costed me more than I expected. New cover plate was bent to fit the deck. I had to make a padding of teak under the windlass.

Next I drilled the holes for bolts and the windlass. It was an unpleasant surprise to find out that the holes were not in correct places. The drilling template was not in scale. I should have checked it, but I was still trusting Lewmar quality.

After I had enlarged the holes to fit, the device was in its place. Luckily the drilling template differed only a few millimeters.

In the first test we pulled chain out of the box. There was a tiny twist in the chain which stopped the chain for less than a second. This minor twist caused the shaft to bend remarkable.

I complained about this and got a new deck part. This time the drilling template was in scale and the serial number far away from the previous one. We hoped the new one was manufactured at a different factory than the previous.

When we anchored the first time on our trip the same happens. Twist in chain and bend shaft.

Naturally I complained to Maritim but haven't got any answer.

After less than a half year from installation the windlass motor is already rusty. It is clear that this device will not last for 15 years.

The deck switches were installed at the same time. The other one must be from old stock and the new must be build from the cheapest materials you can get. That rusty one, less than half year old deck switch, doesn't work any more. 

I think the same is true with the shaft. They are using less expensive stainless steel, which is too soft for this use.

I tried again to ask Maritim about the situation. No answer!

It is clear we cannot continue our trip with this Lewmar V3 windlass. However, at the moment I don't know how to proceed. 

We can't trust our Lewmar V3 windlass because it is built from cheap materials which cannot bear forces used in anchorage. These materials also get corroded by the sea water.

So we are back to square one, we have to find us a new windlass.