05/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Not French I know [Spain here we come :-)] but here's some grub that's pretty quick to prepare, relatively healthy...haha, reasonably cheap (with the exception of those sun-dried tomatoes - you could substitute something else) and we enjoy.
INGREDIENTS (Serves two)
3 medium-sized potatoes
1/2 bottle (about 80g) sun-dried tomatoes
20g salted butter
4 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
bread and butter and/or salad to serve
HOW TO MAKE IT
Peel & cut the potatoes into small cubes (2cm).
Boil in water until just done.
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes & cut into 1cm strips.
When potatoes done, take a large frying pan and melt butter on top.
When butter melted (not brown) throw in tomatoes and potatoes.
Stir gently and spread the potatoes and tomatoes evenly over the pan then cook for 1 minute.
Add the eggs and cook for further one minute on high heat.
Turn heat down and sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper and cheese.
Put on lid and let simmer for 4 minutes.
If the top is still a bit runny, that's great - leave in pan and take off heat to continue cooking.
Serve with bread and butter and/or salad.
26/02/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Rightly or wrongly we assumed that we would easily source our brand of antifoul paint, after all XM Yachting was purchased by Plastimo and brought into the list of Navimo companies, that currently forms one of Europe's largest marine distributors, the Navimo Group. However to our surprise we've been unable to source XM Antifoul within any of the local chandlers in La Rochelle or even Google.fr so we made the decision to change brands... having checked that the International brand seems readily available and popular down in the Med.
Surprisingly some chandlery items are extremely expensive compared to the UK. As an example, below are a few price comparisons (as at Jan 2013) of some of the products we require;
International Primocon 2.5ltr = €86.70, compared to £44.95
International Micron 2.5ltr = €179.50, compared to £80.00
West System Microfibres 403 = €16.50, compared to £6.95
West System Junior Pack = €37.60, compared to £18.50
Needless to say, at these prices we decided to place an order through Marine Super Store (including some additional products that we can't get here) and arrange for shipment from the UK to France. However upon placing our order we subsequently found out that they couldn't deliver most of the items abroad as they are classed as 'hazardous goods'.
We scoured the internet and found a delivery auction site called 'ANYVAN' where we placed details of the items to be delivered, approximate weight, dimensions and delivery destination and then waited for bidding to commence. The response was pretty swift and within 12 hours we had several delivery vans willing to transport our goods varying in price from £175 to £60. We accepted a bid from a small family partnership local to Marine Super Store who were able to pick up our parcel and deliver to us before the 1st March. We can highly recommend them. A lovely couple, Chris and Julie who kept us informed of progress with a final text being received as they arrived at the pontoon (that's delivery to the door).
So now that we've got our maintenance supplies we can book our lift out...
21/02/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Our bimini/cockpit enclosure has paid for itself tenfold! Not only does it kept the sun off us in the summer it keeps us dry when it's raining, it acts as an extra storage room in the winter and more recently a workshop. Today it's in use as a paint & body shop.
The sun has played havoc with the plastic outboard cowling... so a fresh coat of paint in a bright colour will allow us to spot it from a distance and hopefully deter thieves.
|Modifications & Upgrades||
19/02/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
No need to describe what's going on here! Whilst our dinghy's formal name is "Rubber Duck", we need to indicate that she's the "Tender to Distant Drummer". Whilst out touring or picking up the shopping we don't want to advertise that were not on board so this is her alias... well our official ships registration number anyway.
|Modifications & Upgrades||
08/02/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
Unlike the UK, boating activities in Portugal are covered by a complex legal system - apparently there are 29 laws and regulations directly related to boating!
Any yacht "on passage" can claim that they only have to comply with their own country's requirements, however, cruising along the Portuguese coast making frequent stops as we intend to do can bring you under the local rules and regulations - even if the boat remains registered in the UK. The RYA outline this quite well on one of their pages 'Law of the Sea and the Coastal State'.
Because we will be travelling relatively slowly through the country we are well advised not to argue the point or get on our "high horse" about any of the inventory items. Apparently if we try to push the point, we could be forced to change our boat to Portuguese Registration. More-over, if we have a serious incident or breakdown and require the lifeboat to tow us in, our yacht will probably be declared "unseaworthy" and we may be required to meet the full Portuguese standards before we are allowed to sail again.
Most of the local rules and requirements for equipment are common sense but the sting in the tail for us is that because we have sailed to Portugal, we are deemed to be in the "Ocean" category (the most stringent category) not the "offshore" category as we would have hoped.
The requirements are laid down for 5 broad categories of yachts and yachting and can be found here: http://www.lagosnavigators.net/html/bureaucracy.html.
Fortunately for us were not far off... so today we've invested in a couple more parachute flares - and an automatic fire extinguisher (together with plywood and the necessary fixtures) for the engine bay - that's blown our budget for this month!
Apart from a coat of paint... all finished.
|Modifications & Upgrades||
05/02/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
This year we've used google maps to represent our plans for the 2013 season; just click on the link at the bottom of this post. Like last year the plans are subject to change - weather, personal recommendations, enjoying or not enjoying a particular port could all affect the itinerary but our ultimate aim is to reach the Mediterranean by the end of the season.
This plan has been compiled with reference to Michael Briant's "Gentle Sailing Route to the Mediterranean" http://www.michaelbriant.com/gentle_route_to_med.htm, Reeds Almanac and the journal of "Greylags Third Summer Cruise" (thanks Graham and Nancy).
You can find our 2013 cruising plans here...
27/01/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
The cheap carriers like Ryan air and EasyJet charge if you want to transport luggage in the hold. Whilst were not averse to paying this charge what we didn't really want to do was lug 20kg each from the boat to London Victoria and onwards to Cheltenham and then the same again in reverse. We discovered two parcel carriers that were equally as cost effective that collect/deliver door to door. For the outbound trip we used http://www.parcelsplease.com and the return http://www.parcels2go.com. Having now used both these services we can thoroughly recommend them.
So we've replenished some of our 'favourite' onboard supplies (their too expensive or just not available in French supermarkets) along with Christmas chocolates, engine spares, navigation charts, rough guides and pilot books.
It will come as no surprise to some that we've now got a teabag supply to keep us going for a little while longer!
23/01/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
This article was posted on the Heavenly Twins Catamaran Group Facebook page and makes an interesting read so I thought I'd share the link.
17/01/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
We're on our way back to La Rochelle :-)
As luck would have it we're pleased that we're flying back to La Rochelle today because the forecast for tomorrow is heavy snow.
After an early start (3.20am!!)... we arrive safely in Stansted just after 9.00am having only waited 5 minutes in London Victoria - much better than on the way in!
Like the majority of Ryanair flights it's on time and we arrive 10 minutes ahead of schedule in La Rochelle with the usual "on time" jingle.
With only hand luggage we clear customs quickly and are met by Barry and Steph in arrivals - thanks both.
Following a trip to the local supermarket for coffees, a good natter and a few groceries we pull up in the marina to find Drummer safe, secure and warm (thanks again Barry and Steph for being so considerate and pressing the electricity button shortly before collecting us).
11/01/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)
David and Jill, owners of HT La Gioconda were kind enough to invite us over for an evening meal and sleepover. A great evening was had by all and as well as a general catch up we heard about the plans to take La Gioconda South to the sun like us. 2013 should see La Gioconda as far south as the Gironde and then returning to Darthaven for the winter for a minor refit and then back again in 2014 to be wintered somewhere in the canal system before cruising the Med. We wish them well and look forward to following their adventures here: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/gioconda/