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The adventures of Flirtie
confined to the cabin
21/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)

This morning we've awoken to torrential much so that we havn't even ventured outside to remove the window covers. Since arriving back in La Rochelle were pleased to say we've seen very little rain, no snow and just a couple of mornings of frost and over the last few weeks we've even been out in tee shirts and slapped on the sun-tan lotion! Spring certainly looked like its on it's way but now I'm not so sure.

With the window and hatch covers in place there's very title natural light streaming into the cabin (only the portlights in the hull sides and cabin doors) so we're pleased we installed a couple of bulkhead lights a few years ago. At least these together with the 12 volts lights provide a warm light below and make for a cossy homely feeling.

...well I don't think we're going anywhere today so I think it's on with the coffee and time to catch up with a few emails and facebook.

If your interested the lights were sourced from Wickes
and they were painted with Plasti-kote

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the fair's in town!
17/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)

It arrived literally overnight a few weeks ago and has been a source of amusement ever since. The music starts up every afternoon and depending on the weather goes on through to 10pm. It's been here for such a long time now that we even know some of the words to the music played. 'Whoop, Whoop, alley...' and occasionally we can feel the bass tones vibrating through the hull. Depending on the wind direction our taste buds have been working overtime with the aromas of hot donuts, candy floss and toffee apples being cooked! Today, we spent the afternoon meandering around the fair (aka 'Luna Park') to check out some of the rides and concluded that we must be getting too old for this type of excitement, finding that the majority of the rides looked far too scary for us and preferring the slot machines instead!

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10, 20, 30....60 meters
11/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)

Last year we used cable ties to mark our chain but we weren't really impressed. Whilst we know of many others cruisers who favour this approach we found that our winch chewed them up at an alarming rate and additionally we're always concerned about shredding our hands on them despite wearing gloves.

A 5€ investment in a can of red paint and a little bit of effort now see's us with an alternative solution. What's more we have plenty of paint left to patch it up next year..and the year after..and the year after :-)

Modifications & Upgrades
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Portuguese bureaucracy update
10/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)

The RYA confirm that UK-flagged vessels staying less than 180 days in Portuguese waters, will not be expected to comply with the requirement on the carriage of safety equipment - just when we've recently purchased a few more additional safety items in order to comply. Nevermind, I suppose it's a good thing that we've got enough flares to perform our own firework display (only joking)!

If only a solution could be found for the disposal of expired flares...

For the latest update visit the RYA website.

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cabin door off its hinges
06/03/2013, Les Minimes Marina (position 46 08.555'N 01 10.098'W)

Opening the rear cabin doors daily....sometimes several times a day has exposed all the weaknesses in the design...well the mounting of the hinges anyway.

A few self tappers into the glassfibre and a few woodscrews into the end grain of the plywood is all that is used to attach the hinges to the door and frame so it's no surprise that they've all but fallen off their hinges. Previous owners have obviously had the same problems and tried to remedy it with oversize screws, matches (yes matches) and plastic plugs to plug the holes but all this has done is destroyed the hinges and delayed the inevitable.

What we've tried to do is address the problem properly by grinding out the loose gelcoat and glassfibre and put it back together properly.

Additionally teak wedges have been shaped to fill the void behind the door frame in the proximity of the hinges such that the hinges can be bolted to the frame. A good coat of thickened epoxy holds the wedges nicely in place.

As for the door, unfortunately one of the previous owners has replaced the screws with steel screws so no surprise that most of these sheared off as soon as any pressure was applied with a screwdriver. Nothing for it then but to drill the old screws out and plug with teak plugs and epoxy.

Ideally we would have liked to fit some M4 insert screws (they are now on order from the UK - but for the time being we've settled on some long and very course threaded stainless steel screws (I've not seen them in the UK) and they appear to be ideal for end grain use. We will see how they fair in due course and replace them with the insert screws if necessary.

All let's do the same with the port hand door - that's the problem with cat's, everything comes in pairs!

Modifications & Upgrades
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galley grub 1 - Tortilla
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)

5 eggs
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


Peel & cut the potatoes into small cubes (2cm).
Boil in water until just done.
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes & cut into 1cm strips.
Whisk eggs.
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.


Galley Grub
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the antifoul saga...
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 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...

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pillar box red
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
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Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK
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