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The Voyage of 'S/V Röde Orm' - Sweden
Come on board and take part in our adventures while exploring the world at the slow pace of a sailing boat. We left in June 2009, heading south to escape the northern winter... to start with. Currently in Algarve/Portugal taking it one day at a time.
Anchor Retrieval - the 'do-or-die-style'?
03/31/2010, Alvor

Today it had to be done.

What? Why?

While I was still back in Sweden in Febbruary, the storm that was afterwards to be known as Xynthia approached the Algarve and Isa moved the boat from being riding to her anchor, to a mooring bouy. Since she couldn't get the status of the mooring verified, she set our main anchor too, just in case the mooring would turn out to not be good enough.

After a few weeks of tidal shifts and windshifts the anchor chain was firmly 'stuck' to something on the sea-bed.

We had already tried untaangling it by hand (at slack water and becalmed) a couple or times and with the engine too, so nothing left but to dive on it.

This morning, it was Spring tide low water and close to the equinox this means a VERY low tide. Around 2,5 meters under the keel and not much wind. So what's the problem? Well, the water temp. is no more than 14 degrees so even with the wetsuit I was less than happy to dive, especially since the visbility was close to none.

Well, two of our good neighbours came to help us with this little mission. The Belgians, Jaques and Ludo. Jaques having encouraged me with this diving business for weeks and also sold me a surplus lead belt, and a spear gun from his onboard stock. He even promised to go down there with me to help me overcome my reluctance. That was yesterday though, today he showed no intentions of leaving the relative comfort of his dinghy. Who could blame him?

I have no problems skin diving and snorkling as long as the water is reasonably warm and CLEAR. Clear is a key word here, I feel quite bad when I have to feel my way in complete darkness. Good to have the confession done.

Anyway, Ludo and Jaques stayed in the dinghy on top of the mooring. Isabelle on board Röde Orm to operate the windlass and if needed the engine.

I went down by the chain to try and figure out what it 'looked like' down there.

Of course I couldn't see anything at all, and I found a 'birds-nest' -like mess of thick line the size of e medicine ball. For anyone who are not familiar with those balls, they are a LOT bigger than basket balls. After several dives I could still not find out where the chain went trom that nest, just that it was tangled around it.

Just about when I was ready to give up, Ludo came up with a bright idea. He untied the line that goes from the bouy to the concrete block on the seabed, and then pulled as much as possible of it into the dinghy together with mussels, and LOTS of mud. After this it was easier for me to dive again and figure out which way the the chain was tangled around the line.

And from there on, it was just a matter of me, with my large fins, acting like a tug boat dragging the dinghy around the chain in an anti-clockwise motion.

After some 6 or 7 turns, Voilá! the chain was free!

Yeeeehaaah! Victory.

Now we are free to leave Alvor as soon as the weather and our plans go along those llines.

Thanks a lot guys! Vive la Belgique!

More new stuff onboard
03/26/2010, Alvor-Algarve- Portugal

I am glad we decided to raise the waterline last spring when we did a paint job on the hull. The purpose of doing so was because it makes it poosible to polish the topsides while the boat is in the water.

Well, as all cruisers know, 'stuff' tends to be brought on board at a steady pace. Thus; unless one carries other 'stuff' ashore at a similar pace, the painted waterline seem to reach the 'real waterline' (where the water ACTUALLY meets the hull) over time.

This in turn leaves the crew with 3 alternatives.

1) Simply accept that the boat is in a very slow, but steady process of sinking...

2) Buy a larger boat.... or

3) Take a full day, or whatever needed, to go through every storage locker on board and discard/sell/ give away every item we find that has NOT been in use for 2 years, AND is not likely to hazard the overall safety onboard.

After lenghty considering, and negotiating, we have come to a consensus decision in the matter.

We'll settle with alternative 3. But not now of course....but soon.... or at least well before taking of on a longer passage..... or.....

A lot of self irony in the text above.... but it's SO TRUE, and in itself a safety matter at the end.

Anyway- We just made a SO good deal and found an *almost new' inflatable dinghy with an inflatable floor board together with a 2 hp outboard at a very reasonable price. This deal came through thanks to Joe, one of many nice neighbours here in the achorage.

Posting a pic of the dink here and the OB in the Photo Gallery.

The grey 'pillow' is from our old dinghy. Why a new one?

When we spend months on end at anchor like this, the dinghy is SO important since it is, in effect, our 'daily driver'. At least trip ashore daily, with water jugs, food and other necessities plus the crew and occassionally a guest too.

The dinghy needs to be sturdy enough to take those loads and keep us at least reasonably dry and comfy while rowing ashore as well as being capable of taking quite a bit of beating against concrete walls, pontoons, other tenders and smaller fishing boats etcetera AND yet be light enough to be manageable for one man to get up on deck.... and last but not least, be small enough to, when deflated, be snugly stowed on the cabin top without hampering the vision from the cockpit too much.

Impossible combo?

Obviously, every one of us comes up with their own answer to this issue.

For us, at this point at least, it's a 2,30 m dinghy at 15 kg and a light 2 hp engine. The engine makes it possible to move against a >25 knots wind AND tide, which is virtually impoosible when rowing.

Still prefer rowing as long as it's at all possible for sure.

Great News regarding the boat
03/23/2010, Alvor -Algarve

Believe i or not..... the Sprayhood is made and installed on board.

Looks awesome, and does wonders for the overall existance in the cockpit.
It has an opening window at the front for the HOT climaates we hope to encounter soon enough, and a cover for the 'windows' to be used at anchor.

Jerry from Southern Sails made a very good job once he finally got started.
we've also had an awning/raincatcher combo for the cockpit made from him and a cover from the main mast to the mizzen to be used in really hot climates.

New pictures in the Gallery

spring equinox - and a walk on the beach
03/19/2010, Alvor-Portugal

The spring has arrived to the Algarve coast. First in the almanac since the eqionox is this weekend. Then in REAL weather too. Strolling on the beach towards Portimao in shorts is a very nice contrast to the last few months...

Posted some pictures on the Flickr account. Just click on 'Phot Gallery' upper right on the blog page.

Today we picked cockles again on the drying ssandbanks at low tide and had for dinner. YUMMY !

Your's truly on the pic.

The Aftermath of Xynthia - and time spent in France/Sweden
03/12/2010, Alvor-Algarve

It's been a while since the last update and a few e-mails concerning this.

All is well on board, though the weather has been rough since the last post in January. In fact the weather here in Algarve has never been so crappy since they started taking notes of it. Rainy, cold and windy with average winds in the 20-30 knot span and two gales. The latter of them indeed got 'baptized' by the Mets. Xynthia as she was called was short but ferocious here with sustained winds of 50 knots for a few hours and she peaked at 57 knots according to one of our neighbor boat's wind instrument.

During this time I myself spent 5 weeks in Sweden, selling my small business there. Isabelle thus had to deal with the storm on her own, which she did with splendour, assisted by a couple of friends here in the anchorage.

Röde Orm had a cosmetic damage on the starboard side rubrail due to chafe from the mooring line, but that's just a couple of hours work to fix. Not everyonne was as lucky, as 5-6 boats dragged anchor/moorings and ended up on the beach. The beach mostly consists of sand around here but a couple of boats were unlycky enough to get washed up on the stone wharf and an other on those few rocks that exist around the anchorage.

Just one, a wooden motorsailor, got severe damage though, the rest got away with some scratches as far as we know at ths point. I've posted a couple of pictures on the Flickr account of the beached boats.

It's an 'El Nino' year, snf to no smll part this 'little boy' is held responsible for the extreme weather the northern hemisphere has encontered during this winter. In Sweden, the Baltic Sea was 'deep'-frozen over 40 centimeters of ice making over 20 freighters and ferrries get stuck for days in the channels otherwise cleared by ice-breakers.

As an interesting aside, the most powerful and modern of the Swedish ice-breakers, 'Odin', was this winter rented out to a scientific expedition to Antarctica. This, due to the very mild winters in Scandinavia the last few years.

As soon as the weather gets a bit more like a promising spring-weather-like we will continue our voyage.

The main reason we chose to spend the winter in Algarve in the first place was because I intuitevely knew I would have to go back to Sweden to finish this deal with my business.

Now, as a Free Man, I am eager to get going.... our friends on 'Zephyr' left the Cape Verdes a few days ago for the Caribbean. Since they are going o leave their boat there on the hard, and go back to Jersey to work, it could well be that we will catch up on them at some point. No hurries though

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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