|Vessel Name:||L'Eau Commotion|
|Vessel Make/Model:||Northshore 38|
|Hailing Port:||Brisbane Australia|
9:00am Wednesday 14th March, 2018 ( UTC-3 ) It was with no joy while listening to the late night World Service of the BBC that the news of the death of Stephen Hawking was received. To paraphrase. I may not agree with what he says but I shall always defend his right to say it. Though diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease in his early twenties by shear willpower he managed to promote throughout his life a different outlook on the origins of us and the Universe we live in and would have been an inspiration to many to live a more complete life despite their own handicaps. Due to my isolation from my fellow man for over 7 months it was perhaps inevitable that I should develop a mild case of the flu over the weekend with the result that follow up on placing and confirming orders has come to a complete standstill. That and the arrival in port of even quite small cruise ships, which tend to overload the satellite net, has seen little advance in the supply situation since my last post.
5:00pm Friday 9th March 2018 ( UTC-3 ) The predicted 25 knot wind gradually increased from almost calm at daybreak to around that figure by 11:00am when it gradually swung round to its present direction of North West. It is probably blowing about 40 knots at the moment with a little more forecast later in the day but fortunately backing more to the West. The 25 knots is about as much as I would like to be in as the fetch in Stanley Harbour of one mile results in quite a chop and is about the limit for these very large fenders. I was reluctant to follow the suggestion of putting out an anchor to keep L'Eau Commotion clear of the wharf as it could interfere with the operation of their launch Speedwell but even though the riding was OK it would provide a little more assurance. I have 100 metres of 10 mm nylon on the CQR which should have enough stretch to keep me comfortable. The Falklands radio has just confirmed gale force winds so today and tonight will be spent on the yacht keeping and eye on the lines and fende rs. With regards to the AIS and VHF I do have both but the AIS was always a little bit weak though adequate - it only failed in the last week or so of the journey. The VHF likewise tends to go scratchy and staticy after a while so will be replaced by, to me, the gold standard in communications, Icom. Anita expressed the thought that maybe I could restart from here and get The Horn out of the way while I and the boat are still fresh but for quite a few reasons the rules do not allow this so the plan is now to leave Stanley and if possible continue the route round Cape Horn non stop to Brisbane. Again I would pass many fascinating South Sea islands but not having a tender or good anchor chain and windlass this is impractical.
7:30pm Thursday 8th March 2018 ( UTC-3 ) Once I had made the decision that the goal I had set myself had become untenable and headed back to Stanley it was always with the intention of resuming the journey much along the same route. This of course required that the vessel be seaworthy and set up for safe single handed sailing. As a minimum I will be installing an AIS, a good VHF radio and a radar transponder, all suitably equiped with audio and visual alarms. The rigging of course has to be up to specs and thanks to Ian and Andrez the necessary SS wire is available but will require fittings flown in from the States. I also feel the inner furling staysail can be put in operation and should give better capabilities to windward than the partially furled jib as long as I can buy the bits I dropped in the drink. For charging the batteries and keeping the electronics on alert I am about to bite the bullet and purchase a Watt & Sea hydrogenerator. It is an expensive piece of equipment but eminently suitable for long distan ce cruising. Solar panels are very good and cheap but in their normal set up above the transom they are prone to be wiped off by an errant wave. Wind generators are good also as long as you are not doing long passages with a following breeze when their output is quite limited.The biggest catch to all this is that I am just too comfortable here and on the occasions when it is either blowing or raining or both the warm comfy bunk wins out over the wild weather. The reason why the wheel steering failed was that the bronze axle had completely worn through. A pleasant afternoon spent with Bob McLeod in his workshop yielded two smooth and true SS axles and nicely burnished bronze bearings which I am convinced will be better than the original and which are now installed, so I again have proper steering. I have put my name down for a " Round Robin " flight with the Government Air Service to the West Falklands but because they are down one Britten Norman Islander aircraft there is a waiting list and this may not eventuate. In the meantime many a pleasant hour is spent yarning with kelpers and visiting yachtspersons and once I have my equipment orders settled I believe the museum and library are a must.
6:00pm Thursday 1st March 2018 ( UTC-3 ) A fruitful day was spent planning the logistics for the required equipment although nothing has been ordered as yet. Bob MCLeod also lent me some good mast climbing equipment and firm decisions made for a safe ascent and descent. It was a great relief to get all the washing done and with the fresh breeze and bright sunshine the boat got a much needed airing after the bilges were pumped out and dried with an old towel. The batteries have also been charged with the automatic battery charger which sensed their run down state and applied an over voltage to freshen them up - the wind, solar or Volvo Penta all cut out at 14.2 volts so it will be interesting to see if this results in greater capacity. Stanley was very busy yesterday when a large cruise ship arrived for the day with 3000 passengers, thereby doubling the population of the whole country!
6:00pm Wednesday 28th February 2018 ( UTC-3 ) It had always been my intention to keep this blog going every day but as my mother was often heard to repeat a family saying " The road to Hell is paved with good intentions " I have just added another cobblestone to that slippery slope, so no excuses. It was great to have Jason, who bought my previous yacht Katherine Ann bring out Bob McLeod in Speedwell to guide me the last few miles into my current berth. Bob and Janet McLeod took me under their wing when I arrived here two years ago in a rather sorry state and again excelled in their hospitality with a hot bath a home cooked meal and a warm dry bed. Not only that they have been great in chauffeuring me around for the myriad of little and also big things that are needed. I am now back on board alongside the FIC Jetty with two huge spherical fenders which I am sure will give a safe and comfortable berth whatever the direction of the wind, but as it is on the Eastern side of the Jetty it is sheltered from the winds which mos tly have a Westerly component. As well as that I am now connected to shore power and Jason has rummaged around and found me a jug and presented me with a huge box of Chinese noodles so now I am warm well fed and happy. There are lots and lots of things that are required or may enhance the trip home but as they are still being categorised and sorted I will leave the details to a later date. I am really looking forward to my stay here and to renew acquaintances from two years ago and indeed some from a visit in somewhat similar circumstances 42 years ago.
7:00am Tuesday 27th February 2018 ( UTC-3 ) It was great to tune into the Falklands Radio last night and this is the first opportunity to catch up with all that is happening. In the early afternoon the announcer, in setting a new theme, asked listeners what their favourite fairy stories were and sketched out admirably their history going right back to the Bronze Age and of course through the Brothers Grimm Hans Christian Andersen and their mollification through Walt Disney. Favorites of course were Snow White and Cinderella and the Emperor with his many, in fact hourly, changes of clothes through each and every day. The announcer also queried if there should be fairy stories about the Falklands, possibly involving seals and penguins. Moving along later in the evening a marvellous though self deprecating older announcer played the tunes and songs that seemed just right for people of my ilk whilst running a light hearted competition involving people and places all related to The Falklands, one of the personalities being a former Administrator who introduced Diffusion, otherwise known as The Box where all the homes in Stanley were hard wired to a speaker which 40 years ago always seemed to be on all the time in every home. In the later evening the Beeb relay from the UK mentioned the possibility of Xai Ping of China becoming a permanent Head of State, in fact an Emperor, and associated with this it was noted than any Chinese company on the Shanghai Exchange with Emperor in the company name rose considerably faster than its equivalents. Interspersed with this were short snippets of news where forecasts of 20cm of snow through much of Britain heralded perhaps the coldest snap for five or even twenty five years. Now by sheer chance another snippet announced that due to climate change altering the Antarctic currents 45 percent of the Emperor penguins would perish. And yes the reason for the low temperatures in Britain? Yes, you guessed it - the Climate Scientists tell us because it is 20C warmer right now in the Arctic it is displacing the cold air into Britain. That is when it is very cold the reason is global warming. So here we have all the ingredients for a modern Fairy Tale. Emperor Penguins have no Krills ( or frills ) but an excellent fairy tale name and when it is cold it is because it is hot. It also has a name familiar to kids in kindergarten. It is called Climate Science.