Valdivia, and ES(Espiritu Santi, the name of the boat we will be sailing)
18 June 2008 | Valdivia.
A quick note about the weather here. While all of you are enjoying the imminent summer weather, Chile, situated in the southern hemisphere, has the seasons reversed....June 21st is the start of winter here.
Valdivia is as far south of the equator as New York City is north of the equator, so the weather here is typically cold and rainy....10-15oC during the days and 2-5oC at night....the same as the Big Apple is at the end of December.
Now, back at the "ranch".
Things are progressing quickly hear at Alwoplast Boat Yard. We have had a busy week with Santi and Carolina (owners of ES), Ron and his surveyor, Bob from Grenada (Ron is owner of the next Atlantic 57 in progress here), and Chris White, the designer of these cats, all visiting at the same time.
We had a first sail down the Valdivia River to test the engines, rudders and systems which I am happy to say went off without a hitch. The weather was unusually sunny, a welcome change for us all. After picking up Santi, Carolina and Bob at the airport on Tuesday, we brought the excited pair to get a first glance of their beautiful boat-their smiles tell all. There was even a rainbow framing ES when they walked out of the yard shed to see her for the first time! Even those who may be classified as cynics must admit, that is a good sign....
In my photo gallery (Click the "Photo Gallery" link just under my pic on the right hand side of this page), is a photo of our impromptu sushi lunch onboard ES...Yes, they drink wine on any occasion here...lunch, first time onboard, sushi delivery...you name it. Next to Dale is Bob who came from Grenada to survey Ron's Atlantic 57, the famous Alex, owner of Alwoplast, and Chris White, the one who started all this. Monica who lives just up the street delivered fresh local sushi around 11:30 that day so what else could we do! (All that and another plateful just like it for around $24 US)
Santi had arranged to take the entire staff of Alwoplast boatyard for dinner at the local micro brewery on Thursday night to thank them for doing such a great job on his boat. Everyone had a great time drinking from gigantic beer "bongs" They are about 3 ft high and have a tap at the bottom. The waiters just kept bringing them and sitting them on the tables, one light and one dark at each. Needless to say that after the traditional Pisco Sours for the initial toasting and the follow up endless beers, dinner was probably the saving grace for one and all. This was indeed a most generous gesture. There was some pressure on Ron towards the end of the evening about what he was going to do to top this night. Perhaps live entertainment would be appropriate when his boat is finished.
On the Valdivia River, next to the yard, there is a small island of about 15 acres with two houses and a boat dock. In the last picture (Click the "Photo Gallery" link just under my pic on the right hand side of this page) you can see how magnificent their location is. This was purchase 20 years ago for $30K US. What an amazing place they have!
After going over every inch of the boat and making a "must do" list with Chris, and another list of "would be great but not essential", Dale attended a meeting with Chris, Alex and Maurisio (naval architect here). Everything to be done must be balanced with getting Espiritu Santi on her way very soon as the weather here is progressing into Winter and the weather in the north progresses into Tropical Storm season. We have agreed on a realistic departure date of Wednesday, June 25. Alan (Dale's husband and our 3rd and final crew member) flies in on Tuesday and we hope to be ready to go. We will begin this weekend watching for a Weather window of at least three days to get us up far enough to be out of the latitudes affected by the large low pressure systems that come up from the south. Once we are about 600-700 nm north, we should have warmer temperatures and smooth sailing.
Espiritu Santi is a particularly fast sailboat easily capable of typical 200-240nm days. Even motoring on one engine, she does around 9 mph. This should help us reach Galapagos in 9-10 days. We went for an actual sea trail on Friday in the ocean. There was quite a crowd onboard. Things went smoothly except for a few hiccups and many photos were taken. As soon as they are made available to me, I will write a short bit about the sail and set up another photo gallery (Click the "Photo Gallery" link just under my pic on the right hand side of this page).