We had had a very windy night on Saturday with many crews including ourselves were out at various times working to keep their craft safe. We were pushed back towards the pontoon by the 30+ knots coming through and were out adding lines and tightening bow warps. Sunday night was quieter and after drinks on board ‘Silver Girl’ with Peter and Gill, our neighbours, we managed a better night’s sleep.
On Monday morning the wind was down to around 15 knots at the appointed 08.30hrs time for the engineer to arrive to help start our port engine. Of course, he didn’t arrive and by the time the phone calls sorted it out it was 10.00hrs and the wind was back up to over 20 knots most of the time. The engine started first time once some battery power was provided. Luckily Peter and Gill offered to come aboard as extra crew for the trip into the lift, welcome extra hands. Leaving the pontoon was simple, getting into a rather tight lift bay with 20 knots directly on the beam looked somewhat less so. We had every fender we own out and went for it. To keep on course in the conditions you had to be moving at a few knots and whilst there were a couple of hearts in mouths (both of us!) we made a perfect entry first time, sliding into the bay, lines thrown ashore and guided neatly into the slings by the yard team – Phewwww!
Splice was held in the slings over lunch time – that can’t be interrupted here - and then professionally settled and chocked by the yard team. After the stress of the morning we didn’t get much done that afternoon but met up with Peter and Gill for dinner in Brindisi town that night, we actually struggled to find a restaurant open on a Monday but chanced on a Trattoria up a back street. There were no other customers but the service and food were actually very good, a meat and cheese plate to share and then very nice pizzas all round.
Dinner in Brindisi with Peter and Gill from ‘Silver Girl’
Over the last two days we have stripped off the old anti foul on the props and sail-drive and repainted the primer and two of the three new coats required. The waterline has been cleaned to remove all the oil and gunk collected in various harbours and we have acquired two new engine start batteries so hopefully we can start our own ‘iron top-sails’ (engines) now. The various bits of gel coat and fibre glass work has however not been started, there have apparently been emergencies elsewhere and we have been bumped down the list. When we left at 15.00hrs today to go shopping we were promised that it would be done today. We shall see tomorrow morning.
After living on the boat on the hard when we last lifted (very hot as the heat really reflects off the concrete, no fridges, we can’t use the loos on board and have to climb up and down a ladder to board plus there’s dirt everywhere) we decided to treat ourselves and rented a studio apartment for four nights. It costs E60 per night which makes you think when we bring our own accommodation to a marina and get charged over E100!! We have a reasonable kitchen, a room with large bed and sofa, a good shower room, air-conditioning, wifi and a washing machine. We have brought just about all our clothes and bedding here and are working through a full wash cycle, the place looks like a Chinese Laundry.
Update: The fibre glass work to re-bond the bulkhead , the replacement stopcock and the gel coat repairs were all done to schedule and we were due to launch at 15.00hrs so we could change our engine oil when back in the water before the yard stores shut for the night. This was necessary as they had the right amount of oil in a large barrel but only half the required containers so we would have to go back for the oil for the second engine having emptied the first lot into the port beast. Of course there was another emergency to hold us up. A racing yacht must have run aground and had to be lifted out in our slot to check his keel – it was fine but it was fun watching five Italians in smart pink shirts holding their breath as she rose out of the water!!
Eventually we were back floating in the lifting dock around 16.30hrs – they allowed us to stay there overnight as we were the last action of the day. We set to with engine oil changes and cleaning up the muck that you get on the decks from the yard, making ourselves into a boat rather than a floating tool box again etc. It was all done by 21.00hr and we collapsed with a beer, then 3 minute boil tortellini and wine!
We slept well and left around 07.40hrs to fuel up and then visit the marina to book our winter berth having decided this was the sensible option. We had been offered a lift and store by the yard ‘Cantiere Danese’ but the cost was around E800 greater so we will stay in the water. We were very happy with the work in the yard, they were helpful and responded to issues and Giuseppe, the technical guy, and Rosario, the admin guy were both flexible and tried to help us make things work well. As normal the bill was around double the expected price (when is it not in a marine yard) but this is Italy and you have to negotiate, we got about 13% off the original price which made it only wince-able rather than a full shudder!! We would recommend them if you need work done on the boat.
Rosario even helped out on Tuesday finding a dentist for Chris who has been suffering a bit with toothache. A bit of drilling, prodding and he pronounced it was a ‘big job for home’ but with antibiotics for the current infection it would probably be OK for a while. Let’s hope so – a captain with toothache is not a fun thought!!
We are now on the way up the coast to Bari as this is being typed in calm conditions, we’ve managed to fly the gennaker a bit but the engines are doing most of the work
Main Photo: Splice on the hard at ‘Cantiere Navale Danesse’, Brindisi