Emerald Tales

Mediterranean Adventures - currently in the western Med

06 June 2021 | Alcoutim
28 May 2021 | Alcoutim
16 April 2021 | Rio Guadiana
31 March 2021 | The Balearic Isles
20 March 2021 | Ayamonte
05 March 2021 | Alcoutim
17 February 2021 | Ayamonte
05 February 2021 | Culatra
27 January 2021 | Alcoutim
19 January 2021 | Larenjeiras, Portugal
08 December 2020 | Puerto Sherry
17 November 2020 | Playa de Bolonia
14 October 2020 | Gibraltar
27 September 2020 | La Linea
18 September 2020
04 September 2020 | Menorca, Spain
13 August 2020 | Pollença, Mallorca
31 July 2020 | Cala Tuent, Mallorca
20 July 2020 | Soller, Mallorca

Plans Are Written in Sand at Low Tide

06 June 2021 | Alcoutim
Nichola Wright | Mostly hot and sunny
"Plans are written in sand at low tide" is a well-known expression amongst sailors. But what does it mean? Well, it's about remaining flexible as plans will change. And if there's one thing we've learned during this sailing life, it's that plans can change for many unexpected reasons. Sailing plans are fragile, easily broken by multiple factors. Maybe it'll be Mother Nature that forces a rethink, perhaps boat problems, or myriad other possibilities, some good, some bad. We might as well write our plans in the sand, only for the next tide to come along and wash them away.

I learned this lesson the hard way. Through my 20s and 30s, I loved having a diary full of plans. Visiting friends or family, scuba diving, cycling, hiking, or trying something new during my free time. Don't get me wrong, as I mostly enjoyed my job, but my philosophy was that I worked to live. As well as the activities themselves, I enjoyed the planning part too, pouring over maps or reading travel books.

Please click here to visit our website to read the full article.

Springtime in the Rio Guadiana

28 May 2021 | Alcoutim
Nichola Wright | Mostly warm and sunny, temperatures in 20s
Following on from the blog reviewing our winter in the river, springtime in the Rio Guadiana was relatively short. The frosty, cold days of winter were soon forgotten, as daytime temperatures in April hovered around the low 20s centigrade. Then in the first week of May, they shot up to almost 30C. Other than a few cloudy days when a north wind blew strongly, the majority of days have remained warm with only a few drops of rain.

From Easter onwards, as Covid infection numbers fell, Portugal began an easing of restrictions. We could once again meet up with friends in a bar or cafe, albeit in small numbers per table. Life felt like it was beginning to return to a little to normal.

There was still one major boat repair that we wanted to get finished before the summer. The galley cupboard had been suffering from damp recently, and we wanted to find out what was going on.

To read the rest of the blog, please visit our website by clicking here.

Choosing and Installing A Composting Boat Toilet

09 May 2021 | Alcoutim
Nichola Wright
I'm convinced boat toilets were designed to make sure boat owners could never be too happy and relaxed. It's a rare one I'm sure that has never suffered a blockage, critical part failure, or had holding tank issues. And most likely these failures occurred at the most inconvenient time. Cue a nasty, smelly time to resolve the issue.

In 2015 after several unscheduled toilet fails, we'd begun to think about replacing our sea-water flushing toilet with a composting/waterless toilet. This year, we finally bit the bullet and completed the job. In this article, we review our experiences with a standard boat toilet and the questions we had when it came to changing to composting. We then take you through the build and conclude with our verdict after two months of use.

To read the full article, click here to visit our website.

Winter At Anchor in the River: Part II

16 April 2021 | Rio Guadiana
Nichola Wright | Coldest winter for 10 years
It's mid-April and as I write this, the sky outside is grey, with a forecast for showers later. However, despite the clouds, the air temperature is around 20°C. In fact on many days over the last few weeks, the daytime temperature has reached close to the mid-20s centigrade, so I can confidently declare the chilly days of winter to have passed.

For the second part of our review of our winter afloat in the Rio Guadiana, we look at the good and bad points and ask "would we do it again?"

To read the full blog, please click here to visit our website.

Annual Summary of Travels and Costs 2020

31 March 2021 | The Balearic Isles
Nichola Wright
Thinking back to the start of 2020, makes me think of the opening lines of HG Wells’ novel, The War Of The Worlds. Except in this real-life story, a virus is attacking humans rather than the Martians.

"No one would have believed in the year 2020, that within a few months, the world would be a very different place. That the freedoms we enjoyed so casually, would now be severely restricted by a global pandemic."

However, we were luckier than many. Following two months of lockdown, we managed to salvage the summer with a cruise around the Spanish Balearic Isles. In this blog we look at the route we took, along with the highlights and lowlights.

The second half of the article breaks down the costs of sailing in the Mediterranean for a couple living full-time aboard a yacht.

To read the full blog on our website, please click here.
Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Emerald's Photos - Mast
Photos 1 to 36 of 36 | Emerald Tales (Main)
This is where it all started you can see how badly painted in these sheaves were.
Is it a bird is it a bee, no it is flying mast man!
Mast out for first time in probably 7 or 8 years
Spreaders and rigging removed, little did we know at this point just how much we had still to do
There are the Pesky jammed up sheaves!
Setting up for shot blasting in the covered tent in the boat yard. a LOT of hassle
After the blast, you can see the amount of dust and sand mess left despite the sheeting
Mast looks goot though
Here you can see the bare aluminium top, no paint left and a great key for the epoxy primer.
Some corrossion under the stainless fittings. We
First coat of primer on, on the uphill slope now to rebuilding rather than destroying.
You can start to see the shine on the mast here, it will make the rest of the boat look shabby.!!
Grumpy faced (aka tired) judging where to paint the mast green
Mast going green. This although strange we thought a good idea, as it will make the boat easy to spot from ashore in an anchorage, to make sure she isn
Here you can see the top of the mast with the gear fitted, minus the cap shroud fittings
Here you can see the newly added Glomex TV aerial with the cable down the mast
Here are the new sheaves , main halyard and topping lift  the fork you can see is for the back stay, currently getting made
our lovely new lopo light and my hardwood base for it, tapped into the top of the mast, needed to clear the spinaker bails.
Shiny halyard exit point. We had all the stainless re-polished and it looks great (at least for a while)
Here you cansee the mounting point for the running backstays all new as we found a crack in the old ones!
Another lovely lopolight for the steaming light this time, again a hardwood mount made by me. Although not needed for power consumption (as the engine is running), at least we won
Spreader decklights, and you can see the mast steps on the mast as well, a lot!!! of rivets.
Radar, loudhailer and forward deck / anchoring flood. The loudhailer works through the VHF (see chart table gallery) and can also be used for fog signals. Pretty neat!
Our super low friction Tides marine strongtract sail track. A quarter of the price of a harken, and if it wears out we can still use the old track underneath.
Winches reinstalled and new running rigging. Coming together at last.
Reflective E on top of the mast in case we can
Last check of the mast before getting hoisted onto boat.
Safety first, some fleece around metal deck flange. I
Getting ready to move the mast into position for the crane to hoist
Here we go at the beginning of the haul vertical.
Mast just clears top of crane jib, phew!!!
Just cleared fence and on way down to boat,
Last shot of Emerald without her mast. After today I will no long be a motorboat captain. ;-)
Mast being lowered into postion in saloon. Very nerve racking!
It isn
Back in the boat and back on the berth after a very long a stressful day!