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31 October 2009

Taking advantage of some downtime

Wild Tigris - Cartagena harbor While we wait to hear about the availability and timing of the needed replacement parts, Heidi and Anne took a walk and did a bit of sightseeing - the tall hill overlooking the marina has the overlapping ruins of various fortifications and castle structures (currently mostly under reconstruction). There were fantastic views of the city and harbor, though, the trip was well worth it!

30 October 2009

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

...or, Engine Woes in Cartagena. Here at dock in Cartagena, we thought we had found the (single) problem with the engine - a (fixable) leak in a heat exchanger. Said leak was welded and pressure-tested at a local marine engine place, reinstalled on the boat... and there was still coolant in the bilge. Wild Tigris - checking the bilge Sean visiting the bilge. Wild Tigris - engine debugging Engine repair guy (no claustrophobia here.) Much messy engine debugging later, it was determined that there are unrepairable weaknesses in multiple parts of the cooling system, and we'll need to replace a number of parts. Precisely how, or how long it will take, remains yet to be seen. In the meantime, the endless list of boat maintenance tasks is keeping us busy. Schedule updates when we have 'em... Wild Tigris - a provisioning run Results of a beverage restocking run.

26 October 2009

Weekend in Austria - World Cup, Sölden

After a celebratory day of being back in port after the storm on Friday, at about o-dark-thirty Saturday morning, four of us headed off to the nearest airport (Murcia) to go to the World Cup races in Sölden, Austria. Heidi's thought balloon Everyone except Anne had been to ski races before, but nothing could have prepared us for the scale of a World Cup race day in Europe, where they take ski racing very seriously – except with a huge dose of carnival-style celebration mixed in. We’re all still struggling to find an analogy to a similar event in the states. There were probably 10,000 people there, most decked out in colorful hats, clothing and body painting representing their countries, carrying flags and noisemakers of all kinds. (Including, occasionally, lit, smoking road flares right in the middle of the crowd.) The announcers/DJ’s spoke constantly in an amazing mix of languages (they’d switch to the native language of whoever was making a run at a given time, quite a performance) with rock music interspersed along the way. Detailed live camera shots, as well as real-time scoring and timing data were displayed on huge screens. World Cup Solden - the crowds World Cup Solden - the crowds The course itself was incredibly steep and fast – the last section came over the edge of the permanent glacier at the head of the valley. We had an excellent view of this whole last section, and could look back and forth between the giant display screen and the real view of the racer speeding down the course. World Cup Solden - Warner's run in progress World Cup Solden - Warner skiing World Cup Solden - Warner's run info Warner had bib number 47, and had a clean run, making it down with a solid performance. Unfortunately, he didn’t place in the top 30 on his first run, and so didn’t move on to the second round. World Cup Solden - Warner on the big screen After some wandering around, looking for Warner, he found us: World Cup Solden - Warner and Casey World Cup Solden - Jeff, Warner, Casey, Heidi World Cup Solden - Jeff and Warner We (and Warner) were amused by the random fans coming by asking for his autograph and a photo as soon as they saw his ski suit and World Cup bib. World Cup Solden - A fan World Cup Solden - Warner and random Japanese fan We headed out into the crowd to find some lunch and wait for the second round of runs. Lunch was Schnitzel burgers (we are not making this up; it was a slab of Weinerschnitzel on a bun with sauce) and Glüwine (hot spiced red wine) while we listened to a live band sing American rock and roll songs and what we think was German techno, with a bit of rap thrown in for good measure. World Cup Solden - Heidi, Warner The second round of runs was very exciting, with the crowd whipped up to a frenzy each time a new racer came down the course. Afterwards we headed down the mountain and helped Warner pack up his gear. Then a quick side trip to drop a visiting buddy of Warner’s off at the train, and we were off to visit Kitzbuhel for a fabulous dinner and walk around the medieval village center with some local friends of Jeff’s, with whom we stayed that night. The town of Kitzbuhel, Austria Monday morning we fired up the GPS (whose computer-generated female voice caused us to name it “Gretchen”) one last time, and found our way back to the airport for the trip back to the boat and Cartagena.

24 October 2009

The boat's in port, and some of us are in Innsbruck (!)

Wild Tigris - sunrise outside of Cartagena After a quiet night of tacking slowly back and forth outside of the harbor (it was such a nice night we even had dinner on deck... after the weather the last few days, it seemed quite a miracle to sit peacefully on deck eating lasagna and salad!) we were met by the harbormaster from Cartagena, and towed in to dock on Friday morning. Wild Tigris - getting a tow A truly remarkable amount of wet, salt-encrusted gear promptly came up on deck to be hosed down and hung out to dry, the boat got a good scrub-down with soap and fresh water, and we started in on laundering the largish piles of damp clothing and bedding that seemed to have accumulated overnight. Wild Tigris - laundry, anyone? In the midst of all this, Casey's son, Warner ( earned a starting spot in a World Cup skiing event in Solden, Austria. Many phone calls later, early on Saturday four of us were headed from Cartagena to Austria to cheer Warner on. The boat (and The List of Stuff To Do) are in Sean and Sofia's eminently capable hands.

22 October 2009

"Cartagena? I hear Cartagena is nice."

(Guess where we were?)

Well. Things have been busy since the last post; we've had a bit of engine trouble, to the point that we're not running it, and need to rely solely on sailpower. Which, normally, would not be that much trouble, but a nifty little storm system has blown through, with lots of wind and big seas.

After plowing our way as far as we could, we finally decided that it was best to turn around and get to a large port where we could get some engine repair assistance (or at least be able to work on it ourselves in calm conditions). So we went back towards Cartagena just as the core of the storm cell took shape to the east (see picture, above; we weren't actually in the red area on the map, but still saw 61 knots at one point! Whew!)

We're now in a holding pattern outside of Cartagena harbor, planning on heading in (possibly with a tow assist) first thing in the morning on Friday. The winds and seas have abated considerably.

That's why they call them "shakedown cruises." We've shaken down just about everything!

More details when we have 'em and can send.

Date: 22 oct 2009 16:47:52 UTC

Position: 37 33.836 N, 000 42.24 W

20 October 2009

We're underway!

We've been underway now for just over 27 hours and around 250 nautical miles, passing Cartagena midday, and everyone's settling into the watch system nicely. (Anne's comment: but getting up at 2AM is a bit painful, no matter what. :) We've had light winds and easy seas so far. It's a pleasure being out here!

To top it all off, Sofia has been whipping up some really excellent food - Swedish meatballs for dinner last night, two fabulous quiches for lunch... We'll all be quite spoiled by the time we get home.

Date: 20 oct 09 14:43:49 UTC Position: 37 09 690 N, 01 03 743 W

19 October 2009

19 October: Departure Day at Last

Wild Tigris - ready to go! DEPARTURE! The crew orders were to be on board and ready to go, no later than 7:30, or we'd leave 'em. Wild Tigris - Heidi on the dock Heidi and our boatyard neighbor, Wolfgang, waving goodbye (And, no, we weren’t abandoning Heidi ashore, she was driving the car around to the fuel dock down the harbor.) We pulled out bright and early from the slip that had been Tigris’s home for so long, and headed over to the gas dock to fill up. With tanks this big, filling up takes a while, so those of the crew not involved in that headed out to hunt for any truly last-minute items. Along the way, our medical supplies, which had been held up in customs for ages, finally arrived. And so, finally, at 12:15, we pushed off and headed out for Gibraltar. Wild Tigris - Palma lighthouse Wild Tigris - Palma cliffs Most of the afternoon was taken up with unpacking and last minute stowing. The watch system started up at 18:00, and there was a lot of napping going on so we'd all have hope of getting up for our first late-night shifts. Wild Tigris - sunset underway Sunset while underway Wild Tigris - Bill driving Bill driving, first watch Wild Tigris - Guy geared up for watch Guy driving, first watch The night went quietly, all systems purring along; Anne saw two very bright shooting stars, Heidi saw three, and Casey saw one as well. An auspicious start, indeed.

18 October 2009

Refit: Sunday, 18th – T minus One day

Saturday’s work progress left a pretty clear punchlist, with contractors still coming around, crew bringing personal gear on board and figuring out where to put it all. Wild Tigris - Sean up the forestay Captain Sean hoisted up the forestay to tie on the new jib sheets Wild Tigris - Gary New hardware on the bow hatches But there was finally some time to hang out a bit, and really look around the boat. Wild Tigris - Alex Alec Wild Tigris - Bill Bill Wild Tigris - Jeff Jeff Wild Tigris - Jeff & hat Now we’re prepared for the worst. Wild Tigris - Johan Johan, super electrician and generally knows-lots-about-boats guy And of course Sofia and Sean, and Casey and Heidi, all had to gather their belongings from their flats and move them over to the boat. For Sofia and Sean, it meant packing for an entire year... quite a concept! One last dinner on shore at a nearby restaurant – an early dinner for Spain, we were eating by 9:30 pm – and we all crashed fairly early to be ready for the long-anticipated departure in the morning.

Sunday - Quick update - still in Palma!

Due to some refit delays and some weather, we're still in Palma; we should be on track for a Monday morning departure, however. More updates later today!

17 October 2009

Refit: Saturday, 17th - T minus 2 days (no, really)

Today was nominal departure day – though it was clear sometime yesterday that between The List and some weather moving through that it would be better to set departure for early Monday - so everyone understood the need to really and truly finish everything (nothing like a deadline...) An amazing stashing of food was taking place: Wild Tigris - provisioning Sofia and friend Ti, stocking the boat And the most beautiful, ever, boxed delivery of fruits and vegetables: Wild Tigris - Fruit delivery While everywhere else, all the bits and pieces and parts steadily found their way to the main salon for dispersal to their proper places on board. In the afternoon, Heidi and Anne and Bill took a while off to do a bit of sightseeing, and headed out for the northwest coast of Mallorca. Along the way, they stopped at a beach to dip their toes in the Med (yes, though some of the gang have already been living on the boat, we hadn’t actually touched the water!) and have a coffee on the cliff-side terrace of a little café. Wild Tigris - Anne's toes in the Med Anne's toes in the Med Wild Tigris - Heidi walking on beach Wild Tigris - sightseeing Wild Tigris - sightseeing Back at the boat, the generator having been completely wired into the boat, the floor panels all went back in. (Of course you need to get down there to check things, occasionally, but the floor is now Officially Done. Hurray!) Wild Tigris - the last floorboard

16 October 2009

Friday - T minus 1 and, er, holding...

With the plan to depart on Saturday still in force at the start of the day, refit mania headed into even high gear today. Contractors seemed to be sprouting from every part of the boat, multilingual conversations and shouts of "hola!" were ever-present... Quite a day. But the punchlist combined with some weather uncertainty proved too much for the schedule, and we've officially put off the launch until Monday. Headliners (ceiling coverings) back down in the main salon so another contractor could drill holes for a deck fitting. Matt in a tight fit, fixing deck plate supports. The headliners that took Anne all Thursday morning to reassemble are back down to tweak some wiring again... Casey using the big winches... ... to hoist another rigger up the mast to install protective coverings on the spreaders. Hey, Heidi, is there enough water?

15 October 2009

Thursday - T minus 2 days and counting

Today was Sea Trial Day! The morning began like the previous few: the refit gang showed up, everyone jumped into work, and the boat went from quiet to full of busy folk in what seemed like a few minutes. Today's focus was on getting the boat ready to take out to test and calibrate the autopilot and navigation system, and test the new turning blocks for the jib sheets. Delivery crew member Bill arrived in the morning, fighting east-coast US jetlag, but got the boat tour in the midst of the chaos (Bill thought balloon: "this is a boat? looks like the aftermath of an explosion in a chandlery...") The engine, under the floor of the mail salon. (Big boat, big engine.) The original schedule - off the dock at 10 - proved a little too ambitious, but at around 2 pm the various bits were all back together, gear stowed safely in case of chop, and we headed out! ...finally moving out from the dock! Turning (love those bow thrusters!)) Open water in front of us at last. Sofia, our first mate/chef/stewardess/deck hand/second engineer/purser/entertainment coordinator. (And who also coils a mean dockline, clearly.) Sofia and our her partner, our captain Sean. Happy Heidi. Happy Anne (Yup, biggest boat she's ever driven.) Alec ponders the Med. Casey and the guy from the engineering company rebuilding the turning blocks. Testing the jib blocks. ("Look, she's almost a sailboat!") Sofia driving in a spot of sunlight. ...meanwhile, Jeff arrived from the US - everyone's almost here... Fantastic day.