Monday, 21 May 2012

One step at a time

How about some good news for a change? Here's Enki with her mast in, boom attached too. She's a yacht!

The riggers haven't yet finished tightening everything up. They worked all Saturday in the southerly gale which came in about 30 minutes after the rig was stepped.  And yes, Murphy stuck his foot in again - the turnbuckle at the bottom of the backstay couldn't be attached because the threads on both ends were identical (instead of opposing). Marcus claims his English isn't good (it is), but I read him loud and clear  - "oh, for fuck's sake" - when this little gem turned up. Nothing that a piece of rope can't fix, temporarily.

The rig went in on Saturday because we got lucky on Friday. There's a classy rigging outfit called Navtec on the outskirts of Cannes. Cannes is a super-yacht mecca, and in such a crowd, Enki's vital statistics don't raise an eyebrow. Not only did Navtec have a swaging machine which could handle our 14 mm stainless stell rigging, but on a Friday between a public holiday and the weekend, someone there agreed to operate the machine. Oh la la. What's a 240 km drive in such circumstances? We squeezed the heavy coiled stays into our tiny car's boot, and hurtled east. 

We managed only a sideways glimpse of the big toys on the Cannes waterfront. Their celebrity owners were in town for the film festival  but for us the main feature was the spectacle of Navtec's man Alexandre efficiently measuring out, cutting and swaging our pesky shrouds. A thing of beauty. Funny how your dreams shrink to fit the size of your ambitions. Our ambition is to leave Port Napoleon on a yacht.

Yacht stranded on Plage Napoleon

Sylvain at work on the davit supports
Yesterday the low intensified over us. At Plage Napoleon, an achingly barren stretch of grey sand at the end of our road, a yacht under sail had been blown onto the lee shore by weather much grimmer and uglier than any I'd imagined seeing in the Med. The driving rain and wind eventually chased away Silvain, our friendly man at the stern, who is making solid progress in attaching the davits to hold our dinghy. 

I don't believe I've mentioned the dinghy yet. Like Enki, she (as yet un-named) is over-sized. That wasn't our intention. Alex and I are well aware of our physical limitations. But for very French reasons - i.e. we took what we could get our hands on at the time - we've bought a 3.1 meter Zodiac RIB. It's flash. Hard bottom, a locker - but man, is it heavy. 87 kg. No way we can lift that without mechanical aids. Without Sylvain, we're floundering. 

Talking about floundering, there was small incident on Friday as we were leaving the boat, revved for Cannes. I fell in the water, fully clothed (obviously). There are no pictures, and the memories of those present will fade, as will the brutal bruise which has spread around my left thigh. My ego will recover too. Perhaps I'll learn - again - that you don't walk frontwards down steps on a boat (in this case, on the stern) with both hands full. Ouch, and ouch again.

I wouldn't want to be messing up my footwork at a glitzy Cote d'Azur resort like Port Frejus. We stopped by Frejus on the way back from Cannes, and unanimously agreed that nothing would drag us into such a claustrophic, artificial harbour. That was before we saw a yacht driven ashore by a vicious southerly gale though.

Port Frejus

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