It's not easy to spend these days so that you don't get stupid in your head. The daily walk to the supermarket is one of the highlights of the day. Although the marina shower, the staff shower of the adjacent hotel, has a very bad quality of stay, a visit there is another highlight. Yesterday I spent five hours at the stove and conjured up a dinner for the Chapo and us. All the time I have tortured Jens with kitchen smells. The event was a roast beef tenderly pink on crunchy carrots with a huge mountain of crispy potato pancakes refined with a little Parmesan. The roast was admittedly more pink than tender, but everyone enjoyed it. We have been cooking each other for the past few days.
The positive thing about the situation is that we come to things that we have left behind for months. In Lisbon we have made many videos, cut and published nothing so far. While I was standing at the stove, Jens was doing video editing. And now we have a little video of Lisbon with - uh - a small amount of trams. The tram there is, in my opinion, a rolling monument.
On the other side of the Atlantic, half a dozen cruise ships loaded with tourists in front of the city, open bars and restaurants, crowds of people roll through the city center, clump in front of the elevator to the upper city or spring from fully occupied trams. I watched the video two or three times. Not because of the great shots with the shaky handheld camera. Not because of the fantastic film music (Gema-free). Not because I have nothing else to do. I enjoyed life on the streets.
Is the scene at 3 min 46 seconds to be understood as a view of the future? What does life look like in public in half a year or a year?
In the past I have written many times about long-distance drivers and made one or two statements about it. We also count ourselves to it. Why actually? And what distinguishes cross-country skiers or cruising sailors from other sailors? Other sailors are, for example, the regatta sailors, the charter sailors, the weekend sailors or the dock sailors ... This question has arrived a few times in my mailbox and I would like to answer it here with a few pictures.
Here, in the Marina of Lagos, are all types of sailors. That's why I was able to walk through the marina with the camera and take a few photos. However, I stole a photo from the Marina Kornati website in Biograd, where there are over a hundred charter boats. All of them are polished and cleaned, waiting for the next charter customer. He is happy about a flashing, flashing boat and has a great vacation.
Old master Bobby Schenk explained it on his homepage many years ago. The cruising sailors have other priorities. Most of the boats are not sailed, they are inhabited. Occasionally you move them to another place, where you live again. Sailing as such takes a back seat, it is only a means to an end. That's why cruisers usually don't look so shiny, they have other qualities.
In this specimen from Liverpool you can see a wind generator, solar cells and a lot of additional equipment (surfboard, heel porsche, dinghy, fuel canister, life raft, many antennas and and and.
The additional equipment is similar in most respects on most cruising boats. An essential point is the energy supply. Charter boats are usually driven from port to port, rarely overnight and the number of nights in an anchor bay is manageable. Certainly not the charter customer stays in the same place over a longer period of time, the costs are much too high. There is an electrical outlet in the harbor and therefore a charter boat does not need a wind generator or solar cells.
The cruising sailor in turn wants to be independent of the socket. He installed thick batteries in the ship and would like to recharge them whenever possible so that the refrigerator runs and the navigation instruments work. That's why he decorates his boat with everything that can somehow pump electricity into the batteries. Nothing happens without electricity. The charter sailor can fill the water tank from the water hose in the harbor, the cruiser's watermaker needs a lot of electricity. There are no sockets or water connections in the anchor bay.
In addition to the regenerative energy sources, the long-distance driver only has the diesel engine (in addition to a thick alternator) to recharge the batteries. But diesel is only available at the petrol station and it is not in the anchor bay, so most cruisers carry more or fewer reserve canisters with them to be independent for as long as possible. We also.
Charter sailors, regatta sailors and weekend sailors keep coming to gas stations and can refill their diesel there. In my time as a charterer, I always refueled before returning the boat and was happy when I used less than 100 liters of diesel in a week. With 100 liters of this we get hundreds of miles because we rarely start the engine. Unlike charter sailors, we have all the time in the world.
Rotatable solar panels can be seen in the photo on the right. We don't have anything like that on the Sissi, ours are fixed upwards. The current efficiency of the rotating panels is of course better because they can always be optimally adjusted to the sun. But that does work that we save. We solve the problem with the sheer volume, the large number of square meters of our panels. And we could upgrade even further ...
In addition to the wind generator and solar panels, you can also see the wind vane control at the rear of Sissi. You can also see this on the 99% of the other cruisers, because an electric autopilot consumes a lot of electricity, which could also be used to operate the refrigerator. Economical electricity is also a priority when cruising. In conversations on the jetty, barbecues or in the harbor bar, you always talk about power consumption, power generation and power storage. There are wars of faith over the choice of the right batteries (by the way, we drive simple lead-acid batteries).
Different sizes, different ages and certainly different uses. But polished, sparkling clean and currently uninhabited (in November). These boats are most likely not cruising boats. There are no additional power supply facilities that can usually be used to identify long-distance boats.
The boat in the third picture has no anchor. This cannot be a long-distance driver. The owner may have taken the anchor home because he made the boat winter-proof. He probably only left the anchor out because he doesn't use it anyway. The anchor is a super important equipment of a cruising boat, also from Sissi, even if we have mostly been gentle on ours so far. That is still to come. Cross-country skiers spend weeks in anchor bays and must be able to rely on their basic iron. If you stroll through the marina, you will notice that certain anchor shapes have established themselves in the scene.
The currently most popular anchor seems to be the Rocna anchor. It is not exactly cheap, but it is said to be overwhelming holding forces. The bow anchor plays in the same league. You don't see the Delta anchor that often. When I spoke to the owners about anchors, the Delta anchors were rather older. Some of the owners of these anchors would like to exchange them for a bow or a Rocna at some point. However, as long as the anchor works, it is not likely to be replaced. After reading books, watching a lot of videos on Youtube and reading many websites, I also opted for a Rocna to equip Sissi, because we had to drop the CQR anchor that we had at Sissi in the IJsselmeer (this is not an anchor story, this is a diesel engine story that I will tell another time).
We also have two other, smaller and lighter anchors that we can deploy with the dinghy if need be. This is also the case with 100% of the other cruising boats.
With the charter boats, the choice of the anchor is rather secondary. The anchor on the charter boats has to work an afternoon when the crew goes swimming or a night when the crew decides to go outdoors.
The two anchors shown here are photographed on two charter boats from the same charter company in Lagos. If it were important to the owner, he would have at least equipped both boats with the anchor that he considers the best. So he probably took the anchor that was supplied by the shipyard. The choice of anchor is of secondary importance on a charter boat.
The boats are as different as the purpose of the boats. Cross-country drivers value the greatest possible independence and less the cool appearance of their vehicles or the good sailing properties. Regatta sailors want good sailing characteristics, cosiness takes a back seat. Charter sailors want a shiny boat with which they can spend a nice week of vacation. That's the way it is.
So it doesn't matter whether we need four and a half or five and a half days with Sissi from Lagos to the Canary Islands. We spend the time comfortably under sail and once we have arrived we stay in the same place with the fast sailors for a few weeks. Or the neighboring bay.
Then there was the rig. For weeks we have had one item on the to-do list, namely the control of the rig. Since we have no mast steps on the Sissi, we have to do it differently. In Leixoes we saw an unusual mast ladder on a French boat, which we immediately liked. We did some research on the internet and one providers found.
This ladder was then made to our measurements and delivered to Lagos. It fit.
You take down the mainsail and pull up the mast ladder where you would normally pull up the mainsail. We had to measure the mast slides beforehand, they are custom-made, so to speak, in the right size and design on the ladder.
Then you can easily climb the mast. I had to pull Jens up to the top of the mast last year after driving the mast into a tree in Holland. Yes, in Holland trees are sometimes very close to the waterways. That was a lot of pagan work and Jens didn't feel particularly good about it either. It is very different now with the ladder. I just have to secure Jens against falling, he can now climb up alone.
We are now happy about the easy way to climb the mast. That really takes us further.
We also fill the reserve canisters with diesel, the refrigerator with food and and and. It goes on!
It's that time again. We want to go. Today is a special day because we are leaving continental Europe. A special mood. Thrill and yet normalcy. Sissi is ready, we checked everything. The rig has been checked, the engine too, the supply loads are bending and the fresh water tank is also full. What else can go wrong?
Of course, everything can go wrong. But we are confident. Not only for today, but also for the next few days beautiful wind is predicted from the right direction. We expect between 15 and 25 knots of wind from the north, so we can comfortably drive in front of the wind - our favorite direction. We expect to see land again sometime during Sunday. The Canary Islands.
We weren't there yet. As a flight denier, I never wanted to go there. It has been cold and rainy here in Lagos in the past few days. I even got the winter blanket out of its sink again tonight. That will change, because the Canary Islands are said to have “eternal spring”. Let's see how it feels.
We have five days without internet. Five days of continuous operation of the ship. Alternately sleep and be awake for five days. Five days of wind, waves, movement in the ship, noise from the rigging and creaking of the interior. A little foretaste of the Atlantic crossing in the coming month and yet a big step on our journey.
The wind forecast is pretty stable for the coming days. We have been observing this for some time now and are seeing thick, fat low-pressure areas on the North Atlantic that are moving towards Northern Europe. our wind blows on the back. Our perfect wind.
Now we take another shower, this is the last warm shower to the Canary Islands. Then departure. We're going to the sunset again.
It is still very crowded in the Canary Islands. We could not reserve a berth in any marina and hope to be able to tie Sissi somewhere near a shower. The ARC has not yet started, there are still several hundred boats in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria that want to cross the Atlantic towards the end of the month. But we cannot and do not want to miss the good wind. We won't get such a perfect wind in the foreseeable future.
Why am I raving about the forecast? Because, exceptionally, we are in the right place at the right time. Because the forecast is exceptionally so incredibly stable. And because I'm fed up with Lagos.
Only we are not fed up with the cute cats. We would like to wrap up a few more if it were feasible.
It's finally here! The last package we were waiting for here in Lagos. It's been 11 days from Frankfurt am Main since our parents gave it up. We almost gave up waiting, Susanne offered to send it to the Canary Islands.
The content will take us a few weeks further, it is full of delicious coffee from our favorite roastery. Many thanks to our parents for the delicious beans.
According to Google Maps, it is around 2500 kilometers from Frankfurt to Lagos, which can be covered by car in 24 hours. The truck from DHL is certainly a bit slower and such a package would also like to be sorted, scanned and left behind. With 10 days it pays off more comfortably. 2500 kilometers in 240 hours is a speed of five and a half knots. So the package was traveling through Europe at Sissi cruising speed.
My former colleague Marco wrote to me that we are in one of the most beautiful corners of Europe. Somehow he's right. Here in the Algarve the coast is really beautiful.
We also enjoy the great colors that the setting sun paints on the clouds. That's how you imagine it. This is pure relaxation, you can let your mind wander.
But my personal opinion is that there are too many tourists here. When we walk the streets, we mainly hear two languages - English and German. Around half of the tourists are probably from Great Britain, another third come from Germany. In October and November, the streets are packed with tourists.
We are not spared from this in the marina either. A boat starts every few minutes with tourists who then drive along the cliffs and visit the grottos. It's still going around here!
When we sail the coast with the sailboat, we naturally have the reverse view that a tourist has from the hotel room. Then we see what horrible effects mass tourism can have on a beautiful landscape.
We are slowly getting tired of Europe. Where the weather is generally warm and pleasant and the landscape could have a dramatic beauty, the concrete mixers were decades before us. It was different in Scotland, where the weather is rarely such that it attracts tourists in droves. But in France, Spain and Portugal, the coastline has been transformed.
It's still nicer here in the corner than it is in many other places. Anyone looking for a place where they can escape the German autumn weather is in good hands here.
By the way, today I finally have that Lagos page updated. There you will find a few pictures of the place.
Many restaurants line the marina in Lagos, and everything is geared towards the needs of the British. You can get bar meals like the ones in the UK. There is a Chinese, an Indian and Pizza Hut. The Algarve is a popular holiday area for the British and this is fully reflected in the culinary offerings. That's how Jens and I went to eat in one of the restaurants - there was a Chicken Tikka burger on the menu. This is rather something for the island, which still belongs to the EU - I can't help but tip, after all, today is November 1st.
The Marina Bar has opted out among the bars. I noticed this sign the first time we stayed in Lagos, I didn't take a photo at the time. Now, on our second stay, I couldn't resist temptation. We got a berth in the far corner of the harbor and walk past this sign every time on the way to the shower:
Otherwise we ended an unpleasant time on the Sissi. We had been out of insurance since the beginning of July. Of course, that's pretty shit because you can easily do a lot of damage with sailboats. Once maneuvered incorrectly in the harbor and damage worth millions can be done. Unfortunately, we did not find an insurer all the time who wanted to insure our old lady for worldwide travel. We did not want to have a certificate that only applies to the Canary Islands.
David von der Cosa was arrested with a sealed oar in Spain for a few days because he could not provide the insurance required by law. We were lucky and somehow struggled with the expired documents. Fortunately, this state has now ended. The insurance broker Martin von der Fairytale called us was able to get us the coveted policy. Now we can safely go to the Canary Islands and I can finally dare to let Jens do the harbor maneuvers. Phew!
We are still waiting for a package from Germany that has now made it to Lisbon. I had already written a few lines on the subject of “DHL”.
At the weekend, a weather window for the crossing will open that seems to last for over a week. We are happy and hope that our package will arrive here in time. It is unclear to me whether parcels will be delivered here on November 1 (All Saints 'Day) or on November 2 (All Souls' Day). These are both public holidays in Portugal. Even if the package arrives here on Monday, we can still use the weather window, which is nice. And there is still enough work on the ship, you never run out of work on a sailboat. No way. That's for sure.
There is a cat house on the quay of Lagos. A community of semi-wild cats lives there, which are also regularly fed there. If you drive into the port of Lagos, you will inevitably pass this house and with a little luck you will see the cats sitting on the shore.
We bought a pack of cat food a few days ago so that we can always delight a cat on the way. Cats love food and most are bribed. We then tried that out at the Lagos Ferry Cats.
At the cat house there is a kind of instruction manual. I think it's very good that there is a warning against abandoning small kittens. In any case, the big ones seem to feel very comfortable here.
To make a long story short: We fed and petted the cats. They were really happy and rewarded us with purring, cuddling and cuddling.
Actually, we would have preferred to pack one of the cats and take it on board. While that would not be a good idea, it would cover our cat's needs. So we will probably go there again tomorrow, it is only five minutes from the marina.
And we were able to fire the action camera with the right action. There is again a cat video in our blog. I could watch it more often ...
karma was right. Cats are cute and I bet this video is going to get a ton of clicks. Meow.
We have landed in Lagos again. In the evening at 7:10 p.m. we arrived and moored in front of the bascule bridge at the marina office. This has two advantages - on the one hand we do not have to pay the night at the waiting pontoon and on the other hand the way to the marina office is very short, there are five heavy packages waiting for us.
Because after the nice stay in the anchor bay, it is now a matter of further optimizing, stocking and cleaning Sissi for our long journey. First of all we felt like we had to wash two tons of sand out of the boat and the dinghy, we seem to have half Headache Beach taken on board.
As I have already written, we had a current gap of approx. 60 Ah a day. With almost 600 Ah in the supply batteries, they were drained within five days (you should only use half the capacity of the battery). We ordered a complete new solar power plant from a large mail order company for sailing accessories, which was waiting for us in the marina office. The office man was quite amazed at the large packages, he was even more amazed when we announced more packages. We planned two days to set up the new electricity supplier and started work immediately.
After installation and wiring, it was a great feeling to press the switch and see how the charging current suddenly quadrupled. Strong !!! It was totally worth it. After about six hours of hard work, we were ready and ready for the shower.
Today, the day after assembly, we switched off the shore power charger and switched on all the devices we need when sailing. The radio also plays and there is almost no wind, the wind power station does not provide any electricity at all. Nevertheless, after several hours with partly cloudy skies and partly beautiful sunshine, our batteries are still filled to 100%. Feel good. Tonight is billing, then let's see what the electricity production was like.
In my opinion, the panels do not really deface our boat, we have rather improved the "long-ride look". You cannot see the other solar cells on the cockpit roof when you are not on board.
A little jaunt with the land dinghy, the on-board bicycle, to the photo shop later we took the print of a great photo Frankfurt Romans in the hand. Our father took the beautiful picture a few years ago. Now the picture is hanging in our salon and looks good.
The man in the marina office had a slightly tormented look on his face when I was back to pick up the next package. He probably had to drag them to the parcel warehouse himself. There are two packages from our Frankfurt Bonames Favorite butcher Haasethat will help us across the Atlantic. At this point, once again, many thanks to Jens Haase and the whole team in the butcher shop. Without you, our menu would be less tasty.
At the beach party, one of the other sailors said to me that if we ordered canned food from home we would not have set off yet. Maybe that's because you can't really start from Frankfurt, Frankfurt simply stays in the heart.
Speaking of Frankfurt in the heart: We are still waiting for a last package from Frankfurt am Main that our parents have sent to us. But we feel a little like back then in Waleswhen we were waiting for the watermaker. DHL did not send the parcel to Athens, but it was misdirected again and apparently has not yet come out of Germany. When I announced another package to the man in the marina office, I saw that pained expression again.
Our previous experiences with the different parcel services are very different. UPS has always delivered on time, sometimes even before the announced date. DPD was reliable and on time. DHL has produced misdirections in half of the deliveries and has never delivered on time. It is punctual for me when the package arrives on the announced day.
It still takes a few days until the wind is right for the crossing to the Canary Islands, so we still have a real chance to get this delivery. We are optimistic!
The battery monitor shows us mercilessly. We use too much electricity. Since we are at anchor, we have a current gap of approx. 60 Ah every day. The sun doesn't shine as much as we thought it would. The wind doesn't blow as hard as we imagined. And that's why we use more electricity every day than we generate with our two power plants.
Just five miles away from us, two solar panels are waiting for us in Marina Lagos, which we still want to install. We will probably be able to fill the current gap completely. Internally, we can sort of hook it up, of course, the assembly still needs to be done.
Now the diesel engine is running for an hour, with the electricity generated in this way we can fill the electricity gap until Tuesday.
The router shows us just as mercilessly that we consume quite a bit of data. In Germany, the king is king who has a mobile data volume of five gigabytes and more per month. We only laugh about that now, because we use the five gigabytes on a normal port day or at anchor.
Fortunately, mobile data in Portugal are not only available in the form of Internet globules, but are rather delivered with the 38-ton truck. NOS has a mobile flat rate for the Internet for € 1 a day. So 15 days for 15 € or 30 days for 30 €. The cards can be loaded at NOS in the shop or at any post office. That is practical. The first 15 days are used up, during this time 90 GB of data went through our router. Now we know that we need at least 6 GB a day for a decent life. The Internet costs 17 cents per gigabyte in the best 4G quality and still works a few miles off the coast.
Of course, like all anchor boats, we supply ourselves with an inflatable boat. There is no city bus in the suburbs. We already did the big shopping in Lagos when we were in the marina. Then what we still have to do, we have to get there by rubber dinghy. It's pretty fun, because if you don't have to paddle it, dinghi driving is fun.
And then there is the disposal. So that we don't have to stack the smelly garbage bags somewhere on board, we had one a few weeks ago Oscar ton concerned. 90 liters of rubbish fit in and the lid can be closed. So that the garbage doesn't stink in the boat and the bin is also lashed with a lashing strap. This will be even more useful on the Atlantic than here in the bay, because unfortunately we forgot to anchor recycling stations on the way.
We have searched in vain for such a ton in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Guernsey, France and Spain. There were always only the practical bins, the lids of which can be opened with your foot and which unfortunately cannot be closed odor-tight. In Porto we finally found them in the hardware store. Useful.
Our stay in the anchor bay is slowly coming to an end. Tomorrow we pull the base iron up again and evaporate towards Lagos. All the work with the solar panels is waiting for us there. Someone finally has to get up on the mast because the rig is screaming for a check before we make our way to the Canary Islands. With a little luck, a weather window will open towards the end of the week - the forecasts don't look too bad. So we enjoy the anchor kitsch one last evening before we start to work again.