I have had a flurry of emails from old sailing friends this morning. Many, sadly, containing unpleasant news. Here are two of them.
Are you sure you want to hear how things are? Ok then.
Finally left Carta on 14th Nov after enduring 8 months of workers on the boat every day from 7 till 6.30.
First thing to go was motor on watermaker, burnt out. Main engine stopped but only an air/diesel problem. Genset overheated but just a pipe blocked with bits of an old impeller.
Motoring into the swimming pool San Blas, heard a clunk and the steering wheel spun very nicely but had no effect on the rudder, chain had come off its sprocket and lodged it self at the bottom of binnacle. Used the autohelm to steer towards the anchorage when it decided to do a 360deg and then head for a reef. Quickly got emergency steering up and running. Anchored and spent a few days on boat maintenance.
Left... or tried to leave anchorage, internal shear pin in anchor winch sheared. Which means a total removal and dismantling of same. Anchored in Porvenir to pick up our friend just out from uk for holls. Had a nice time around the islands and back to Porvernir to drop friend off.
Later that same day anchor winch started up on its own and ran until its shear pin went... Burnt out motor now in Panama, stuck in Porvenir awaiting its return. With us drifting back and forth across the flight path and having great difficulty struggling to lift 500lb of anchor and chain by hand.
This sailing lark is so much fun.
and here is a second email...
The boat is on the hard in La Ceiba Shipyard having some new steel plates welded onto her hull! A couple of months ago, our bilge pump went on the blink and in the process of scrabbling under floorboards, Jan noticed some very very bad patches of rust.
We got lifted a couple of days later, all the furniture in the main cabin ripped out, water tanks cut out and hoses, pipes, wires etc. etc. disconnected. All very alarming. However, the welder managed to jab with his jabber several holes right through the hull so we made the right decision! Its going to be at least another couple of months before we will be able to get into the water again.
Luckily we have been able to rent a studio flat in the marina which is only 10 minutes walk from the shipyard so are quite comfortable. The boat is totally uninhabitable.
Made me wonder what the f... we are doing out here! Then I found this video of a perfect English Christmas scene and wondered even more. So for all our British friends here you are, wallow in the impossible perfection (it rarely snows at Christmas).