Sunday, 8 June 2008

A busy week.

Yes we are still in Cuba! This week has passed quickly as we bade farewell to Charlotte and then set to in preparation for our next leg. TBH has re-tensioned the rigging using his new gauge(DELIVERED BY THE KIDS). He has tightened the rigging a fair bit and hopes this will help us sailing to windward. We found on the way up here that we appeared to sail far more comfortably on the port tack and as the lower and middle stays were a little slack he believes that bringing them tighter will help when we are beating in to the wind... It seemed to be a complicated procedure involving our original rig plan and a great deal of trigonometry. Still as he began life as an engineer I believe everything he says on that front! Just the word math's sends my brain in to a complete panic!

We have re-lanoguarded the rigging screws and done a few minor repairs. sadly the main one on our list, a non-functioning anemometer was irreparable. The piece of metal holding the little plastic cups that whizz around and measure the wind speed has completely corroded and it was impossible to replace the malfunctioning part. Fortunately it is something we can live without and will look at what we will do with it once we return to the Rio. It is pretty corroded up at the top of the mast but I guess after 18 years some parts are allowed to just wear out. The boat has sailed hard all her life, 9 Atlantic crossings, 2 tropical rainy seasons and much more besides. We really don't want to have to step the mast at the moment though so are also considering installing the Tak-Tic range of wire-less instruments. We need to find out more about their durability for ocean sailing though. We`are concerned at the need for solar driven batteries at the top of the mast especially as we will probably be moving to some high latitude sailing in the coming years.

One of the more unusual aspects of traveling around in Cuba is the use of horse and carts. One horse pulls a tin cart, if you are lucky it will have rubber wheels, if not prepare for a bone jolting ride around town! For the grand sum of 1 peso you climb into the back with up to seven others and clip-clop your way along the boulevards to your destination. The health of the animals varies but most are in pretty good condition, I guess the animal must constitute a major asset, and the drivers vary from delightful to downright con men. Still it's another new and interesting way to travel!

The cruising community are thinning out in the Caribbean as the hurricane season moves on and it will soon be time for us to return to the Rio. It has been a short sailing season but Cuba has proved to be a special destination. We can only stay here until 22nd June when our extended visa expires so we have to decide when to leave and exactly where we will go. So far we are oscillating between returning directly to Guatemala, some 700 miles. or whether we will break the journey in Grand Cayman, some 170 miles. We probably won't decide on that until just before we leave.

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