I’m reading a fascinating book at the moment. It’s called ‘The Power of Time Perception’ and it’s written by Jean Paul Zogby.
One of the many intriguing things it examines is why time seems to fly faster as we grow older. According to Mr Zogby it’s because our brains process reality more slowly as we age.
There’s obviously more to it than that so if you’re interested go buy the book. What I can tell you is that the two and a bit months since my 60th birthday have indeed flown past.
My last post about Easter week showed how some of that time was filled but what else has gone on?
Well I put quite a lot of effort into getting ‘Gleda’ ready to sail again. First up was servicing the engines. They’d been sitting on deck since the end of January. It was well past time to get stuck in.
Changing the oils, spark plugs and fuel filters was well within my comfort zone. Dropping the lower legs and changing the water pump impellers wasn’t.
In the owners manual this is classed as a dealer job but after a bit of research and a few YouTube videos I felt confident enough to give it a go. It all went swimmingly and took about an hour for each engine. The following day I manhandled the motors back into place and connected everything up. They ran sweet as a nut.
Next up, sails. I’d stripped them off and bagged them for the winter but it only took a morning to get them back onto the masts. After connecting all the halyards I hauled them up to give them an airing. While I was waiting I walked up onto the quay to take some photos and on an impulse used the camera zoom to take a few piccys of the mastheads.
When I downloaded the photos onto my Macbook I immediately spotted a problem with the shackle holding the peak halyard block. The pin had come unscrewed and looked ready to fall out. How that hadn’t happened at sea I’ll never know.
I knew what had happened. When I rigged the masts on the dock back at Weir Quay I’d stupidly used zip ties instead of locking wire to seize the shackle pins. PVC zip ties and UV sunlight are a bad combo. I know that now.
Obviously there was only one way to sort the problem, I needed to climb the mast.
It’s nearly three years since the mast were stepped. I’ve thought many times about how I’d get up there if I needed to. But that’s all I’d done. I didn’t have a plan.
There’s only one winch on ‘Gleda’ and it’s a small one. I didn’t think Gail would be able to haul me up. As luck would have it we’d not long been to a little presentation on mast climbing given by Cate one of the experienced lady sailors in the marina. She’d recommended using a climbing harness rather than a traditional bosuns chair. She’d also shown us how to use loops of cord and Prusik knots to add another level of safety to the climb.
I figured I could adapt that system so that I could climb unaided with Gail using the winch line just for safety and to lower me down.
A trip to Decathlon the local sports shop saw me return some €80 poorer but with a harness, climbing carabiner and enough cord to make plenty of loops. A few days later it was time to give it a go.
I had a few false starts before sussing everything out. One of the issues is that the masts on a Tiki 38 rake aft by about 7 degrees. It doesn’t sound much but you’d be surprised how far you swing away when you let go! An extra line around the mast solved the problem.
After that it was just a case of taking it slow and steady, sliding the Prusik loops up one after the other pulling and pushing myself up as I went. I’m grateful the masts are fairly short (11m/36ft). It was physical. It was nearly a week before my aching muscles started to ease.
Anyway I got up there, tightened all the shackles, wire seized them and checked everything out. Gail found she was able to lower me under control quite easily.
The exercise taught us a lot and it’s given me an idea for making the climb easier next time. I need to go up the mainmast and check everything up there as well. More on that another time.
What else? Oh, remember that paid work I did in January stripping solar panels off a big Leopard catamaran? Well not all the panels were duff and Matt, the owner let me have one. I fitted it to the port foredeck. Can’t have too much solar.
I don’t think I mentioned that we’ve done some interior refurbishment as well. The galley area was in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and we’ve also had some new saloon cushions made.
Over the winter we spend most of our evenings sitting in the saloon. When I built the seat base all those years ago I’d followed the plans exactly in regards to having the seating convert to a double berth. We’ve never done that and never will. The as plan seat base is narrow and doesn’t support the back of the legs properly. The foam we used for the seat cushions was a bit thin and soft. An upgrade was well overdue. I extended the base by about 6″ and then we had the cushions professionally made with thicker denser foam. It’s a great improvement.
Of course it’s not all been work. We’re here to enjoy ourselves after all.
I went on another walk in the Calblanque countryside. It was the last one with friends before they all started leaving for the Balearics and beyond. It was a sunny day and we had lunch on the beach but there was 20 knots and a decent swell offshore. The photo below shows a French 30 footer having a bouncy day.
Last week Gail’s Mom and Stepdad came to visit for a week. They stayed in an AirB&B apartment close to the marina and the weather stayed warm and sunny the whole time they were here.
We even went out for a little sail. It wasn’t a brilliant day for it to be honest. The winds were very light and there was an unexpected amount of swell. We only stayed out for a couple of hours but it was great for me to give the engines a run, get the sails up and feel ‘Gleda’ moving along properly for the first time in 8 months. Yes. Eight months. What was I saying about time flying?
You may have noticed that in the background of the middle photo above there are a couple of cruise ships. The season is back in swing and we’ve already had about thirty into Cartagena this year. One of them was the P&O ship ‘Ventura’. She came in a few days ago and amongst the passengers were two of Gail’s old work colleagues, Tony and his wife Val, from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. She hadn’t seen them for three years so it was great that they were able to come aboard ‘Gleda’ and for us to give them an exclusive tour around town away from the other 3,190 passengers.
As ‘Ventura’ left that evening Gail was able to fulfil a long held ambition of waving a white handkerchief as a majestic ship eased away from the dock. Actually it was a towel, they were too far away for handkerchiefs. Tony replied in kind from the upper stern deck.
I’ll end this miscellany with one final job we completed today.
We’ve made some ‘wing’ extensions for the centre deck sun awning. We bought the material, Gail strengthened the edges, sewed on an edging and toggles that fit through the eyelets of the main awning. I added some brass eyelets and guy ropes.
We’re pleased with the result. The MkI versions worked well but did make the boat look a little like a gypsy encampment. These are much more Bristol fashion.
So all in all quite a lot done and in between times I’ve been writing a bit, navel gazing a bit (Sorry Chuck), planning a bit and sometimes doing nothing a bit.
I started this post by talking about time. At the end of this month I’ll be a third of the way through my 15 month project. Truth be told there’s not much to show for it. But life is good, the sun is shining, summer is here and my head’s in a better place than it was a few months back.
Everything is just fine.