Welcome aboard on SY Blue Pearl

In September 2018 we will start our circumnavigation with our beautiful historic Vessel, well equipped and well prepared for great adventures.

We, meaning Tania and Wolfgang and our friends and guests.

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Over a period of approx. ten years we will take a look at the health of our oceans, visit paradise as well as polluted areas, to document what we experience.

Therefore we got part in the campaign “big blue Ocean Cleanup”, please take a look on this site for more Information about our work.

Everyone who works for the health of the oceans or want to support our campaign, is welcome to sail with us!

We would love to give a lot of people the chance to get that unbelievable feeling of freedom and devotion being a small part of the greatest wonder our planet has to offer! Afterwards everyone changes their view on our planet, I promise!

In this Blog we will report how we build up our vessel, the first expierence on the English Channel and our soon starting tour!

IMG_0060You can get information, where we are, where we want to go next, about our living aboard, who’s sailing with us and what we see.

And maybe sometime in the future YOU may wish to sail with us!

Tania und Wolfgang

 

The Rock

After an amazing Passage of 460 nm together, Tania and I arrived in La Linea, Alcaidesa Marina, next to the Gibraltar border. This was to be our home from April through till September 2019. The only reason we choose this marina, was because it’s much cheaper than any other harbour nearby.

Here we would stay for the next months to get the real Mediterranean feeling. Not the worst place to be based. We berthed next to big boats of over 60 feet. For the first time, Pearly looked really tiny.

The marina is especially large, long distances have to be layed back to reach most amenities, but the team is very friendly, the marina spotlessly taken care of, wet rooms and laundry rooms modern and clean, and the city is with in walking distance. Cigarettes and diesel are very cheap in Gibraltar.

Time for some cruising experience.

I’m afraid I’ll have to train my navigations skills a little more. MarineTraffic documented a few mysterious shortcuts 🙂

I had to think about my tactics with an old friend in Ceuta! Therefore we had to go to Africa. The good news is, we found it – I hope.

We went along the Marocco Mediterranean coast, seeing a lot of crowded places and meeting a lot of nice guys. A few friends and family took the chance to visit us during the summer. We had a lot of fun together, thank you for this.

But we soon came to the conclusion, one season in the Mediterranean Sea is enough for us. Few nice anchorages, and if you find one, you have to share it with another 50 boats. The Marinas are very expensive and the wind is either too little or too much. Maybe it’s better further east, but I’ve heard they are also going crazy with fees and taxes.

The best of all is that we found some good friends there.

The place we loved most of all in this area is Ceuta. Even if you read that it’s difficult to get a berth in the Hercules-Marina, we got one every time we visited.

Time for new adventures, see you in the canaries!

Fair winds

Tania and Wolfgang

Just another day on the Portuguese Atlantic coast

We left our winter spot on the hard in Lisbon direction south.

First night we wanted to anchor in a secluded spot within the marina in Cascais – which we read about in the “ RCC Pilotage foundation Atlantic Spain and Portugal – fully revised seventh edition -2019 from Imray“

We asked at the reception … “no Anchorage here… but you may have a visitor berth if you wish …. that will be €84 ma’am”…..

Are they f***king crazy ?.. – but we were now in a spot… which choice did we have but to pay…..

2nd day off to Sesimbra. Another secluded anchorage in an unnamed bay east of a Cabo de Ares. The previous named book came up with this suggestion too.. . And we could save money after the shock from the previous Marina. Beautiful… here we will stay. Dropped anchor and prepared for a windy night, setting the alarm every hour as this was a first with our new Jambo 60kg anchor. The night was windy but the anchor held just fine. This proved to be a very good investment. Anyone on the look for a new anchor? Jambo is a make you should consider.

Next morning after coffee we planned to head towards Sines.

“Sweetheart… who’s that coming at us under an awesome pace??? The Portuguese Maritim coastal guards….

They pulled up next to us… did we know we were anchoring in a nature reserve where anchoring is forbidden ??? No – we didn’t !!!

We showed them the books we had read, the charts we were following… even our GPS didn’t show that out spot as “ forbidden to anchor “..

OK .. they were nice, and only doing their job, but we have to report to the maritim police in Setúbal for clearance… but not before tomorrow we were told …

What now ?? We are in a forbidden spot, the next marina is 30miles away… and how do we get back ??? Rent a car ?? And bad weather is on its way…

The nice captain of the coastal guard boat allowed us to travel on, but me must report at the police station latest tomorrow.

If we don’t, an international search warrant will go out…

OK…. retain anchor and off we go.

The plan being – sail to Sines, stay one night, rent a car, drive back to Setúbal, clear everything up, and then carry on our journey.

Underway….. everything going well, no worries … suddenly a huge explosion next to my left ear….. Wolfgang’s life vest inflated …. just like that!!!!!!

Thank goodness we have a few….

I must admit .. it was really funny.. he could hardly get out of the dam thing. 🙂

Excitement over…..

Let’s set the sails wing on wing, (like a butterfly…one sail left and the other to the right )as we have 20kn down winds.

The main to the left, the jib to the right and supported by the spinnaker boom.

And we had company … a school of dophins must have had the same destination…

20 miles later the wind turned and was coming from the west… sail position change.

Wolfgang went to the bow of the boat, life lines set as the swell was now 2.50 meters and the wind was blowing 25+ knots.

The dam spinnaker boom was under such pressure, he couldn’t release it… it wasn’t going anywhere…

He shouted something to me as I fought to keep coarse and release the jib lines at the same time… he needed a hammer.

Even the hammer didn’t work.

I was fighting to get the jib rolled in, and was at my last strength as we agreed to give up.

We set the main to the accurate position and hoped the jib would hold…

A 2nd try on Wolfgang’s part was more successful. He broke the spinnaker boom attachment, but at least the thing was now released at one end…

The whole time I was so frightened my husband would go overboard, I had no time to get frightened for myself…the boat was healing 30dg each side as we surfed the 2.5 meter waves in 25knots of wind, blasting 30kn at times.

Wolfgang fought a fight with a metal pole, winning as he decided to sacrifice an outside mattress in order not to ram a hole through the boats surface.

Back in the cockpit, we rounded to cape to Sines with the pole dangling from a half rolled up jib which was now fluttering in the wind and ready to kill anything which came in its path.

But we had made it !!!!!

Just another day on the Atlantic Portuguese coast.

And little trust in Imray.

Tania

Update…

we went to the maritime police in Setúbal today… we are all clear.

We payed an fine and got our names cleared so that no international search warrant will be registered.

Pfuuuuu…

From Nieuwpoort to Lisboa and don´t be afraid of the inner coast of the Bay of Biscay.

 

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good morning Guernsey

 

As planned we started on the 1st of September, the hauling date in Lisbon planned for the 2nd of October.

It should mean plenty of time for 1.500 nm…

First of all I had to find a crew  because Tania had to work and also didn´t want to sail this trip across the legendary Biscay, too much respect of the swell, the high short waves in the Channel and she was also a little bit wiery about the weather. We decided that I would sail our Pearly without my wife but with an unknown crew. So the crew search began.

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Belle Isle at anchor

The demands on a crew were no small matter! During overnight legs you just might have to control the ship on your own, so you should at least know the basics of sailing, navigation, trimming and VHF usage. You also have to be resistant against sea sickness. Further I wanted a minimum of one additional watch-captain and well trained sailor so that I could get some sleep whilst he or she would take charge. If you are sailing offshore in high traffic areas you have to think in watches aboard! I think everyone has his/her  own system but I prefer 4 hour watches with 2 persons. This basically means two hours at the helm and two hours on standby. This way everyone to gets at least 8 hours sleep, and it works for several nights after another. The best number of crew members therefore is 6.

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Nighttrip from Guernsey

But the reality turned out very different. Several of my sailing friends originally wanted to join the trip. Turns out that no one had time. Either because they had to work -CRAZY! -, have an (to me) unimportant date with their loved one (like getting married), moving into a new apartment, getting divorced, having parents with needs or any other insignificant trivialities!!!

Hey -we are talking about sailing -the only normeaningful activity in life!!!!

Or was it that no one actually wanted to sail under the command of this skipper….?

Damn Bastards, I will find my crew!

No one and nothing can keep me away from my dream!

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With the help of a website named “find-a-crew” I found a very mixed group of people, from a professional sailor up to absolute newbies. I truly hope they all enjoyed the journey.

Because it was very amazing trip, not very difficult to sail , but a lot of impressions of the beautiful Surrounding of the Britanny and Gallician Coast.

 

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Isle de Re, St. Martin

My plan was to go from Guernsey (duty-free fuel!) directly to A Coruna, outside of the continental shell.

As we looked at the weather, we could notice, that there will come strong winds offshore, but along the coast we´ll get northerly to easterly winds, so we diceded to sail along the coast inside the Biscay.

So for us it was easy to sail inside the biscay, while friends of mine were blocked in Falmouth for fourteen days because of  6 m waves outside and wind on the nose.

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galician coast

So it was the best decission we could take , it was realy amazing, seen a lot of Cities and Islands. The only Problem was, that we had not enough time to join the whole surenegy.

After Bilbao died the wind for nearly one week and we have to go by engine – extremly boaring.

On the other Hand the finest weather you can get. One time rain in four weeks, one beautiful sunset after another. Starshined nights and lovely days.

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marina A Coruna

As we arrived in A Coruna, the wind returned and we got nice downwind-sailing along the portugesian coast until we reached Lissabon.

The Facts: 1.560 nM, 600  l fuel, 19 stop overs (Harbour-fees between 28 € (Douardenez) up to 96 € (Bilbao) for one Night!!!), 28 Days durance.

During the whole journey our Blue Pearl went pretty well. But I will do even a few things better: we need more possibilities to get secure handbars inside the ship, the watersystem loose a little bit water and I will install a voltmeter for the front batteries for Bowfroster and achorwinch, so that I can see, wether they loaded or not. And we have to buy a realy good Anchor, my choice is a 60 kg  Jambo-Anchor , the best Anchor in the world!

Here a few more impressions:

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Now Pearly is waiting for the spring, and since yesterday it´s fixed, this summer we will stay in Gibraltar, because the Acaidessa-Marina in La Linea is the only one, normal People can effort for the Summer. The Range of Marina-fees along the Algarve and Andalusian Coast lies between 750 € up to 2.000 € a month!!! Time to use our new Anchor.

Fazit:

If you have the right weather, sail inside the Biscay. It is a wonderful journey along very beautiful places. But you must have the time, to stay sometimes in marinas or the Rias to wait for the right weather. Don´t try to run against the wind along the galician Coast, you will  loose and get very quick very bad swell. So if you get the usual westerly winds for your trip, stay out far, far away offshore. But with the right weather-fantastic!

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stop

 

 

 

 

Wolfgang

Arrival in Lisboa

We had our doubts…..

But Wolfgang and crew reached LISBOA today, 30 Sept 2018.

YEAHHHHHH…

I dont wont to bore you with loads of pictures as in the last post, but these are the “ports of call”

Nieuwpoort – Eastbourne – Isle of White – Guernsey – Douarnenez – Belle ile en Mer – Ile de Re – Bilbao – Santander – Gijon – Ribadeo – A Coruna – Muros – Baiona – Porto – Fugueira da Foz – Nazaré – Cascais – LISBOA !!!!!

19 Ports, 30 days, sun, wind, no wind, rain, storm, high waves, no waves, dolphins, sharks ?? ( wolfgang thinks it was a shark), sleepless nights, stop overs, meeting friends, making new friends, change of crew, tears, laughter, fights and hugs…. I truly believe it was an life time experience for all on board our wonderful BLUE PEARL.

I would like to take a moment to thank the whole crew who took on this amazing challenge. As mentioned above, a change of crew took place on the northern Spanish coast. An amazing young lady from Norway left the crew in Gijon. She had never sailed before this trip, so I truly hope she had a good time. She most probably pushed her personal limits to an extent which was new to her. A very big THANK YOU on behalf of myself and Wolfgang. A 2nd young lady from Germany left in A Corinna. She was an amazing help on board, taking on every challenge in her stride, and provided many meals keeping the crew alive and happy. A huge THANK YOU to you too. A young man boarded BLUE PEARL in A Corinna, bringing the crew now to a total of four on board. He is young and strong and has become an outstanding help on he last few legs. THANK YOU !!! A fellow Germany lady is still on board , this being since day one! She keeps the crew in a good mood, is always up for a joke or two, and has most definatly gained a life experience shed never experienced before this trip. THANK YOU so very much for your stamina and endurance.  Lastly our skipper. He is a brick – always found at the helm, plans the routes, studies the seas and weather and has accompanied Wolfgang also from day one. THANK YOU !!!

And then we come to my husband Wolfgang.

Words cannot even get close to express how proud i am of you. The first step has been taken. We are one step closer to our dream destination. We will carry on the journey in 2019. TOGETHER !!!

I love you sweetie and can’t wait for you to get home in a few days.

Tania

 

 

 

The journey begins

IMG_2688.pngIMG_2687.pngEarly morning September 1st; 2 female crew members arrived at our home in Krefeld, we left home as planned around 10am Nieuwpoort bound. First stop in Ostend where we picked up the 3rd girl and carried on to our home marina in Belgium where the fourth crew member was waiting for us. Crew complete: Wolfgang plus 3 gals and 1 further guy. Because of various reasons I cannot accompany my hubby on the first leg of moving our Blue Pearl to the Caribbean. This first leg is Nieuwpoort Belgium to Lisbon Portugal.

After moving in and meeting each other for the first time, the 5 crew members quickly began to relax and get to know one another. Sleeping places were decided on, provisions and personal stuff cluttered up the boat, but Wolfgang reported the chaos soon calmed down and the fun began.

Blue Pearl left Nieuwpoort early on Sunday morning September 2nd.

We often wondered if we would get this far……

They have now been underway for 6 days and have reached Guernsey with no major problems. Our “pain in the butt” bow thruster caused a few problems causing Wolfgang to spend the best part of one day in the Isle of Wight trying to figure out what the cause could now be. It had been running on 12v instead of 24v causing only minimal strength. Our electrician has visited us in July and re-wired and re-programmed the whole system after the previous problems we had had. Wolfgang resigned after several hours of “hide an seek” not finding the problem and called our electrician in North Germany, who advised him think simple and start at the beginning of the line. Problem soon found; the batterie “on/off” button had corroded causing a short in the loading system. Who would have though of that ?? Who puts an “on/off” button on the damn thing anyway ?? Hubby ( being the McGyver he is ) disconnected the whole switch : and voila : it worked again.

 

IMG_2702.pngToday , September 8th our Blue Pearl and crew left Guernsey, France bound. Originally planning to reach Brest by early tomorrow morning, it now looks as if it will be Roscoff they reach first. No wind, no wave and a calm sea seems to be forecasted. Engine power and a lot of patience is was they will be needing.

I´m home. What can I say ? it sucks !!!! I miss my husband badly.

Tania

Solar panels installed – ready to go!

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The final large projects on board are done! We have installed 6 solar panels with 100 W each which generate a full 30 A at 12 V. These pump 6 x 220 Ah into the batteries, so that on sunny days we are completely self-sufficient and in bad weather with low to no sun we’d have to recharge the batteries after approx. 14 days!

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Easier said than done – in order to attach the construction we had to drill 50 holes in stainless steel. We needed 12 hours, 6 drill heads and a lot of sweat. But in the evening all the panels were fixed. On the following day my genius electrician (Höppli Yachtelectronic, Kiel) connected them up to the system and they started up just fine.

Further we installed a front camera from Raymarin which could be integrated in the board computer enabling us to have a realy good view of what’s going on outside whilst inside the boat, amazing!

Boy´s Toys !!!

Who came sight the camera???

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And………:

It´s magic!!!

 

 

 

But we still had to find the problem within the electrical system which is the cause of all the disturbances.  I found it when I took a closer look at the wiring of the motor.  There was actually the wiring harness attached to the engine cooler !!!!  The result can be seen here:

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What a horror: the short circuit caused the auxiliary alternator’s control unit to fail, causing the alternator to stop charging, resulting in damage to the charging manifold and batteries.  Small cause – big effect!

We now have an error free electrical system just by reconnecting a few cables and slight changes within the settings.

So take care of your cables!

 

 

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An easier project was finalzing the upholstery in the salon.  With 1.70 m x 1.90 m the largest bed in the whole ship!  Now we have a total of 7 berths.

 

 

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And we have a new outborder with 15 hp for the Dinghi. Only flying is better!!!

 

 

 

So everything is well prepared for the great journey although I know that you can never be prepared for all the things that are yet to come.  But that’s just part of the fun: keeping the boat running, repairing large and small things and keeping them running!  I think that’s the german engineer in me….

In the meantime the crew is fixed. For me it is unbelievable that it’s only 5 weeks until we start. Slowly the excitement grows. A dream that has taken 5 years to take shape is comming true –

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                                                    we are going on a world tour!

 

 

Back in the Water, fine weather and time to plan the next journey

After a lot of repairs and a lot of new stuff over the winter, we managed it:

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Pearly is back in the Water!

 

We’ve been busy doing a few repairs:

Last season the controller of the generator failed, the starter- and anchor/winch-batteries got damaged and also the bow thruster batterie went – so all of the above had to be repaired, changed or replaced. We  installed a new controller, we changed the shaft-sealing, being replaced for the first time in 30 years. We´ve got a new bathing plattform and a solar-panel-construction with integrated davids for the dinghy.

 

 

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Where is the ocean?

On the  07th of May we got finaly hooked up, eased into water by a crane and returned to our  berth.

But there were still a lot of things to do before we could sail for the first time this year:

 

I still had to do the engine inspection and change the oil and diesel filters. Further I checked the water pump and impeller, the cooler and finally the water filter.

After all this I noticed that the tacho is going nuts – sometimes it runs, sometimes it doesn’t ??? What on earth is wrong now? Engine and all other systems running, and time and sunshine running away with us, we decided to ignore the problem for now and go out sailing instead. The problem will still be there tomorrow – we’ll deal  with that next week.

 

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Another device that didn´t work was the victron-electricity-panel. I had to replace it after moisture had penetrated through an unsealed gap- straight in the electricity corner. A new one  installed and after connecting all the cables it found every other device appart from the victron charger/inverter which is a device from the same manufacturer and basically should be a “plug and play” thing…. WTH..  Plug and cry!!! I checked the voltage, the batteries were charging and all the equipment was running. As I said before- I’m getting good at ignoring problems-

Let’s go sailing!

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On may 10th we prepared the ship for sailing after checking the mast and rigging and installing the lazy-jacks. Someone had to climb to the top – no major problem with our mast-steps, still till today do I get a strange feeling in my stomach, even though I do enjoy it.

Everything seemed to be fine so we could set the sails, connected all ropes and left the harbour, ready for great sailing but … we had no wind!

 

But in the afternoon we found the wind and sailed with 8 knots enjoying a blue sky.

Princess-sailing! A good sign for a great season.

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A weekend later we were joined by a girl-friend of Tania and sailed to Ostende and back to Nieuwpoort, also with a speed of 8 knots – thanks to the current!

But we have still our problem with the electricity; the main problem being – the batteries are only charged by an on-shore connection. Maybe I made a mistake installing the new controller of our generator. “I will check it next weekend” I thought. It is not important for now because we have 6 x 220 Ah batterie packs  which are strong enough for five days worth of electricity. That is enough as long as we sail in the channel area where you can only overnight in marinas. I will do my best but the whole electricity on board is a clomplex system. If I’m unable to repair it, my electrician plans to drop by in July to install the solar panels, so then we can check the whole system.

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I am positive we can still plan to start our great journey to A Coruna as planned in September of this year.

Until then we will carry on touring around the English channel from June until August.

If you would like to meet us, visit the vessel or sail with us, contact us!

Wolfgang