November 1992 Nazare
We hired a car and went and stayed at my Dad & Mum’s house in Vilar, Poiares which was about 2 hours drive away. We unloaded all of the expensive gear and stored it in my Dad’s house. We also unloaded all of our clothes and bedding so that the dreaded damp would not claim them. I did some work on the boat by commuting between Vilar and Nazare.
Ceris came and visited us for the last week of November. We did the tourist sites in Portugal going to Fatima and the castle at Lousa. My computer gave up the ghost during this week probably as a delayed reaction to when I was over enthusiastically hosing down the deck and dumped about a gallon of water on it back in September. I returned it under warranty.
On the 29th November, I moved the boat into the corner of the marina. A bit of a disaster because I couldn’t start the engine and we had to drag Glencora into her berth. I suspect a short on the ignition switch because the starter brushes look OK.
December 1992 Nazare
We flew back to England on the 1st December and stayed at Ceris’s house. We had a list of things to buy back in the UK which stretched to 5 sides of A4 paper! I spent the first week of December ringing people up and running round like the proverbial headless chicken buying stuff.
The second week we spent on a mid week break at the Center-Parc in Nottingham Forest - an ideal venue for the children to drown daddy.
Then back to another week of frantic buying before relaxing into Christmas. By this time Glenys and I had added a fair amount of weight to our waistlines and reduced our bank balance considerably.
Christmas was a lazy affair apart from the hours and hours spent assembling and reassembling Lego castles and ships. Glenys has had to make another bag to keep the Lego in.
Glenys & I spent New Year’s Eve at my Mum & Dad’s pub; Ceris very kindly looked after the children for two days - luxury!
January 1993 Nazare
During the first week of January, we visited Steve Scott and Dave Marks and went to the boat show in London. We made a major dent in our bank account at the boat show by buying a new water cooled fridge system and a Hydrovane wind vane steering gear.
The next day saw us on the Dover to Calais ferry ready to go skiing, after a brief diversion to get a new anti-roll bar fitted to the car. We were sat in the queue waiting to be loaded on the ferry when I decided to “just” take a look at the front suspension to see what the annoying clunk was. The anti roll bar was snapped in half, so I decided that we had better catch a later ferry.
We then spent three weeks skiing at Tignes, France (well, we had to do something for the rest of the month). The skiing was great although I think that 3 weeks is a little over the top. My shins took two weeks to recover from the experience!
Brett’s skiing came on great guns and he is now skiing parallel most of the time and he has managed to pass his 2 star skiing tests (there are only 3 stars). Craig hated Kindergarten and screamed and stamped his little feet every morning. (He later told us that they made him eat boiled eggs ....) It did him good though and he spent the mornings playing around on skis.
Ceris came out for the last week and looked after Brett and Craig in the mornings. We took Brett out skiing in the afternoons. We managed to complete a very long black run down to Les Brevieres with him, so we are very proud of him.
February 1993 Nazare
We drove back to the UK on the 1st February and had 4 days of frantic buying and organising before we got on the ferry in Portsmouth to go to Santander. We arrived back in my dad’s house in Poiares, Portugal on the 6th February at about midnight, loaded up with books and gear. My mum and dad had already arrived in Portugal and had brought out an even larger load of books and gear in their trailer for us. This was done at great personal sacrifice because their normal car wouldn’t pull all the weight and they had to use their Landrover - a noisy slow journey adding about 10 hours onto their travel time. I still feel guilty about that one!
The next morning Glenys and I rushed out to Nazare to check if the boat had sunk or not. I’d spent many sleepless nights worrying about her, but there she was, just as we had left her. We checked everything, but only came across two problems - the electric bilge pump had jammed - “nao ha problema” and when we ran the engine the oil pressure was low. Further investigation revealed water in the engine oil - major panic!
We went back to Poiares to drown our sorrows. The next seven weeks saw us in a routine of me being left at the boat to work while Glenys and the boys returned to Poiares to live it up. They came to visit me at the boat on weekends.
The engine was my first priority. I suspected that water had got into the engine oil through the oil cooler so I bypassed it and changed the oil in the engine twice to get rid of the water. I ran the engine for a week with no problems. I then reconnected the oil cooler and ran the engine. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad but the engine has run OK for 70 hours with no sign of water. I suppose I’ll just have to keep an eye on it.
During the month, I moved the transom ladder, fitted the Hydrovane, made a cockpit table, fitted a board on the Starboard berth in the lounge and started work on the fridge. Glenys made an awning and cockpit cushions.
I’ve had some interesting times trying to get wood for the boat. I’ve found a place in Sitio, which is above Nazare. They make furniture and kitchen units. The owner is really friendly, but doesn’t speak any English. Occasionally he has one of his younger workers interpret for us but if he’s not around, we resort to wild arm waving and sketches. I try to take detailed drawings along. I’ve mostly been looking for Mahogany and Teak, but they don’t understand what I’m asking for, so they take me out to the scrap wood pile and I ferret around until I find something that looks about right. They are really good and machine the wood to the correct dimensions for me at a very low cost. I guess that I’m the “Mad English sailor”...
One windy day, I asked Senor Campos (the Commodore of the Clube Naval da Nazare) if we could hire an Optimist sailing dinghy for Brett and he very generously loaned it to us until we left. Brett had mixed feelings whilst sailing it, ranging from ecstasy while reaching, to absolute terror while stuck in irons with the flapping boom just above his head. I must admit that when I went out in it I had a good time!
I’ve got into a routine of going to the Clube Navale da Nazare on a Wednesday night. The main room on the ground floor is basically a gambling and drinking den (no women allowed, of course). I walk into clouds of smoke and very intense men playing what I assume is poker. I never stop to play, but after a few weeks, the guys have started to acknowledge me as I walk through on my way upstairs to Snr Campos’s office.
I aim to get there just after nine o’clock, just in time to help Snr Campos open a new bottle of port. We have great conversations about sailing and boats and life in general. He can only speak a little English and I can speak hardly any Portuguese, so we resort to a mixture of French, Spanish, English and Portuguese. Funnily enough, I seem to understand more about what he is saying as the bottle of port empties. I normally manage to escape at midnight, stagger back to the boat and have a lie-in the next day.
I love Nazare, all the people seem so friendly; especially in the port where everyone knows who I am and helps me out. The town is a bit more touristy, but because it is winter it is fairly quiet and the locals get on with their normal lives. The way that they dry fish in the sun on the beach is really interesting.
My mum and dad have introduced us to a fantastic restaurant which is tucked away in a back street. The main clientele are locals and there are very few tourists that find the place. The owner knows my mum and dad well, so we are welcomed like family every time we go there. The Baccalau (salt cod) is fantastic and the pork with clams is Glenys’s favourite.