Oh the prop shaft? Ah, there's the rub. When Rum our star NZ mechanic and jetskier came to refit new shaft and reuse the existing flexible coupling we found the ultimate cause of all the problems. For the technically minded - the flange to mate with the gearbox, had been "re-engineered" (probably in the Caribbean when fitting the new engine). Actually it had additional holes drilled in it which were visibly out of centre (2.6mm when I measured it). Engine, gearbox alignment is supposed to be within 5 thou, so can imagine what 2.5 mm does to the other end of a 2 metre shaft. This of course required an additional part from the UK which was then delayed due to forest fires.
To add to our pleasure we are both starting to limp with sore feet (presumably linked to climbing up & down a 12 foot ladder with round metal rungs and walking for miles to get things - oh for a car) I apparently have developed golfer's elbow (I gave my clubs to Oxfam before I left the UK - call that justice?). The joys of being 50!
Whilst we've been sampling the continuing joys of the Sopromar boatyard everyone else has of course been sailing far and wide. Tim & Julia on Noss of Dart have been to Gibraltar and back to get an SSB radio fitted, before they leave to join the ARC, and Joan and Es on Passant have set off for a few weeks in Madeira and the Canaries clutching only one very large scale chart of the East Atlantic. As they said, its more than Columbus had. They made Madeira in 3 days and all is well.
Rob and Maggie on Tanglewood, a steel Vanderstadt, finally arrived. We'd last met them in Figuera da Foz where they waited for a new Perkins to be installed and they were able to provide me with a spare lift pump, so there arrival was an excuse for yet another very late night and some serious damage both to our livers and a bottle of Sainsbury's cooking Cognac. The men of course were the most outrageously behaved.
One couple who hadn't done any sailing for nearly a year were Dex and Maria on a Ferro boat with no name. Dex was a very, very large, very slow moving and uncommunicative Rastafarian from Essex whose ample bottom was not always fully concealed by his low-slung waist band. Maria was an effervescent, pneumatic Cuban lady with two gold canine teeth who was also not always fully concealed. If there is a record for having your boat put back in the water and re-lifted immediately to have yet another leak repaired then they must surely hold it. They finally did float as far as the marina next door before being allegedly asked to leave because of inflicting on their neighbours an excessive amount of both loud music and ganja fumes.
Back to the shaft. The bits arrived and were installed by Rum the following day. All that was now required was to repack the feathering prop with grease and we were away. All this required was a 5mm grease nipple provided with the prop when it was delivered in the UK and that I had apparently thrown away. Well you can always get a 5mm grease nipple can't you? Well no actually, not in Lagos you can't. This was going to require another delay whilst we got one from the UK and of course it was a bank holiday weekend in England. Enter Hugo with one more piece of heroism - "tomorrow I will show you how to do it without the nipple" and he did. Well actually he'd finished packing the prop with grease before we woke up - another of those late nights!
So that was it. No more excuses, we'd have to go back into the water - gulp! They put us in the following afternoon.
Finally crept out first thing next morning through all the fishing boats and headed east along the coast - typing this page lying at anchor in Portimao bay.
Oh and now we've emptied the holding tank!
The views are wonderful, Salade Nicoise is on the table and it's time for a drink. As it is Saturday night the fishing boats will not be going out and we should sleep peacefully - we have reversed against the anchor at 1200 revs!