Captains Blog 52 – Return of the Mighty Viking

Vasile at Slick Hull is a workaholic. He buzzes around the yard on an electric scooter sorting 3 or 4 things out at once, never seeming flustered or phased. There must’ve been 15 to 20 boats having
work done when we were there, so raising Elice’s paint job in the priority order needed a deadline to get things moving. I booked the relaunch in 4 weeks’ time and let him know. It worked; we had a crew working on the hull pretty much straight away.

Local Gulls are big fans of the boatyard. The overnight accommodation and extensive open-air bathroom facilities were a big draw. Every evening the yard was full, then cleared first thing as they turned attention to badgering port fishing boats. However, there’d often be one or two who just stayed behind.

They’d obviously got boat yard and knackers yard mixed up as these beauties weren’t heading anywhere. I would offer encouraging words as I passed them en route to the bathrooms, but on return found them either dead or well on their way. I gave up offering encouragement and simply
stated the obvious. After the first few occurrences, I decided that instead of words of encouragement
I’d simply state the obvious. “Not long now”, “head towards the light” or “ah, you had a good run though”, but always in a cheery tone. Poor cleaning lady had a right job clearing away the fatalities.

One of the outstanding boat jobs was to take delivery of a new engine alternator so that we could finally sort the battery charging issue. Our Friends David and Nicky were heading back to Portugal from the UK and had generously offered to bring it with them.

We’d been tracking their progress on vessel finder and I noticed they were shown at the marina at Sines one morning, not somewhere I’d have expected them to be. I jokingly said to the first mate
“you don’t think they’ve had an Orca attack, do you?”

I regretted this as I soon found out that they’d suffered an Orca attack! not far offshore and had their rudder bent at 50° about half way up! Orca attacks have become a very real threat and we’d
been very lucky in dodging an encounter.
Most of us would’ve arranged for boat repairs where we were. Not these two! They checked the steering, dived beneath to satisfy themselves they could still progress, then set off for the Algarve.

They appeared at the boatyard a couple of days later with our alternator and some fittings for the spinnaker poles. It was great to see them both and catch up. They’ve been great friends and really helped and advised us, so it was a huge relief to know they’d made it safe and unharmed.

Soon after they arrived, Gary and Ali from Charlotte Elizabeth turned up. They had some concerns about their hull integrity so opted to lift out and have some repair work done. It was great to see them and hopefully they’d get things sorted in readiness for their Atlantic crossing.

Time was cracking on and good progress had been made with the hull. In a few days we’d relaunch and head to Lagos, where Antonio would measure up for the cockpit enclosure, repair the large genoa and make a removable stay for the jib sail.

The hull work was completed a day before relaunch and it looked fantastic. Yes, the process to this stage hadn’t been totally without incident, but the result was stunning. I was so chuffed with it and
grateful to all the staff at Slick hull who’d been involved, either directly or indirectly (Maria).

We relaunched, anchored in Ferraguda overnight then had a slightly nervous trip to Lagos the next day. Orcas had attacked a few boats just off Alvor, which lies between Lagos and Portimão, only a few days earlier. We made it unscathed.

The next challenge was mooring Elice at Lagos having just had a spanking new paint job on the topsides. We knew exactly where we were going, we’d spoken to the marina only few days before.
Only problem was that the boat occupying our spot hadn’t left, so we were offered an alternative that required us to switch fenders and mooring lines from one side to the other. This all made for a slightly nervous docking.
It was actually a great alternative, with plenty of room and it was a shame we had to relocate the following day. Work cracked on at a pace. Antonio took all the measurements and began work on the enclosure, sail repair and stay. I started a deep clean of the outside of the boat and a string of visitors appeared over the next week.

Just after arriving, I’d been returning to Elice after a trip to the bathrooms when I recognised a tall, slim fella from about 50 metres away. I snuck up behind him and said “I know that walk”. It was our good friend Erling, who we’d met in Northern Spain, with his lovely wife Karin and spent a fantastic 18 months exploring into and around the Mediterranean. (Captains Blog 12 ish – 33).

It was brilliant to see him and have him stay onboard. We enjoyed a great week and it was so good to have some help and be able to talk through various ideas and improvements for Elice. We
enjoyed plenty of refreshing beers together with good food and even managed a fishing trip plus a fine meal from the Swedish chef as a result, before he set off home to Sweden.

Just before Erling left us, we were joined in Lagos by Phil and Sara who’d sailed down in a oner from the UK on their beautiful Boreal, Vagrant. We’d met them in Penarth Marina the previous Winter and
they’d plans to head into the Med for the following Summer.

It was all hustle and bustle and though jobs were getting ticked off, things were starting to fall behind. The large Genoa had been repaired and the removable stay made up and fitted. The cockpit enclosure had stalled a bit and we were starting to get twitchy about time scales as we’d booked flights from Gran Canaria to the UK and needed a reasonable weather window to sail to the

The Marina also needed our mooring as the permanent occupant was heading back so we decided to anchor at Alvor, until the cockpit enclosure was ready. We’d not really explored Alvor much so it was an ideal opportunity to kick back and like holiday makers and explore for a while.
While we were at Alvor, Phil and Sara joined us for a break. Sara opted to dinghy over while Phil sorted a water maker issue out. An hour or so later, Phil decided to swim across to us. Sarah, Sara and I sat chatting, occasionally glancing towards Phil and thinking “he’s not making much progress”. I kept looking over and assumed he must really enjoy being in the water.
Eventually there was a mildly anxious shout “some help would be nice”. He’d been effectively marking time for 10 minutes due to a pretty strong current. I pottered over to collect him with our dinghy and deliver him to our boat. It was nothing a stiff G&T couldn’t put right.

It really was time to go. We had a long passage ahead of us and needed the cockpit enclosure and
some fuel before we set off, but we’ll deal with that next time.

Hwyl fawr am y tro

Captain Mac

2 Replies to “Captains Blog 52 – Return of the Mighty Viking”

  1. We loved the blog, Elice got a new facelift, but what colour did you paint her, did you do the hull or both the hull and deck. Since we now know you are in Bermuda and we read all of the crossing notes, the next blog should be long and interesting. Keep them coming.


    1. Hi both, it’s always great to get a comment on the blog, so thank you.
      We opted to paint the hull in a slightly off white as Amels didn’t opt to use white for some reason🤔
      We still need to paint the deck etc but that will have to wait until we get a suitable time. There’s still a lot of work to do on her, but it’s really more superficial stuff to tidy her up.
      Enjoy getting back afloat and take care😁👍🏻


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