Under Way Again


Finally the big day came, Julian Crisp, the Sparman, and his sidekick Connor had spent Friday assembling the mast, rigging etc and today, Saturday, the crane was organised to be in the marina for 1 o'clock.

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We were to move from our dock position to the lifter pond so that the crane would have easy access to lift and position our mast but first Maurice was waiting for a big catamaran to come mid-morning to be lifted for a survey inspection. Of course the cat came late, after 12. It was a brand new 52 ft power cat and only just fitted into the lifter but was hauled and moved to the apron just on land from the lift pond. People were scrambling around looking here and there, the surveyor was doing some electrical earthing measurements. The cat was just sitting in the lifter slings, not chocked up at all when BANG, the front sling gave way and the front of the cat dropped about half a meter onto the stony apron surface.

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Very luckily no one was underneath at the time and the Colombian built boat had been strong enough not to sustain structural damage. For us it meant reevaluation of the plan. We figured that the crane could do its job almost right where Ednbal was tied up, by just swapping positions with another yacht next to us.

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By late afternoon it was all done, new mast rigged, again she was looking like a sailing vessel and the Champaign flowed after which it was dinner at “El Balcon” in the Old city!

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A couple of things were missed by the suppliers, the headsail furler swivel was missing from the Profurl kit and the mast car for the spinnaker pole was missing from the USSpars kit so we had another week or so to wait for them to be shipped. In the mean time we had our ongoing battle with William trying to get out bimini and dodger completed. It was soon apparent that he and his team just were not capable, try as they may, to make a bimini and dodger properly. At the end of the day, over six weeks after starting the job they gave up, refusing to try and get it right which left us with a substandard job to say the least. Our backstop was to get it fixed by one of the cruisers in the San Blas, sailing vessel Blue Sky, who were professionals and did many such jobs for other cruisers. In the meantime, we were busy installing the new window and porthole that were demaged in the mast break disaster.

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Novi Prozor

At last we checked out of Colombia and cast off about midday 15 April 2014, some seven months after arriving, the longest time by far that Ednbal had been stationery.

The refit list was very long, and we knew we will be happy again in not too distant future. Ednbal Refit in 2014

Our shakedown cruise was just twenty miles to the Rosario Islands. First up our primary GPS, for the first 15 minutes or so kept losing fix, then when Sasha fired up the PC navigation software with the first backup GPS the driver wouldn't connect but luckily the channel out into the main Cartagena bay area was fairly well marked which gave us time to sort things out. Sasha got onto the net via the phone and downloaded several new drivers for her GPS before she found one that worked, why the original stopped who knows, and found, from Raymarine, that the primary GPS has a small battery that was likely, after seven years, flat. The battery enables the GPS to remember where it is so it can quickly pick up the right satellites without having to search the shy. Next when we put up sail I discovered that I had put the boom car on the wrong way around. It still worked but certainly was not right! With some sailing and some motoring we made it to Grand Rosario by 5 to try and get in to Isla Nasa, the holiday spot of the Marina owners where we would meet up with Maurice the next day. No chart had much detail of the area and the channel markers were long gone so we tried to make our way with Sasha standing on the bow watching water depth. Ednbal draws 1.5m and after seeing the echo sounder read 1.4m accompanied by mild panic from Sasha I decided it best we anchor out! There was one other boat, a local 50 ft power boat and the guy on board pointed us in the right general direction for a nice sandy bottom anchoring area. With great relief we dropped the pick and opened the Champaign for our first night back on anchor. Next day, after spending a few hours on the post-marina cleanup, re-commissioning the dingy and reversing the boom car we dinghy-ied over to Isla Nasa and spent a lovely few hours with Maurice and his girlfriend Karen. Maurice even dragged out his good rum to mix us his special Cuba Libre with lime and bitters. It was so good that I had to have a few more.

We had been checking the weather forecasts for a couple of days and the trend was for decreasing winds, to have a chance of sailing to the San Blas we needed to leave early the next morning, Thursday, as after that wind would be light and variable all the 200 miles to the San Blas for the foreseeable future. At 7.30 we upped anchor and slowly made our way over the shallows to deep water and headed for the lovely San Blas. Now with everything working properly on board it was far less stressful and far more enjoyable. After a couple of hours I put the line in the water with an old lure on, but no action so later in the afternoon I got out some of the skirted lure headed I had made in Cartagena and made up a new one and put it on.

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Soon after we were having our afternoon shower on the swim platform, both naked and soapy when of course the reel started to scream, panic stations! Sasha started heading Ednbal up wind to slow us down from our 6.5kt lovely beam reach sailing but the fish was too big, taking almost all the line before I put the tension to maximum and the line broke, well at least the lure worked! Although I had replenished fishing equipment stock in Cartagena I had, for some unknown reason, neglected to buy spare line. All I could do was join the remnants of what was left on the reel to some other remnants to get less than half a spool of suspect line. I made up another, smaller lure and towed it about 20m behind the boat until sunset but without much luck.