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Stern Anchors and Disney in Villefranche!

July 11, 2011

Thursday 7th July

Disney comes to Villefranche!

How exciting to wake up to the big Mickey Mouse ears filling your port hole! Unfortunately it wasn’t Mickey himself, just a lot of his friends on ‘Disney Magic’ the cruise ship! Quite an exciting ship I’m sure and one that certainly packs the town out! I think the best bit was when they left, not because of the peace that fell over the place, or the return to hearing French not American spoken all around you, but because the ship’s horn plays ‘When you wish upon a star’ as the anchor comes up!

Disney Magic

Talking of anchors; having left St Jean Cap Ferret yesterday morning after a relatively good night’s sleep (I slept on deck under the stars until the sun came up at 0530!!) we ambled round to Villefranche. Phil helmed us there and we tried some downwind genoa sailing but either the wind instruments were lying about a NE force 3 or the boat was just being awkward and we couldn’t get more than 2 knots out of her, so after persevering for a while we got Donkey on the case! Arriving in Villefranche we tried to choose a spot to anchor in that was out of the swell. Some other boats had had the same idea so we thought we were in a good place…

The wind was strong enough to keep the boat head-to-wind which meant we were side on to the swell, which although not rough was big and rolling – just perfect to keep First Essential rolling more than is comfortable. So, what to do? We decided to give the whole stern anchor thing a go. A Dutch boat had already put there’s out and it was working well, holding the boat across the wind and into the swell, so it looked promising. Phil went off in Terry (the tender) with a huge aluminium anchor and lots of rope and a fender. He chose a good spot, attached the fender and threw the anchor in. Unfortunately the rope on the fender wasn’t long enough so he pulled it up and took it off. Once the anchor was back in the water he drove Terry back to the yacht whilst I reversed the yacht to him and we met somewhere at the end of the rope and joined up. I then heaved the boat round into the swell by pulling in the ‘slack’ on the rope. Eventually we were sitting beautifully into the swell and life was good!

Phil swam back to the anchor with a longer rope for the fender but struggled to get it on. Once it was attached, we decided that the anchor was a long way away and the French boaters, not being the most observant, would probably ‘prop’ themselves on the line and cause a great deal of hassle. So we used Terry and heaved up the anchor, pulled ourselves closer to the yacht, and droppped again. We heaved in the slack, sat into the swell and were just about to have lunch when…

Dwayne (Douane) and his mates showed up. We were not too worried as having been visited by them in Sainte Maxime and made to stay until our papers were in order, we were confident we were ok. Turns out they weren’t after papers – we were anchored in a ‘forbidden’ spot! Yes it’s marked by yellow buoys, but everyone always anchors there and noone has a problem! Well, it turns out that on a Wednesday lunch time, Dwayne has a problem with this and so we had to move!! So, up came the stern anchor, up came the front anchor and off we went to find somewhere else to park!

The aft guest cabin

We couldn’t find anywhere with enough space for a stern anchor and the swell was pretty bad in the middle of the bay so we called our friends in Port de la Darse and of course they found us a space!! So here we are, nicely parked in a marina where boats don’t move much and the neighbours are friendly, well, on one side anyway. On the other is a nasty old dump of a motor boat with bits sticking out everywhere and a noisy, brash New York owner who is deaf as a post, shouts at everyone in French, Italian and English and has a very skinny Italian woman cooking his meals for him. So far, he’s insulted his crew, spoken to them in Italian (they’re from a country where some form of Chinese is spoken), argued with the Italian woman about his Italian grammar when she told him he was using a word wrongly, told the air-con guys his air con is blowing hot not cold, drunk several bottles of rose and red, shouted at the American embassy on the phone because he’s struggling to fill in the Italian lady’s visa application… at least he’s old and goes to bed relatively early!!

We’ve had a lot of fun today. We decided the air-con on our boat isn’t quite right in the back two cabins – it doesn’t blow as strongly as in the front cabins or the saloon – so I’ve had the boards up and out trying to chase wires here there and everywhere!! The first thing to try and find was the little part that tells the machine what temperature it is in the cabin. Well I followed a wire from the display unit, through the shoe locker, under the bed and then it disappeared! Next was to try the fan itself. Having climbed down into a very deep locker in the back of the boat and found the part we thought was the fan and tried to find wires etc, turns out the part we thought was the fan is actually just the end of the air hose and directs the air into the cabin. As for wires, there are hundreds and none of them were the air con! After a quick think, we remembered the unit is at the foot of our bed, much easier to access! Now the only problem is that it’s an electrical machine and the wires that are in the diagram don’t appear to be on the machine!! I’ve tried restoring factory settings, calibrating the thermometer, decreasing fan speed, and now i’m happy that I know nothing more than I did this morning! The only advantage I seem to have gained is that under our bed somewhere in the bilges we had 4 litres of water rolling around – that’s now gone and we’re dry again! 

Just a few wires!

So for now, we’re getting ready for the next round of guests. 6 are arriving on Saturday evening so a full boat and a busy week! Shopping tomorrow, cabins are made, ice cream’s done, Phil has been round the outside of the hull with some nasty cleaner – it’s now very clean and shiny, so we’re almost there and nearly ready…

A bientot

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