Abandoned Plans

My sign off last year was ‘wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year’ having just escaped France (Hejira being moored near Nice) before a crippling strike in December. How very apposite this has turned out to be!

To bring you up to date, Hejira was collected from her berth in January and taken to Antibes for some keel work. During the course of the work, the contractor went bust (I had paid half up front) and I had to accept the work being handed over to another contractor that I had not briefed or vetted. Subsequently the yard itself plunged into liquidation with Hejira in their compound so I had to dash out to Antibes, accept and pay for the work which had been done completely wrong and very poorly. I had to supervise a re-launch and rescue Hejira, sailing her back to Baie des Anges single handed in a gale. There continues to be ongoing issues as a result of the ‘botched’ job and it has been a worry having Hejira just floating unattended for all these months unable to check her over as a result of the Coronavirus crisis lockdown.

My plans to cross to the Caribbean this winter are now in tatters and the thirty plus flights booked into and out of destinations en-route are of no use. The prospects of getting refunds appear to be very bleak but I am hoping to salvage holidays using the flights to Antigua just before Christmas.

I am conscious that circumstances are a lot worse for many sailors stranded around the world and finding themselves in limbo with weather windows closing on them and with little chance of escape. I have corresponded with a couple on a Southerly stuck anchored in a bay off Panama for the last 10 weeks. Now that would test a relationship and one’s appetite for adventuring under sail!

In the meantime, I hope to do some sailing on friends’ yachts in the UK when the restrictions allow and I have the germ of an idea to travel the length of the Thames, from Cricklade to Teddington with crew mate John Coe in his 12 foot Tideway dinghy, camping overnight and just ‘getting away from it all’. If this comes together, I will blog an account (it will involve a lot of rowing – is the spelling the same whether with oars or arguing?) as it should be entertaining.

I happened upon this article in the newspaper last week and it may be of interest. It is about the Joni Mitchell album ‘Hejira’ which largely inspired the naming of the yacht:-

Hejira Album

 

10 thoughts on “Abandoned Plans

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  1. Sorry to hear about all the shag & hassle caused to you by the situation, Nick. I’m having difficulty chasing a refund for one flight, let alone 30!

    Stay safe and catch up soon…

  2. Sorry to hear that Nick. But something tells me, even with this wicked string of events – you’ll be back on the water putting up with the debts, hangnails, bruises, bad frights very soon!

  3. Hi Nick

    All our sympathies are with you. No doubt when Esher Rugby gets going again we shall see you and Paula, as it doesn’t look like you will be sailing anywhere in the near future!

    Stay safe

    Barry and Jill

    1. Good to hear from you Barry and Jill. Looking forward to seeing everyone back at Esher as soon as the rugby gets going again although I think the full game will be one of the last things to be released….

  4. Hi Nick,

    Sorry to hear about more tales of woe with Hejira. The Plus side is that you are alive. I find myself walking a very narrow path avoiding contact and worrying about every cough. At my age I’m a walking prime target for the virus. I doubt that this is over before the end of next year, unless your countrymen down there in Oxford can pull off a miracle. I’m very interested to hear about the keel issue,…is there anything I should know or do?
    I have the eberspacher hydronic water system fully functional in our 135 and the first thing I learnt using it is that the water cylinder that Southerly installed has virtually no insulation on it and losses all of its heat in just several hours. Newer systems lose heat at 1C per hour (so they claim) and that is quite acceptable if true. Not knowing that and coming from a country where cylinders are charged at night and must hold heat for several days, last Winter I left the heater on continuously and wound up with a Euro 1700 electricity bill.
    I’m marina locked until I have the new energy system installed and I have gained a VHF Radio license.
    On my last trip back here to NL, just before aviation went Klunk, I flew over Windsor on a clear morning at low level and finally got to see the Palace and the beautiful Royal grounds and gardens in your area.
    I hope you, Paula and Hejira are safe.

  5. On leaks. There is a glue i picked up in Chicago on my last trip there called Gorilla Glue. People over here know about it in Europe so it must be available locally. Basically it is the moisture activated polyurethane foam that commercial kitchen people use to fix sheets of ss to ply wood. It has become my standard goto for sealing difficult hard plastic hoses, but should work in situations like slow leaking keel bolts. Just saying.

    I have a slow leak on my port bilge and it is either a slow leaking keel bolt or a crack in the port water tank. If it is the keel bolt I am going to give the foam a try to see if it will seal against a small amount of water pressure (ie if the foaming rate is greater than 1 PSI of water pressure.

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