We’ve all been so frantically busy, these past few months, that the Mollymawk website has been rather neglected – and since the pressure is still on, this update will be brief.
Caesar and Xoë have still got their noses to the grindstone, as they study hard for their A levels. This puts the rest of the crew under a lot of pressure too, as it means that there are only three of us to do all of the chores. Most people imagine that the life of a sailor is an idle one, but nothing could be further from the truth; we seem to spend our whole time fixing things or attending to the paintwork. Of course, the fact that we are also still building the boat doesn’t help…
We were determined to get out of the Mar Menor before the end of summer – and we didn’t.
But we’re out now!
We’ve hopped across to Melilla, a Spanish enclave on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.
Melilla is a strange little place, and I have written much more about it here.
However, we didn’t actually come here to sight-see or to wonder at the weirdness of it all. We came here to slip the boat.
It was the first time since the launch that Mollymawk had ever been out of the water, so it was quite an exciting moment.
Things were in pretty good order, as it transpired. Our makeshift, home-brew “copperbot” had not kept away the weed and barnacles, but the combination of thorough sand-blasting, zinc primer, and various coats of epoxy have certainly protected the boat from harm. After researching the matter very thoroughly we opted to repaint her, this time, with the genuine article – Coppercoat.
We’ll let you know how it goes… [UPDATE – See our review of Coppercoat, and our later article on The Search for an Effective and Environmentally-Safe Antifouling.]
While Nick prepared the nether, watery regions for their new coat of copper antifouling, I repainted the topsides and touched up the dolphins. The starboard escort is still of three common dolphins, but the ones keeping us company on the port bow have been replaced with a dusky dolphin and two heavisides. These are the species which spent so much time guiding us along the coast of Namibia, on our shakedown cruise. (More of a shake-up, actually, as many of you will know…)
Curiously enough, the day we relaunched the boat was almost exactly eight years to the day after her first baptism. In fact it may even have been the very day – but we aren’t sure as we can’t put our hands on the logbook…
Now all we have to do is wait for the weather to sort itself out, and then we can be on our way.
The day before we slipped Melilla endured a deluge of biblical proportions; the flooding was enough to carry away part of the huge frontier fence, and in neighbouring Morocco there were 28 deaths. It’s been raining hard since we re-launched too, and it has also been very windy and cold. Indeed, just the other day the lads from the boatyard came over especially to tell us that it had been snowing in the adjacent town of Nador.
Snowing! In Africa! And not up in the mountains, mark you, but down on the coast!
So far as we can gather, this is the first time that they have had snow in Nador and the boys were very excited. But they were even more excited when they saw that Nick was still padding around on deck in his flip flops. Now they come to look at us every morning, presumably in the interests of finding out whether our skipper has got frostbite yet.
Rest assured, the remainder of the crew are wearing boots and woolly hats, and are clutching hot water bottles.
Oh, if only we’d got round to installing the diesel heater.
Oh, if only the wind would blow a nice easterly – not too strong, but not too light – and waft us on our way out of the Med and down to the lands of sunshine and warm seas…