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Happy New Year!

January 2, 2013
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Duncan helps our neighbour, Hayden, to remove the sails on his cataman, “L’Albatross” just after our return from UK in November

It’s been a while since we last posted – in fact it was just after we got back from our trip to UK and southern Spain – so I think that there’s more enough to talk about now. We’re back aboard “Rampage” again after Christmas and we’ve just celebrated New Year in the marina bar, so we’re taking life gently today!

Since we came back from our trip we’ve been working steadily on the dreaded winter jobs list, ticking off items as we go and steadily reducing the things yet to do. In between times, we’ve been keeping up with other folks in the marina and doing a bit of exploring round the area.

Party aboard "L'Albatross" with Vinnie, Sheila and Josea

Party aboard “L’Albatross” with Vinnie, Sheila and Josea

Lisa with Vinnie and Josea aboard "L'Albatross"

Lisa with Vinnie and Josea aboard “L’Albatross”

One fun day we replaced all the reefing lines and the other ropes associated with the boom – you know, the bit at the bottom of the mainsail that clouted me before we left UK. It’s a fun job, as the mechanism relies on a complicated set of little cars that move up and down inside the boom. Each of our 3 reefs requires 2 ropes, both of which attach to this car. Then there’s the rope called the outhaul which pulls the bottom of the sail into the correct place, which also has a complex set of internal pulleys. The job took us most of the day and included it’s fair share of muttered curses, dropped bits and misthreaded ropes. However, it’s done now and looks good, with new solid colour ropes to make identification of the various reefs that much easier.

First quiz night at St Carles marina, with Duncan in quiz master mode.

First quiz night at St Carles marina, with Duncan in quiz master mode.

Before we left for UK, we took delivery of a new wind instrument; one of the things that goes on the top of the mast and tells you which way the wind is blowing and how fast by means of a nifty little display in the cockpit. It was broken on arrival so we sent it back to Amazon who replaced it for us without any quibbles. I now had no excuse not to get on with the job of fitting it.

Jane and Patrick discuss cruising plans for 2013 with Duncan aboard "Rampage"

Jane and Patrick discuss cruising plans for 2013 with Duncan aboard “Rampage”

The kit came in 3 parts: a masthead sensor unit, the cockpit display and the cable to join them together. I had to go up the mast twice to fit the masthead sensor and thread the wire down through the mast; I dropped one of the fitting screws overboard the first time. Routing the cable from the mast to the cockpit required removing large lumps of the headlining and fitting the display lead to cutting alarmingly large holes in the both the cockpit and the head lining of the aft cabin. Overall, it took me about a week to finish the job.

Ancient Iberian hilltop village which we visited on a tour of the local area

Ancient Iberian hilltop village which we visited on a tour of the local area

Stunning scenery just inland from Sant Carles

Stunning scenery just inland from Sant Carles

In the meantime, J has made a start on making new covers for the cockpit cushions. She bought some stripy denim material whilst we were in UK and has made the first cover – it looks good but she has only done one so far on the grounds that until the teak in the cockpit has been re-caulked the chances of getting the new cover dirty are too great.

Josea decorating biscuits aboard "Rampage"

Josea decorating biscuits aboard “Rampage”

All of these jobs, plus a few others kept us busy between when we got back to Sant Carles and 22 December, when we left the marina mid afternoon to drive back to Alicante Airport, hand back the hire car and fly to Dublin to spend Christmas with Ken, Naomi and the children. The drive down was uneventful, as was the flight to Dublin (why do Ryanair play that dreadful fanfare when they manage to get their plane to land on time(ish)?). Ken picked us up from the airport at just after midnight to take us to the B&B where we were going to stay. All went well until I leapt out of the car at the B&B and opened the boot, whereupon a large tin of pretty pink emulsion paint leapt out and emptied half its contents over the rather nice block driveway we were parked on…… After much hasty scraping with bits of card, Ken was dispatched to get a hose and stiff brush; once he got back we managed to deal with the spill pretty easily. No trace was left in the cold light of the following day and we were thankful that it had been emulsion not gloss but we could all have done without it, frankly!

I’ll let J take over now so that she can fill you in on the various excitements of Christmas time at the Irish Byrnes. Those of you who read this blog for the sailing and nautical content may wish to quit here.

Naturally the excitement and anticipation were nearing fever pitch by the time of our arrival at the house on 23rd.

Lily gets into the Christmas mood!

Lily gets into the Christmas mood!

Naomi had invited various friends to join us for drinks and nibbles that afternoon which was very pleasant. As always on these occasions, the adults congregated in the kitchen (where the alcohol was easily to hand) whilst the boys took over the sitting-room and checked out the new FIFA 13 Wii game Charlie had had for his birthday earlier in the week and the girls had a complicated game of Let’s Pretend which involved much running up and down stairs.

The excitement starts to grow as Jess and Lily play peekaboo from behind the sitting room curtains.

The excitement starts to grow as Jess and Lily play peekaboo from behind the sitting room curtains.

On Christmas Eve D & I were dispatched to pick up the meat order from an unlikely location in the middle of an industrial estate. However the meat itself proved delicious and excellent value for money. Later, D & I had some private shopping to do so I thought I would give Naomi a little break from the attentions of her younger daughter and agreed to Lily’s pleas to accompany us. She was in fact, very well behaved although it was made clear to me that a visit to a bookshop was a complete waste of time if it didn’t include the purchase of a book for Lily. Unable to deny my grand-daughter much and certainly not such a laudable item as a book, I succumbed and then of course felt honour-bound to find suitable tomes for Charlie and Jess too. The bookshop was busy so we had to queue to pay and I was disconcerted on arrival at the till to find that the book for Daddy, (our only purpose for entering the shop) had been left behind on the shelf of Exciting Adventure Stories for 5 – 8 year olds!

Much of the rest of the day was spent tracking Santa on the Norad website and Charlie and Jess were both amused and slightly sceptical, on finding that Santa was in New Zealand delivering presents to their cousin, Megan, to be told that it was night time there – and summertime to boot!

In Christmas PJs and waiting for Santa as the excitement and anticipation build on Christmas Eve

In Christmas PJs and waiting for Santa as the excitement and anticipation build on Christmas Eve

Later, all three children helped prepare cookies for Santa, and once in their new Christmas nightwear, the carrots and special sparkly reindeer food were sprinkled outside while whiskey and cookies were set beside the fireplace next to three strategically placed stockings.

Christmas Day itself was as noisy and riotous as you might expect, amid huge delight that Santa and his elves had excelled themselves. D had a respite by volunteering to stay at home and cook lunch while the rest of us went to Mass. He coped magnificently and we had a splendid meal despite having overlooking the planned starter of scallops with asparagus spears! After lunch we opened yet more presents and then we all trooped outside to ride bikes in the fleeting spell of sunshine. Lily had a Baby Flicker (for the uninitiated, this is a kind of double sided scooter that you propel along by shifting your weight from one side to the other.) Jess already has a much larger version and both she and Naomi have definitely acquired the knack. I have not. Charlie is still somewhat wary of his rather large BMX birthday present but copes well enough until he has to execute a U-turn. Later when Lily was in bed, we initiated both Jess and Charlie into the strategies and subtleties of Cluedo!

Charlie getting to grips with his new BMX

Charlie getting to grips with his new BMX

Naomi shows Lily just how to use her new Baby Flicker!

Naomi shows Lily just how to use her new Baby Flicker!

On St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day or however December 26th is known in your part of the world, the family went off to visit their other grandmother and many aunts and cousins while D and I took ourselves to see The Hobbit. D has read The Lord of the Rings many times and thoroughly enjoyed the three films which others found tedious. However, we both felt that attempting to turn The Hobbit into three films is somewhat ludicrous and led to the curious result that there were added scenes in the film as opposed to most screen versions of books where much has to be cut.

All dressed up and ready to visit Nanny and the cousins

All dressed up and ready to visit Nanny and the cousins

Mr Cool in all his Burberry gear, courtesy of Lucy and Jonno!

Mr Cool in all his Burberry gear, courtesy of Lucy and Jonno!

27th saw us heading up the new motorway to Dundalk to meet up with friends we made while sailing in Greece. It was wonderful to see Aiveen and John again and catch up on all their news. That evening Naomi and Ken escaped to the cinema to see the latest Bond film while Lily discovered that Granny and Grandpa were not quite the pushovers she’d perhaps taken us for and bedtime really did mean bedtime!

With John and Aiveen McCool at the Carrickdale in Dundalk

With John and Aiveen McCool at the Carrickdale in Dundalk

Lily and Jess admire the crib at the Carrickdale

Lily and Jess admire the crib at the Carrickdale

The 28th was our last full day and we decided to take the children to Tayto Park for some fresh air and exercise. Naomi had had to work that day but joined us en route there while D made a foray to Blanchardstown shopping centre for one or two essential items before our return to Spain the next day.

The journey went well but because we did not arrive in Alicante until about 8pm, we booked a hotel and continued our journey by train and bus the next day. All was in good order on our return, the Ebersbacher roaring away as programmed as we walked up the pontoon. We had decided to run it for an hour a day in our absence to pump fresh air round the boat and keep it reasonably warm and dry. Just as we finished unpacking, friends Jackie and Peter called to invite us for supper aboard Argonauta which was terribly kind and thoughtful and very much appreciated!

Duncan with Peter, Jackie and Chris at the start of the New Year's Eve party

Duncan with Peter, Jackie and Chris at the start of the New Year’s Eve party

Yesterday we marked the end of another year by doing a mammoth load of washing, and shopping to restock the fridge and replace the electric kettle which suddenly decided to roll over and die. Last night I donned a posh frock and high heels, (purchased in haste but not much cost) and we made our way to the marina bar for a merry party to welcome in the New Year. We had a splendid meal and much fun was had by all, though having sung Auld Lang Syne for a second time at 1am as Big Ben struck midnight in London, we decided to make our way home to bed leaving the rest of them to party on into the wee small hours.

The party gets underway

The party gets underway …

We send all our readers very best wishes for the coming year – health and happiness to you all and safe sailing to our nautical friends.

... and degenerates as the evening wears on!

… and degenerates as the evening wears on!

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3 comments

  1. Just found the blog, after following a YBW link.
    Hope you’re both fully recovered now!

    I’d be interested to know a little more about the boat and the fit, etc., as we’re aiming to do very similar, in April 2015 (my early retirement deadline!).

    I have my eyes on a Bavaria 36 (or 39, though they’re rare), as I prefer the aft corner galley set-up, so similar boat too!

    I’d greatly value (as I am sure others would), some more info, please.

    Thanks
    Paul


    • Hi Paul,
      Nice idea! We’ll get our heads together and put a blog or two together on how we chose Rampage and what we did to modify her for the liveaboard life. It’ll give us something to write about at what is a not very exciting time of year!

      Keep watching the blog! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe so that new entries are delivered to your email address.

      Many thanks,

      Duncan


      • Thanks Duncan. Will keep watching. I’ve already subscribed, so will follow on Fb too.

        Never know, we might bump into you – I’ve got a bareboat rental out of Nidri at end of May, for a week, to introduce the other half to the idea!

        Paul



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