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Barry's Blog # 30 – A pound of flesh

The email that popped into the A B Sea inbox said "There is a package for you here, but you need to pay an extra 310 Euros import duty on it."

A quick check with an online currency converter told me it was an extra AU$477 (Ouch). The package, waiting for us in the Marina Estrella office, turned out to be our new Mantus anchor which we'd purchased online 2 days previously for AU$2,062. We'd chosen the Mantus brand because all of our anchor research had shown us that a Mantus anchor will set first time and provide unparalleled holding power, which translates to a good night's sleep knowing that when we wake up our home will be exactly where we parked it. Once we start sailing our overall plan is to stay away from expensive marinas and spend most of our time at anchor, which is free to do in most areas of the Mediterranean, so we needed an anchor that was up to that task.

With the total cost of the Mantus now standing at AU$2,539 we were excited to unpack it, assemble it and replace the old anchor. At this point in time we had no idea that the final price of the Mantus would include more money and a pound of flesh. My flesh.

The stainless steel railing at the bow of a vessel is called the pulpit and as you can see from the photo above, ours included a small teak seat on the very end. However once we'd assembled the Mantus anchor, complete with its oversized roll bar and long shank, we could plainly see that the anchor and the pulpit were not a match made in heaven. The anchor shank would catch on the stainless steel on the way out and the anchor roll bar would catch on the way in. The only solution was to modify the front end of the pulpit which meant removing it from the boat and sending it off to the stainless steel guy. Two days later the modified pulpit, minus the teak seat and some of the foreward stainless steel, was refitted and it and the Mantus now live happily together at the bow.

The steel bolt that pierced the back of my hand

The teak seat on the pulpit had only been in place for a few days and I'd had to use steel bolts that were slightly too long so they protruded out underneath by a centimetre. The plan was to ask Fernando at a later date to cut the ends of the bolts off with his angle grinder. Fate had another plan. After we'd assembled the Mantus and attached it to the end of the anchor chain it was time to haul it in for the first time to see how it fitted.

Aannsha, standing on the bow, was tasked with pushing the button which makes the electric windlass pull in the anchor and I, standing on the dockside, was tasked with lifting the 39 kilo Mantus by its roll bar to make sure it didn't drag and cause damage. Several things happened very quickly. Neither Aannsha nor I knew that an electric windlass continues winding for a second or so after the switch is released. We also didn't realise how fast it would wind in the anchor chain. And I just happened to have my right hand in the wrong place. As the anchor was pulled in, the top of its roll bar jammed up underneath the teak seat with my hand sandwiched in between and pinned by a centimetre of steel bolt piercing the back of my hand. After some expletives from me, Aannsha quickly pushed the second button to release the anchor and my hand. At first glance it looked quite deep, but there were no broken bones and I knew it wouldn't require stitches.

What is the recommended first aid treatment for a combined crush and stab injury? Going below we suddenly realised that we didn't have a first aid kit on board, ironically it would turn up the following day along with some other items we'd purchased on line. Making do with what we had I flushed the wound with fresh water, Aannsha cleaned the area as best she could, applied copious amounts of iodine and covered it with a big band aid. We changed the dressing and cleaned the wound area every day and now a week later it has scabbed over nicely and there is no sign of infection and the swelling has almost gone. An interesting introduction for us as to how fast things can go wrong on a boat and an important lesson learned while we were thankfully still attached to a marina.

Other work on A B Sea has progressed very slowly this week. A couple of places where there were small holes in the gel coat have been filled and painted. Our A B Sea logo stickers have arrived and we'll stick them on once we have her removed from the Spanish registry and recorded on the UK registry. Then we get to fly the British red ensign off the stern and put up our Spanish courtesy flag. We bought courtesy flags for each of the countries we plan to visit in the Med which includes France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey, Egypt, Malta, Albania, Morocco, Tunisia, Portugal, Madeira, Algeria and Cape Verde. There's still an issue with the hot water system and I have to get around to servicing the cockpit winches and servicing the engine. I'll have to read the engine manual to make sure that I buy the correct fuel, air and oil filters and the right size impeller for the water pump.

We have had to hire a car again, this time we decided to go for 3 weeks as we cannot achieve everything we need to get done in just one week. The first place we drove to was back to Murcia and in particular to Casco Antiguo the scuba store, to get Aannsha fitted out with everything she needed. That was an interesting couple of hours. The guy Vincent didn't speak any English but between us we managed to get everything we wanted and even had a good laugh at one point when Aannsha was trying to get a point across by adding in sound effects which sounded like a Madame in a fetish brothel cracking a whip. You had to be there really.

Access to a car has meant that we have been able to restock our provisions of food and water and we've also now got an excel spreadsheet which tells us how much of any one thing we have in stock, exactly where it's stored and what expiry date it has. I actually have a complete under seat locker dedicated to beer and I think there's enough room to fit in three more 24 packs. That's always a good thing right?

Aannsha has covered the inside of most of the main hatches with fine mesh to keep flying insects at bay, in particular the mosquitoes, which are the size of sparrows here. So it's now quite a relief to be able to sleep with a hatch open to allow the moisture to escape and cool fresh air to enter. It's a very simple system in which the fly screen mesh just sticks to a Velcro strip stuck around the edge of the hatch.

While we have the car there's a plan afoot to drive to Cartagena (45 mins south) and do some touristy sightseeing, there's a lot of military history there and some old forts to explore. It'll make a nice distraction and we're hoping to get some interesting footage for you.

A lot of what I've talked about in this blog is included in tomorrows Sailing A B Sea YouTube video so remember to check that out and give it a thumbs up and leave a comment. Thanks for reading and take it easy.

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