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Barry's Blog # 31 – Maniac riding a dragon!

Did I mention that the marina we're staying in is directly under the flight path of planes going into and out of San Javier airport? San Javier also happens to be the home base of Spain's air force aerobatics team the Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol). During our stay in the marina we've seen them flying out to practice, sometimes it's just two or three, sometimes it's the full wing. It's fascinating at first then you become used to it, especially the sound. The other day, while down in the saloon editing a video, my brain registered the sound of a military jet but this one sounded different. Instead of the superfast whine of an Eagle Patrol plane this one had a roar like the sound of a dragon trying to rip the sky apart. Interest piqued we went out to have a look at the dragon which turned out to be a Eurofighter Typhoon with a maniac in the pilot seat. A very skilled and competent maniac.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is powered by two Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines that can push it through the air at 2,495 km/h (the speed of sound is 1,192 km/h). The one we were looking at wasn't doing anywhere near that speed but it was doing some awesome aerobatics. After 20 minutes the maniac must have decided that he'd impressed everyone on the ground enough and took his dragon home. Walking back to our boat we met Jose who explained to us that King Felipe VI would be attending the San Javier air show on Sunday with the Spanish aerobatics team being joined by the Italian and French teams plus the Eurofighter and other aircraft. Time to fully charge all of our camera batteries and free up some space on the SD cards!

The show was spectacular, the skill of the people who fly these aircraft is awe inspiring and although we were viewing at a distance from the small sand hills that look back over Las Salinas wetlands to the Mar Menor we had a great day out and captured some good footage which you can see in this week's Sailing A B Sea YouTube video.

All hands on deck

Monday of this week Jose and his crew hooked right into lots of small jobs with the installation of a combo masthead light and deck floodlight being the first thing. This involved moving A B Sea about 40 metres so that she could tie up to the dock side on which would allow the cherry picker easy access to our mast. That install went very well with just a small glitch where one of the electrical cables was labelled incorrectly, the electrician soon sorted it out. The white masthead light that is illuminated when we're under way after dark is LED, so it's very low power consumption, but the deck floodlight is a standard 12volt halogen light, which will use a lot of power but is only likely to be switched on for short periods should we need to do something on the foredeck at night.

Exploding Battery

Fernando tried to start the engine last week and with no warning at all the engine start battery literally exploded. I'm glad that happened while we were still in the marina. A decision was made to replace the three service batteries too as they were the same brand (Bosch) and bought at the same time as the engine start battery. I have no idea how old the original batteries were, but we now have four brand new batteries (Varta) which should last us about 5 years.

The modified stainless steel pulpit which had been reinstalled, was removed again so that the wiring for the red and green (LED) navigation lights could be replaced. That looks very good and it's comforting knowing that the nav lights now come on and stay on. The new Mantus anchor and the modified pulpit look as though they are not going to get in each other's way when we're lowering or bringing up the anchor. I guess we'll not really know that for sure until we've anchored a few times.

Lightening over Las Salinas marina

A couple of nights ago a half decent rain storm passed through. Aannsha and I were watching a movie in the princess suite when it started and the raindrops sounded nice landing on the deck, it reminded me of the sound the rain makes on the tin roof of an Aussie house. We happily thought that a good strong downpour would clean the decks, which were looking a bit scruffy with all the workmen coming and going. However the next morning told a different story. There was a fine reddish brown dust all over the boat. It seems that when the wind blows from the south it can sometimes bring a lot of dust from north Africa. I think most of it landed on our boat. Aannsha and I got out the hose and deck brush and got to work. It took us an hour and a half to get the decks and canvas dodger and bimini cleaned and I don't know how much water we used but it's certainly not a job we could do using our onboard water supply.

First time dinghy driver

As a treat for a good days work we thought we'd try out the dinghy and outboard. This first time we literally just carried the dinghy to the edge of the pontoon and placed her in the water. Once we are out in the Mediterranean and sailing, getting the dinghy into the water should be fairly straightforward because of the davit system we had installed. Getting the outboard attached to the dinghy transom is going to be the hard part. There is a small separate davit dedicated to lifting the outboard but it is presently on the 'unfinished jobs' list. Once it's ready we'll have to do a couple of trial runs to see how the two of us are going to handle that. The outboard weighs 40 kilos and although one person can lift it from point A to point B, the idea of lowering it from a rolling yacht down onto the transom of a small dinghy bobbing around on the water is giving us cause for concern. I'll let you know how that works out.

The first time out with our new dinghy and outboard

Luckily the day we decided to try putting the dinghy and outboard together we had Fernando on hand to help us with lifting and fitting the outboard. So armed with a waterproof camera, sunscreen and hats we took off for a short ride out of the harbour/marina entrance and got a feel for how she handled. It was my first time driving a dinghy with an outboard and it was interesting getting a feel for it while also trying to keep the revs low. The owner's manual (which I have actually read) contains the following instructions for the first time use of a new engine. For the first hour run the engine at varied throttle up to 2,000 RPM. The second hour run the engine at varied throttle up to 3,000 RPM and at full throttle 1 minute in every 10. For the next 8 hours of operation avoid continuous operation at full throttle for more than 5 minutes at a time. There's no visual rev counter so we're just going to have to take it easy for the first 10 hours of use. Keeping track of the 10 hours engine run-in time is going to be fun, but we have now clocked up a whole 20 minutes.

Finally, for this blog, I am happy to say that the injury to the back of my right hand is healing very nicely. That whole incident could have been a lot worse and I count myself as a very fortunate chap. You can read about the incident in the blog previous to this one or you can watch how it happened on this YouTube video. Until next week, take it easy.

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