On our last night in Menorca we joined the local bridge club who meet weekly in our hotel. We were rather daunted by the organisation of the duplicate tables and a bit at sea with their method of silent bidding. However we played very conservatively and felt we had not disgraced ourselves. Imagine our surprise when we got an email from the Director saying we had come a close second, first N/S.
On our arrival in Barcelona we made straight for the boat brokers and were greeted by Marcello, a highly loquacious, but very charming, Argentinian. He drove us to boatyards around the city to look at some new Dufours just being prepared for other clients and finally to a small port about 40 km. north of the city where in another large marina, Arenys de Mar, we saw Ulises.
A Jeanneau 49. This boat appealed greatly although didn’t have quite a few of our specifications. It is 2005 vintage but more to our taste being much better appointed down below with plenty of solid wood rather than the lightly veneered plywood that goes into the more recent offerings. On deck the boat was also in excellent condition with good sails and strong rigging.
We were so impressed that Marcello, (one of whose favourite expressions is “Ees Crazy” ) offered to take us for a test sail. This we did on Friday. It was windy and cool but the boat handled beautifully in 22 knots of breeze and we had a grand beat out into the Mediterranean and then a fast reach up and down the coast.
The drama occurred when we came to moor the boat stern to the jetty. We were unable to find a boat hook and so could not pick up the mooring bow line. Also the boat does not have a bowthruster which made this sort of manoeuvre in quite a strong sidewind rather difficult. It took a long time to get settled with much forward and reversing until we finally got tied up. There were four of us on board which helped a great deal. The final indignity was getting one of the mooring lines wound tight around the propeller. This can only be cleared by a diver. Throughout all this Marcello was very cool, although even he was “over it” by the end. It did, however, make us wonder how the two of us would handle a similar situation in such a big heavy boat.
Last night Marcelo took us to the TP52 regatta crew party at Real Club Nautico de Barcelona. The biggest & best G & T’s we have ever had!
There are still more boats to see here in Spain, then perhaps Portugal and on to France. We are waiting for the agents to get back to us.