28 September 2012

Project: The Egoist Winch

in the front: The Egoist Winch

Our boat has eight winches. And we use and need them all. For non sailors, you use them to handle the lines (sheets or halyards). If you get a lot of wind you cannot hold the lines anymore - a winch gives you the power to reel in lines even if you have a lot of pressure on them.

The only thing we missed was a winch for reefing our big genoa. We always had to change the lines, which meant the sail was flaking in the wind and having a lot of pressure on the line while doing so. Don't get me wrong - it was doable. But when sailing at night and in particular during Rahel's watch she had to wake me up to give her a hand. Since I did not like that very much it was time to mount a little winch for that purpose. Rahel calls that now the "Egoist winch". I can live with that.

Winches are coming in different sizes and types. The best ones are self tailing, means they are holding the lines themselves and some others have even different gears for handeling higher pressure with a slower but more powerful gear. Of course, there are also electric winches, but that's a whole different class. The reason why we've chosen the smallest one possible is the fact that this little, nice looking drums cost a fortune. The bigger winches you see in the pics have two gears and weigh over 12kg a piece! You could easily spend a few thousand bucks for one of them!

Mounting a winch is pretty straight forward - you need five screws, a drill, a bit of rubber seal and voilĂ . Of course that's naked theory. In fact you need to choose a spot where you can freely spin the winch handle without breaking your fingers on the bimini holders. But most important is to know that even a little winch holds the whole pressure of the line - and that can be several hundred kilograms - proper mounting is therefore inevitable. So the screws must be "through bolted" means you need access from below, not always easy on a boat where all the technical stuff runs below deck. It would be a bad thing if the winch was ripped out in a storm and 3kg of iron were flying towards your head! So finding the spot where you can properly counter support the screws with big fender washers or even a stainless plate from below deck is crucial.

In fact, mounting the winch took us roughly an hour. Discussing the best spot, measuring, counter measure from above and below and then ensure again that all is accurate with templates before we drilled holes through the deck took us almost a day. I admit, thats mainly because I'm turning into a wimpy when I have to drill holes into beloved Habibi......

"naked" winch - only one gear

phew - we didn't hit any wires!

additional chafe protection mounted

big and small winch

Yes, I love my little "Egoist winch", it does not just make sailing more comfortable and safer - it may also give me some hours of additional sleep!

23 September 2012


OK, I know I promised a technical blog post - but this is personal and therefore important to me. I'm sure you will understand!

On the 22nd September Marco & I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. After Switzerland and Dubai it was our first time since we started our sailing trip almost one year ago. And I somehow find it the most important one so far. I know there is a saying of "the seven-year itch" and we're only being married for six years now. But to live on a boat together 24/7 somehow counts for two years ;-) Just kidding! True is that if you can live together on a space as small as a boat without developing an urgent need of wanting to throw your partner over board at one point (well, this thought can hit you in some situations...) I'd dare to say that your marriage is on the right path. Nothing is granted in life of course. And believe me, it was not easy to get where we are today! Especially when your husband is like Marco and challenges you with new ideas and pushes you to the limit. I definitely wouldn't be where I am now and on the way to get here I had to face my fears and establish strength. Let me put it like this: I was not always happy and it wasn't always easy for me. But in the end I have to admit that I was growing with every new challenge and I discovered what I'm capable of! For that and for my hubby's genuine love I'm deeply grateful!

A little side story:
On the way to the restaurant our taxi driver Ralph told us about Hurricane Janet that hit Grenada exactly 57 years ago. Even though by then he was only a boy of 10 years he's still able to recall the catastrophic damage and hundreds of deaths it caused in detail. We also learned that he's married since 35 years. He used to travel a lot for work when he was younger and now it's obviously his wife's turn as she's currently working in New York. As I said: challenges are good for you and your marriage!

Click here to check out some more pics from our romantic wedding anniversary dinner in the beautiful The Beach House Restaurant Grenada!

With love from paradise

20 September 2012

haircut after ONE year!

Sorry guys, but here comes a "blond girly" blog entry - I try to cut it short ;-)
The next one will be a more technical one, promised.

I was never a beauty salon addict. But I still paid the hairdresser of my trust a visit once every three months or so. It was just recently that I realised: I got my last haircut in September 2011!!

Don't get a wrong picture - it's not that I let myself go. I dyed my hair on a regular basis by myself and let the sun do the rest. I could just never bother to make an appointment with a hairdresser on one of the islands we've visited so far... I don't want sound prejudiced but it was already difficult to find the right hairdresser back in Switzerland or the Middle East who could handle my curly hair! And it's still very different to the afro-textured hair of most local ladies. They might be great in straightening and braiding... And then there is the language problem - I think it would be hard for me to explain my idea in French or Spanish. Those days are gone when I was ready for any experiment and surprise ;-)

Cruising on one hand and being in a hot climate on the other hand reduces the desire for a fancy hairstyle anyway. I usually tie my hair up first thing in the morning because otherwise I'm sweating too much and I get knots in my hair instead of in our sheet ropes... After washing my hair I just simply let it air-dry. But my bun was growing and getting heavier and when I discovered split ends I finally decided to give in.
Spending a longer period of time in one place gives you the opportunity to listen around for experiences of others. That's how in the end I've chosen Michelle from Spice Isle Retreat Unisex Hair Salon in Grenada as she was highly recommended to me from different people.

And I'm glad that I finally got a decent haircut! My hair looks healthy again. It will dry quicker and be easier to tie up - and I might even wear my hair loose once in a while as my hubby really likes that ;-)

15 cm shorter, believe it or not!

I don't know if I will wait again one year till my next appointment. Actually it wasn't too bad except for my split ends - and just calculate for yourself what amount of money I saved! That's enough for plenty of nice cocktails on the beach...

With love from paradise

17 September 2012

alone again

When we picked up our friend Silvia from the airport three weeks ago we thought we had plenty of time to spend together... But time flies - even in paradise!
Nevertheless I guess (and I hope) our guest got a nice insight into island and sailor's life. Habibi is at the moment in "harbor mode" - so we're leading more a landlubber life (we don't have as much to worry about water, electricity, internet connection or rolly conditions as on anchor) which for sure made adaptation easier. To still get a feeling of cruising she booked a sailing class with our friend Rene at Sailing School Grenada and according to him she's a natural! Another benefit of 20 hours on the water: she got a nice sun tan ;-) 
As I think a picture is worth a thousand words I've put together some highlights of Silvia's stay. And yes, I think Marco was happy that for once I had another model to take pictures of...   

Even though we already started to transform the guest cabin back into our storage room I miss her and I'm grateful having had the opportunity to spend some time together. It obviously doesn't matter where we live in this world we always manage to meet each other!

With love from paradise

09 September 2012

gone racing

Marco & Silvia left to participate on a regatta this Sunday morning. 
Another wonderful sunny day down here in paradise!



With love from paradise

06 September 2012

Cooking Class Caribbean Style

This adventure dates a few weeks back. But nevertheless I think it's worth sharing, so sorry for the delay which was mainly caused by some headache...

What do you expect when you hear "cooking class"? I expect hands-on cooking under the guidance of a professional cook so that I'll be able to cook it later by myself. OK, I should have been warned as we live in the Caribbean for quite some time now...
Esther & Omega's weekly "cooking class" at the True Blue Hotel is more of a "cooking show". Or what would you call forty plus people sitting comfortably, sipping on a reasonable prized Rum Punch while watching two ladies stirring in some pots in front of you? The price of 10.- EC (3.68 USD) includes the handout of the recipes and a small plate of samples of their cooking. Really, I will never understand why my dear hubby makes such a big deal about cooking - it looks fairly easy...

So what was on the menu when I went?
Callaloo Chicken with Nutmeg Sauce and Ripe Plantain Salad.

Callaloo is very popular in the Caribbean cuisine and comparable to spinach, so when cooked it shrinkes significantly in volume. Even though Esther repeatedly pointed out how tired she was (nobody asked the audience how tired we were, I mean it's 40 degrees Celsius and some of us had a couple of Rum Punches already), she explained to us that the cooking time can differ depending on how tough the Callaloo leaves are...or maybe it's more related to the feeling how fast time passes by...

For cutting the chicken breasts she needed some volunteers. Gosh, you're handing a very sharp knife to a volunteer which just had a few Rum Punches and then you ask for some patience to cut the breasts so they can be stuffed with the Callaloo?? Since we survived we could witness how the chicken breasts were taken away to the kitchen to be grilled....not much of a learning experience but at least there was not sooo much blood on the floor. I really start to like the way they cook here...

By the way: The Callaloo was sauted with onions, garlic and thyme and seasoned with salt and pepper - ready to get stuffed into the chicken breasts. Good job, Esther!

Their Nutmeg Sauce recipe obviously is "award-winning" so I think we should be honored that they named the ingredients: Coconut Milk, Cooking Cream, Nutmeg and Coconut Cream. Doesn't sound too complicated- but it's still divine! Was it the Rum Punch's fault again or why did they need to thicken the sauce with some starch? Never mind, Omega helped Esther to bring the sauce to perfection.

The "Ripe Plantain Salad" was placed on the table without additional explanations. So the only thing I can share - it's called "Ripe Plantain Salad" and it tastes delicious as well. I'm pretty sure it contains plaintain. Since I had to order another Rum Punch and watch at the same time how they cut the Callaloo Chicken (which came back grilled to perfection) I may have missed some important information. Sorry at this point.

Finally, they assembled a small plate for everyone to get a taste of all the dishes. Honestly, it was delightful! And I learned a lot! Mostly that my husband is exaggerating about cooking. It looks fairly simple and with the help of some Rum Punches I will for sure be able to copy that whole meal with a breeze...

With love from paradise