The calm before the storm.

Will it happen?

11th August 2021

Isla Culatra, Portugal – Portimão, Portugal

Storms are well forecast and before they hit there is always an eerie calm. Storms are always best avoided but some have to be tackled head on, they are inevitable and once they pass the boat and crew will have grown together. For weeks we have known that we’re sailing into the metaphorical storm of boatyard work and as with all storms an eerie calm has descended over Ruffian before the inevitable happens.

As the sun rose over a glassy sea in Culatra we were as far from a physical storm as it was possible to be. Not a soul stirred in the anchorage and even the fishermen had decided to take the morning off. The same story was to be told at sea, but we were in for a shock.

We’ve always been told that, if you’re sailing upwind, you have either left at the wrong time or you are going to the wrong place; and we ere going upwind. Sails were pulled in, Ruffian leaned over, but amazingly we were happy. This happiness however wasn’t extended to fruit bowls and the contents of cupboards as their centre of gravities overtook their centre of friction.

The calm in Portimão was complete. We felt like we’d returned to our virtual home on the Algarve with friends waiting welcoming us in, the yard fully briefed for our arrival and known shops waiting for us to do the last of the prep.

One of the jobs we’d been prepping for in the previous weeks, and one which we could crack on with before betting lifted was getting our Covid-19 vaccine*. The criteria and process of getting one had been changing day by day and we were beyond happy to learn that we could simply walk in and get jabbed.

Full of excitement we bundled into the back of Alice May’s car (with its amazing air conditioning). Jill and Neil were nearly as excited as us; the prospect of a covid passport and the side effect of having protection against a deadly disease that has ravaged the globe, was thrilling. Huge Covid Vaccination Centre signs welcomed us as we were whisked into a sports hall that had more nurses than patients, a more streamlined process than the best of production lines and English so well spoken that even the Queen would have been jealous.

Our joy quickly turned to disappointment as the computer said ‘no’. Neil and Jill were dispatched to the local health centre to get a magic health number and we were told that our booking had been confirmed for 3 days time in another town, Silves. Even with all this amazing infrastructure, paperwork came first, but at least the paperwork was in progress.

Knowing that preparation is key to successfully weathering a storm we continued to get ready for the impending haul and the mountain of work that was on the horizon. Lockers were emptied and spares assembled, hardware shops were visited and lists were ticked and deliveries were confirmed and spreadsheets were created.

The storm of work is now very much in front of us. We’ve prepped as best as we can, we know what to expect, we know that it’ll be painful and not fun, but we also know that once in a while you’ve got to weather a storm and we’re as prepped as we can be for a successfully getting through it.

* Through all the Covid misinformation the one thing we can be sure of. That the efficacy of the Covid vaccine granting Covid passports. This efficacy is at exactly 100%.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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