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6th April - Karl & Ken set off for Santa Pola.

After a year and 4 months break from Madison it was time to start the voyage to Greece again. My dad, Ken and I were the advanced party, whilst Laura would continue to work right up to the last minute in Edinburgh before flying out for the launch. Aye, you get it, Laura was going to step aboard to receive a glass of wine and find all the work done…or so she thought!!!!!

The three of us flying out had a total of 50kg each and I only let my dad come in the clothes he was standing in. Well almost, he was allowed a total of 8kg and this ended up being mostly tablets for his various ailments…I should have taken this as a sign!

We had bought the maximum allowed for excess baggage as during our break from Madison I had been gathering more items for her to make life onboard more pleasant or just easier.

The list included:

A Navico WP5000 wheel pilot - which, is a simple autopilot that clamps to the steering wheel and follows the course you tell it to.
A Rutland 913 Wind turbine - that was to add to our already installed Sunware solar panel to increase our ability to charge our batteries when the engine was off.
A Boat Computer - based on a mini-itx mainboard that would run from 12 volts and this also included a 15" 12volt dc monitor. No longer would we need to run the laptop from an inverter.
A new storm jib - hopefully to never be used in anger.
A refurbished mainsail with new 3rd reef - again hopefully the third reef will not need to be used in anger.
2 newly converted headsails - a No.1 and No.3 that will add to the existing No.2 to increase our sail wardrobe.
A set of lazyjacks - a sail handling aid. I made these up myself based on the kit available from Harken.
New Main traveller control ends - I couldn't make these but got my usual good deal thanks to Ebay.
Nasa SSB Receiver - this I hope will allow us to receive weather fax from passing satellites.
Garmin electronic charts - at last Ebay came up trumps and I have all the charts we need for the Med and more.

The list could go on, but you get the gist. Madison was getting 'Pimped'.

We had been out to Madison in November 08 and knew what to expect at the boat yard except that they were about to have a major festival in Santa Pola which would mean that we only had a couple of days before the yard would close for a lengthy period.

This meant that as soon as we got in we needed to get into their workshop and fabricate the extra fittings needed, which suited my dad, as he liked to be in the workshop with the other guys making things, despite none of them speaking any English.

We worked hard to get her ready…re-rigged the ropes and put the newly refurbished headsail on as well as the newly refurbished mainsail and Madison started to look the part.

The gelcoat repairs had gone well and I had fitted small stainless covers over the drains to the anchor locker and I was starting to see how she must have looked when she was new. Except that now she was better equipped than she had ever been.

The days flew by and we soon had the wind turbine and autopilot fitted, all the woodwork rubbed down and varnished and we had just enough time to polish Madison's hull before dropping the tools to go and collect Laura.

We didn't have time to finish cleaning her inside, but you know Laura - she would understand.

The three of us arrived at the boat with Laura's 50kg's of extra stuff late on 20th April.

The next day was the day of the launch and Madison was sitting in her cradle awaiting the trip to the travel hoist and we had painted the antifouling paint onto the patches that the supports had covered for her time in the boat yard and all I had left to do was to paint under the keel when she was ready to be lifted.

The lift went well and Madison was soon sitting in the water as the strops were lowered and we were off back to the Marina in Santa Pola.

The next day we went back to the boatyard for a party with all the guys who worked there including Pedro the store man who spoke very good English and my dad ended up getting big hugs off the older guys in the workshop as despite having not a word of Spanish he had managed to communicate no problem.

All in all Vatasa boat yard had been great and the journey had started again. Next stop Ibiza. My father flew back home on the 23rd of April looking tanned and smiling as usual.

We spent the next 7 days doing all the last minute prep and victualling ready to make for sea and our trip to Greece.
























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