Zucchini in olive oil

This is a special recipe that comes directly from my grandmother. She never suspected it’s a perfect solution for long sailing trips (or a really posh appetizer) as she’d never known anything about boating as she lived half of her life in the countryside and the restant part in a big city. This tasty and practical recipe requires you one day of preparation (most waiting so don’t worry!!) but will give you ready made food that could last for many months of sailing, depending on hunger and voracity. Try to find biological and fresh zucchini, the quality of ingredients is fundamental!

Ingredients for 2 glass jars:

5 small and green zucchini2 glass of water
1 glass of white vinegar1 spoon saltgarlic (to taste, I have put 3 cloves)
oregano
extra virgin olive oil

Procedure:

Wash the zucchini, cut into thin slices not too large as equal size as possible. Prepare a pot with 2 glass of water, 1 of white vinegar and a spoon of salt and bring it to boil. Add the zucchini and boil them for about 6 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Drain and leave them dry on a clean rag for a minimum of six hourg, taking care not to overlap. After this time, put the zucchini in the jar previously sterilized making layers with a spoon. For each layer add some garlic slices and a pinch of oregano. Cover well with the extra virgin olive oil, press it with a spoon to eliminate air bubbles (the oil will penetrate everywhere, leaving no spaces), if necessary top up with more oil, and close with the cap sealed. Wait a minimum of 1 week before eating.

STCW95 Basic Safety Training in Trinidad & Tobago

After I got my Yachtmaster Offshore title I was conscious that I also needed a commercial endorsement to start my career in the world of yachts. The STCW95 (Standars of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Basic Safety Training is the first step to get into the world of ships (if you intend to get any job on a vessel of more than 24m) and is valid for workin on board Cargos, Oil ships, Cruise ships and Superyachts. With both Yachtmaster Offshore and STCW95 you can get the MCA Master of Yachts (up to 200grt) certificate.

The Basic Safety Training includes Fire Fighting, First Aid, PSSR (Personal Safety and Social Responsibility) and Sea Survival courses. In five days of both theoretical and practical courses you can achieve this title. There are many schools that do this courses in almost all countries as it is a requisite of IMO (International Maritime Organization) for seafarers.

I was looking for one of this school in Europe. The medium price for the complete course is about 1000/1200 euros in Europe, and 800/1000 $ in the Caribbean. As I was already in the Caribbean I started to have a look around and with an advice of a friend I contacted the UTT Maritime Campus of Chaguaramas in Trinidad.

The program and the school seemed to me really worthy and the course fee of 300$ was the cheapest I found. I flew from Willemstad, Curaçao to Port of Spain, Trinidad with LIAT for aprox 300 $ and so I got the cheapest STCW95 around. After the first night at Crew’s Inn (nice and posh but bloody expensive!!) I was lucky to meet Rui on the course that helped me to find an apartment in Maraval for 1/8 of the price. The Guest House is in Maraval (Cor.Woodbine Gardens, Saut D’eau Road, Maraval – (868)-629-1017 ) and is run by the lovely Michelle who has several rooms really clean and comfortable. That was for me also a way to discover the hospitable and friendly people of the island and the culture (food in particular, so tasty and spicy !).

The course is the cheapest I found but it is high standard as well. The courses are well organized and the brand new campus of Chaguaramas has all the facilities (fire ground, pool and nice classrooms) to learn the theoretical and practical outcomes you need to pass the final test.

The most exciting part was Fire fighting. It was the matter I knew less and the practical experience was phisically and psychologically demanding as we fought real fire with all the tools and protective garments during a really hot and shiny day in Trinidad.

I just sent to RYA in Southampton the copy of my certificate and of the Yachtmaster Offshore to issue the Master of Yachts 200 tons Limited 

Transatlantic crossing aborted

It’s always hard to renounce, especially when you worked hard for it. But you have to be really honest with yourself and your crew to decide if things are possible or not. Crossing the Atlantic  could have been possible anyway, man does really hard things when motivated but accept a risk is a matter of responsibility towards yourself, the others and the boat.

Eclipse is not enough reliable to leave now and there’s no time left for more fixing as hurricane season is increasing. Each one of us three has to take  other ways and destinations and the boat will stay here in the Caribbean for one year more.

I am grateful for the experience of preparing the crossing, we tried our best to make it and I can say we almost did it. Next time I will be more conscious and practical with the duties of a transatlantic crossing, or maybe I only will choose an easier challenge. Experience also gives you a different look on reality and modifies you ability to choose which project are possible and which aren’t.

Transatlantic crossing: first leg Curaçao – Republica Dominicana 400nm

After two false starts (never ever use a Max Prop or similar foldable propeller for very long sailing) we finally left Willemstad for a three days sailing up to Boca Chica, Dominican Republic and we moored in a lovely marina just before some more squalls hit the area.

Willemstad, Curaçao

We had good winds for the first part of the trip and then we had to use the engine for almost half of the time. That was another good test that the old Perkins 4.236 passed with some questions. Is the injection in order? Why is overheating some times and some others not? A good mechanic here in Dominican Republic could be a precious help for these doubts.

We’re still in doubt about our future steps. Everything depends on the boat overall conditions and of course on the meteo.  It is possible that we need three more days in Dominicam Republic to get everything we need for the next leg, the strongest one. From here if the weather will let us we would like to go up to Bermudas and then Azores.

I’ll try to keep a record of the next steps, in the meanwhile I start publishing some pictures of the trip.