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Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013-National Beauty Contest

Cartagena's famous November festival, the two weeklong "National Beauty Contest", is a big deal.


We knew this was going to be a happening when we started to see Miss Colombia contestants showing up at impromptu receptions around the city in October but we didn't know how really big a holiday it was going to be until the manager of the Manzanillo boat yard told me, "Yes, I can haul your boat on November 2, but no work will be done until November 12. All of our workers will be off for that period."

National Beauty Contest is more than a pageant. Yes, there are swimsuit competitions, parades, and a gala coronation ceremony but there are also wild street parties with craziness that should best be avoided by old gringos, water parades, loud music, fireworks, and the November 11 celebration of Cartagena's Independence from Spain which occurred in 1811 in which the entire city apparently gets drunk.

We were going to have the bottom painted but we made other plans: we joined the party.

Well, not really. When we saw legions of police in riot gear staged around town, and spotted army snipers with long rifles and portable radios on our rooftops, we decided to party in the apartment, not on the streets.

We did watch the parade however, and it was terrific.

And we listened to the chaotic sounds from the street all night long for several days.

On November 12 the people go back to work, but not early; I guess the hangovers are pretty harsh after this ten day party.

Click here for more parade shots.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena

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Friday, November 01, 2013

November 1, 2013-Headed to the Boat Yard (Updated-Again)

Today we move the boat to another marina in the Cartagena area where we will have some work done including new deck paint, new interior (forepeak) paint, antifouling, and other small projects. We will move into an apartment on the beach near Old Town while this is completed. We expect it to take about two weeks.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena

UPDATE-Nov. 9!

New Deck Paint

The boat is parked in Pescara Santa Clara while we wait for Festival Week to be over and the boat yard workers return to their responsibilities (talk about bad planning, we didn't realize that almost every worker in Cartagena would be on holiday just at the time when we wanted to get this project going!)

Fortunately our friend Alvaro knew a good painting team who would work anyhow and we put them to work on the deck. The sanding was tough but that's done and the primer too, and now anti-skid texture and polyurethane deck paint are being applied. Meanwhile Judy and I have been working inside on another area needing sanding and painting. What a mess!

Friends visit in the apartment

At least we have a clean place to stay while this is going on; we rented a nice apartment in town for a couple of weeks although we aren't positive that the boat will be finished by the time we have to give up the apartment.

We'll see.

UPDATE-Nov. 15!


Today we re-launched Wings on schedule. Other than a bit of drama when we got ourselves locked out of the apartment before we had all of our stuff out, and then got stuck in traffic and almost missed the re-launch appointment, everything has gone well. The boat looks great with its new bottom paint and the hull is in really good condition with virtually no blisters this time; even the keel came out perfectly. We even had time to get the topsides cleaned, it still shines four years after our last paint job.

One unplanned job which was completed I think will turn out to be a bonus. I'd been wondering if there was something we could do about our worn out propeller. We've probably got 40,000 miles on the boat since we last had this old folding Martec rebuilt in New Zealand in 1998 and its been giving us some trouble (not always unfolding when needed) not to mention that its really noisy as it rattles around down there like a can full of rocks. When I inspected it closely yesterday I realized it was shot; the clearances are all well above optimal and it would be a wonder if it would last much longer. But for 20 years we've been carrying the original propeller in the spares locker, and in 1998, when the primary prop was rebuilt in Auckland, we had the spare rebuilt too. Its an odd propeller, 21 inches in diameter while the normal prop is 15 inches, but the pitch is the same. It was made longer to get a benefit under the IOR rule and the long blades were never perfect. But now I decided that even with its long, windmill like, blades, it might be better than the one we had on. I dug it out and in an hour I had the primary propeller off and the spare one installed. It looks good and more importantly, feels good too; everything is tight and smooth.

So far we've only used it on the motor back from Manzanillo Marina Club, and other than backing up (it won't take a lot of power in reverse until you get some speed on, so quick stops are out of the question) it seems pretty good.

Click here for plenty of photos from this yard period, including the propeller.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena

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October 30, 2013-Dancers at Teatro Heredia

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Burgundy and Creme

Saturday night we went to Teatro Heredia to see an Argentine Dance group. They did folkloric and Tango.

It was stunning.

Teatro Heredia

The theater in Cartagena called Teatro Heredia, although the name is obsolete; it's now officially the Adolfo Mejía Theatre after Adolfo Mejia Navarro, a famous Cartagenian composer, is ornate and golden and reflects the South American grand cultural aspirations of the last century when Latin American municipalities and states hired architectural masters from both the New World and the Old to design and build opera houses and theaters where nouveau riche who could afford tuxedos, expensive ball gowns and other luxuries could enjoy the glamour of attending performances of the latest stars from Europe in glittering surroundings which could equal or maybe even surpass the halls of Barcelona, Paris, or Berlin. They built Teatro Heredia and others like it in jungle outposts and river junctions throughout South America.

Teatro Heredia, inside the wall of Cartagena's old town, was built in 1911 following the outline and structure of a 17th century church on the site and beautifully restored in 1998. It is a grand yet intimate space where we like to go to see dance performances and where we feel we can almost touch the dancers, often visiting troupes whose performances, if they sometimes are lack the professionalism of performances you might see in the grand arenas and modern opera houses, never lack passion and beauty.

Click here for more photos from the Argentine Dance performance.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena

Note: The following link to Alfredo Maiquez's beautiful image of Teatro Heredia is not working at this time. It may be restored.
alfredo maiquez image
Teatro Heredia

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