Friday, 19 April 2013

All alone

Andrew went home today (Friday) and Sue and Steve sailed off for Symi so I am left alone! Andrew  and I had a busy week, Andrew cleaning and polishing the hull so that it gleams like it never has since Paul and  Cathy owned Mia Hara. I have been chasing up quotes for all the work that has to be done. On Wednesday we went in to Marmaris to see them test our liferaft, which has not been serviced for twelve years (they tell you that you should service it, at great expense, every year). I pulled the string and it blew up perfectly - and turned out to be enormous, an eight-seater. The flares, which expired in 1999, needed replacing as did the ebattery for the emergency light, but otherwise it just needed the gas cylinder refilling. On the way there we got lost (mainly because of the massive road works) and asked a construction worker the way. He popped out his iphone and checked the map, then phoned the company to check how to get there and, when the instructions proved a bit complicated he decided to drive us there.It turned out that he had lived in Manchester for a while. To get back, we scrambled through the road works. Yesterday evening we went in to town to eat with Sue and Steve for Andrew's (and their) last night. I had checked out a recommended Turkish restaurant, which turned out to be closed, so we went back to the Taj Mahal, the Indian restaurant where we had been earlier in the week. The owner, from Bradford, turned out to have lived previously in Foleshill in Coventry.
Thursday was the big day, with the old engine and fuel tank coming out. The engine came out fine, but the fuel tank got stuck on the steering cables. Rather than ask the crane to wait an hour or two while we freed the cables we decided to finish cutting it in half to get it out, but even then we still had to free the cables before we could shift it. I now have to clean the engine room, which is incredibly filthy with oil and grease. But first I had to get rid of the diesel smells in our bedroom from the leaking fuel tank by giving it all a very thorough clean with boiling water and washing up liquid, then degreaser, then bilge cleaner, then a heavy hose through. Tomorrow it is into the engine room up to my elbows in muck and stripping our all the old oily insulation ready to replace it.
Today it has rained all day. Fortunately Andrew remembered to put a couple of pans to catch the drips in the forepeak. Next week the hatch should be repaired so those sleeping there will no longer get a shower when it rains.
Lin comes on Monday, her birthday, so I hope to have it all spick and span and tidy before she gets here.
No pictures this time - nothing interesting to photograph - but here is a picture that Sue took of us under tow last week.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A new sailing year

Andrew (Becky's partner) and I flew out to Athens on 5th April and took the overnight ferry to Leros, arriving in Lakki at 5 am. When we got to the boat there was no way we could sleep because the beds were covered with things so we got the sails, bimini and storm hood out by which time we were well awake, despite two nights with little or no sleep. Steve and Sue were anchored out in Lakki bay, having arrived from Crete on Friday night, a few hours before us. They came over to the yard later in the day and we planned the trip to Marmaris, with them towing us. Steve was very confident that he could tow us without any problems, but I was not so confident, my main concerns being that the rope would break. That night we went out to To Petrino to celebrate our arrival and Andy and I had big fat steaks.
On Sunday the wind blew a full westerly gale and Steve had to put out a second anchor as he bounced around in the seas, which were breaking over the road. Andy and I got the boat ready to launch. In the evening the wind moderated a bit and we walked over to Dmitri's at Vromolithos, where we met up with Sue and Steve who had decided to risk coming ashore.
We were due to launch on Monday, but at 8 O'clock they arrived to tell us that it was too windy to launch, especially as we had no engine. Then at 11 they came back to say we were launching in ten minutes. We frantically sorted everything out for the launch and once in the water warped the boat around to the pontoon next to the slip. The rest of the day was spent shopping and preparing for sea.
Steve proposed that he come into the marina on Tuesday morning and tow us out, though I was not so sure and got the dinghy ready to drive us out with the dinghy. Steve arrived about 10 and we made up a harness with an old mooring rope - I wanted our rope to break rather than his if we put too much strain on the tow.Steve towed us out of the marina without any problems. I was about to take a photo when Andy noticed that the dinghy, that we had absent-mindedly left alongside, had filled up with water and was about to flip over. I frantically signalled to Steve to stop and we bailed out and lifted the dinghy before getting under way again.
 I was still not completely confident about the tow, especially as there was quite a big sea left over from the gale which risked surging which could break the tow line, but Steve proposed that we carry on until we had cleared the passage between Leros and Kalimnos, when we  could check out the wind and the sea state.
Between Leros and Kalymnos
Everything went well and once we had cleared Leros the sea was quite calm and there was  very little wind, so we carried on with the tow, doing about 6.5 knots with the genoas up, arriving to anchor off Kos town at 4 pm.
Approaching Kos town

Anchored off Kos

After going in to town to try to sort out our Wind mobile internet  connections we had dinner together aboard.
Dinner guests arriving

We left Kos at 10 next morning with no wind and a flat sea.
No wind approaching Cnidos
Off Cnidos we saw three dolphins heading for Kos, but they were not interested in us and just went on their way. Once we had rounded the Turkish coast at Knidos the wind got up from the West and we both hoisted our genoas, towing/sailing at 7 up to 8 knots to reach Panormitis on Symi, where we anchored without incident.
Casting off at Panormitis

Coming in to Panormitis

Anchored in Panormitis bay

We left Panormitis at 9.45 next morning for another speedy tow/sail, arriving at Marmaris marina at 4pm,
Approaching Marmaris

End of the voyage - approaching Yat Marin
Marmaris Yat Marin

where a pilot boat guided us into a berth while Sue and Steve went to anchor in the next bay. Overall the tow worked out incredibly well, without any problems, and Steve's seamanship was exemplary. I had not imagined for a minute that we would be able to tow at almost full speed without putting too much strain on the tow lines. Andy drove all the way, apart from a two hour siesta on Wednesday.
Andy driving out of Kos

We were booked to lift out on Friday morning, but hung around waiting all day, going into town with the very helpful agent to clear in and do all the paperwork. We watched the slip for a chance to lift, but late in the afternoon two boats in a row were launched, faffed about and then lifted again, presumably because they had engine problems. About 7 in the evening I went to ask the lift crew what was going on and they said they would lift us in 30 minutes, when a pilot boat would be available. At 8 a pilot boat arrived to say that his boss would not let him take us in because it was too late, but he promised to come for us at 8.30 next morning.
On Saturday morning we were ready at 8, but there was another boat in the slip waiting to lift. The lift crew promised that we would be next and the pilot boat collected us at about 9. The boat that had just lifted had about half an inch of growth on his bottom, which meant that his pressure washing took about an hour.
Serious fouling and a hefty pressure wash
Ready to lift
At last we lifted at 11, only to have to wait another hour for the tractor to take us to our place on the hard.
Tractor at last
Eventually we got there in time for lunch. After tidying up, doing odd jobs and contacting the people who are going to install our gantry and new engine we started to cut up the fuel tank to allow us to get it out through the corridor. After a lot of cutting Andy realised that once the engine was out we would be able to get the tank out in one piece through the engine compartment, which also meant that we could get a full-size replacement, so we stopped cutting. In the evening we went in to Marmaris town to sort out new SIM cards for the mobile and internet and went for an Indian meal with Sue and Steve - the owner of the Taj Mahal is Indian, but the chef is Turkish, but he did not do a bad job. Tired out, we got a taxi back to the marina.
On Sunday Andy got to work cleaning and polishing the hull while Simon did odd jobs - sorting out the water maker, fitting the new FM radio and player and this and that.
The weather had been beautiful, sunny with a light breeze and up to 28 in the cabin, but on Sunday night the weather broke with a thunderstorm and a bit of rain. Now, Monday morning, we have got a more serious thunderstorm and it is a lot cooler, so we can't work outside.