Saturday, January 30, 2016

2014: Repairs Underway (Poros, Greece)

Poros, Greece

Raw water inlet hose on engine started to leak, just a few drops every minute.  I hate water inside the boat at the best of times so, having found the leak by feel, I bound it with some very stretchy tape that I carry on board which is designed for just this sort of eventuality.  It stretches about four to five times (I’m guessing) its original size and you wrap it around whatever you want – it sticks to itself if you don’t ruin the sticky part with grubby fingers.  I also wrapped some duct tape over that and it stopped leaking for the rest of the season. 
We had a great trip north up the Turkish coast from Marmaris, with some
isolated anchorages, clear waters perfect for snorkelling and amazing
ruins (like Pergamum) to explore along the way.  Highly recommended!

Continuous Furling Line for the Mainsail.  It needed replacement I thought as it was looking a bit hows-your-father.  Tried at the Marmaris marina boatyard sailmaker but, by now, we weren’t talking to each other so no luck there.  Tried other contacts but, although promising to get back to me, didn’t.  At this stage we were on anchor just off the Marmaris boatyard and, I have to admit, I sensed  a lack of enthusiasm by tradies to work on boats when at anchor (perhaps they worry about getting paid before boaties sail away in the night).  So, we gave up trying and departed Marmaris still with the original line and it lasted fine (for quite some weeks) until reaching the west coast of Greece and about to enter Poros, with a good wind blowing.  I started to furl the mainsail, probably under a fair bit of pressure but not as much as we’ve experienced before, then, bang, the line snapped.   I simply furled the main using a winch handle on the winch on the mast. 

In Poros there is a popular chandlery and the staff there were very helpful, selling me some new line and also arranging for someone to come out the next day to do the splice.  I might add here that the furling line is braided, this splice has to be pretty much exactly the same diameter as the line is so it will easily run through a bunch of blocks and winches, while at the same time be almost as strong as the line itself. 

The one that got away!
We had arranged that I would meet the ‘splicer’ the next morning and take him to and from the boat, which was on anchor.  The chandlery man very kindly came along to the pickup point to make introductions and off we went.  The ‘splicer’ was a local, in his late seventies, couldn’t speak English and had a gammy leg (at least one of them).  On arrival at Windjammer he almost fell into the water as he endeavoured to cross from the dinghy to the boat at the stern (it doesn’t get friendlier than this let me tell you) and all crew had to come to the rescue – it was a near run thing.  Unperturbed he set about his business and nothing I could say would influence him as he went about his task.  Anyway, after an hour of honest toil I had a splice that did indeed slide through all the sheaves and winches but with about 5% strength.  We all agreed that it was a fine effort and I duly returned him to shore, paid him the agreed amount plus a healthy tip, and we parted on very good terms.

We had spectacular scenery through Greece too.  This is Cape Sounion.

I now did what I wanted to do in the first place – do it myself.  I had watched YouTube for ‘how to’ instructions several times and also had written instructions to refer to.  It was a fairly easy fix by following the instructions.  The hardest bit was the three splices you have to stitch in place to hold the joins neatly and securely together – it took me two goes to do a neat job ie making sure the rope’s diameter was not increased so it easily moved through blocks and jammers.  Very satisfying effort in the end!  Why didn’t I do it myself in the first place?  Well, I thought that for such an important repair I would watch an expert do it first, then do it myself next time.  Oh well, he was a lovely old bloke and it was one of those magical experiences you only get when boating.  We also think he’s dined out a few times with his mates on the strength of his “near death” experience on our sailboat.   In 2015, when the rig was checked by professional riggers for insurance, they noted that the furling line is too stretchy and too large so I may replace it next year.

Outboard Doesn’t Go Fast When Powered Up.  In Poros, one night we headed into shore for dinner and since we were anchored a fair distance from the town docks we sped into town at best speed on the plane.   Our 15hp RIB dinghy ‘Bruce’ can tow a skier.  On the way back to the boat we motored along fine but when trying to get onto the plane the engine would rev madly but not have the umph to get the boat going on to the plane.   We could still use the dinghy but only at slow speeds.  I checked the prop and it seemed to be locked in ok and couldn’t find any fault with the gear box.  When we eventually got to Preveza the first time to check out the boatyard, we gave the motor to the mechanic arranged by the Aktio Marina.  The mechanic took the outboard away and next day it was back with a new propeller fitted.  Seems that the old prop had worn its gearing so badly that it slipped on the gear shaft at high revs.  So, there you go, I certainly didn’t think of that.

Poros is the quintessential Greek island village

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2014: Repairs in the Marina (Part 2)

Work in the Boatyard continues....

Anemometer Smashed.  On checking our electrics etc after returning to the boat I noticed that the anemometer (wind meter) was not showing any reading.  It was on at the screen but not indicating any reading of wind speed or direction.  On checking the masthead through the binoculars I couldn't see it.  I climbed the mast only to find the plug all by itself without the usual staff, with windcups and wind vane completely gone.  I made enquiries of the locals and was informed of a massive hail storm experienced some months beforehand and presumably the wind vane was cleanly knocked off the masthead.  It wasn’t difficult to source a new one and install it.  Just another expense!
Although it doesn't look like it, a storm of 30kts blew over soon after we
arrived at the anchorage off Yat Marin at Marmaris.  Welcome to boating!
And I hope everything is working, including the anchor....

VHF Antenna.  I had previously noticed that our handheld VHF radio had a better range than the mounted VHF radio.  Turned out, after a lot of checking, that the cable plug where it entered the back of the radio had lost its solder from its core.  Our antenna cable has a join at the base of the mast so I only had to remove the cable between radio and mast (thank goodness) and not the cable going up the mast to the masthead antenna.  Had it repaired by a friendly local technician (a lady) in a local shop at the marina, reinstalled it and everything ok again. 

Window Screens.  Our two forward fixed deck windows have mesh screens permanently in place, attached with press studs, which do a superb job, in addition to the tinted windows, in keeping light to a comfortable level inside the main cabin. They were old and needing repair so had them copied by a canvas maker in Marmaris town proper. A superb job & the screens fitted perfectly. 

Marmaris for Work Done on Boats.  Marmaris is probably one of the best places we have had work done in all the places we have been to ie a balance of fair quality work for a very reasonable price, bearing in mind my other observations.  There are plenty of tradespeople to choose from and so there is good competition even at the Yat Marin Marina.  If you didn’t like one or two quotes there were others to approach.  You can actually get firm quotes although in one case one quote was only an approximation which turned out to be much less than the bill ie regassing the fridge in 2013.  The quotes did vary markedly so this is a great place to shop around.  There are also a heap of yacht services in Marmaris town but you either approach them directly or you need to get permission from the marina before they are allowed to work on your boat at the marina, which in our case wasn’t necessary.

Off Datca under a full moon

Monday, January 11, 2016

2014: Repairs in the Marina (Part 1)

Turkey:  Marmaris

(Finally there's a bit of time to update the H460 blog...between bouts of boat maintenance and house renovations!)

Life on the Hard - with unsurpassed views

Sails Cleaned and UV Stitching Replaced.  I took up an offer at the marina sailmakers in 2013 to have the sails washed and inspected when we stored the boat on the hard in Marmaris.  It was all quoted and we left the sails with the sailmaker to pick up on return in 2014.  I left a deposit (payment of 50% was what the rules said) and, I noted accordingly on their invoice as the sailmaker doing the paperwork said she was not going to issue a receipt just now but when I paid fully next year.  Okey, when in Rome …  To cut a long story short, when I went to pick up the sails she denied any payment having been made.  I pointed out my note and she said ‘this has never happened before … la la la … but I was not backing down.  So, she reluctantly accepted my point and the balance.  I complained to the sailmaker manager only to find out that everyone working there is family so no real point taking it further with that lot.  I was quite prepared to take it up with the marina manager but not really necessary as it turned out. 

All the stitching on the UV covers was redone however, so overall I got what I paid for.  Big lesson, whenever making a payment always get some receipt or, if in Greece where they don’t know about receipts, make some note of any payments, like I did with this lot.

Bike Bags.  Before our falling out I had also purchased a couple of big old sail bags quite cheaply and we use them to store our bikes in – much neater and good protection from the elements as we put the bikes in the dinghy on its davits when sailing.

I also needed my continuous furling line replaced but, at this stage, the sailmaker was not interested, for obvious reasons.  For my solution, see below.

I should also have included the webbing on the clew of the mainsail to be restitched, but didn’t (my fault) and paid the price - more on that later too.

A very professional launch in Marmaris

Boat Detailing.  At the marina, very shortly after being placed in a cradle on the hard in 2013, I was quickly approached by a few of the private tradespeople that occupy their own workshops around the wall of the marina.  I accepted one quote to polish the topsides and stainless steel and also to undertake professional gelcoat repairs to hairline cracks and other minor scratches and repairs that have appeared over the years on the deck and topsides.  It also included one coat of antifouling to the bottom and he also raised the waterline around the stern as requested.  All for a very reasonable price.  He also undertook to wash the boat down each month while we were at home and that he would let me know when he had done so each time.  He gave me contact details of previous customers whom I contacted and they were generally pleased with his work.  One said don’t make the final payment until the boat is back in the water as his staff did not do the final anti fouling on the spots on the hull that can’t be done while the boat is in its cradle.  As it turned out on the launch day it was more convenient for me to do it myself anyway.

All the work was carried out as promised except I had to chase him up about the wash downs each month.  When I did enquire he answered promptly and also gave me updates on the work to be, and being, done.  He only required a very small deposit before I left, a part payment shortly after I returned, and then the balance on completion of all the work ie when the last dabs of paint were put on when the boat was picked up for relaunching .  Highly recommended providing you take an ongoing interest in progress etc.

Turkey's coast is a picture postcard delight