January in Messolonghi
04 February 2016
January started out with a weigh in for three puppies, Lucy, Windy and Lucky. Luckily they all still just fitted in my Sainsbury shopping bag, and Marrianne managed to hold the bag scales long enough to get a reading. Lucy came in dead on 10 kgs, shes growing fast, but still the lightest between the three.
The weather in January has been fantastic, a lot more sunshine than wind and rain, and for me the temperatures were okay. The dehumidifer doing its job of keeping the inside of Nanjo dry and also providing enough heat to warm the boat. Life onboard was just a day to day of easy living.
I started to feel guilty after watching others cracking on with there jobs list. So, I decided that I would fit the wind indicator I brought out in April last year. My first big decision was that the wind pickup would not be mounted up the top of the mast as is tradition. I had met several owners last year who had the pickup mounted on the "A" frame on the stern. They all said that they were happy with the readings they had, so a no brainer for me then. A quick trip to my local metal shop and he found me a piece of alloy in his waste bin. A quick hacksaw/filing job and the pickup was mounted on the frame, the cable fed through my stern cabin and up to the hatch garage.
I had never been happy with the idea that to service/ access the gauges you had to remove the whole hatch garage. Plenty of screws and now I had the dinghy carrier bolted down as well. So, a solution quickly came to mind, and with the use of Peters multi tool, the gauges were cut out easily enough, and a trip to my metal shop for a piece of 3mm alloy plate, which cost 10 euros, and i was ready to make a card template up. My other decision was to remove the speed/distance log gauge, it's small paddle-wheel jams up everytime I stop for a few days. Needing a swim under the boat to free it off each time, despite putting on anti-fouling and every other trick i found on the net. I used the gps speed as a guide all the time anyway. The hole in the hull will be sealed up next year when Nanjos lifted out.
The plate was easily cut and shaped, three coats of primer and three coats of top coat and it looked okay. I then decided on the self tappers, at the time of choosing them and drilling the holes I was happy. It was only after finishing and having comments from others here that I realised that i had gone over the top a bit. 20 screws in such a small plate, is maybe overkill. But i'm happy in knowing it won't fall off and hopefully having the screws close together, means the butyl sealant will do its job! Time will tell I guess. I'm happy to say that once wired up and adjusted everything's working great and i can now see the wind speed and direction easily. It will be interesting to see just how much the wind backing off the main sail and wind gen will affect it. It was a job that took about 4 days to complete in the end, mostly removing cabin head linings and shaping the instrument plate.
All the dogs were weighed again on the 27th as they had all seemed to have grown so much. Lucy weighed in at 12.9 kgs and 46cm high. She's growing really fast now, and lifting her up out of the cabin to the cockpit can be fun if she wants to move about. God knows what it will be like when she's the vets 20 to 30kgs!!! I've been looking at getting a bigger boat with shorter steps at least. But so far, nothing in my price range.
The last week of January was simply gaugeous, plenty of sunshine. The Sunday bbqs were reinstated and we were all having a great time getting together.
When I had arrived at Messolonghi, one boat stood out and towered above all others. A large alluminium racing yacht called Sofi, her winches and fittings were huge, and we all heard that she was for sale at 105,000 euros. Cheap if you had big pockets to fix her up and crew her.
Well the second week of January, I was walking Lucy and noticed two guys climbing on Sofi. They turned out to be Gregory and Geoff, two great Americans who had just bought her, sight unseen apart from some photos. Over a long chat and a tour of the boat, they told me all about her. She was originally built by a multi millionaire and raced on the Great Lakes, called Sassy. She was built to the Maxi class and had a 4.5 mtr keel, weighed 40 tons and in her racing days had a crew of 25. Gregory used to race against her and had been following her life as she changed owners several times.
They planned to sail her back to the Lakes where she was built and restore her back to original spec. They had a lot of work to do and luckily had arranged for friends from the states to help them saill her home. After having her lifted out, the largest I've seen lifted here, and having some work done. She was ready to go. A bunch of us were hoping for a day sail while they tested her out, but because of the time wasted they just had to leave. Sofi (Sassy) sailed away from Messolonghi on Sunday 31st January, we were all having a bbq and were there to wave them all off, first stop Malta. She looked a sight as they motored up the channel. Fair winds and calm seas lads.
Trip to Messolonghi and up to Christmas
17 January 2016
11th October: On my own again, I left Lefkada marina and sailed down to Vlicho and anchored. It wasn't long before I was joined by the President of the Dromor Appreciation Club on his gorgeous Discovery 3200. Over a beer, we decided that a race over to Paleros the next day would be fun. We both left early, and our sails were up and engines off once clear of Nidri. I took what i thought would be the best route and headed straight across, the Pres went further up the Lefkas coast then headed across. It looked like I was well in front when we next saw each other. But I was being blown further South with the fickle winds, at one stage I was heading for Kalamos!. I ended up putting in long tacks to make Paleros, while the Pres virtually could set the course. The wind died as we were passing Vounaki, so we motored the last mile. He graciously called it a draw, but my tactics had been flawed and the typical winds let me down. We had a great time ashore that night. Next day I was heading back to Vlicho, while he headed to Lefkada and his yacht being lifted out.
I spent the next 6 days there at anchor. Missing out on my swimming because the huge numbers of jelly fish in the bay. They had been here for two months now, and no sign of them leaving. I had a phone call from Vernon, and arranged to be on the IBA pontoon, to receive my new push bike, sent out by my sister.
20th October, I'm on the IBA pontoon early, what a change from the summer when it was packed. Plenty of space to choose from, and i went stern onto the jetty. Vernon soon arrived and dropped off my bike, in a much heavier and bigger carton than expected. Tearing into it, revealed my sister had sent me out some goodies. The bike was soon assembled and taken for a test ride into town. It's as good as i expected, and will be a great asset in Messolonghi for the winter.
I spent the next 5 days back at anchor in Vlicho, it was chill out time again.
A meeting with David, Melody and there dog Rugby, who I had last seen in Messolonghi, and we decided that a trip to Sivota would be in order. We ended up spending three gorgeous days there, the weather was that good. It was pretty empty, and most tavernas were closed, but it's one of my favorite harbours. A chance meeting with Peter and Thomy from Messolonghi on a friends Amel, and I mentioned that I was thinking of getting a dog. I had been chatting to everybody i had met with a dog during the summer, trying to find out the pros and cons. The main outcome was, get a dog you would never regret it!
Well, Peter mentioned that some puppies had been dumped at the marina gates and there was one going spare, and it could be mine. So, i told him I would have it. The next morning, he confirmed it would be waiting for me when I arrived at Messolonghi, and was being taken care of by another couple Johanne and Asbjorn until I arrived. Result.
A storm had been forecast, for the weekend and we discussed where to ride it out. I decided that for me Lefkada marina would be my safest option. I motored up and spent the next 3 days up there. The winds and rain were howling, i even put out extra ropes. A phone call from David and Melody and they were sitting in complete calm all the time i was getting bashed. A walk into town and along the harbour wall, showed just how bad some people leave there yachts. It was a very strong Easterly wind and pushing most yachts back against the wall. Not everyone had done a good job with fenders and ropes, there was quite a bit of damage being done to unattended boats. One 45ft yacht was just smacking it's stern on the jetty, where the small stern fender had popped. I wondered if I should climb onboard, and try to pull the bow anchor in a bit. But, what if it just kept coming in without biting, the option of taking a fender off the side was nil as he only had two each side. All i could do was just walk on by, and wonder what type of guy leaves a £80,000 yacht like that! The good thing being in Lefkada was having Daltons on my doorstep, and the huge gyros they made.
2nd November. The winds have calmed down and I'm out of the marina early. Once out of the channel, it was full sail up and I had a gorgeous sail down to Limin Petala, on my way to Messolonghi. I anchored in 3 metres, finsihed putting up the safety netting around the boat, ready for my new dog, then put up my anchor light and went to sleep. It was a bumpy night, and it's such a dark anchorage your mind can easily play tricks on you. I woke up really early and could see shadows outside through the curtains. It was a good few seconds before I realised that it was my anchor light hanging off my "A" frame casting them.
3rd November: Back to sleep and up at the crack of dawn, to a gorgeous sunrise. It was one of those mornings when you just feel so glad to be alive.
I had a cracking last sail down to Messolonghi, a phone call to Trix there, and she was waiting to take my lines when I reversed into a spot she had saved for me. I hadn't seen her since May, and it was like we had only last met days ago. As soon as Nanjo was safely tied up and my boarding plank down, I went to see my new crew mate.She was staying on Johanne and Asbjorns lovely catamaran. I had been wondering what to call my new friend, and after running through some pretty daft nautical names and doing an internet search for Greek names, I ended up with "Lucy" meaning light of the day. It seemed very apt when I first saw her, a very small bundle of black and white fur, with a beautiful face. It seemed such a shame to be taking her from a life of luxury on a large catamaran, onto the confines of Nanjo. But she seemed happy with me and the choice of boat. That day I met up with Klaus and Marrianne who had taken on Lucys sister and called her Windy, she's brown and white. They had also rescued another puppy found dumped at the gates from another litter, a white dog with a few spots they called Lucky. And Thomy made up the fourth puppy owner with Luckys brother, white with a lot more spots called Spotty. It was great for all the puppies being together, it meant they could play and grow up as a group. My sister had sent me a dog care book, which to be honest, didn't have anything to say about dogs on boats!
Lucy is my first dog, always wanted one. I wasn't prepared for the complete and utter 24/7 effect she would have on my life. Going ashore for the toilet, from day one she's really been very clean, making a noise when wanting to get off Nanjo. The feeding, her getting under my feet and being everywhere I wanted to be. It was a very steep learning curve for me and Lucy as well. I have no idea who her mother and father were, how big she would grow, only time will tell.
Those first days at the marina just seemed to fly by, meeting up with old friends and finding out how there sailing season had gone. My small problems seemed pretty insignificant compared to others. I really like Messolonghi marina and town, it's all a work in progress, and I'm happy that nobody seems to be rushing to finish the work!
9th November: We took all four puppies to the vets for an initial check up and first jab. Lucy weighed in at 3.7kgs, the vet reckoned she will be a big dog and weigh between 20 and 30kgs!!! Omg, I'm going to need a bigger boat if that happens. Life for me at the marina was a simple round of dog walking, I'm getting to become an expert on dog poo ! Enjoying the sunny weather and doing a few minor jobs on Nanjo and a friends yacht. The weeks just seem to drift by, and it wasn't long before December arrived and thoughts of what to do at Christmas and the New Year were all we could chat about in the marina.
1st December and it's dog weigh in time, Lucy had gone up to 5.6kgs. The vet gave her the rabies jab she would need to travel around, I'll get her chipped and neutered as soon as possible. My time with Lucy was becoming a fight of mixed emotions as she was getting bigger and her character was starting to come through. A very independent little lady indeed. I had let her sleep in my back cabin with me from day one, for several reasons. For her comfort, and I was thinking when friends come onboard, she will know that the stern cabin is her place rather than a bed that suddenly a friend needs. Other dog owners in the marina said that I was making a big mistake. Only time will tell i guess.
The weeks of December went very quickly, we had some really gorgeous sunny days, some great Sunday bbq's and a lot of laughs in the marina.
A chance chat with Thomy about getting an dehumidifer, and he said he had one spare. It turned out to be a large household sized one, but I found space for it behind the saloon table. The first night it got over a litre of water out of the air. It changed my life on Nanjo completely, no more waking to a damp and wet boat, the water went up to 1.5 litres every night. I would switch it on at 5pm and off again when I first woke up. The heater has never come out of its box in December.
I went from wanting to hand Lucy over to someone else, to thinking she was the best thing that had happened to me. One day up and the next day really down, I was feeling that everything I had worked for had gone, and the freedom I cherished had been handed over to a small dog! Luckily an evening spent having a great dinner cooked by Trix and Peter on there boat, gave me the chance to talk about how I was feeling towards Lucy. They helped me clear up a lot of doubts in my head. And chatting to Ian and Hilliary who have two dogs on there boat, also gave me the low down on dog ownership.
25th December. Sixteen of us went to Marias for a great Christmas meal at her taverna, it was a brilliant evening, and the weather here was still very sunny. I had a few Christmas presents sent out by friends. My favourite one is a small rug sent out by Ruth with Nanjo embossed in it. We had seen them at the foot of mega yacht gang planks with the boats name on. Nanjo will now stand out when stern on as well. Thanks Ruth.
Looking through my log book for the sailing season and i came away with these stats:
Total distance sailed: 1,298.2 nautical miles.
Engine hours logged: 334
Diesel used: 66 gallons
Miles sailed: 407.3
I will hopefully sail more miles next year, but not cover so many miles either. The engine is running perfectly after it's top end rebuild. The wiring is all behaving itself as well. I've a few jobs to do on Nanjo over the winter. Mainly jobs that were on my list at the start of 2015 !! Nanjo will be staying afloat this year, and will be lifted out next year when I'm back at Messolonghi.
My plans for 2016 are to cruise the Ionion again, meet up with some new and old friends and hopefully have a great time again.
To everybody reading this blog I thank you, for taking the trouble to read it and comment.
Very best wishes to all for 2016, fair winds and calm seas.
Jim & Lucy
Kingys week onboard.
16 January 2016
Arrived at Prevaza marine by taxi,it didn't take long to spot Nanjo and my host for the week Jim,there he was in the cockpit sitting in the sun with a straw hat on and a beer in his hand. I was soon welcomed aboard and would join him in the cockpit for a well earned beer after all that travelling it was lovely to just sit and watch the world go by,something Jim seems to be very good at. The afternoon passed after a few tins and a good catch up on gossip and we were soon of to town for a walk about and a meal. On the way to find somewhere to eat we stopped for a drink, with the drink came a plate of stew and chips just to keep us interested I guess,we soon ate up and drunk our drinks and found somewhere to eat a lovely meal.
When we got back to Nanjo Jim introduced me to two lads from Holland who were refitting an old cruiser next to where we were berthed,they were an interesting pair of lads and we had a drink and chat with them while watching there 50inch TV not sure if they ever did any work but they liked a chat and a drink.
We set sail in the morning from Preveza to catch the opening bridge at Lefkas,that would allow us to enter the canal that would take us down to what I have always thought of as Jims playground. There has been a lot work going on here and it has changed a lot since I was here 3 years ago.
After about 2 hours on the motor we were out of the canal and in some good open water so it was off with the motor and up with the sails. We had all the afternoon and pretty much all the sea to ourselves so we decided to just sail around for an hour or two glorious. We were soon joined by a small school of Dolphins some who really wanted to show of.
As the afternoon passed we decided to go to Jims favourite place in the world and what he refers to as home Vlikho. It is easy to see why someone might want to spend there time here it's water and scenery make it the perfect place to relax.
With Nanjo safely anchored and a few more beers it was time to get out the dinghy and the new outboard for a bit of fun before going to the yacht club for some refreshments.
After a good meal and some brandy and a chat onboard it was time to settle down to a calm night at anchor. The stars are amazing here and the gentle rocking of the boat give a good nights sleep.
Today it was decided that we would travel a little further to a place called big Vathi on Ithaca. And so it was soon of to the bakers for some pies and other goodies and up with the anchor and we were on our way.
Once we had left the bay the main sail was up and we were soon in some good wind with full sail and no motor. It is to describe how good this feels to someone who doesn't sail when you can steer the course and let the wind do the work.
After a few hours our pies finished and several empty tins we arrived at big Vathi,another lovely harbour with lots of room to man oeuvre hence big Vathi.
We moored bow to on the key in front of some tavernas and a lively little town idyllic really step of the boat and straight into a bar. After a drink and some people watching and a little bit of excitement with a sun sail catamaran that was determined to hit every boat in the harbour,it was time for me to take a shower this was done in someone's house for 3euros you walked passed the family watching TV and just used there shower, Greek enterprise?
Once again the night life consisted of a walk several drinks and a good meal I could soon get used to this and am finding myself feeling very envious of Jims lifestyle.
Wednesday 7th October
What a lovely place big Vathi is but still morning is here and it is time to move on. After breakfast in the cockpit and in full sunshine we were of to the bakers to stock up for our journey.
As we left the harbour there was a lot of talk about a storm arriving at the weekend hard to imagine as we were in 30degrees of heat and no wind.
After about 30 minutes of motoring we were soon back in the wind and once again making good speed under sail, time for beer and peace.
With the wind in our sails and the sun in the sky we were on our way to Sivota I have been there before and was really looking forward to seeing it again.
After sailing most of the way we entered Sivota harbour a lovely little harbour with plenty of tavernas and a supermarket, once again it was bow to a technique which Jim seems particularly good at.
It wasn't long before the rain started and when it did it seemed like it wasn't going to stop and it was really heavy. Still who cares? Not us we were safely in a good taverna enjoying cold beers, and as it seems like a long wait beef burger and chips seemed a good idea.
Once again it was evening and the rain had stopped and we were back to strolling around drinking and eating is there a better pastime? We were soon to meet a local legend by the name of kangaroo cat the only cat I have ever seen sit up and beg. I think the next time I see kangaroo cat he will be too big to sit up as everyone was feeding him.
With the day once again over it was back to Nanjo for brandy and time to reflect on our busy day lol.
With the forecast of a heavy storm on the way for Friday and our thoughts of being in the safety of Lefkas for the weekend we decided a short trip to Nidri would be best for us. With pies on board and beer in the fridge we set of for Nidri a Greek holiday town.
Jim had decided we would tie up on a pontoon so we could walk into town that evening. After safely mooring up and paying our mooring fees we were soon relaxing once again with a drink in the cockpit.
Next to us was a small yacht that was having some work done to it,the owner was an older gentleman of some 80 years although you wouldn't know it. In no time after discovering that he could play the guitar after learning at the age of 60! He was strumming and singing on jims guitar giving Jim hope that it's never too late to learn. We chatted with this guy for some time and he really was quite a character.
Nightfall again and of into town although quite a bit was shut it was a great place to walk around with a small beach and lots to see. Looking around for somewhere to eat and business not as good as usual we were soon offered discount to eat,that will do for us.
Full again and most of jims pizza as a take away it was of course brandy time, starting to loose count now how many bottles lol.
Friday 9th October
A later start today as we were going to levkas marina and safety. We were in no real hurry so some sailing around and a trip over to Polaris seemed a good option. What a calm day it was no wind so motor all the way obviously the calm before the storm. With little wind it was time to head up levkas canal to the marina we were not the only ones with this in mind. There was a convoy of yachts all with the same thing in mind. After a bit of waiting we were met by someone in a dinghy who would direct us to our mooring for the next couple of nights.
What a lovely marina great facilities and the showers were excellent,I think if you have to hold up somewhere might as well be near a town and some bars.
Once again of out in pursuit of food and drink not disappointed great value and far to much to eat.
Back to the marina for a drink and watch a bit of rugby before returning to nanjo for a nightcap.
Saturday 10th October
With plenty of places to eat we decided it was a full English for us coffee and fruit juice. With full tums we looked around for some time at the yachts we could not afford,but it cost nothing to dream.
After a day spent looking around levkas and dodging the rain it was back to nanjo and wait to see what the weather would bring.
All quite until about 2am then wins of 60 mph and heavy rain. Jim was on the deck letting of the lines so nanjo had more room before hitting the pontoon.
Sunday 11th October
After an eventful couple of hours the high winds stopped. We had weathered the storm well and so of for another full english seemed a good idea. I think that one or two boats had suffered small damage but nothing serious.
It was now time for me to find a taxi and make way to the airport. Would I like to live this life? Who wouldn't? Thanks Jim hope to see you next year.
Alone again, but not for long!
16 January 2016
22nd September: Alone again, it was a great last day with Debbie, Lucy and Andy. They didn't have to be at the airport until 5pm, so we went off in the car driving around.
Back on Nanjo, I was met by my neighbour off the yacht 3 boats from me. She told me of the disaster that had happened during my absence, a large charter boat had tried to back in to the space next to me. Typically got it screwed up, then managed to drag sideways taking his anchor with him along the seabed. Luckily he had missed Nanjo and the other yachts. He tried to recover his anchor and pulled three up with his, I can only imagine the words he was getting from my neighbours watching this going on. Well, apparently he managed to untangle his, then just dumped the other three in a heap! My neighbours had pulled theres in as much as possible and even went on Nanjo and pulled mine taut to save my bow from hitting the jetty. It was going to be fun, when somebody left!
I was up early and, it was me who was going to leave first, probably best as I was the smallest yacht and mine was a small kedge on mostly rope. I let the bow go, started to pull Nanjo back on my kedge, I had just cleared my neighbours bow when I couldn't lift any more anchor rope up, let alone see the last 10mtrs of chain. I tried everything I knew, and had plenty of encouragement from the owners of the other two yachts. But it was useless, even though they had slackened off there chains to ease the tension on mine. I ended up going back into the berth I had just left, and made fast to my neighbours yacht. A really nice German guy, who I really should have got his name. To cut a very long story short. We ended up putting all my kedge rope into his dinghy, then going under and over the two chains, while I was slowly pulling it in from the bow of his dinghy. 90 minutes later, I had my anchor in his dinghy and it was soon stowed back onboard Nanjo. I could never have done it without my new found friends help. I was shattered to be honest, I never knew my arm muscles could ache so much. With a shake of the hand and a farewell, I cast Nanjo off from his yacht and motored out of Sami.
This was my worst anchor foul ever, I hope it never gets repeated. If i ever find the bastard who was in charge of the charter boat, we will be having words!!! I can only hope that the two remaining yachts made it out easily.
Leaving later than expected and not in a jolly mood, I had a cracking sail up the coast of Ithaca to make me happy again. I was going to stop at Vathi, but carried onto my safe haven at Vlicho. Arrived just before it got dark, dropped my anchor in 4 mtrs of mud, and spent the next 11 days there chilling out. Bliss.
2nd October and I'm upping anchor and heading for Preveza, my old work mate Pete is coming out for a week and flying into Preveza. I tied up in the small marina at the top of town, only 1 euro a metre. So nice and cheap with water and electric.
3rd October and Pete arrived on the 2pm flight. We then had a great week sailing, with some really good winds. So nice to have somebody onboard who likes to push Nanjo a bit and get her singing.
Pete wrote the blog for me.
Debbie, Lucy and Andy onboard.
16 January 2016
13th September- Sailed down from Vlicho direct to Sami, a gorgeous day. Tied up bow to the main harbour wall, and paid for 3 days. I've got friends arriving on the 15th, so plenty of time to clean Nanjo and get ready.
Debbie, Lucy and Andy arrived on the 15th, I collected them from the airport in my little hire car, luckily they had not brought much luggage!
In the week they were onboard, we sailed to Vathi on Ithaca, Vlicho, Nidri, Lefkada, Spartachori then back to Sami a day early because a storm was forecast.
This is there story: Well, it will be when they get it written and send it to me along with the photos. All my guests get the same deal, they write the blog for the week they are out here.
Burnt out wiring!
12 September 2015
I had a great time with Ruth onboard, the small fire leaving Sivota wasn't on the plan at all. I have to wonder how long it would have been before I spotted the smoke. The usual practice for me is to put the autopilot on asap, and get in all fenders and ropes. It doesn't take long, but when you have wiring burning and shorting out, I guess that every second counts!
I was lucky, and as Ruth said, we had a very small stern wind and I managed to nurse Nanjo back to the jetty. It was a one shot deal, and it went perfectly. When Ruth mentioned that we had no engine to the guy taking our bow lines, his reply was that "he had screwed up badly coming in under engine, and maybe he should turn it off next time". The wiring had shorted out along it's entire length, from the control panel and back to the alternator. The culprit was the twat who decided that it would be a good idea to hide the wiring behind an overhead panel, held on with nine screws. But to pass the wiring behind the panel, he had cut off the Yanmar connectors, pushed the wiring through, and then used a bunch of chocolate box connectors to join it all back together again. It could have been done a long time ago, but eventually the thick positive cable connector had chaffed through it's nearest neighbor and caused the short and small fire. The pictures show the problem. It took me a few hours to splice in a spare piece of wire I had in my "wire bag" and connect it all up. The engine ran, but I had no tacho or engine warning lights working.
Because of Ruths flight in a couple of days from Sami, we headed of straight away for Vathi on Ithaca, to help break up the trip back. We had a very choppy trip over from Lefkas to Vathi, but once in the lee of Ithaca things calmed down a bit. We were soon tied up, bow on in Vathi, and having a beer. I had been checking on the wiring every 30mins and it was all cool and no sign of any problems. We had a lovely meal in town, and I went to bed thinking I had sorted the problem!
We had planned to leave early, so we could make maximum use of the hire car I had booked. Pushing the engine start, produced absolutely nothing at all. A quick check of the main 30amp fuse and it had blown (I should have realised something wasn't right then). Replacing the fuse and pushing the button in again, well, the start button broke!! At this time I'm beginnining to think "What next". I hot wired the starter, by using the old screwdriver trick, it got the Yanmar running and we left Vathi only an hour later than planned. We motored all the way to Sami and made really good time, on the way, I kept noticing my battery monitor would sometimes not show a charge, meaning the alternator wasn't working correctly! We tied up in Sami easily enough with plenty of space available. The rest of that day was spent touring around Kefalonia with Ruth, it's a gorgeous island and we visited some lovely places. After dropping her off at the airport, I managed to get lost twice on my way back to Sami in the dark. The next day i spent washing clothes and filling Nanjos water tanks. Trying to buy some wire and connectors was a fruitless task, it's a ferry port and I couldn't find a thing. My only option was to sail straight back to Vlicho, where I could get everything I needed to repair Nanjo.
I left in the morning at 06:45 after hot starting the engine again, I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise. The pictures just don't do it justice, it was one of those magic moments, when leaving a harbour early and seeing the sunrise, just makes you feel alive at the birth of a new day. I dropped anchor in Vlicho at 14:00 and only managed to motorsail for a little while. The engine ran faultlessly and the wiring seemed okay. It was time to sort Nanjo out, I ordered a new center harness, start button and the oil pressure sender. I went to collect them from CYS in Lefkada on the Monday, and dropped off my alternator to the repair guy in Nidri on the way back to Vlicho. The wiring was a straight connect job, but I didn't want it running under any screwed down panels, so it's now in plastic split tube and visible. It doesn't look so smart, but I never want to go through the panic of feeling a fibreglass panel red hot with smoke coming from behind it again! I went back the next day to collect the alternator, and as expected, it was toast. The coils and regulator had burnt out and it was uneconomical to repair. The cost of a replacement genuine Yanmar part, nearly made me collapse. Luckily, the repair guy suggested an alternative, it's what everybody opts for he said. The alternator from a Nissan Sunny 60 or 720 is a direct replacement, and even made by Hitachi who make the Yanmar part. It's not marine quality, spark proof or painted grey. But it was less than a third of the price of the Yanmar part, so I ordered one. Back onboard Nanjo, I'm tidying up the wiring and checking things over, I had no power at all at the start button, no alarm or lights. I assumed that it was because the alternator plugs weren't connected. A phone call later in the afternoon from the alternator guy, and he's got one, and for an extra 10 euros will deliver it to me at anchor. I couldn't say Yes Please quick enough. It saved me a walk in the morning, and meant I could complete the job. He arrived shortly after in a rib, with a box containing my shiny alternator. It was a two minute job to fit it and connect it up. I can't tell you just how pleased I was when I went to push that start button. And nothing happened, no beeps, no lights and no starting engine. I was absolutely gutted and confused, a quick check of the wiring diagram, and it was all in order, out with the multi-meter and it showed no power getting passed the main fuse. It looked in perfect condition, no sign of it having blown. Popping in a new fuse, and I'm greeted with a warning buzzer, lights on my panel and a push of the starter button and the Yanmar bursting into life. The sense of relief was immeadiate, I could have hugged Nanjo, but settled for patting her on the side of the cockpit, where she always gets a pat, after a great sail or trip. The next few hours were spent trying the instrument panel off and on, my neighboring yachts must have wondered why they kept hearing the engine buzzer and her starting up. Anybody who has had engine trouble, will know that it's a great sound when it fires up. I made a big dinner and went to bed early, to be honest, I had the best sleep I've had since the trouble started in Sivota. The relief was amazing.
Lessons learned: I guess, i will always be thinking of an "out" plan now when entering or leaving harbours, if it ever happens again. I'm fitting a fire extinguisher in the cockpit locker, my others are in my back cabin,saloon and bow cabin. If it had been a bad fire I probably couldn't get to them. Regarding the duff fuse, always check the obvious first.
It's now Friday 11th September, I've been running the engine and checking the electrics each day, and am happy with the repair job I've done. I'm leaving Vlicho on Sunday to sail back to Sami. To pick up three friends for a weeks sailing, it's going to be a week of laughs and booze I'm sure. I would be more than happy to write the next blog and just say it all went to plan, but Nanjos a 30 year old yacht and the sea can have it's own ideas of how my week will go. As they say in the press "Watch this space".