The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

10 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
05 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
01 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
10 January 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
16 December 2021 | Ashton under Hill
16 August 2021 | Sicily, Boat Service Trapani (position: 38.00.840'N 12.31.297'E)
14 August 2021 | Sicily, Trapani (position 38 00.427'N 12 30.245'E) eastern anchorage behind southern breakwater
12 August 2021 | Sicily, Cornino (position: 38 05.712'N 12 39.510'E)
09 August 2021 | Sicily, Terrasini Sud (position: 38 09.412'N 13 04.709'E)
07 August 2021 | Sicily, Palermo, Nautica Galizzi (position: 38 07.372'N 13 22.218'E)
01 August 2021 | Sicily, Termini Imerese (position: 37 58.851'N 13 42.872'E) & Artemar Marina
27 July 2021 | Sicily, Cefalu (position: 38.02.042'N 14 02.463'E)
25 July 2021 | Sicily, Contrada Rais-Gerbi (position: 38 01.673'N 14 08.546'E)
24 July 2021 | Sicily, Capo d'Orlando, S.Carra (position: 38 09.354'N 14 47.674'E)
15 July 2021 | Sicily, Milazzo (position: 38 13.206'N 15 14.741'E)
10 July 2021 | Vulcano, Spaggia di Cannitello - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 22.318'N 15 00.287'E)
07 July 2021 | Lipari, Praia di Vinci - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 26.417'N 14 56.978'E)
30 June 2021 | Salina, Santa Marina - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 33. 071'N 14 52.208'E)
29 June 2021 | Lipari, Porto Pignatro Marina (position: 38 28.677'N 14 57.816'E)
27 June 2021 | Porticello, Lipari - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 30.636'N 14 57.963'E)

Volvo Penta 2003T, Reverse Gear MS2B - sticking gear shift mechanism

10 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
With what we believe to be the biggest critical job out of the way "holes in the poop tank!" , it was time to face the next job.

Since we've owned Flirtie, selecting forward, neutral and reverse gear on the starboard engine has never been a smooth operation. With the port engine always there as reference the difference was always noticeable. During last season it was becoming worse and we were fearful that without some love and attention there was a good chance it was going to fail us at a critical moment like coming into a marina or approaching a dock.

Unfortunately the setup on Flirtie is more complex than on a lot of boats because we have two engines and dual controls - above and below deck. This means there are significantly more control cables and complexity. By way of example on a typical yacht of similar length you would have a single throttle cable and single gearbox cable. On Flirtie we have 4 throttle cables and 6 gearbox cables and a couple of mechanical transfer boxes. These mechanical transfer boxes are controlled by yet another cable.

Previously we have checked, adjusted and greased the transfer boxes, checked the cables themselves so we knew the problem was associated with the actual gearbox gear shift mechanism.

To better understand the problem we started the exercise by downloading the workshop manual Volvo Penta MS2 Workshop Manual

The workshop manual is pretty detailed and there is a section specifically dealing with the gear shift mechanism.

Taking the mechanism apart looked pretty straight forward on paper but it was apparent that we would need a few parts for the reassembly like washers, seals etc. In the end we decided to order the following parts before we drained the gearbox oil and started the disassembly.


1) 40, Sealing Ring, 958838
2) 36, O-Ring, 925065
3) 37, Spring, 814184
4) 41, Clevis Pin, 942871
5) 42, Spring Pin, 951924

We were keeping our fingers crossed that with a good clean and the new parts we'd be back up and running but we really wouldn't know until we got everything out and we could inspect everything closely.

complete shift mechanism

complete shift mechanism

disassembled shift mechanism

bearing housing

close-up of the bearing housing showing wear

close-up of the bearing housing showing wear

Everything looked fine with the exception of the bearing housing. Putting money aside we would like to replace the bearing housing but we were also pretty confident that if we ground away the ridges we could get the mechanism to work reliably albeit not necessarily as smooth as a new one.

Being careful with a needle file set from amazon and finally emery paper and oil we set to work to remove the ridges and polish the surface.

With everything reassembled and the gearbox filled with oil it was the moment of truth!!!


We must confess it still isn't quite as smooth as the port gearbox selection, but it's certainly a vast improvement and we're now confident it won't let us down.

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seacocks - access can be a right pain in the arse

05 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
that's going to be a bloody big hole!

With the exception of just two of Flirtie's seacocks they are all readily accessible. They are either in the base of cupboards, behind dedicated access panels or under small floor panels.

easy access to the galley sink seacock

easy access to the forward sink seacock

easy access to the forward heads seacock

Unfortunately the two that are not readily accessible can only be reached by removing a couple of the saloon cushions, emptying the entire contents of the saloon locker, removing the false floor that resides at the base of the locker and then climbing in to reach the handles of the seacocks. In summary a right pain in the arse every time we want to leave the boat for an extended period or god forbid access them in an emergency.

With a return trip to the UK planned for April, that means the locker needs emptying again - and then again on our return 2 weeks later. Expletive, expletive, expletive!

It was time to take action and deal with the problem once and for all!

Fortunately the solution didn't cost a great deal and didn't involve a lot of work. More by luck than anything else because all we needed to do was add a small inspection hatch to the wall in the ensuite. With the inspection cover removed we could then reach in and open and close both seacocks as required. A neat and tidy solution and a major safety improvement we feel.

all marked up

no going back now

phew; the hole is in the right place!

inspection hatch silicone'd & screwed into place

hidden behind the waste bin

Just perfect we think! You have to ask yourself why we didn't do it years ago and save all the aggravation and upheaval every time we leave or return to Flirtie!

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holes in the poop tank!

01 March 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
Our 31 year old leaky poop tank

After almost a week of settling back into life afloat we're ready to start working through this year's list of to-do items.

Fortunately this year's list doesn't compromise of too many critical items but there are a couple of big ones!

The biggest and most challenging is dealing with a leaky holding tank - aka "the poop tank" .

We were really fortunate that it was fine all last season and only started leaking when we flushed the tank out with fresh water just prior to leaving for the UK.

We mustn't complain though because our holding tank is made of stainless steel and is 31 years old. That's a really good age when you consider what it's holding - urine, poo & salt water, a really corrosive concoction as you can imagine!

Rust on one of the seams

Rust on another seam and in the centre of one of the flat panels

Initially we considered a straightforward swap of new for old but after receiving a quote for an identically shaped tank of 80 litres of circa €2000+vat we needed to review our options. We approached a company in the UK and they quoted about £600.... but then there was shipping and import costs to consider. Following Brexit, these costs were going to be significant so we continued to look at alternative options.

When Flirtie was built, holding tanks were virtually unheard of but now that they are standard on almost every production boat there are numerous companies out there selling off-the-shelf holding tanks. We just needed to find one that would fit the space available on Flirtie.

After scouring various company websites and downloading what seamed like dozens of pdf's we eventually came across one that we were fairly confident would fit but unfortunately it did mean we had a lot of woodwork to do. New floor supports would be needed together with a new plywood floor shaped to fit the hull. If we measured accurately and got everything right we would be left with just 8mm clearance - it was certainly going to be tight fit!

After checking and double checking our measurements we finally committed to placing the order with an Italian online chandlery Five days later it was here and then the work could really commence.

Osculati 78 litre rectangular waste tank

To keep disruption to a minimum we tried to source all the materials we needed before starting. Some we purchased online from one of our now preferred chandlers in Germany (regrettably it's no longer cost effective to purchase from our preferred UK chandler's) and the rest from our local DIY store Bricoman is about 35 minutes away by car from where we're berthed and we'd like to thank Steve and Annette from Sailing Yacht Cordelia for kindly allowing us to tag along (and fill their car boot) on one of their trips. Steve and Annette maintain a youtube channel and you can watch how their adventures unfold here with their cutest crew member Gus:

With everything to hand it was now time to start. Rather than use words to try and detail how the project unfolded, hopefully the pictures and the supporting notes will present a clearer picture.

Shaping the floor bearers

New floor bearers glued and screwed in place & painted

The new plywood floor shaped, routed & painted

Plywood floor in place and ready to accept the new tank

Tank installed, secured & plumbed in

So there you have it, a newly installed holding tank that we hope will give us many years of service and all for less than €400. Yes, it did require a reasonable amount of work, but ultimately we think the final solution is actually better than the original - only time will tell!

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Vessel Name: Yacht Flirtie
Vessel Make/Model: Trident Voyager 40
Hailing Port: Dartmouth, UK
Crew: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Welcome to Sailing Yacht Flirtie's blog. We are Bruce and Caroline and this blog serves as a personal record of our adventures and experiences since leaving the UK in 2012 whilst allowing family and friends to keep up-to-date with our whereabouts. [...]
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Yacht Flirtie's Photos - Ile d'Oleron 2012
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Yacht Flirtie

Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK

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