The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

05 July 2022 | Sicily, Siracusa (position: 37 03.382'N 15 16.675'E)
04 July 2022 | Sicily, Portopalo (36 40.184'N 15 06.769'E)
30 June 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
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)

Sicily, Portopalo to Siracusa

05 July 2022 | Sicily, Siracusa (position: 37 03.382'N 15 16.675'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
our first catch since we entered the Mediterranean 6 years ago

Yesterday's unexpected sail gave us false hope that today we'd possibly have similar conditions contrary to the actual forecast of very little wind. Unfortunately it was accurate so we had to motor to our next port of Siracusa located on the southeast corner of Sicily. Despite the lack of wind the highlight of the day was landing a fish, an albacore tuna no less and a perfect size for the two of us. Hurray for us! It's about time too given the amount of lures that we have squirrelled away in lockers. It was such a shock that we were totally unprepared in every aspect from landing it through to our method of dispatch. Without going into too much detail we chose the quickest but not necessarily the cleanest of methods. Needless to say that we will be better prepared next time.

Upon our arrival in Siracusa we chose yet again to radio the Port Authority for permission to anchor for fear of receiving a fine. It's something that we've always done and is now probably justified given that the port is now frequented by MSC cruise ships. Having made contact with the Port Authority we were subsequently issued with exact GPS coordinates that of degrees, minutes and seconds!  With said coordinates duly documented in our paper logbook (yes, we still maintain a paper logbook) we took on the challenge to find our alloted GPS position dropping the anchor exactly to those coordinates!

The anchorage in Siracusa provides wonderful goopy and silty mud so with the anchor well dug in we then waited for a suitable forecast to take us eastwards occupying our time by frequenting the town and routine checks aboard Flirtie.  We also had a thorough paperwork inspection by the Guardia Finanzia which included showing our ICC document (International certificate of competence) along with the usual Ships Registration, Insurance and Passports. For extra measure we threw in our Italian ID cards given that we have no stamp in our passports.  It felt unnatural to hand our documents over in a fishing net but far easier than them coming alongside and onboard.

Total distance this season: 62.16 nautical miles

Sicily, Marina di Ragusa to Portopalo

04 July 2022 | Sicily, Portopalo (36 40.184'N 15 06.769'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
What can we say apart from better late than never - the Flirties have left Marina di Ragusa. Our planned agenda is eastwards to spend the next few months cruising new territory, that of mainland Italy, Croatia even Greece, all subject to the winds before returning back in October to spend another winter in Marina di Ragusa.

We departed today with no expectations of actually sailing given the forecast so it's been an unexpected and pleasant surprise that we were able to launch our asymmetric and enjoy our first sail, albeit slow to Portopalo the southernmost corner of Sicily. Happy days :-)

Total distance this season: 31.05 nautical miles

An unexpected delay and start to our season

30 June 2022 | Sicily, Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.863'N 14 32.701'E)
Bruce & Caroline Trott
Our return to the UK took far longer than we had planned. Two cancelled flights didn't help the situation but finally we have returned aboard Flirtie, yearning for new adventures ahead. We had planned to leave after we'd run through our usual start of season check list but Flirtie had other ideas by surprising us with a couple of issues.

The first was seized steering sheaves. They were corroded solid. We recall that when we took ownership of Flirtie some 7 years ago, we found leaks coming from two anti-syphon valves that reside above the steering mechanism so we assume that this original leak is responsible for the now seized sheaves. We could have probably coated the steering cables in copious amounts of grease to enable them to slide around the sheaves but our conscience wouldn't allow it. Thankfully sourcing the bearings in a timely manner wasn't an issue however we did have to get creative in finding ways to remove the corroded ones. Our determination and perseverance paid off and within a few hours we had removed and replaced four bearings.

one of the corroded bearings - there are four to be removed, two on each sheave

completed job with four new bearings added to two Whitlock sheaves

The next issues was far more serious, a leak coming from one of the shaft seals. Both port and starboard seals were dry before we returned to the UK but upon our return we found a slow but steady drip coming from the port side. Under load the drip frequency increased somewhat. Any thoughts we had about hopping over to Malta to be lifted had to be shelved with us now having to rely on the services of the boatyard here in Marina di Ragusa that over the years of us being here has unfortunately acquired an appalling reputation for time management. We had no alternative but to wait for a lift and hope they would do a good job in a timely manner given that working on your own boat is not allowed in this particular yard. However when the day came, for reasons unknown to us, the foreman gave us permission to do the job ourselves (possibly because we had told them that we had experience of replacing the seals and happy to do the job ourselves). We were surprised, shocked and elated that we could work on our girl. Flirtie was lifted, chocked up then we were left to it. Everything went to plan with Flirtie being relaunched that same day. There was even time to polish the props and inspect the antifoul that we applied one year ago which is performing as expected.

new seal added to port side shaft - just starboard side to do now

According to the literature, the life of our particular shaft seals is 5 years or 500 hours whichever is sooner. We last replaced these seals in March 2015 in Portugal so we've exceeded the 5 years. We've also exceeded the 500 hours because the shafts continuously rotate whether under engine or under sail. This problem has definitely caught us out and has required an additional lift which has cost us dearly in both time and money. The perfect solution in our particular set up would be to replace the existing fixed three bladed propellers to folding or feathering propellers as they would immediately reduce wear not only on the shaft seals but on the gearbox too. There's also the potential that Flirtie would gain a knot or two in speed whilst under sail and as an additional bonus we, the crew would finally be rid of the annoying whirling noise that occurs when Flirtie exceed 4 knots. Unfortunately though, unless our existing fixed props somehow fall off or disintegrate in some astonishing way the idea will have to remain a dream due to cost.

Out of curiosity we cut the failing shaft seal in half to see the extent of the wear. Surprisingly it was in very good order and only when we compared it with the new shaft seal could we see that the two lip seals were not standing as proud, the result being less pressure on the propeller shaft and the leak. The rubber was all in good order and showing no signs of deterioration so in an emergency we could certainly and safely add a hose clip or similar in the area of the lip seals as long as we could find a way of securing the shaft from rotating.

a cross section of the volvo seal

Despite the yards reputation we can say that our experience was excellent with good communication, a timely lift and relaunch.
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 - Coruna 2014
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Yacht Flirtie

Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK

Where are we now?