Steen Rally

Follow us on our sailing adventure from France to Australia

30 December 2015 | Sydney
29 July 2015 | Sydney
15 January 2015 | Sydney
22 December 2014 | Sydney
21 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
02 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
21 October 2014 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
01 October 2014 | Fiji
20 September 2014 | Fiji
08 September 2014 | Fiji
24 July 2014 | Neiafu, Tonga
06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
23 June 2014 | Moorea
23 June 2014 | Moorea
15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia

Mechanical issues during passage

15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
Voahangy
What would an ocean passage be without mechanical breakdowns?

Compared to our previous catamaran, this boat has been relatively trouble free. Yes, we had a mini fitout in Fort Lauderdale and a few repairs here and there, but nothing major happening at sea. Well, it all changed during our last passage. Here are the main issues in the order they occurred.

• Day 3: the port side window in the back deck has separated from its mount and is threatening to fall out. The heat probably softened the sealant and the glue, the movement of the boat did the rest. We have it temporarily held with tape, crossing our fingers that the weather stays mild and doesn’t create undue movements on the boat causing the window to actually fall.

• Day 6: the clew at the bottom of the gennaker ripped apart this morning, for (still) unknown reasons but this is a sail that we had repaired in Fort Lauderdale and not used since. I always refer to it as our secret weapon for it allows us to sail downwind in relative light breeze; without it we are forced to tack (our zigzag) our way keeping the wind on the beam ( or motor in the direction we want to go, but with a 900NM range and 2000NM to go, not an option). We spent one gloomy day pulling the sail down and I explained to the kids that without it the trip would take nearly an extra week. In the meantime, Terry, not to be defeated, pulled every bit of hardware from under the seats and performed an emergency repair drilling a stainless steel plate onto the sail, connected to two large washers and a shackle. The gennaker was back in service within hours, and amazingly it has held for 15 days, though by the end of the passage the screws holding the plate look in pretty bad shape.

• Day 9: Just when we thought we could rely on the main sail, we noticed a few screws falling on the deck, this time from the boom area. We discovered that the screws securing the main sail batten holders had come undone, thus allowing the latter to slide out of their pocket. One of them had completely come out, ripping the sail material out and could not be repaired. Another one was half way out and Terry managed to secure it back into position, for how long we don’t know. In the meantime we have lost the full use of our mainsail, as it can only be put up to reef #2. That has slowed us down somewhat. Lucky the gennaker is holding!

• Day 10: alerted by a rattling sound in the electrical compartment, we discovered that screws holding the metal plate under the cover had come loose. Trying to put them back in, Terry found that the plate is impossible to access without removing the fibreglass cover, which forms part of the deck. A massive job that cannot be done at sea. The plate is still in place, thanks to the remaining screws which Terry tightened. Hopefully it will stay there until we can do a proper repair.

• Day 19: batteries have given us grief: the 12V battery pack died two weeks into the passage. We’re not sure why, Terry suspects it went flat too many times. It is a hassle because it services our HF radio and the AIS module (and a couple of other instruments). We consider these vital safety items: one as a communication device, the other to display our boat details on radar for others to see (and same in reverse!) We only use the HF radio to listen to daily nets (some cruisers use it to tune into the ABC radio for entertainment!) but also keep it on as emergency contact. Without it, we feel cut off from the world somehow. The VHF only works at small range (12NM) and while we also have the satellite email to communicate with the rest of the world it is costly (radio waves are free) One of our 24V battery charger has also died; splashed with saltwater. Terry added it to the existing chargers supplied by Lagoon, in order to boost the main battery charging rate and save on generator running time. The only available space to install it was the starboard engine compartment, a less than ideal choice as it is far from waterproof, water seeping thru the cracks of the outside shower cover. All this means that we need to run our generator more often and for longer periods of time, raising the topic of solar panels as a possible alternative (which we don’t have, as we figured that we’d need far too many to service our electrical needs).

The frustrating aspect of these breakdowns is that we can’t blame bad weather or sea conditions for them. Some are due to poor workmanship (Terry arguing that with better materials and better design, our sails would not have failed; also incorrect wiring of the 12V battery may be at fault) and others appear to suffer from plain wear and tear “This is what happens when you use your boat”, we were told once. As luck would have it, we could not be further away from repair facilities as we are now! Terry is optimistic he will be able to find materials in the Marquesas suitable enough for emergency repairs (an aluminium saucepan to use as a plate for the sails, a car battery to replace our 12V…). I am doubtful, but then again, he always comes up with clever tricks! Some repairs will have to wait until we return to Australia (the window and the deck cover) and possibly require Lagoon’s assistance. I just hope everything holds together until then, even if we have to use all our stock of duct tape!

Que serait une navigation hauturière sans pannes?

Compare à notre cata précèdent, ce bateau a été relativement sans histoires. Certes nous avons fait un mini-fitout a Fort Lauderdale et quelques réparations ici et là. Mais rien de sérieux n’est arrivé en mer. Et bien, tout a changé durant notre dernière traversée. Voici les problèmes principaux dans l’ordre chronologique.

• Jour 3 : la vitre donnant sur le pont arrière cote bâbord s’est décollée de son cadre et menace de tomber. La chaleur a sans doute ramolli la colle et le joint, le mouvement du bateau s’est occupé du reste. Pour le moment elle tient grâce a du scotch, on croise les doigts pour que la météo reste clémente et ne crée pas de mouvements excessifs a bord qui provoqueraient sa chute.

• Jour 6 : le point d’écoute a la base du gennaker s’est déchiré ce matin pour des raisons encore inconnues. Il s’agit de la voile qui a été réparée à Fort Lauderdale et n’a pas été utilisée depuis. Je l’appelle notre arme secrète car elle nous permet de naviguer sous le vent par brise très légère ; sinon on est obligés de tirer des bords (ou faire des zigzags) pour garder le vent de travers (ou faire du moteur dans la direction ou on veut aller, mais comme notre autonomie est de 900 miles et que nous en avons encore pour 2000 miles, ce n’est pas une option). On a passé toute une journée à démonter la voile et expliquer aux enfants que la traversée allait maintenant mettre une semaine de plus. C’était compter sans Terry qui a refusé de se laisser abattre et a sorti toute la quincaillerie du bord pour effectuer une réparation de fortune, en appliquant une plaque en inox sur la voile, connectée a deux grosses rondelles et une manille. Le gennaker était à nouveau de service en quelques heures, et à ma grande surprise a tenu pendant 15 jours, quoique à la fin de la traversée les boulons tenant la plaque n’avaient pas très bonne mine.

• Jour 9 : juste quand on se fiait à la grand-voile, on a remarqué quelques vis éparpillées sur le pont, en dessous de la bôme. Les vis qui tiennent en place les goussets de latte avaient commencé à se dévisser, causant le glissement des lattes et leur perte éventuelle. Une d’elles était complètement sortie et dans la foulée avait déchiré une partie de la voile, qui était impossible à réparer. Une autre avait glissé a moitie et Terry a réussi à la remettre en position, pour combien de temps ? ça reste à voir. Par conséquent, on a perdu l’usage complet de la grand-voile, puisque on ne peut la hisser que jusqu’au 2eme ris. Ça nous a sacrement ralenti. Encore heureux que le gennaker tienne bon !

• Jour 10 : alertes par des cliquetis dans le compartiment électrique, on a découvert que les vis qui tiennent la plaque métallique sous le panneau en fibre de verre se sont desserrées. En essayant de les revisser, Terry s’est aperçu qu’il est impossible d’accéder à la plaque sans défaire le panneau, qui fait partie intégrante du pont. Ça veut dire un boulot énorme qui ne peut se faire en mer. Pour le moment la plaque tient toujours, grâce au reste des vis que Terry a resserrées. On prie pour qu’elles restent en place en attendant une réparation correcte.

• Jour 19 : nos batteries nous ont donné du fil à retordre. Le pack de 12V a lâché après la 2eme semaine de la traversée. On ne sait pas pourquoi, Terry suspecte qu’il ait été aplat trop souvent. C’est un gros souci car notre radio HF et le module AIS en dépendent (ainsi que d'autres moindres instruments). Ce sont des articles de sécurité : l’un pour communiquer, l’autre pour déployer nos coordonnes sur radar au bénéfice des autres (et en sens inverse). On n’utilise la radio HF que pour écouter les nets quotidiens (certains équipages se branchent sur l’ABC radio pour divertissement) mais elle est toujours allumée en cas d’urgences. Sans radio, on est coupes du monde. La VHF ne fonctionne qu’à courte distance (12MN) et il nous reste l’email par satellite pour communiquer avec le monde entier, mais ça coute une fortune (la radio est gratuite). Un de nos chargeurs de batteries 24V est également HS, victime d’une douche l’eau de mer. Terry l’avait installé en plus des chargeurs fournis par Lagoon, afin d’améliorer le taux de charge et réduire la durée d’utilisation du groupe électrogène. Le seul endroit disponible était le compartiment moteur tribord, un choix malheureux car l’eau s’y immisce par la plomberie de la douche externe. Résultat, on doit maintenant faire tourner le groupe plus souvent et pour plus longtemps, ce qui fait resurgir le sujet des panneaux solaires comme source d’énergie alternative (que nous n’avons pas, considérant qu’il nous faudrait beaucoup trop de panneaux pour assurer nos besoins).

Le plus frustrant avec toutes ces pannes c’est qu’on ne peut même pas les mettre sur le compte d’une mauvaise météo ou des conditions en mer. Certaines sont dues à des défauts de fabrication (Terry vous dira qu’avec de meilleurs matériaux et une meilleure conception, nos voiles n’auraient pas lâché ; il se peut aussi que la connexion électrique de la batterie 12V soit incorrecte) et d’autres sont tout simplement des signes d’usure. Comme on nous l’a dit avant « voilà ce qui arrive quand vous utilisez votre bateau ! » et comme par hasard on ne pourrait pas être plus éloignés des ateliers de réparations ! Terry toujours optimiste espère trouver aux Marquises de quoi faire des réparations d’urgence (une casserole en aluminium à convertir en plaque pour les voiles, une batterie de voiture pour remplacer notre pack de 12V…) J’ai mes doutes, mais après tout, il a plus d’un tour dans son sac ! Certains travaux devront attendre notre retour en Australie (la vitre et le panneau du compartiment électrique) et peut être l’aide de Lagoon. J’espère que tout tiendra entre temps, même si on doit faire usage de tout notre stock de ruban adhésif !!!
Comments
Vessel Name: VOAHANGY
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 560
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
About:
Terry, 71, skipper, ex-pilot, surfer, aerobatics champion, can fix anything, never sea sick, loves a beer, hates the cold, is happiest anchored off a deserted beach. [...]
VOAHANGY's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 20 November 2014
2 glorious months, cruising various parts of Fiji. So many different experiences in one country: lush rainforests, colourful indian towns, blue lagoons, traditional villages, great fishing, fancy resorts... And the best part was sharing the cruising with family and friends. Can't beat Fiji with company! Here is a collection of our favourite moments (and there are a few!!!)
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 12 October 2014
Some of the whales actions we witnessed in Tonga, to read with the Whales action post by Anne!
7 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
Whale watching, snorkelling, bonfires, making new friends...One of the most remote and austere destination, far away from big tourism, with friendly people holding on to their traditions. Weather a bit chilly, but who cares???
46 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
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40 Photos
Created 30 March 2014
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 15 March 2014
The time finally came to leave...a month of celebrations and sadness!
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2014
Another holiday within the holiday! Spent 13 fantastic days in Whistler, British Columbia joined by Aussie friends David and Denise. First time on skis for them, perfecting camps for Marc and Anne, loads of fun for everyone.
70 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Nothing like having family and friends coming for a visit in the sun. Lots of eating, drinking, swimming, laughing...showing everyone our small paradise.
99 Photos
Created 30 January 2014
End of school year in Puerto, many get togethers before flying off to Paris for a family Christmas.
25 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
Day of the Dead festival, a friend visiting from Australia, Anne participating in her first martial arts tournament,...As usual a lot of eating and socialising!
40 Photos
Created 2 December 2013
68 Photos
Created 6 November 2013
Having visitors means putting on our tour guide hat "Voahangy & Co in Mexico", much exploring and eating: ruins, cenotes, beaches, villages, markets,... . I shared Mexican cooking lessons and was repaid with Dutch baking classes from our French guest. We ate a lot of cakes this month! So much sugar, no candies needed for Halloween this year, just parties...
74 Photos
Created 1 November 2013
This is the slowest month of the year in Mexico: hurricane threats, hot and humid weather, torrential rains drive the tourists away and confine the rest of us indoors. It poured for 22 days non stop! We still managed a dive (in the rain) for Father's Day, a day of all you can eat and drink at the local resort for Terry's birthday, and as usual lots of cooking and eating. Just on cue, the weather cleared at the end of the month for the arrival of Marie Suzanne, a French girlfriend. So lots of touring and catching up. Celebrated Mexican Independence Day all month long (it seems), eating black beans and pork verde!
47 Photos
Created 10 October 2013
No excursions this month. Just hanging around Puerto Aventuras, school, friends, ...Sat thru a couple of storms, torrential rains, big winds...Nowhere to go so more time spent in the galley and writing about it!!!
33 Photos
Created 12 September 2013
Holiday month for everyone: visitors from the USA, kids in and out, parties, US National Day celebration, French National Day celebration, Tulum for a night (bliss...) The start of a new food blog meant a month spent in the galley experimenting. Not much in terms of local food, mostly home cooked French. Chocolate cake anyone?
41 Photos
Created 24 August 2013
Holiday Seasons with old and new friends, provisioning and preparing to leave the USA...
54 Photos
Created 16 July 2013
End of school year performances, lots of baking/cooking for school festivities, Marc hospitalised, first tropical storms testing our nerves, road trip to Belize... Eat ceviche, my latest food addiction!!!
15 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 July 2013
Lots on! An interesting road trip to the Chiapas region, wonderful ruins of Palenque, green and lush Tabasco, Anne's birthday, Cozumel by boat, Kids sports graduation...Eat chilaquiles, breakfast with a difference.
26 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
Settling down and mixing with the locals: kids are off to school, birthday parties, more of Tulum, unexpected reunion with fellow cruisers. Eat: black bean soup!
30 Photos
Created 2 July 2013
Not much tourism this month. We finally made the decision to stay for the rest of the year. So it's head down with school, get together with cruising friends ( they're passing thru while we stay behind) and switching to "landlubber's" mode. Resolved to eat at home more often, back to healthier diet.
19 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula by car, to Uxmal ruins and Merida. More of Tulum. Marc's Birthday. Try Flyboarding. Join in the local community of Puerto Aventuras. Xel-Ha. Discover Playa del Carmen. Eat nachos.
27 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Landfall in Isla Mujeres, find our way around our new home in Puerto Aventuras, excursion to Coba ruins, discover Tulum, swim with dolphins, eat tacos...
31 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Our last few weeks (even months) have been spent in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Not much cruising for us, more like enjoying company of new friends, safety of a protected harbor, and relaxing for a while, knowing we don't have to go anywhere for a while...
25 Photos
Created 2 April 2013
2 weeks in an island where time has stood still for 50 years! Road trip La havana - Vinales- Cienfuegos - Trinidad - La Havana. Cruise down the west coast, beautiful beaches, good fishing, diving,... Warm waters at last!!!!
3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 February 2013
To be enjoyed while reading the post!
43 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Exploring Charleston and Savannah
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 December 2012
2 weeks shore leave, driving to Shenandoah National Park: lots of hiking, eating "country style" food, looking for bears, avoiding bears...Long drive across to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to visit the Wrights brothers memorial and Cape Hatteras.
28 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
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51 Photos
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1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
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37 Photos
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July and September in the Big Apple. Cruise, Eat, Shop, Walk,...Look at some of our best memories (work in progress, I am still sorting thru thousands fo photos!)
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
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Museums, memorials, parks, bike trails...the most photogenic city.
85 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
First voyage in July, on our way to Washington DC. Passing thru quaint and historical towns, sampling crabs and oysters in hot summer nights... Returned in September, enjoying all Annapolis has to offer (well, nearly), and the spectacle of autumn foliage.
20 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
Where there are some seriously clever people!
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
29 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Shore leave: Make believe, dreams come true, thrills, fast food...Anything goes here!!!
42 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Welcome to America! Our port of entry, last moments with friends, base for a mini-refit, and our first taste of the USA...
18 Photos
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17 Photos
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33 Photos
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Created 28 December 2011
What happens during a transat?
40 Photos
Created 14 December 2011
44 Photos
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22 Photos
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40 Photos
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Created 17 November 2011
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Created 30 October 2011
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Created 8 September 2011

S.V VOAHANGY

Who: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Port: Sydney