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Thursday, December 06, 2018

ENVOY HEADS SOUTH FROM CORFU

Envoy is berthed at Lefkas Marina, Greece and we are home in Auckland.

Beautiful gardens of beachside bar at Petriti on Corfu

Envoy anchored at Ormos Imerolia, northern Corfu with RHIB alongside jetty

This Selene trawler anchored nearby

This unusual "yellow submarine" came by with some tourists

Cruising around Corfu I hear a couple of knocking noises while under way and initially think the noise is caused by waves crashing against the hull. But it doesn't sound right and we soon establish that the port side Naiad stabilisers are making a slight knocking noise when Envoy is in larger waves (much of the time it's been too calm to need to use the stabilisers so we hadn't noticed this issue). 
We send a brief audio-visual video clip of this to Internaftiki – the Naiad agents here. 
They ask us to do some further tests by disconnecting the arm from the potentiometer that controls the stabiliser fin movement so that we could move the arm and therefore the fins by hand. 
This replicates the issue without needing to go out into rough seas. Internaftiki soon advise that the problem is most likely one of the hydraulic valves and will come to Envoy, probably when we return to Lefkada. They also explain how to de-activate and lock the port side stabilisers while still using the starboard side. However we later find the knocking noise is still there, so it's happening on both sides and we lock both fins in the central position and continue cruising in the reasonably calm conditions without our stabilisers.

We anchor off Corfu's Gouvia Marina and early next morning go into the marina to lay alongside a jetty so that Angelos, the watermaker engineer, can fix our unit's slight seawater leak. Angelos says you have to expect small water leaks from water makers, but I have to disagree. Anyway he fixes the leak in about an hour and after testing it we set off again heading south towards Preveza, a medium sized town on the mainland where my brother Charles will meet us.

Corfu has two huge castles known as the "old" (top) and the "new" (below), both viewed from Envoy


Passing Corfu's wharves we spot an unusual looking aluminium naval ship – the USS Yuma. She's a 103 metre catamaran fast transport ship for carrying troops – up to 312 of them at a speed of 43 knots – that's 80 km/hr!

The sleek and fast USS Yuma

On the way to Preveza we spend two nights at Paxoi Island's Lakka Bay. 
In season it's often too crowded to anchor here but great at this time of year. 
Here we meet some old cruising acquaintances - Britons Graham and Linda from the yacht Obsession of Poole as well as meeting a bunch of Kiwis aboard Mike and Heather's yacht, Delightful Lady. Ashore a band plays live traditional Greek music until the early hours of the next morning serenading us to sleep.

We make a point of finding delicious treats for morning tea - below apple pie with ice cream and yours' truly with gigantic cream cornet


Preveza is calm as usual and we anchor off the town. This is a popular spot for fishermen to catch prawns and lots of small boats are active most of the time and setting nets quite close to anchored vessels. This can be a nuisance and their often very loud engines wake you early in the morning, however you have to remember this is their livelihood while we're just here having fun. 

Typical Greek fishing boat retrieving net

We meet Charles at the bus station and set off through the Lefkas canal's swing bridge for a few days cruising with him south of Lefkas.
In the last week of October we head into Lefkas Marina where Tassos, an engineer from Internaftiki meets us to check out our stabilisers. He advises our hydraulic system pressure is too low at 90 bar and installs a new valve that enables adjustment of the system pressure. After adjusting the pressure to 100 bar the stabilisers are much less noisy when worked at rest using the potentiometer arm and Tassos thinks the problem is solved. Charles and I are not so sure – if they've been working fine at 90 bar for the last 12 years, why would we now need to increase the pressure? We weren't able to do a sea trial while Tassos was there (in retrospect a big mistake) and will do this shortly.

Next Post - our last days aboard Envoy.



Thursday, November 22, 2018

ENVOY CONTINUES CRUISING NEAR CORFU


Photos are to be added in next few days.
Envoy is now safely tucked away under her storage cover in the Lefkas Marina while we have just arrived home in Auckland, NZ last week.
Our last Blog posting detailed Envoy's sale. Now we're going to backtrack to mid September.
I forgot to mention previously that since our exhaust system was reconditioned an exhaust vibration that we previously noticed at low rpm has gone, making for a much nicer exhaust sound right through the whole rpm range.

With our friend Chris still aboard we leave Gouvia marina in great weather and anchor in Kalami, made famous by being home to the English Durell family of authors in the 1930s and now featured in a popular British television series – The Durrells. The water here is perfectly clean and clear, ideal for a proper test of our newly repaired water maker and it works fine making about 90 litres an hour of pure fresh water, although we find there's a very slight (250 ml per hour) sea water leak in the line – subsequently fixed.
Just a few hundred metres away is a bay called Agri where there are several excellent restaurants and next day we motor over there in our large RHIB for a stunning seafood lunch.
Next we cruise close to Albanian waters using just our Yanmar wing engine and anchor off the northern Greek coastal village of Sayiadha. The wing engine with its feathering Maxprop is designed as an emergency propulsion system providing about four knots, but it's a good idea to use it regularly. Later we go ashore for a walk and and a cold beer.
Alone at anchor the next morning a Greek CoastGuard inflatable comes alongside and one of the crew politely asks to check our papers. We're not stressed by this being confident that our documents are in order and the CoastGuard soon confirm this and leave us in peace once again.

Another coastal village further south called Myrtos is one of our favourites. Apart from having a choice of several great anchorages set along the coast and nearby islands there's a bakery that sells fantastic cakes, my own favourite being chocolate cake while Di's is lemon. We spend several nights anchored here until the weather forecast advises of a gale warning up to Force 8. 
This prompts us to move to a very sheltered anchorage called Igoumenitsa Creek, where few boats go and there's plenty of swinging room. Although there are very strong winds offshore the gale doesn't arrive at our location and the strongest winds we experience are gusts in the mid 20 knots. 
Soon the forecast is upgraded to Force 10 winds in some areas, although fortunately not ours. 
Winds this strong (a full-blown storm with winds of 55 knots and possibly reaching about 80 knots) is something we've never heard of previously during our Med cruising. The proximity of this bad weather causes a massive temperature drop to the low 20s and the sea also drops from around 27d C to around 23 in a matter of a few days, making swimming a little bit cooler.
All too soon Chris's time with us comes to an end and we take him across to Corfu to catch a flight to Dubai. Chris has spent more time with us aboard Envoy than anyone and as always we're appreciative of Chris's excellent company and assistance with various projects.
After that we spend a few days around the northern part of Corfu – Ormos Ay Stefanou, Avalaki and Immerolia where a 48ft Selene brand trawler-style vessel called Pionero in similar colours to Envoy anchors alongside with its Dutch owners. 
The Selene range has been a very successful range of Nordhavn look-alikes.
In a bay called Ormos Ay Stefanou a 57ft German yacht anchors right in front of us, much too close for our peace of mind with its stern only about two metres from our bow. I ask them to move, which they do, but still anchor rather close off our port quarter. Other boats anchoring unnecessarily close is certainly an issue and because sailing yachts behave and swing differently to power boats at anchor this can cause problems.
Next posting Envoy heads south.

Friday, October 26, 2018

ENVOY'S SALE COMPLETED


Sorry about the delay since our last Blog posting – we've had an issue loading images, but I'll do another Post shortly, even without pictures.
Our prospective buyer arrived from Australia last Tuesday with his surveyor friend and a boating friend from UK. The buyer and I had already exchanged dozens of emails and had several phone conversations, but had never met, so on a rainy Tuesday afternoon we had a quick tour of Envoy followed by a dinner so we could all get to know each other. This included my brother Charles, a qualified shipwright and very experienced yachtsman, who came over from Scotland where he works as a Harbour Master.
On the Wednesday the rain passed, the weather was great again and the buying team did a thorough inspection and sea trial. They were well pleased and commented that Envoy's appearance surpassed their expectations and their impressions from photographs. On Thursday we lifted Envoy out of the water for a hull survey. On completion the surveyor said Envoy's condition was better than another Nordhavn ten years newer that he saw out of the water recently.
On that afternoon after having a consultation with his colleagues, the buyer met with us and we concluded the sale arrangements. He and his team are staying on until Monday evening so we can impart as much knowledge about Envoy as possible.
Obviously there is some sadness in parting with Envoy – a major part of our lives for the last 12 years, but we'll have many extremely happy memories of the many great times we've shared with family and close friends and we're delighted to see Envoy going to caring new owners who plan to continue Med cruising based out of Lefkada.
We leave here 8 November and arrive home on the 12th.
New Post in next few days.



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CRUISING WITH OUR FRIEND CHRIS


Envoy is currently under offer to an Australian couple who will visit Lefkas marina late October for an inspection and survey.

Envoy being launched at Lefkas Marina

Laurie enjoying a Greek Mythos beer and giant beans

After a few days cruising by ourselves we anchor off Lefkas Marina to pick up Chris who's flown into Athens and caught the bus to Lefkas with just two minutes to spare after a super-fast taxi ride from the airport to the bus station. 
We visit some of our favourite local places, especially Sivota, before moving on to Cephalonia – Ay Eufemia and Ithica – N Ay Nikolau. Here we meet three kiwi farming couples from the Manwatu cruising aboard a 50 year-old 60ft displacement motor vessel with loads of character called Lochinvar. 

Laurie and Chris by dinghy at N Ay Nikolau

Chris and Di at N Ay Nikolau with mobile taverna in background. They store all their beer outside with no security overnight and it's still there in the morning


Dog on waveski

At many of these places wasps are a bit of a problem and I get a sting on my hand. 
Now we find out that the BandG wind indicator parts aren't coming after all, so we decide to head up to Corfu and get another instrument technician to have a look.
On the way we anchor off Lefkada again and visit a local carpenter who's making some mooring line rat guards for us. On some islands rats are a problem and these guards prevent rats from crawling along the mooring lines. I wasn't able to buy these in NZ before we left and the carpenter charges a very reasonable 30 Euros for four. Later we take these ashore and spray them black.
Stopping in Preveza we meet Ross (a Kiwi) and Cindy from yacht Antares and visit a great restaurant ashore called Apagkio where I have one of the nicest ever pasta dishes together with the inevitable, predictable but delicious Greek salad. Di notices some tomatoes on display and asks if she can buy some, but the staff give them to us for free. Greek tomatoes are particularly tasty as well as being much cheaper than those in NZ. 
Ross is looking for some scuba gear. I won't be needing mine again and it takes up quite a lot of room aboard Envoy so we come to an arrangement for Ross to take it.
On the way north we stop and anchor for the first time at the island of Andipaxoi, having a beautiful bay all to ourselves overnight. This brings the number of Greek islands where we've over-nighted to 65 (plenty more to go as there are about 227 inhabited Greek islands and more than 6,000 in total).
In the morning another Nordhavn called Moxie (from Florida) comes into our bay and of course we meet up for a chat. Bob from Moxie tells us they recently went to Montenegro and tried to clear-in but Bob doesn't have any form of skipper's qualification. Not only would the authorities not let Moxie enter, but wouldn't let her leave until Bob hired a commercial captain to take them out of Montenegro's waters. Sounds like a pretty tough policy.
We spend a couple of days anchored off Petriti and then head to Gouvia marina. On the way we pass a very strange looking yacht, like something out of a sci-fi movie, called “A”. Apparently A is owned by a wealthy Russian and the lowest deck has a transparent hull so those aboard can see under water.

Yacht "A"


Chris and Laurie getting water before the watermaker was running

Chris pumping water from the plastic containers into Envoy's tanks

All of the time we've been here the temperature has been around 30d with light winds and smooth seas - definitely motor boat weather! The sea temperature at 26d makes swimming a real pleasure.

Ay Eufemia's fire brigade

A classic looking motor boat at Agni

And a classic sailing ship

Mates enjoying a beer together


Technical
The main reason for our visit to Gouvia is for technician Angelos to install our watermaker's reconditioned main pump. This is done and the watermaker works fine. We don't want to run it too long in the impure marina waters but a few days later run it for three hours and all is OK.
Our Nautica RHIB has been losing some air, requiring a few pumps every 3 or 4 days, so A1 Yachting arrange for someone to check it over. A few days later it's returned hard as a drum and has remained so since.
Our dual trumpet air horn has failed due to water ingress and electrician Leo orders and fits a new unit for us.
He also arranges for an instrument technician to look at our B&G wind gear. The mast's sender unit has been removed and is still being looked at.
Envoy has a SeaFire heat activated engine room fire extinguishing system. Nordhavn recently contacted all owners advising that some units have an interlock that shuts down the engine in case of discharge. This is deemed not a desriable feature and they offered a solution to bypass this interlock. Leo has some experience with SeaFire and checked our system out, determining that we don't have this interlock, so no problem.
Envoy has a vacuum gauge connected to the Lugger's Racor primary fuel filters. As filters become clogged they create a vacuum, telling you that it's time to think about changing them. We've never seen any movement in the vacuum gauge and wondered if it's working. So with Leo we checked this out by gradually reducing the fuel supply to the Lugger while it's running. Sure enough the gauge showed vacuum, confirming that it's working. Because Envoy has a fuel polishing system and all fuel is filtered through a 2 micron filter even before going to the primary Racor filter, the filters just don't get contaminated.
Our secondary GPS - a Northstar - has been working adequately, but not well for some time. Now it's definitely not working to our satisfaction and will need repair or replacement. This unit dates from pre-2002 so we can't complain. 



Saturday, September 01, 2018

ENVOY IS CRUISING AGAIN

We departed Lefkas Marina on Friday morning and anchored in a bay off mainland Greece about 15 miles south. Weather is fine with temp in low 30s, little humidity and sea water a beautiful 28d. This was pretty fast progress seeing as we didn't arrive here until one week before, but Sailand and Yachtpaint had done a good job of getting things ready. Everything seems to be working well except
for our B&G Network wind speed and direction gear which powers up OK but doesn't read wind speed or direction. The local B&G specialist has inspected the system and says the sender unit on the mast has failed. Wait for it - we can't just replace this 15 year old sender because the new model apparently won't work with our old instrument, so we need a new sender, wiring loom and instrument, all of which has been ordered and will be here week of 10 Sept. I guess it's not too bad to get 15 years life out of a product continuously exposed to weather. Haven't done a whole lot of relaxing yet as have been sorting out gear etc, but another few days and most things should be done.
On Tuesday we return to Lefkas and will anchor off to pick up our friend Chris, aka McGyver who will be cruising with us until late Sept. After that we'll quietly cruise north to Corfu's Gouvia marina, where we'll get a couple of other jobs done including re-installation of our newly reconditioned water maker main pump and reconditioning of its seacock and strainer by Angelo. More to follow plus pics shortly.

Monday, August 27, 2018

RETURN TO LEFKAS, GREECE


Our advertising of Envoy on this Blog has resulted in an offer to purchase from long time readers of the Blog. In fact not only have this Australian couple been following our Blog since its inception, but followed Envoy's Atlantic Crossing by the previous owners in 2004. The potential buyer's offer is naturally subject to their inspection and survey which will take place here in Lefkas late October. So Envoy is “under offer” and we won't be considering any further offers unless this sale doesn't proceed.

We've arrived in Lefkada after a good trip from Auckland spending one night in Dubai and one in Athens on the way. Emirates are a great airline and the nearly 17 hour flight passed quite quickly aided by a solid 8 hours sleep. We like Emirates 30kg luggage allowance, their lenient attitude towards cabin bags and the generous space between economy seat rows. Having a spare seat between us on both flights certainly helped too. Our hotel in Dubai was good and it's a convenient place to break the trip.

We arived to find Envoy as expected on the hardstand under the care of our contractor – Sailand with everything looking good and more progress getting her ready for cruising than we expected.
Sailand completed a refurbishment of the Lugger's exhaust system which included replacing some exhaust sections, building a new stainless steel muffler and replacing all heat insulation.
They had also completed Envoy's anti fouling and attended to a small list of winter jobs:
-Re-sealing two acylic ventilation hatches into their aluminium frames because the sealant had failed
-Servicing the sea water circulating pumps on the generator and wing engine (we get this done annually)
-Checking the wing engine's shaft seal, prop and prop shaft
-Checking the main prop shaft's alignment, internal rubber sleeve and clamps, removing the stuffing box's sealings for inspection and finding them in good condition, greasing and replacing them
-Changing the main gearbox oil and cleaning its oil strainer
-Replacing a leaking galley sink mixer/faucet with a new one
-Replacing the large Nautica RHIB's start battery
Another contractor has also polished Envoy's bootstripe and white topsides gelcoat areas while yet another has repaired a slow air leak in one of the pontoons of our smaller Valiant RHIB.
Today was quite a sight when a huge crane came alongside Envoy to lift our larger RHIB down onto a trailer for annual servicing of its 25HP Yamaha outboard. Also today I took four inflatable life jackets in for two-yearly servicing together with one fire extinguisher which has its gauge needle in the red when it should be in the green.

There's a few more jobs being done on Tuesday such as filter replacements and then on Wednesday we expect to launch Envoy and do a short sea trial with Sailand's engineer aboard. Then we hope to leave the marina by the weekend. Sorry no pictures in this posting.



Thursday, August 09, 2018

PLANS FOR 2018 CRUISING


NOTE: ENVOY IS STILL FOR SALE – SEE DETAILS IN BLOG POST BELOW THIS ONE.

We are finally set to leave Auckland and return to Greece in about 10 days time to resume cruising.
The Ionian weather is generally fairly good to the end of October, so we'll be able to enjoy two months cruising before going back into Lefkas Marina for the winter.
After launching we'll spend a few days in the Lefkas area while we confirm everything aboard Envoy is working correctly and then head north to Corfu. Our watermaker's main pump has been reconditioned in Athens during our absence and Angelos will install it in Corfu's Gouvia Marina. Needless to say this will also be a good chance for Di to check out some of her favorite shopping haunts.
From there we'll head around Corfu's NW coast to check out a small island we've not visited previously – Nisos Mathraki and its village of Plakes. From here it's only about 7 miles NW to the island of Nisis Othoni where we've anchored previously, but not been ashore to visit the village of Ammos.
After that we'll cruise over to Italy's NE coast and explore the Gulf of Taranto where there are several interesting places to check out. We'll probably get a rental car here and explore a bit further afield too.
This plan is about all that time will allow this year, but we're looking forward to being on and in the water, having some sunshine, enjoying Envoy and exploring some new places. This time of year is when tuna are caught too, so we'll be trolling our lines.
Our great friend Chris, aka McGyver, will join us early September and we've got a few projects lined up to test his skills and keep him occupied.
Shortly I'll do a further post talking technical.