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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

UNEXPECTED PROBLEM

Couple of days ago we filled up our two forward water tanks and ended up with a lot of fresh water in the bilge. Our starboard tank has always leaked a bit, but it hasn’t been a major problem, as the leak was at about the 75% full point, meaning we could use most of that tank’s capacity. Now the port tank is leaking, and it must be right near the bottom of the tank, as water goes into the bilge virtually as soon as you start filling it. In fact we left the tank full of highly chlorinated water 27 months ago and on our return it was empty. This would not normally be a major problem – remove the tanks, pressure test them to find the leaks, fix leaks and re-install right? Wrong! Aboard Envoy these tanks are under the floor in the guest cabin. One is under the guest double bed, and has the forward aircon unit mounted over the top of it too. The other is partly under the starboard floor, and partly under a built-in settee in the guest cabin. We met with John today, the Australian who is the General Manager of Demir Marine, and there is no option but to dismantle the guest cabin bit by bit until we can get the two tanks out. These are probably the original stainless steel tanks making them 20 years old, and John has suggested that unless they are in exceptionally good condition we get some new tanks made to reduce the risk of going through this again. Fortunately Demir are able to start tomorrow, after an electrician takes out the aircon. This won’t hold things up too much as this job involves carpenter/cabinet- makers and the other jobs we’re getting done involve painters and mechanics. We guess it’s going to take about 7-10 days to finish and can even be completed when we’re in the water if necessary. Meanwhile it will be abit chaotic on board as we’ve had to shift all gear out of the guest cabin into other areas. Apart from that, jobs are steadily being ticked off (as we were when this tank episode happened).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life on the hardstand and good progress

Our days roll by, measured by progress towards getting Envoy into the water.
We’ve just celebrated our 300th night on board, including 19 since we got back here.
Di & I have a lot of experience on boats, but never spent so much time living on a boat on the hardstand.
Brooke – you may find this interesting.
This marina is about the size of Half Moon Bay, but with many more boats on the hardstand – several hundred – ranging from 30ft to 120ft. Very few power boats – we estimate about 5%. The marina has 330t and 70t travel lifts operating flat out from 0900 to about 2000hrs.
There are no restrictions about people living on boats, either in the water or on the hard. If you’re in the water, you’re understandably not allowed to discharge sewerage (black water) overboard, but there seems to be no problem about shower and dish water (grey water), provided you don’t have too many soap suds. On the hardstand you cannot discharge anything overboard. During the day we walk the 100m to the toilet/shower block and during the night use a bucket. Our morning starts with me emptying the bucket at the toilet block. Di passes the bucket down the ladder to me and says, “whoops nearly dropped it on your head”. Some sense of humour! The toilets and showers here are superb – spotlessly clean and there’s always someone in there cleaning and scrubbing. Our dish water is emptied into the nearby garden. The marina water is safe to drink, but many folks choose to buy bottled water for drinking and use marina water for showers and dishes. No problems with power – 220v, and the marina electricians come and connect it for you. Lots of people have dogs and that’s not an issue here either. We were delighted on our return to find no evidence of any insects or rodents. We haven’t even seen a single ant on board, just a gecko in the cockpit. The marina has a nice bar, open most of the day until the wee hours (so they tell me), and a good restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a dolmus (bus) to Marmaris township departing every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on time of day, for $5 return – about a 30 minute ride each way.
Ladders on boats on the hard are extremely dangerous and the marina workmen are very casual about them. You wouldn’t believe how many people suffer injuries falling off ladders in marinas. Last time we were here, a ladder against Envoy slipped and fell down. I grabbed the guy’s wrist and held him until help arrived (my wrist’s never been the same since!) When we arrived this time I lashed the top rung of the ladder up to Envoy and the bottom rung, back to Envoy’s keel, to stop the ladder slipping.
The marina requires all marine contractors entering the site to register with them, provide evidence of 3rd party insurance and sign an indemnity guaranteeing to pay for any damage caused by their actions. This is a fairly new requirement, resulting from two fires on boats caused by contractors. Contractors also have to pay the marina operators (meaning we, the customer has to pay) 15% commission for all work done in the marina.
There’s quite a social scene at the marina of organized morning teas, lunches, walks, tours to other parts of Turkey, happy hours etc. Di and I don’t really like taking part in these kind of “organized events” so have mostly kept clear of them.
Technical
Good progress! The re-sealing of the after bilge is completed, and then the new prop shaft was installed and the propeller re-fitted. This shaft is 50mm stainless steel and required a hole to be drilled through it to insert the cotter pin, which secures the prop. A Turkish worker spent 3 hours with a hand electric drill doing this hole. Of course, no safety glasses! The steering was then able to be re-connected (the rudder needed to be pushed hard over to get the prop shaft in).
We’ve got the diesel filtration system working and are busy filtering our on-board fuel. This is a system most pleasure boats don’t have. Most have a primary filter, like a Racor, and then a secondary on-engine filter. On Envoy we filter all fuel before it even gets to the primary filter, using a high-speed (450 litres/hr) pump with a two micron Racor filter (lengthy articles have been written about the correct micron rating of filters, but we’ve decided to use two). Then the diesel goes to the primary and secondary filters. It is often said that most diesel engine problems are fuel-related, and this system gives added protection. All equipment has now been checked and OK, except for a couple of “cigarette lighter” 12v outlets not working; these are always a problem, eh Frank. The main head has been re-installed (it was taken out to provide access to some hard-to-access thru hulls) and now we have our fresh water supply system operating. The bow thruster was not working. It turned out to be caused by the thruster’s dedicated battery bank being flat. A circuit breaker in the Guest cabin tripped, cutting power to the charger for the whole time we were away. These batteries are big mothers! So heavy that I found it difficult even to carry one end of a battery. Fortunately the young Demir Marine guys hauled them out of the anchor locker, charged them for a couple of days, checked the CCAs (cold cranking amps), found them to be OK and hauled them back up again. The prop is on and the bow thruster is all go. Everything now completed below the water line.
One unexpected problem is that the port fresh water tank leaks, quite low down, and when we tried to fill it, the water ended up in the bilges – a good test for the bilge pumps. We can’t access the tank except through a 300mm inspection port on the top. We’ve taken off the 10 nuts holding the inspection plate in place but we can’t prise it off at this point; hoping to get some help on this tomorrow. The starboard water tank has leaked for a while, but the leak was near the top. So while we’re doing one, we’ll repair them both.
Next week I’m getting Demir to help with inspecting our three engines (main Lugger, wing Yanmar and genset). We’ll change all filters and belts, re-install water pump impellers and do a general check. The marina doesn’t allow engines to be started on the hard, so we’ll have to hope the engine starts OK when we’re back in the water.
We have a date booked to go in the water – May 17, but it looks like we might be ready about 7-10 days before that, in which case we’ll try for an earlier launch. Once we are back in the water, there should only be about a week’s work, before we’re able to start cruising, as we’ve managed to complete many other small jobs in between the big ones.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Launching Envoy comes closer

Weather is getting warmer, with daytime temp about 24d, and since we arrived there’s only been one day of rain. At this stage our blog has been mostly technical, because our whole focus is getting Envoy into the water. I left the boat for the first time yesterday, when Di & I went into Marmaris for a drink and dinner. Every day except Sunday, from 0800 to 1800 we've had various contractors doing their bits, and they want me present.
Here is a contribution from Di.
General living in Marmaris is interesting, sometimes frustrating yet hilarious and never dull. I’ve always enjoyed grocery shopping in different countries; comparing prices and products and looking at the general layout of the supermarkets and shops. In Marmaris there are two large supermarkets and both sell an extensive range of products; food items downstairs and electrical goods, clothing, toys, bedding and general kitchenware etc upstairs - it’s not that much different from home. The challenge of course is the language and trying to somehow understand what it is you are looking at. The pictures on the products are often misleading; on one occasion I bought what I thought was a tin of tuna, only to discover (before we ate it, thankfully) that it was cat food! GST on food here is 8% and goes up to 18% on some items like batteries. All imported food is very expensive; Colemans mustard $19 a jar and my favorite Costello cheese $15 for a small wedge! The local Turks mostly shop in small corner grocery stores, that are everywhere, and so jammed full of things you can hardly move. I always take my “granny trolley “ with me when I go shopping, and leave it parked safely outside any shop knowing that it will be there when I come out. The Turks love to barter, and are delighted to take advantage of a susceptible tourist, but they are honest. They have a wonderful sense of humour, especially the women - who love to play jokes. All laundry at the marina has to be weighed and is priced accordingly - $1kg if you do your own, or $3.50kg if the laundry ladies do it. After they had weighed our laundry they told me to jump on the scales as well. I watched in horror as the kilos kept getting higher and higher - surely I hadn’t been over-eating that much. The ladies were laughing their heads off; one of them had her foot on the scales!
Another surprisingly pleasant experience was going to the dentist. I had chipped my tooth, and it looked like I was needing a crown. We had often been told of the great dentists in Turkey; that they have the latest technology and were extremely well trained. It turned out to be one of my best ever dental visits. The dentist was very gentle and spoke good English, and I had no pain. What a great, quick job he did, and I’m now the proud owner of a lovely porcelain crowned tooth - all for the grand cost of $175. No wonder all the boaties in the marina are queuing up to get their teeth done here!
Eating out is fun, we’ve found a great restaurant close to the marina run by a couple who operated a restaurant in England for the last 8 years and have come home to raise their kids here. Mains range from $20 up to $30 for steak meal. Wine is a worry though, and our tongues hang out for a good NZ chardy or Aussie shiraz.
Ah well, it seems some things in Paradise are not perfect!
Technical
Some major progress in the last few days and launching looks to be in about three weeks, with departure a couple of weeks later, fingers crossed.
- Antifouling is completed (a very nice job), boot stripe to be done.
- Naiad stabilizer fins have been removed, bearings checked and greased and seals replaced. This was a major, taking three guys three days. Parts alone over $2,000. It was also “mission-critical” as the seals had to come from USA, and there are several different varieties of seals. I wanted to be sure this job was completed in plenty of time in case the seals were not the correct ones. One of the engineers will come out for a sea trial to check all OK.
- Our engine is cooled by re-circulating fresh water through a heat exchanges mounted on the keel – called a keel cooler. Our keel cooler through-hull fitting had a slow sea water leak in 2007. Demir were supposed to have removed this, reconditioned the through-hull and re-sealed it. However this was over looked, possibly as it’s in a cow of a position to get out. They’ve now taken it out (after some carpentry to improve access), reconditioned the through hull and re fitted it.
- The pump which supplies cooling water to our refrigeration had a broken outlet fitting. Demir have repaired this, along with our spare pump, which was also broken in the same place.
- Installed reconditioned sea water pump providing cooling water to stabilizers, as was leaking previously.
- The re-galvanized anchor chain has been marked at 10m intervals, and put back on board – windlass working fine.
- Steering checked and seems OK – can’t test fully until in water.
- RIB has been lifted off Envoy by a large crane and taken away for reconditioning. Tubes to be cleaned and slow leaks fixed, new set of tube covers to be made and fitted, seats to be re-upholstered, fiberglass hull to be sanded, faired and re-painted, nav lights & 12v power outlet to be fixed, hole in deck to be repaired, Yamaha to be serviced.
- A small section of the bilge, under the prop shaft has deteriorated and the gelcoat there needs renewing to prevent bilge water seeping into the hull laminate at the keel. A very difficult place to access, but Demir have removed the old gelcoat and we’re now letting the area dry before Demir lay some new glasscloth and gelcoat. Helping the drying process with hot air gun - pretty uncomfortable laying down there!
- Most navigational equipment – radars, vhfs, SSB, Navtex has been tested and OK. Only problems found are bow thruster and side nav lights not working.
- Re-provisioned our supply of flares.
- Our boat cover did a wonderful job in protecting Envoy during 27 months, and represents a sizeable investment at about $5,000. This has been cleaned, repaired and folded into newly-made long term storage bags. We also got Hashim to make storage bags for our two dehumidifiers, recondition the cockpit canopy and custom-make three large deck storage bags.
- The high-gloss varnish on our exterior teak had deteriorated, so the varnish has been stripped back to bare teak and is to be teak-oiled. Demir recommend this as opposed to varnish, due to maintenance issues in the Med heat.
- Checked and repacked our emergency “grab bag”; enough gear in there to last us several days if we ever have to abandon Envoy.
- Mounted four smoke detectors throughout Envoy and checked and agitated all extinguishers.
- Cleaned our three bilge pump pick-ups - see photo.
- Got our HP printer working.
- Checked boat deck winches (one function not working) and replaced all shock cord
Main things to be done now are:
- Get the fuel filtration system operational and start filtering our diesel.
- Get toilets and fresh water systems running.
- Main engine prop shaft and cutlass bearing still to be installed (can’t be done until bilges job completed).
- Get the three engines running.
- The gelcoat on hull, topsides and decks is being professionally cleaned, cut and polished, as not done since 2006.
All sounds simple doesn’t it, but good news is there are plenty of ticks off the list and nothing much being added.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Envoy slowly comes to life

After six solid but enjoyable days working on the boat we’re making some progress.
When we arrived last Monday everything looked basically OK, but it was hard for us to quite know where to start. Now we are pretty comfortable living aboard on the hardstand with power, water supply from a hose (but no running water on the boat yet), refrigeration, lpg stove, microwave, and all electrics operational.
Yesterday Di went into Marmaris, about 30 minutes by dolmus (bus) for about $5 return and got a new SIM card for our Turkish phone. This is Turkcell, similar to NZ Telecom. Cost is quite high at roughly $50 for an hour of local calls or $50 for 25 minutes of international calls. We’ll be sticking to Skype (free WiFi at the marina).
Di says things have really increased in price here since 2007. For example a tube of Colgate toothpaste cost $10. We might be making our own!
Been busy re-familiarizing ourselves with where everything is. Envoy is incredibly well equipped with spare parts, tools and chandlery, but you have to know where to find something when you need it. We've completed dozens of jobs and during the day it’s a bit chaotic with different tradesmen coming and going. Demir Marine employ about 40 staff and we’ve met about 10 so far. Over here they are very much specialists. They have engineers, electricians, painters, riggers and laborers without much crossover, whereas in New Zealand an engineer would for example happily paint a reconditioned starter motor. The guys are really friendly, although communication is difficult as only a few speak English.
All except one of the sea cocks are back in place, and today I checked all 15 of them, making sure I could remember where they are all located, check the installations, check the bonding wires had been connected, and that they were all in the closed position (except for bilge pump) ready for launching.
Tomorrow is a big day as the Naiad stabilizer seals get replaced (fingers crossed the seals are the right ones!) This is a big job as it involves completely removing the stabilizer fins, and if they don't go back on correctly we're gonna leak!
The hull is nearly ready for antifouling and I imagine that in another week we should have a pretty good idea of a launch date. So far there are no major unpleasant surprises (although a few minor ones) and we just need to keep working away and ticking stuff off the list.
On the social side we’ve so far met four couples we met during our 2007 cruise, and it’s been great to catch up with them again.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Back to Envoy in Marmaris

This is brief, just to let all know we’ve arrived in Marmaris and AOK.
THE JOURNEY
We left Auckland Friday 2nd and stayed a day & night in LA to break the journey and to buy some stuff at West Marine. We also had a brief night’s sleep in a hotel in Istanbul, arriving there midnight and leaving 0600. We chose this route via USA as the luggage allowance is 46kg each, and we had quite a bit to bring over having been away from Envoy for so long. Despite the generous luggage allowance we had an extra suitcase each and it cost us an extra $900 in excess luggage charges. LA airport was much better than we expected, very organized and extra security handled quickly and efficiently. On departure from LA we were sitting in the departure lounge only one and a quarter hours from leaving the Holiday Inn (and we’re cattle class). Istanbul was a different story – a total shambles. We left the airport Holiday Inn at 0600 for a 0740 flight to Dalaman and nearly missed it. Arrived at the airport 0630 and due to heavy traffic our shuttle could only get within 3 traffic lanes of crazy drivers to the Departure entrance, and we had six heavy cases. A porter materialized and was our savior, pushing to the front of queues (we said "sorry we're Australians") and the Euro 20 we paid him was money well spent. But for his help I’m sure we’d have missed the flight.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
As we approached Dalaman the Med was beautiful; flat calm turquoise seas, blue cloudless skies, and the sun reflecting off the nearby still snow-capped mountains.
A 90 min taxi ride later and we were at the marina. The marina staff were very welcoming and we checked into (a fairly scungy) room for the 1st two nights, as we knew it would take a couple of days to get Envoy organized sufficiently to sleep aboard.
Envoy was pretty much how we left her, sitting on the hard. The full cover we invested in had done its job; the cover was dirty but the boat mostly OK - dusty outside, but not too bad inside. The dehumidifiers had also done their job and the boat was dry. The batteries are in great condition having been charged about once a month. To be sure, we’re going to get the start batteries load tested. Demir Marine had mostly completed the work on the hull and were fitting the remaining seacocks including two we brought over from NZ, because in Turkey they don’t have bronze seacocks – only brass or stainless.
Yesterday we moved aboard to sleep:; the first of something like 240 nights we expect to have aboard before we return to NZ for a visit. It’s still a bit chaotic on board with workmen’s tools & dust covers but we’ve arrived! We met with the Manager of Demir - an Aussie called John – and it seems likely we’ll go into the water last week April, and all being well leave here about mid-May (Brian & Carol, our 1st guests, keep your fingers crossed). We’re now working with Demir Marine and concentrating on jobs which have to be done before we can launch and main items are finish installing seacocks, replace seals on stabilizers, fit new main prop shaft, cutlass bearing and stuffing box seals, fit new zincs, re-install the keel cooler, antifoul the hull,change all fuel filters and get fuel polishing system working so we can filter our total on-board fuel (about 3,000 litres), check steering, check bow thruster, test bilge pumps, get all three engines running, change all oil, fuel and air filters, some painting and varnishing, get RIB renovated. We've also decided to get a a full cut & polish and wax to the hull and topsides, as this has not been done for at least 4 years. Demir estimate this will take two guys about 4 days (rather them than me!) The total work list is vast, believe me, consisting of three
A4 pages, one item per line, and goes down to things like checking fire extinguishers (Kevin will be pleased), buying new flares, testing every item of equipment etc, etc. Even when we’re back in the water there are some large jobs to do, like getting the watermaker and Naiad stabilizers working.
But we’re making progress, and there are no major unforeseen issues at this point.
Aboard on the hard, we can’t use the head or shower, but we have 220v connected and all the electrics are working fine. Our fridge/freezer operates with either air or water cooling and works fine – Frank take note.
Roy – the RNZYS hat you gave me has already led to us meeting some other Kiwis.
Will give an update on the weekend.