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Monday, February 07, 2011

Envoy’s plans for 2011.

We had a great 252 days aboard Envoy in 2010 and cruised about 1,800NM.
After we left Marmaris the only major technical problem we had was the failure of the main gearbox in Crete. This was repaired in about two weeks, involving sending the gearbox to Piraeus by ferry. The cause of this turned out to be improper alignment of the drive train following the installation of a new propeller shaft before we departed.
The only real emergency we had was dragging the anchor in Ildir during a stormy night with thunder, lightning, hail and over 50 knots of wind. After starting the engine I found that our navigation computer was showing our lat / long, but the chart was not coming up on screen to show our position, so we had to wait for the radar to warm up to find our way back to a safe anchorage in the poor visibility.
Since then I’ve done some more research on ground tackle and Envoy’s chain diameter at 3/8 inch is a little light for a 14m vessel weighing over 30mt. Next time the chain needs re-galvanizing we will in fact replace it with ½ inch chain.
I’ve also thought about some of the “rules of thumb” concerning anchoring. The common rule of thumb is to put out chain equivalent to 5-7 times the depth from the bow roller at high water (bear in mind in the Med there is no tide to worry about). In my opinion this rule provides insufficient chain in winds above 25 knots, and I will be laying out 7-10 times the depth, although this is not possible above about 14m depth due to the length of chain carried. I think it’s important to have a significant weight of chain (about 40m length) laying on the bottom regardless of depth.
Research has shown that using an all-warp rode, the anchor efficiency at 4:1 is 54%, 7:1 is 75% and 10:1 is 85%. These figures significantly increase using all-chain.
I’m not in favour of deploying 2 anchors due to the difficulty in retrieving them quickly in an emergency; many times we have had winds shift significantly during gales, turning Envoy completely around – which would surely tangle 2 anchor chains and make them difficult to retrieve in adverse conditions and darkness.
On our return I plan to experiment with shackling a free length of chain weighing about 15kg to the main chain, about 30m from the anchor to act as an “anchor buddy”. I will use a light shackle that can be cut with bolt cutters in emergency.
We are now in New Zealand enjoying some sun during the northern winter. Most people who “live aboard” typically choose to return home to their own country once a year for a few weeks - it’s not only about seeing family and friends, but also attending to medical needs, replenishing hard-to-get spare parts, sorting out business matters and a mountain of mail etc.
We will arrive back in Marmaris 12 April, and launch Envoy 20 April. We expect to leave Marmaris about 1 May heading west to Bodrum, and then north along Turkey’s west coast to meet our first guests Morris & Gail early June somewhere north of Izmir. From there we’ll be going further north to the Ayvalik Archipeligo, then to the Greek Islands of Lesvos, Limnos and Thasos. Near here we'll meet Kevin & Diane, and cruise east along Greece's coastline to the "Three Fingers" and later down to Evia Island. In August we'll meet Sharon & Doug at Skiathos and explore the Northern Sporades continuing north-west back to Limnos, then through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara. We hope to have time to see a little of the Black Sea before returning by mid November back to Marmaris.
As we’ll only have been away from Envoy for under 4 months, we’re not expecting a lot will need doing and main jobs are:
- installing the new high pressure membranes on the watermaker, and getting this unit working
- repairing the Naiad hydraulic stabilisers by installing the new main electronic control card
- installing 2 new start batteries
- rolling on 2 coats of antifoul
- changing primary and secondary fuel filters on all three engines
- fitting new shaft sealings onto the main propeller shaft
- having Envoy’s hull, deck and topsides professionally polished (we decided to get this done annually)
Next blog update I plan to comment about the costs of the cruising lifestyle.