Follow by Email

Monday, December 29, 2014

Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
This is part one of a five part summary of Envoy’s six years Med cruising to date. The full article will shortly be published in Pacific Motor Yacht magazine.

The Med surprises
With an area of 2.5 million square kilometres the Med is slightly larger than the Tasman Sea and twice as wide at 2,400 miles. From north to south it varies from just nine miles at the Strait of Gibraltar to 990 miles, and has an average depth of 1,500 metres with a greatest of 5,267 metres. It is surrounded by three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa and 22 countries having a total population of about 500 million with highly diverse cultures, languages, cuisines, standards of living; their histories representing the cradle of western civilisation. It has thousands of islands with nine having areas over 1,000 square kilometres; the largest, Sicily, is home to over five million. Contrary to perception the Med can get mighty rough. 

 In late 2004 under cloudless blue skies with a gentle breeze we are ghosting across the sparkling turquoise sea aboard my brother’s 12 metre yacht, Acrobat, cruising southern Turkey’s stunning Kekova Roads area. Shaded by the billowing genoa Diane and I relax on the foredeck, where the only sound is Acrobat’s bow slicing through the sea as she creates a small bow wave of white foam. Cooled by drops of spray, we inhale the ozone as we reflect on how much we’re enjoying our brief holiday; a tantalising combination of stable summer weather, fascinating ancient history brought to life by easily-accessible ruins, great anchorages and the unique and exotic Turkish culture. In one of those memorable moments Diane and I decide, “we should do this full time”, and then and there commence our planning to live aboard in the Med.

Castle ruins at Kekova

Looking down from castle across Kekova Roads

We had cruised extensively in New Zealand, but work commitments restricted our adventures to four weeks duration, and we’d always dreamed of enjoying great destinations until we tired of them rather than meeting timetables. We had adult children living overseas, no health issues, and wanted to cruise while circumstances permitted. Boating experience was no issue, having always worked well as a team on four power boats we’d owned during 30 years.
Most types of boat are suited to cruising the Med, but after two years of extensive research and planning we decide to buy a heavy displacement mono-hull passagemaker providing future options for long-range cruising, possibly back to New Zealand. We want to cruise comfortably, not “camp on the sea”, and our decision to buy a Nordhavn 46 (14 metre) is based on a combination of size, legendary passage-making capability, classic lines, pricing and comfortable accommodation for two couples.
When we purchase Envoy in Ostia, Italy, we are thrilled with her trans-Atlantic pedigree and that she is immaculate and fully-equipped, needing only consumable stores added to commence our new life.

Changing Envoy's sign writing in Ostia marina

Launching Envoy for our first time at Ostia marina

The Med cruising season
We typically stay in the Med for eight months each year, starting around early-April, when it can still be a little chilly and showery, through to mid-November. The Med generally has consistent warm stable weather during June to September with clear skies, little or no rain and winds rarely above Force 7. The hottest and busiest months are July and August when Europeans take their summer vacations. In the winter months it can be cold, often with snow on surrounding mountain areas and with more frequent gales. During this period most cruisers hibernate in marinas or return home. ………… continued next posting

Friday, December 19, 2014


Our last post before Xmas so Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Next year we'll be finding new areas in the Greek Ionian to cruise as well as spending more time in Albania, central to northern Croatia, Venice and the east coast of Italy - so there will be lots of exciting things to read about.
Meanwhile we still have plenty of cruising matters to post.
Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
This posting is all technical.
Before leaving Envoy to return home to Auckland we do all of our normal lay-up procedures including running fresh water and then glycol through the generator, wing engine and all seawater cooled pumps. The main Lugger engine doesn’t need this as it’s cooled with a keel cooler, so no sea water is used.
The generator’s leaking sea water circulation pump, last re-built 2 years ago was stripped and new bearings, seals and impeller fitted. But on re-installation and testing it still leaked so it was removed again and the “shaft modified” - exactly how or why was lost in translation, but this has fixed it.
We replaced two below water level seacock hoses. These were both polyester yarn reinforced pvc hose and apart from the fact they were over eight years old, pvc is not recommended for use below the waterline. These have been replaced with new stainless steel wire reinforced pvc hoses which will be much stronger and which Sailand say are commonly used below waterline in Greece. I have some reservations about using any form of pvc (a long term problem is embrittlement caused by the pvc’s plasticiser leaching out) but for one of the seacocks the default position is off, and the other it is easily accessible.
We towed our large RHIB in to the marina so that it could be taken out of the water for a full service of the Yamaha outboard, service of faulty bilge pump and to get a new sounder transducer fitted.

Racor filter cartridge after a season’s use (left) and clean (right). We only need to change these annually

Envoy in the marina with her snug winter cover

We organised some jobs to be done while we’re back in New Zealand:
- The Lugger alternator rumbles when spun by hand, even though the unit was re-built last winter, so this will be checked. Sailand think the problem is with its shaft, not bearings
- The Lugger’s gearbox oil will be changed and suction strainer cleaned
- The Lugger’s prop shaft coupling and shaft alignment will be checked
- The Lugger’s two interchangeable Racor fuel filters will be removed, cleaned and have their drain seals replaced
- The wing engine has developed a little rust on the fuel pump and adjacent fuel lines so this will be cleaned up as well as checking the source of the corrosion which appears to be from small amounts of salt water dropping down onto it
- The wing engine’s mountings will be renewed
- The air cleaners and cooling hoses on all three engines will be checked
- The generator’s starter motor and solenoid will be serviced and its cooling system including the exhaust elbow will be cleaned and checked
- A hairline crack in the GRP base of the main shower will be repaired
- The electric windlass motor will be removed and checked
- Nikos of Ionian Safety now tells us (contrary to what he said in April) that he can certify our Halon-based engine room fire extinguisher, and will remove it for a thorough visual and weight check. Although Halon can no longer be used (for environmental reasons), Nikos believes it’s still the best system but Halon extinguishers can’t be refilled so eventually ours will have to be replaced
- The s/s wire strop that we use to lift our large RHIB (weighing about 320kg) out of the water is being renewed with a strop made from Spectra (ultra-strong plastic rope)

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
This posting is nearly all technical.
During this year’s cruising the main Lugger engine ran 346 hours and the Yanmar wing engine just 3.2 hours. Next year we’ll make a point of running the Yanmar for much longer periods, using it for passages on some calm days when the stabilisers are not needed (the stabilisers being driven from the Lugger).
Engines need to be used both regularly and for periods long enough to bring them up to normal working temperature to keep injectors and other components clean. Although Envoy only cruises at about 3.5 knots using the Yanmar, time is not an issue for us and most days our cruising distances are short.
Our biggest technical issue this year was the failure of our ancient Lugger-driven SeaPower 120 volt AC generator, which provided power for refrigeration anytime the Lugger was running (our AC refrigeration being powered only by 120 volts on board or 220 volts shorepower). The SeaPower was beyond repair and replacement would have cost about NZ$9,000, so we decided to cruise this year using the generator as our sole means of powering refrigeration while at sea (in fact very few vessels use engine-driven AC generators as most use inverters for low AC loads and generators for higher loads). This worked extremely well and interestingly we ran the generator for 334 hours, only 25 hours more than in 2013 and in fact 70 hours less than in 2012 - many less hours than we expected, so why?
1. Our cold plate, R12-based refrigerator and separate freezer are very efficient and typically only need to run about two hours per day – a little longer up to three hours in mid summer or with visitors aboard, and a little less – down to 90 minutes in cooler weather or with just two of us aboard.
2. It’s harder to keep the fridge cold than the freezer because the fridge is opened much more frequently. Many days the freezer isn't opened at all! Our freezer is rarely more than half-full of food so this year we regularly froze large bottles of water and put those in the refrigerator to help keep it cold, changing bottles around every couple of days.
3. This year we spent more time than usual in marinas on shorepower, particularly in parts of Sicily where safe anchorages were limited.
4. At anchor we generally run the generator for about 45 minutes in the morning and the same in the evening EVEN WHEN the SeaPower was working, so in reality we only need to run the generator for an additional half hour or so daily without the SeaPower.
5. We always have to run the generator when using the water maker and therefore run refrigeration at the same time. Water making takes several hours and this gives the refrigeration system temperatures a good chance to pull down.
So we now have no plans to change this system of using the generator to power refrigeration.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
Although our 2014 cruising has come to an end we have plenty of interesting material for updates to our blog re Envoy and cruising for the foreseeable future until we return to Envoy.
In late October with rain and 25 knot winds forecast we cruise into the Lefkas marina having so far spent 202 days aboard and cruised 1,732 miles, sharing those times with family – Amy; John and Alice and Lily; Sharon and Doug and special friends Chris, and Doug and Mary. It’s always a great feeling to finish your cruise without incident (barring my foot being lacerated in Marina di Portorosa when a paving stone collapsed under me) and without any major technical issues with Envoy.
Although the sea is still 21d and we’ve been swimming right up to now, it’s definitely much cooler with daytime temperatures around 20d, periodic snow on the peaks of distant mainland mountains, and being too cold to sit outside after sunset.
Back in the marina we have plenty of time - nine days to organise leaving Envoy for the winter.
We’re surprised to find that our first full day back is a public holiday – “Ochi” day commemorating Greece’s refusal to surrender to Italy in 1940 during WW2. Lefkas only has a population of about 15,000 and we’re amazed to find many thousands of patriotic people celebrating.

Lefkas’s town band marching along the waterfront

Even the priests are out for the occasion

We’re amazed at the size of the crowds

Patriotic children wave their Greek flags

Girls march in traditional Greek costume, followed by the not-so-traditional

A pretty Greek girl marches with her handsome partner

We find the marina fees are unchanged from last year and pay 2,337 Euros (NZ$3,769) for 186 days averaging 12.56 Euros (NZ$20.40) per day. There are cheaper options available but we like this marina’s excellent shelter from winter storms, the technical infrastructure and the atmospheric town. Like last year Envoy is in the water, not on the hardstand and this is 30 per cent cheaper.

Map showing how the very sheltered Lefkas marina is reached off the Lefkas Canal (passing through salt marshes) making it immune from waves and surge

We meet with our agent, Yvonne, of A1 Yachting to arrange the necessary paperwork for Envoy’s stay during the winter. Our Transit Log is given to Customs for this period and Envoy is deemed to be in bond and exempt from the 18 month restriction on staying within the EU without paying VAT. Yvonne also advises good news that the Greek Cruising Tax has been temporarily suspended while the Government figures out what system it will use in future – for the last couple of years any cruising boat visiting Greek water for more than 90 days has been levied this tax.

We use a water filter when filling Envoy’s water tanks from the shore

This image shows the water filter housing (right) and its cartridge (left) after seven months use. The cartridge started life white and is now brown, proving that it’s definitely worth using to filter out excessive dirt and minerals present in town water supplies. Our water maker is powered by the generator so we load water from the shore whenever it’s available to reduce needing to use the generator for long periods. The water maker produces about 80 litres per hour, and including use of the washing machine our daily water usage averages about 60 litres, but with guests aboard this more than doubles. Envoy’s three water tanks hold a total of about 980 litres, normally supplemented with about 200 litres carried in plastic drums on deck, these drums also being used to bring water from the shore using one of the RHIBs.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
With our washing machine working well we finally leave Gouvia Marina and spend six days cruising south, stopping at some of our favourite anchorages – Mourtos on the mainland, Lakka on Paxoi Island, Ormos Vlikho and Sivota on Lefkas Island and Fiskardho on Cephalonia.
We’ve started including more maps on the Blog as we think boating people would like to see what type of shelter is offered by some of the places we mention. These anchorages are far more protected than we found in Sicily.

Map of Lakka

Sivota is a great bay with excellent shelter

Map of Sivota

Map of Fiskhardo

Then we get another bad forecast – heavy rain, thunderstorms and winds to 30 knots, so head into Ormos Vlikho to sit this out. Ormos Vlikho is a perfectly sheltered bay, a little under a mile wide, about seven metres deep with good holding and no swell. But it’s surrounded by high hills and subject to katabatic gusts – it is here that a 12 metre catamaran was capsized at anchor by strong winds several years ago. So we sit out three days of rain, thunderstorms and winds up to 34 knots.

Map of Ormos Vlikho

In the NW corner of Ormos Vlikho several wrecks are grounded - note heavy cloud cover

Our last couple of days spent anchored first in Port Atheni and next close to the mainland town of Palairos are stunning with sunny skies as we enjoy our last swims of the season.

Mainland village of Palairos

TECHNICAL Every morning I do various checks in the engine room including the level of water in the bilges. Normally the bilges are virtually dry so any water present indicates some sort of problem. While anchored in Sivota I find some water present in the aft bilge. Next check – is it fresh water, seawater or engine coolant? It’s seawater. Next check – is it coming forward from the lazarette? No – a towel placed over the lazarette drain to the engine room is still dry. Next check – remove the generator front insulation panel to expose the engine and inspect the seawater circulation pump. Yep that’s it – water leaking. As we only have a few days before we go into the marina for winter we can leave it until then, and meantime the generator should run OK with a slight water leak.
Our Toshiba laptop used solely for navigation isn’t always switching on correctly – it powers up OK and sometimes the screen illuminates immediately, while sometimes I have to try a few times for the screen to come on. Checking on the Internet I see it could possibly require a new inverter board or a new screen. I email a computer repair specialist back in Auckland, and they think it’s repairable so I’ll bring it back home. Toilet problems again - the guest head holding tank’s high level indicator light is not working again and the main head works fine if discharging into its holding tank, but won’t discharge directly overboard when its diverting valve is moved. Both of these issues we’ll resolve in Gouvia early next year.
While investigating the main head issue I find that the holding tank’s air vent tube has kinked, effectively blocking air from the holding tank. Any fuel tank, water tank or holding tank needs an air vent so that air can be displaced from the tank as it’s filled or sucked in as it’s emptied. To fix this requires the section of kinked tube to be cut out and replaced with an elbow fitting – a Lefkas marina winter job.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter.
The Miele washing machine servicemen now decide to order a new pump from the US, so while waiting for that to arrive we head out again, this time anchoring in Avalaki, a bay on Corfu’s northern coast very close to the delightful village of Kassiopi.

Envoy anchored off Avalaki

Avalaki has a great beach, even though a bit stony

Kassiopi is overlooked by castle ruins

Enjoying breakfast in a taverna overlooking Kassiopi
These complete breakfasts only cost 5 Euros (NZ$8) - about half the typical price in NZ
We have a couple of past-use-by-date Walter Kidde USA A/B/C 1 kg fire extinguishers and decide to discharge these ashore for some practice. Although they’re in excellent condition and the contents gauges indicate they’re OK, this type of extinguisher with a plastic nozzle thread can’t be serviced and re-certified. As we know they’re at least 10 years old, for safety’s sake we’ve replaced them with new larger 2 kg extinguishers of a type that can be re-certified. The Kidde extinguishers are rated for a discharge time of 8-12 seconds, and although they last close to 12 seconds we’re surprised how short this time seems. We’re also surprised how much white “smoke” they discharge, and even in the open air this takes some time to dissipate – an interesting exercise.

These extinguishers with plastic nozzles can’t be tested and re-certified
Even though the gauge indicates they are OK, they needed replacement

Our fire extinguisher test

While anchored at Avalaki we finally we hear that our new washing machine pump has arrived and head back to Gouvia marina.

Back in the marina we get a sail maker, Qantum, to patch up some worn and damaged covers; every year some of our many covers need some maintenance. Qantum do a great job with a fast two day service.
Since our washing machine was removed it has been sitting in Envoy’s cockpit, and the Miele servicemen arrive to install the new pump.
Greek engineers are generally clever and forward thinking, and make a modification so that in future the pump can be removed just by pulling the machine forward in its space, without complete removal. In the new pump goes, then it takes three of us to maneuver the heavy machine down the stairs into its position, on goes the power and water and … it doesn’t work. But the good news is now we only need to pull the machine forward to remove the pump, which the engineers take back to the workshop.

Our washing machine pulled out of its cavity in Envoy's stairwell leading from the pilothouse to forward cabin

Next day they’re back again and tell me that although the new pump states that it’s 120 volt, it is in fact only for 24 volt and will have to be sent back. My face drops as we’ve already been waiting three weeks. But they go on to say that using the plumbing parts from a new Miele pump and the 120 volt motor from our old pump they’ve built a perfectly good pump. That goes in and tests fine, and it’s still fine after several washes.
Our electrician, Leon, is able to source a replacement hand held infra-red thermometer. This is useful to record the normal operating temperatures of engine room equipment such as oil filters, alternators, vee-belts, hydraulic and electric pumps, gearbox, propeller shaft housing etc so that I know their normal operating temperature range. Then during engine room checks I’m able to determine if anything appears to be running too hot – often an early warning sign of future problems.
Our Maxwell windlass works extremely well except that the anchor has never free-fallen correctly. It’s useful to free-fall an anchor (in a controlled way) to get it on the bottom quickly, especially in deep water. This also saves wear on the windlass motor. It’s over a year since I’d last dismantled and greased the above deck components of the windlass (eh Frank), and this time I’m far more liberal with grease on the clutch cones than previously. In addition I remove the pulpit anchor roller from its stainless steel shaft and grease that too. Now the anchor free-falls very easily, while after tightening the clutch it raises without any problems too. So the trick is – more grease required.

Monday, November 03, 2014


Envoy is currently in Lefkas marina for the Med winter and this week we fly home to New Zealand - but the blog will continue as it's a few weeks behind current time ...
Having spent nine days in Gouvia Marina we now qualified for the monthly rate of 598 Euros (NZ$934) equating to a very reasonable 20 Euros (NZ$31) per night. This is great as we’ll need to return when our washing machine pump (hopefully) has been serviced, and the marina will be at no extra charge.

Corfu's Gouvia marina is well sheltered, although northerly storms can cause damage

Meanwhile we’ve been long enough in the marina so spend a few more days at nearby Ormos Kalami. This is a stunning bay, open only to the east through south, surrounded by olive tree covered hills and with several atmospheric tavernas on the beach. The only problem is some very large wakes from cruise liners passing through the narrow Corfu Channel, but our flopper-stoppers reduce their effect.

Exiting Gouvia we spot this wonderful traditional vessel

Map showing Corfu Channel, Corfu's great bays on left, Albania 1 mile on right

Ormos Kalami viewed from the hills above. Albania behind

Envoy in Ormos Kalami with the Durell’s White House in the background

The holiday season is now over so there are few boats around and the anchorages have plenty of room. But the area is popular with British land-based tourists who prefer to holiday in the cooler months, and many come back here year after year.
Nearby Ormos Agni and Ormos Stafanos are also great sheltered bays and all of these bays have tracks joining them, so we enjoy some great walks taking in the coast on one side and olive groves on the other. 

Ormos Stefanos is a great sheltered bay as the wind is mostly from the north

Gnarly old olive tree in a grove - the net below the tree will be spread out to harvest the olives

Many older houses here have really interesting colours as one coat of paint peels to reveal another

Nearby Kouloura’s boat harbour is too small for Envoy

Just south of Ormos Kalami is the huge Rothschild family’s Corfu estate beautifully situated on a headland

We love the typical quaint local fishing boats like this one - their design not much changed in hundreds of years

After a week of idyllic weather the forecast shows southerly winds gusting to 50 knots with heavy rain so we head back to the security (of the now free) Gouvia marina, before heading out again. We don’t get anything like 50 knots but do have three days of heavy rain, thunderstorms and 20-30 knot winds and were glad to be safely in the marina.

We use some of our time at anchor to re-varnish the teak foredeck cap rails. We’re not too pedantic about this and don’t strip the teak back to bare wood, but give it a light wet sand and apply seven coats of Epiphanes varnish, which doesn’t need sanding between coats. This lasts one to two seasons, and if it eventually gets too bad we’ll strip the varnish off and let it go back to natural teak which still looks great and is a lot less hassle.
Back in the marina we get a sail maker to patch up some worn or damaged covers; every year some of our many covers need some maintenance.
Still no sign of our washing machine parts – Diane is not happy, and it’s expensive using laundries ashore – 12 Euros (NZ$19.30) per washing machine load.
In Gouvia our electrician, Leon is able to replace our failed hand-held infra red thermometer. This is useful to record the normal operating temperatures of engine room equipment such as oil filters, alternators, vee-belts, hydraulic and electric pumps, gearbox, propeller shaft housing etc so that I know what is the normal operating temperature range. Then during engine room checks I’m able to determine if anything appears to be running too hot – often an early warning sign of future problems.
Our Maxwell windlass works extremely well except that the anchor never has free-fallen correctly. It’s useful to be able to free-fall the anchor to get it on the bottom quickly, especially in deep water. This also saves wear on the windlass motor. It’s over a year since I’d last dismantled and greased the above deck components of the windlass, so I do this being far more liberal with grease on the clutch cones and faces than previously. In addition I remove the pulpit anchor roller from its stainless steel shaft and grease that too. Now the anchor free-falls very easily, while after tightening the clutch it raises without any problems too. So the trick is – more grease required.

ENVOY LOG - As at 3/10/14, we’d spent 178 days aboard and cruised 1,746 miles for 311 engine hours.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Envoy is now cruising around the Lefkada area.
After leaving Greece’s northernmost Ionian islands of Othoni and Erikoussa we spend the next few days cruising down Corfu’s north-east coast enjoying stops at Ormos Stefanos, Kalami and Agri. Ormos means “bay”. There are some stunning tavernas in these bays and we enjoy an excellent lunch at Tusala’s Taverna in Agni as we overlook the beach and Envoy anchored just a short distance offshore.

Sharon and Doug enjoying lunch at Tusala’s Tavern

Then it’s into Gouvia Marina to spend Sharon and Doug’s last few days with us.
Gouvia Marina is great with excellent technical facilities, shops and tavernas close by and costs 68 Euros (NZ$106) per night.
One evening here we have dinner at a traditional Corfiot restaurant called Tripa’s Taverna, with all food and wines supplied, live Greek music and a dancing floorshow for a very reasonable of 30 Euro (NZ$47) each. We arrive at dusk to be greeted by hordes of hungry mosquitoes but soon the sun goes down and thankfully they all disappear (we rarely encounter more than the odd mosquito here in the Med).

Sharon, Doug and Laurie feasting on traditional Corfiot food at Tripa’s

Tavern Rustic Tripa’s Taverna complete with cobwebs 

Our taxi for the ride back to the marina is a near-new Mercedes and our driver says his last passenger that night was the King of Belgium, whom he’d driven to a restaurant accompanied by two police escort cars and the King’s personal bodyguards. The driver also fills us in on local economics, explaining how hard it is for people to live on the average wage of about 550 Euros (NZ$900) per month when rent is around 400 Euros (NZ$656). Most people in Corfu are able to find jobs through the summer months, but it’s tough during winter. Many people on Greek islands own small areas of land and grow vegetables, fruit and olives, and keep a few goats and chickens to make life a bit easier.
Doug and I visit the main marketplace in Corfu where the prices seem very reasonable. Whole fish range from 3 Euros per kg (NZ$4.90) upwards with filleted salmon at 15 Euros/kg (NZ$24.60) and octopus at 12-14 Euros/kg (NZ$19.70-23.00). Most fruits are between 1-2 Euros/kg (NZ$1.64-3.28), potatoes 0.7 Euros/kg (NZ$1.15), tomatoes, peppers and grapes 1-1.50 Euros/kg (NZ$1.64-2.46), extra virgin olive oil 6 Euros/litre (NZ$9.80).
Our last adventure with Sharon and Doug is to hire a rental car to drive around northern Corfu including the ancient village of Perithia, we’d heard about while watching a Rick Stein documentary on TV. This village is perched up 700 metres in isolated mountains and spectacularly set among groves of olive and cypress trees. It dates from the 13th century and is still accessed only by a narrow paved track. Largely abandoned until recently, a few people now live here among the many ruined houses and churches and visitors have a choice of six rustic tavernas, the one where Rick Stein dined being the most popular.

Picture of Rick Stein at restaurant in Perithia

View of part of Perithia village

This photo shows one part of a building in ruins while the other has been restored and is in use

This old building is for sale

But look inside

At our final dinner with Sharon and Doug we monitor the New Zealand election results and celebrate not only a great time together, but a positive outcome for New Zealand with the re-election of John Key’s centre-right government.
After Sharon and Doug depart we stay on at Gouvia Marina for a few maintenance jobs – see below. 

TECHNICAL Leon, an electrician well-known to us, diagnoses our autopilot motor problem as magnets inside the motor becoming detached from its casing. He removes the motor, confirms and fixes the problem and now all is working well. He also suggests that since we have two autopilots we interchange them every few hours, particularly in rough conditions, to make sure the motors don’t get too hot.
Leon also replaces a failed Racor gauge that connects to a water detection alarm in one of our two Racor filters for the Lugger engine.
The guest Vacuflush head has had a problem for several years – the vacuum pump switches on every 20 minutes or so to recharge, indicating a vacuum leak somewhere in the system. A couple of servicemen come aboard and first replace the four duckbill valves. The old ones hadn’t been changed in over eight years and apart from being a bit hard aren’t too bad. This makes no difference. Then the whole toilet bowl is removed and the three seals changed. Again there is no difference. Finally they replace the shaft and seals on the flushing lever and this does the trick. Now the head doesn’t recharge except after flushing, as it is supposed to do.
Some different servicemen investigate a water leak from our Splendide clothes washer, finding it's from the 120 volt water circulation pump. It's then a reasonably major operation to take out the machine so the pump can be removed for repair, and we’re still waiting to hear if they manage to repair it - watch this space.
ENVOY LOG As at 25/9/14, we’d spent 170 days aboard and cruised 1,725 miles for 306 engine hours.