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Friday, December 23, 2016


Envoy is in Lefkas Marina for the northern hemisphere winter while we're home in New Zealand to enjoy the summer.

Now back to mid-October. As we leave Gouvia Marina we load another 400 litres of diesel to top up our fuel tanks as it's best to leave them full to reduce condensation during long absences from any boat. This brings our total diesel purchase this year to a very reasonable 4,025 litres, which has been sufficient for six months cruising most days.
One of the hugely compelling qualities of a full-displacement boat like Envoy is her economy at about six to seven litres of diesel per hour. A similar sized planing vessel would use something like 150 litres per hour and even though it'd be covering around 20 miles in an hour we only need about 22 litres to cover the same distance – one seventh as much.

We cruise slowly south towards Lefkas visiting places we've mentioned previously in the Blog so won't repeat.
Anchored off the town of Preveza we have a choppy night in 20 knot onshore winds and are woken early in the morning by fishermen who want to retrieve their net. It's not uncommon for them to lay their nets and lines throughout recognised anchoring areas.
It's late season and now there are few boats around except for a few hardy souls taking advantage of the off-peak yacht charter rates and cruisers on the way to winter berths. Ashore the beach umbrellas and deck chairs are stacked away, many tavernas and shops have closed their shutters until next year and the still open ones are largely deserted. During this time we have some fine weather but also more rain and thunderstorms leading us to decide that next year we'll have a shorter season and return home around mid-October.
After anchoring for the last time we let out most of our chain and during retrieval wash the salt off with fresh water to reduce corrosion during winter storage. Pulling into the marina for winter on Sunday 23rd October gives us nine days before leaving for Athens - ample time to complete wintering procedures and a few remaining jobs. I say this every year – it's great and very satisfying to return after living aboard for seven months and cruising over 2,000 miles with no accidents, injuries or more than minor technical issues.
We berth alongside Coco, a 52ft sailing yacht owned by a Scots couple, George and Anne, and hardly finish connecting water and shore power before they invite us aboard for a drink. They're sprightly mid-70s who've visited NZ and we Scotland, so we find plenty in common resulting in several great evenings together during our short time in the marina.
That night I break a tooth munching on an olive. Although it's not sore I decide to get it seen to in case of any problems occurring on the long journey home. The marina office recommends a dentist who sees me just an hour after my call. She's highly qualified being a Doctor of Dentistry (dentists generally have a Bachelor degree) with a spotless surgery who charges just 50 Euros (about NZ$77) for a filling that takes about half an hour. At home the charge would be more like $300 - we've been well pleased by the high standard and low cost of medical treatment in Greece.
The marina costs 2,764 Euros (about NZ$4,252) being about $22 per day. Many cruisers go on the hard stand at nearby and cheaper Preveza, but we prefer the whole infrastructure, convenience and atmosphere of Lefkas.

Next post will discuss year-end maintenance issues.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


Envoy is in Lefkas Marina for the northern hemisphere winter and we are home in New Zealand.

Back to mid-October. After Charles departs we stay for a few days at Gouvia Marina to take advantage of its excellent technical infrastructure and technicians who've worked on Envoy before, as some maintenance is needed.

-Our washing machine's water discharge pump has not been working for a few weeks and we've been using the machine by siphoning the water out. Two technicians from Miel examine it finding that the pump's AC wire has broken away from the very fine diameter output wire from the motor (as we thought). They remove the pump and motor from the machine to Envoy's cockpit where there's plenty of space to solder the wires and then secure them physically, which was not possible to do in-situ with the confined space.

Our washing machine is hard to access in its cavity half way up stairs to guest cabin

With the pump removed it's more easily serviced

-One of our two independent air conditioners has a fault with its 120V seawater cooling pump. It's not receiving AC power from the air conditioner's control unit. Angelos finds that a TRIAC (a three terminal semiconductor device) has failed, replaces it with a heavier duty version and all is well.
This is after two technicians in Crete spent time on it and said it couldn't be fixed.
-Our watermaker has a minute water leak from the high pressure hose going into the membrane. Angelos says this is common fault and supplied a new hose. He was reluctant to test it in the dirty water of the marina so we test it a few days later finding a new slight leak in a different place. By now we are three hours cruising time from the marina so in consultation with Angelos decide to leave it for him to look at when we pass through Corfu next May. This course of action has the added benefit that the very competent Angelos can check out the whole water maker system for us at the start of the season.

Ever-cheerful watermaker and aircon expert Angelos

-The "Whale" 12V pump that empties our below-waterline main head's sink has failed. On removal it's beyond economical repair and replaced with an identical new one.
-The forward head's holding tank level indicator is not working. It seems the sender float unit is stuck even though it was removed and cleaned in May. Of course this doesn't stop the head from being used. We decide to leave this until there is some need to remove the head for service, then locate the exact position of the sender and drill a whole through the head's floor large enough to extract and clean the sender without difficulty in future as required.
-Our trumpet air horn is not working. We removed the air compressor and it has rusted due to water ingress, which the technician says is a common problem. We virtually never use the horn and in any case have a separate aerosol-powered one so decide to leave this for Sailand to try and fix during winter in Lefkas.
-Our domestic fresh water supply passes through two filters. One of the filter housings is leaking and we've been reluctant to remove it in case it breaks completely and compromises our fresh water supply. After consultation with Angelos we decide to leave this for replacement during winter.