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Saturday, December 15, 2018

OUR LAST DAYS ABOARD ENVOY


Envoy is in winter storage in Lefkas Marina, Greece and we are home in Auckland.

In late October we cruise back into Greece's Lefkas Marina with my brother Charles still aboard.
The weather is still great and totally suitable for cruising, though it generally deteriorates rapidly during November.
Although we had our smaller “spare” Raymarine radar serviced in August and the fluorescent back lighting replaced with LEDs the screen is still too hard to see, even at night. So we take it back to Dieter at Metronix and he tells us what we expected to hear; that the unit is from the early 2000s and old not only in years but in technology, being an LCD screen. The latest similar-sized units have a GPS/Plotter included so will solve the problem of replacing our failed Northstar GPS too. Also they support AIS which neither of our present radars do. So Dieter visits Envoy to check installation costs and quotes us for an Axiom 7 Display unit, Quantum Q24C Radar, Navionics charts for the plotter function and installation so that we can discuss this with our prospective buyer.

The same day that the Internaftiki engineer arrives to work on our noisy stabilisers (see last Post) our buyer arrives with his two friends, Graham and Andrew for their first look at Envoy. 
I'm not using the buyer's name as he prefers to remain anonymous at this point. 
The initial inspection all goes well and they are totally satisfied that Envoy is in fact in better condition than they expected. We'd not met our buyer previously but all get on extremely well and enjoy a sociable dinner that evening.
The next day we do a sea trial and again all goes well – however I'm not satisfied with the Naiad stabilisers and later contact Internaftiki again. But the season is running out of time and there's no chance for them to visit Lefkas before our departure for NZ, so we agree they will visit to solve the problem during preparation for Envoy's next cruise, whenever that may be.
We have always needed to flake the anchor chain into its locker because there's a large spare anchor stowed in the bottom of the anchor locker and this reduces the vertical space available to stow the chain. We've never used this spare anchor (having two other spares) and in fact it's so heavy I would not be able to lift it out of the locker anyway. I discuss this with our buyer and suggest we remove this anchor to eliminate the need for someone to flake the chain. During our sea trial we lay out 80 metres of chain to expose the spare anchor in the bottom locker and Graham and Andrew lift it out. Then we retrieve the chain and as expected find that it doesn't need flaking. As a result we remove this anchor from the boat. In retrospect we could have done this a lot earlier and avoided the need for Di to flake the anchor chain many hundreds of times over all those years.
Next day we lift Envoy out of the water for a hull survey. Again all goes well and subsequently the deal is finalised. We then spend a few days with the buyer explaining Envoy's operation and systems as well as introducing him to some of the key people around the marina.

Charles heads back to Scotland on Sunday 28 October, known as Ochi Day in Greece, celebrating Greece's refusal to allow Italian troops to occupy Greece in World War 2. The Italians consequently attacked Greece but were routed by Greek troops until battle-hardened Germans came to aide Italy and turned the tide of battle. Ochi Day is treated very seriously like our own Anzac Day and masses of people turned out in a sea of waving blue and white Greek flags to watch their parade.
Next day out buyer and his friends leave and we're by ourselves again.

Our last “cruise” is a few hundred metres to the refueling jetty where we load 1,800 litres of diesel from a tanker to top up Envoy's tanks – boats should always be left with fairly full tanks to reduce moisture ingress through condensation. The tanker driver tells us this diesel is imported and unlike local diesel has no bio-diesel content. This is good because while bio-diesel may be good for the environment (although this is highly debatable) it it more hygroscopic and not so good for long term storage stability.

We spend the last few days packing our personal effects and preparing Envoy for winter storage including fitting her winter storage cover.
On our last Saturday night we go out for dinner with Vassilis from Sailand and his English wife Judy.
It was Vasillis who arranged our accommodation last year while Envoy's fire damage was being repaired. They take us to a small village high in the hills behind Lefkas where there's a small and rustic family-owned taverna. There's no menu and after a brief discussion between Vassilis and the owner we're inundated with delicious Greek dishes including local sausages, grilled eggplant with balsamic drizzle, moussaka, grilled lamb, Greek salad and white wine made from their own grapes. As often happens we're surrounded by local cats – in fact six of them. One kitten looks particularly frail and Judy decides to take it home to care for it. The kitten is happy to oblige and nestles contentedly in Judy's arms. Sadly we later learn that it only survived a few days.
On Wednesday 7th we leave Envoy to spend our last night in Lefkada ashore in the marina's hotel.
This is the end of a major era in our lives – 12 years of owning Envoy and two years of prior research. During those 12 years we spent the substantial parts of eight years cruising plus the much shorter time this year totaling 1,442 days spent aboard, cruising 16,297nm and logging 3,220 engine hours.
Not only have we enjoyed this immensely ourselves but shared special times with 35 family members and close friends. Now we hand the mantle to Envoy's new Australian owners and hope they have as much adventure and enrichment of their lives as we've enjoyed.
Just this week I learned that the parts for our B&G wind speed gear, expected to arrive late August, have finally arrived!


So far as this Blog is concerned – I still have some articles to complete for boating magazines and will put them on the Blog as well as any other boating related material that comes to mind.
Next Spring we plan to do some canal boating in France so will report on that too.


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.