Sans Souci is now sitting at anchor near Kas, Turkey, only about 20 miles from Kekova.
As we move towards the end of the cruising season, bad weather seems to be more frequent. I mentioned in my last blog entry that we had hit sudden winds.
We really didn’t feel that we had fully exhausted all the good cruising at Kekova, but I could see that a large storm was coming, and that we should seek better protection while beginning to work our way back to Gocek. Looking at the weather report, we wanted somewhere that was protected from the South, West and East, which is exactly what we found – in Bayindr Bay, at Kas, a short two hour cruise northwest from Kekova Roads.
The storm began within a few hours of our dropping anchor. It really wasn’t bad, but it rained, almost non-stop for three days, with winds mostly in the 10 to 25 knot range. Essentially, this meant that we were pinned down inside the boat for three days.
Our primary reason for choosing this particular bay was that it looked, on the charts, like there would be enough room to drop anchor and ‘swing freely.’ I don’t like the idea of med-mooring to shore in high winds. Your stern is too close to shore, and if something goes wrong, there isn’t much time to correct the situation before you hit the wall.
As you can see in the picture above, we dropped the anchor in about 75 feet of water, and put out over 350 feet of chain. We verified the anchor was set, and waited for the storm to arrive, which didn’t take long.
I thought the anchorage would be flooded with other boats, for the same reason as us, wanting a safe anchorage from the storm. But, for the most part, we only had two neighbors, and we had plenty of room.
However, after the rain and wind arrived, a couple more boats came, including an Italian sailboat, that anchored within about 100 feet of Sans Souci. I knew that the winds would be shifting in the days that would follow, and that the sailboat was inside my swing circle. My worry was that the sailboat and I would swing at different rates, as the wind shifted, and that at some point our boats might want to share the same physical piece of water. My boat weighs over 120 tons, and the sailboat looked like it might weigh 5 tons. I would win any territorial dispute, but still felt it might be better to alert the sailboat.
With the high-winds, and the rain, I had trouble communicating with the sailboat. I pantomimed, as best I could, my 350 feet of chain, and the circle around my boat. The Italians didn’t understand, or didn’t care. In any event, they made it clear they were not re-anchoring.
Over the three days that followed, both our boats were pushed around quite a bit, but neither of our anchors ever dragged. We came within 50 feet a few times, but never closer.
Whenever I drop anchor, I put a circle onto the chart, using Nobeltec, which is the size of my anticipated swing circle. I use Nobeltec’s tracking feature to see where the boat has been, and as a way of detecting whether or not my anchor is dragging. As long as I am in the circle, all is good.
I precompute the circle size to match the length of my chain, and put the circle on the chart where I’d like to drop anchor. I can then go onto the bow, to release the anchor, while Roberta drives to the mark. The tracings towards the outer edge of the circle show that we had the chain fully stretched at times, and the wiggly lines in the middle reflect the periods of lower winds.
Sans Souci is equipped with “flopper stoppers,” large aluminum plates which dangle from poles that extend about 10 feet out on each side of the boat. These plates are hinged in the middle, and open or close as the boat tilts from side to side in the water.
Normally, I can deploy the flopper stoppers in under 30 minutes. When we first arrived here, I had thought our anchorage would be protected enough that they wouldn’t be needed. This was a bad decision, and we were slammed by swell coming into the bay. Thus, Roberta and I had to deploy them; a) as it was getting dark, b) while raining heavily, c) with lightening to keep us company, and d) in high winds. This made the process longer. Adding to the challenge was that some of the shackles had welded themselves closed during the offseason. We got the job done, but it was a bit of an adventure.
The effort was worth while, though, and the other boats around us were VERY jealous, and impressed, with how calm we were while they were rolling around.
You’ll notice in the pictures above that the line seems twisted at the top of the flopper stoppers. That’s what happens would you work in the rain! I’m not completely sure what I did wrong in the rigging, but it’s on my list of projects for today to sort out.
It is extremely unusual for Roberta and I to be out of sight of Sans Souci while it is sitting at anchor. Can you imagine how strange it felt to be in Greece while Sans Souci was sitting at anchor in Turkey? In addition to the concern about a sudden wind dragging the anchor, I was also worried about the tender, which was left tied to the stern. It’s like leaving a $20,000 bill on the table, and hoping no one picks it up. I wasn’t worried about Sans Souci, because we had just ridden through high winds, and I knew the anchor was solidly in place, and it was a nice calm day. And, I wasn’t worried about the tender, because I believed it would be safe. Thus far, I have been amazed at how polite and honest everyone has been. On a couple of occasions I have given large tips to people who took good care of me, only to have them refused, as “Too much.”
And lastly, as you may recall, in my last blog entry, I spoke about some electrical problems I’ve been fighting on Sans Souci.
I am very appreciative to those who have flooded my email with ideas.
All is fine now.
Unless you are interested in techie things, I’d recommend not reading further. The rest of this blog entry is for those who would like the geeky details…
I now believe the basis of my problems was a convergence of unstable dock power, and high start-up electrical loads on Sans Souci.
The boat was left at the dock, from May to September, with the air conditioning running, in the high summer heat of Turkey. Shore power is provided to my boat through an Atlas international shore power conversion device. This device cleans the shore power, and ‘reconstructs’ the power from the three-phase 50 cycle power that is here in Turkey, to the single-phase 60 cycle power, that my US-standard boat expects.
I’m not sure what happened on the dock during my absence, but during the time I was at the dock in September, I observed many power outages, of random durations. On some days the power went out as much as three times.
The air conditioning on Sans Souci can consume as much as 50 amps, which at 240 volts, is approximately 12 kw. When I am on the boat, I shut down the air conditioning, and any other high amperage appliances while engaging shore power, swapping generators, or plugging in shore power. I make a conscious effort to introduce loads gradually. When I’m not on the boat, if the power fails, and comes back later, there is no smoothing. All loads are instantaneous.
I’m not 100% certain, but my working theory is that during my absence there were plenty of power failures, and the sudden, and frequent on again, off again, power cycling, with major loads switched on, caused my electrical problems.
The periods without electricity alone, may have been sufficient to cause damage. August in Turkey, inside a boat, without air conditioning, can be hot and sticky. I noticed that when I was on the dock, if the power went out, a large percentage of the time, even if it came on a few minutes later, the breaker would trip at the power pedestal. In other words, what might have been a 2 minute power outage at the dock could easily have been a 24 power outage on Sans Souci, or longer. During this time, humidity would reign inside the boat.
When I was at the dock on Sans Souci, I would automatically flip to the generator when dock power failed, and if I suspected that dock power was going to be flaky for a while, such as during a storm, I stayed on the generator until the weather stabilized. Human intervention can shield the boat from potential problems, in ways that are not possible on an unattended boat.
Anyway, to make a long story short – my theory is that electrical issues at the dock combined with high loads inside the boat, caused some key electrical items inside Sans Souci to fail. As these failed, other surrounding devices were affected.
The two major items that failed were: the Atlas, and the APC Power Conditioner for the pilot house. The Atlas failure was immediately obvious. However, the power conditioner failure was difficult to spot. It passed its internal self-test, and the batteries tested fine. Also, some of the symptoms were confusing and misleading. Only when it failed completely did I bypass it, and once bypassed, the boat immediately became stable.
Here’s a summary of specifics:
Atlas – Failed completely. Replaced circuit board, and works fine now.
Power conditioner – Failed completely. New unit on its way to Turkey. Bypassed for now, and all problems have disappeared.
Hydraulic problem – I am still fighting a blown fuse in the hydraulic system. At one time, I was concerned that this was related to the other problems, but I now believe it is nothing more than a sticking actuator valve. I’m surviving fine with half my hydraulics, and will worry about it when I get back to the dock.
Loud noise – There was a random loud noise, which wasn’t of sufficient duration to hunt down, but it seemed to be coming from the electrical panel. Suspicious noises from the electrical panel are NOT to be ignored, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t right. Finally, the noise occurred while Roberta was in the right place, at the right time, and was able to determine that the noise was coming from the nearby expresso machine. This is indeed an indication of required maintenance to the expresso machine, and because of our Seattle roots, this is absolutely a critical part of the boat, but we shall limp along with it until repairs are made.
Davit – the connector on the remote control, that attaches to the davit, has a corroded connector. This has been identified, and power cut to the davit. This will be fairly easy to fix, but requires a new connector be sent. It has nothing to do with the other problems, and is nothing more than the result of taking lots of salt water over the bow, some of which weaseled its way into the connector.
Other problems – The failure of the Atlas and the power conditioner ‘fried’ several other devices, and tripped lots of breakers. All items have been repaired, or repairs are underway.
As to the most important: “Lessons Learned.” The lesson here is simple. If you leave large loads engaged, and are on a dock with unstable shore power, and the power cycles enough times, there will be problems. I left the boat with only a fraction of the air conditioning engaged, and with most electrical items powered off. However, many mechanics were on and off the boat, and switches on the electrical panel were shifted around. I’m not sure what was on or off, on the boat, during my absence. I noticed that some devices that are normally powered by the boat’s inverters were switched to run off shore power directly. There are two lessons here for me: 1) Minimize loads when not on the boat. And, 2) If people will be on the boat during my absence, make sure the electrical panel is somehow protected against switches being flipped. In my case, I’m planning to use tape and labels to keep switches in the proper positions.
In any event, this was a one-time event. Normally, Roberta and I are on the boat during summers. This was an unusual year for us, and we have no future plans to leave the boat unattended during the summer. This year when we leave the boat, it will be winter, and the air conditioning will not be active.
The bottom line: Nordhavns are built to take a lot of abuse. This was an occasion when a lot of problems occurred, and yet, I didn’t miss a day of cruising. Life is good on Sans Souci!
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci
PS There are a couple of recent blog entries by GSSR participants that are well worth checking out. CLICK HERE for Don Stabbert, on Starr, talking about his efforts to replace a leaking stabilizer. And, CLICK HERE for Steven and Carol Argosy’s (Seabird) account of their, and Braun and Tina Jones’ (Grey Pearl), recent run from Malaysia to Singapore. It’s great reading, and quite an adventure!