[NOTE: the first portion of this blog entry is a bit technical. Those of you who don’t want to read a bunch of boat-geek stuffmay want to skip this section.]
Last Saturday, I had a tough decision to make. We were preparing to leave the dock to go cruising, but I had some concerns about the boat. I had no major problems, but I had problems that I didn’t understand.
Roberta asked why I seemed worried, and I said, “I’m thinking about packing it in and going home.”
As mentioned in my last blog, some electrical power surge must have occurred on Sans Souci prior to our arrival. Most of the problems were minor,but there were a lot of them, and some, like the problem with our shorepower converter, cost thousands of dollars in repairs.
Since my last blog, a few new problems have appeared….
A big-picture electrical diagram for my boat can be reviewed, by CLICKING HERE
As we were coming back from our test cruise last week, all monitors in the pilothouse suddenly went dark. The ship’s computers had completely shut off, as hadmost of the 120v AC equipment in the pilot house. I quickly rebooted the computers while Roberta drove, only to watch it happen again. Then, it happened a third time!
Although all the electronic items in the pilothouse were shutting down, including my VSAT unit (satellite communications), we weren’t losing power. The power was staying on, but was obviously glitching in some way. My guess is that the power was shutting off for a brief instant, just long enough to cause my electronics to shut down.
We attributed the temporary loss of power to over-loading of the electrical system, even though I hadn’t thought we were close to the load limit.
A day later, when attempting to lift the tender, the davit failed. After cleaning the connectors on the remote,we got it working, but noticed that power in the pilothouse had been lost again. I was confident I hadn’t overloaded the system. I checked that I wasn’t overloading the system,and tried the test again. Starting the davit was reproducibly killing power in the pilothouse, despite plenty of power available. Why?
Later that evening, shorepower went out, and along with it the pilothouse power. The pilothouse is running off of inverters,which should cut in immediately if shorepower drops, plus there is apowerconditioner/battery backup system, just for the pilot house. Pilothouse power should not be affected by a loss of shorepower. I tripled-checked all the breakers to verify that they were set correctly.
With a bit of experimenting, I discovered something else, which was the most disconcerting. I was running on shorepower,and started the 20kw generator. I had not transferred the load to it, but theelectronics in the pilothouse shut down anyhow! That should be impossible!
I checked the pilothouse power conditioner / battery backup. It wasn’t reporting any fault, and passed the self-test. The battery in it tested fine. Despite this, it seemed to me that it must be the power conditioner.
The boat’s hydraulic system was also exhibiting a strange behavior. The hydraulic pump on the port engine was not working. After a bit of digging, I discovered a blown fuse. However, once replaced with a new fuse, andeven though I could not get it to fail during testing, the fuse blew again. Was it a symptom of the same problem? Or, a new problem? This time, we dug deeper and found a chafed wire going to one of the hydraulic valves. This was replaced, and a new fuse installed. After working fine for a few hours, it blew again.
I have two hydraulic pumps (one on each engine), and only one pump wasn’t working. With the other pump I could still get the anchor up and down, and have some limited amount of stabilizers and thrusters. So, this wasn’t a show-stopper, but what if the other pump fails?
Thickening the plot was a new noise, which woke Roberta and I up the night before our scheduled departure. It was very loud, and sounded like a loud buzzer. Neither of us could localize the sound, but both thought it came from the electric panel. The sound only lasted a couple of seconds, and neither of us had heard anything similar before. I rushed to the electric panel, which looked, and felt, normal. Perhaps it was just the nearby expresso machine we had heard? The air handler? The refrigerator?Something strange in the speakers overhead? The noise reoccurred a few hours later, but once again, all seemed fine. We still hear it randomly, every day.I don’t think it is coming from the electric panel, but I can’t hunt it down.
Anyway, this is getting overly long, but I suspect you can see why I was asking myself if we should ‘go cruising.’ We have been working with a local boat maintenance company, and I did have their electrician on board, but he didn’t know where to begin looking. Sans Souci is a complicated boat. With time he could solve our problems, but we really left ourselves only a few weeks for cruising this year. I didn’t really have time to spin a new electrician up to speed, and with him only speaking Turkish, it would take longer than usual.
After a long discussion, Roberta and I decided, “Let’s go!” The winning argument was, “There are too many unknowns. If we want this fixed, we need to give guidance to the engineers. We won’t be so far from port that they can’t come bail us out if we need it, and if we want to cruise next year, we need to get these problems resolved this year.” Even the best of electricians struggles to resolve an intermittent problem. If they can’t see it, they can’t fix it. We knew that with us on the boat,our odds of getting the problems resolved would rise exponentionally.
So .. we left the dock. And, our plan worked. Within a couple of days all power to the pilothouse disappeared, andthis time it didn’t come back. A quick look at the power conditioner revealed that it was now showing a fault. I bypassed the power conditioner and have a new one on order. We seem to be running fine without it.
I’m still running on one hydraulic pump, but know I can always replace the fuse for a couple hours of hydraulic pressure if I need it.
Life on Sans Souci is never dull!
Anyway… on to the fun parts!
We decided on a short run for our first day, only a couple hours away from Gocek, to a small bay called “Yavansu Koyu.” (36 38.197 N, 028 52.479 E) It’s most recognizable feature was a 20’ wide rock depiction of a seagull some artist had created on the beach.
Roberta and I decided to make our first attempt at a stern tie. The anchorage waswell over 100 feet deep, to within about 80 feet of shore. We had no choice. Muchof the anchoring in southern Turkey is the same way, and it’s a skill we needed to have in our bag of tricks.
To our surprise, it was no big deal. We dropped the anchor about 300 feet from shore, in 150 feet of water. The wind was pushing us towards a nearby boat, and I had no thrusters, but otherwise we were able to take our time. I gave Roberta the throttles, from in the cockpit, and had her keep the boat straight. Meanwhile I jumped in the tender and headed for shore with a 200’ line in hand.
Conveniently, in many anchorages around here, there are bollards (posts you can tie a line to) spread around the anchorages. However, when I approached the one we wereanchored in front of, it was about eight feet high off the water. I’m sure a young deckhand wouldbe able to scurry up the hillside to tie the line, but my days as a young buck are long gone. After a minute of trying to climb the wall, and not particularly wanting to fall in the water, I realized that this was reallyeasier than I thought. I simply threw one end of the line around the bright orange bollard, and then captured the bitter end, and tied a big loop. Easy. Meanwhile, I gave the sign to Roberta, back on Sans Souci, to start reeling in the other end of the line. Inseconds she had the line hand-tight, and a few minutes later I was back on the boat to help pull it tight with a windlass. We then repeated the process for the other side of the boat, and that was it. Anyone watching would have thought we knew what we were doing.
Most of the boats in the bay around us were flagged German, British or French. A few had American flags, but we could see the crews were Turkish.
When a 30’ sailboat, named Antares, tied up next to us, we saw the American flag, but assumed they weren’t Americans. There was a couple on board who looked American, and as he was tying to shore, we thought we heard English. I tendered over and asked, “Do you speak English?” Back came a clear American accent, “Of course!”
This began a fun evening aboard Sans Souci. The couple had crossed the Atlantic in 2008, and weremaking their way around the Med, cruising six months at a time. They had worked their way through the Med through the countries we will be exploring over the next few years, so Roberta and I eagerly asked all the questions about the highlights and low-lights of places they’d been.
Typically, the best part of cruising isn’t necessarily the boats, it’s the cruisingpeople you meet. There aren’t a lot of boring cruisers, especially amongst those who have crossed oceans.
The area where we are now cruising is the “Lycian coast” of Turkey, referring to the ancient Lycian people who lived here (around 5bc). …
Did you know that America’s Constitution has some Lycian roots? The original drafters of the USConstitution studied Lycia, and borrowed some ideas. The Lycian region was unique in that it represented one of the earliest examples of a series of strong independent city-states banding together to form a union, with individual member influence proportional to their size. Twenty-three independent Lycian cities banded together to form the Lycian Federation, with distinct definition of regional and national powers.
The Lycian coast, from Marmaris east, about 150 miles to Kemer, is very tourist-focused, and cruiser-friendly. I asked a local where I could find an anchorage with a restaurant in front of it, and he said, “All of them.”
Because our time here this year is short, we decided we would run 80 miles southeast, to KekovaRoads. Our plan is to spend a few days at Kekova, over a three-week period, and work our way back to Gocek, hitting the various anchorages,and interesting stopping points, along the way.
This meant a long day, running to Kekova.
On our way to Kekova, Roberta pointed out an island, along-side of us, calledMeis (or, Kastellorizo in Greek.) “That’s Greece,” she said. I didn’t understand. Greece should bewest or north of us. But, as usual, Roberta was correct. There are several smallGreek islands, which lie only a couple of miles off the coast of Turkey.
The proximity surprised me. I’ve sensed at times that Turkey and Greece are not particularly friendly with each other, perhaps the lingering effects of four major wars over the past century.
Roberta mentioned that there is a regular 20 minute ferry ride, from Kas, Turkey (which we were passing) and that in addition to enjoying Greece, some foreigners use the ferry to fulfill their every-90-day visa-inspired exit from Turkey. One quick ferry ride, and you are in the EU, and can return to Turkey a few hours later. It was tempting to take Sans Souci into the harbor at Meis, as I could see that it looked VERY fun. However, going to Meis via a passenger ferry is easy,but going there with Sans Souci would mean clearing out of Turkey and into Greece. It was more hassle than I wanted.
Kekova Roads is the site of an ancient city that was submerged by a massive earthquake in 240 AD. Many of the buildings are still visible both above and below the water.Much of the land collapsed during this earthquake, causing many buildings andthe ancient harbor to go under the sea. Much of what is now the bay, here atKekova, used to be populated land.
Many restaurants use their tender docks as a way of attracting business. Whenever we would approach town, looking for a place to dock our tender, restaurant owners would run out, guiding us towards their dock to park our tender. They knew that if we were at their dock, the momentum would be towards having lunch or dinner at their restaurant. It worked.
We did have one interesting incident. Roberta and I wanted to climb to the top of the hill,at Kalekoy, to visit the castle. We tendered from the boat to town, about half a mile away, in rough, but manageable seas. While we were having lunch, the wind climbed, despite a good weather report to 25 knots!
We saw one tender almost flip over trying to navigate the passage we had just run20 minutes before. It was clear we weren’t going back to our boat anytime soon. I knew we were well-anchored, but that didn’t stop me worrying about a dragging anchor. I wanted back on the boat as quickly as I could get there, but we were stuck.
We had no choice but to go with the original plan, of visiting the town and thecastle, and hope the wind would drop.
After climbing to the castle, and even eating a dish of homemade hazelnut ice cream to kill more time(a great way to kill time!), the wind just wasn’t dropping. Luckily I had the phone number of a Turkishwater taxi driver, named Turgay, who could rescue us. We tied the tender behind hisboat, and he towed us back to Sans Souci.
Turgay turned out to be a handy guy to know. In addition to his water taxi duties, he ran tourist gullets, and was even our dinner waiter in townat his Uncle’s restaurant a couple of nights. When I asked if he spoke English, he said “Yes. And, Turkish, French, German, and Italian!” His boat, and most of the gullets, have no stabilizers or thrusters, and are single engine. It was amazing watching the local captains maneuver. The frequent high-winds (15-25 knots) we have been seeing are typical for the region, and Turgay described them as “nothing compared to the winds in March.” The captains regularly drop their bow anchor, and can drop anchor inseconds. They use the anchor, almost like planting a foot, to facilitate maneuvers. Want to move the stern over? Just drop the anchor and use it as a pivot. I had never seen the anchor used quite this way before, and it was fun watching how they managed the wind.
I have been in regular communications with the other two boats in our GSSR group…
Seabird and Grey Pearl departed Malaysia last week, for Singapore, and have arrived there safely. They plan to do some cruising in Thailand then ship their boats to Turkey. I have no idea where we’ll cruise next year, but am delighted that our group will be back together. My best guess is that we’ll cruise from May through September and head north to Istanbul, and possibly the Black Sea, but, we shall see.
Steven Argosy (Seabird) mentioned that he had an interesting time with Malaysian customs, when they opened his suitcase and found a heat exchanger (a part for repairing the boat). It raised some eyebrows at the x-ray machine!
And, here’s something for the computer geeks who read my blog…
There is no satellite television here, or at least none in English. We’re cruising too far from civilization for me to use a 3g internet card to stream television from at home,using our SlingPlayer. We have a DVD juke-box player, called Kaleidescape, but, as I mentioned in my last blog entry, it fried during the offseason.
No problem, I have a backup plan. I brought with me a small hard drive loaded with music, movies, and TV series. I also brought a media player (Western Digital Live Plus). Sans Souci has a fancy video distribution system throughout the boat, that works well, when doing what it was made to do, but when you want to add a new device, it’s a tricky system to tap into. The TVs on Sans Souci are built-in, so it’s hard to get at the backs of them to attach anything. Instead, I attached the media player to the video output from the useless satellite tv receiver, and then used a device called RedEye (www.thinkflood.com) to control the media player from anywhere on the boat, with my iphone or ipad. In minutes I had video throughout the boat, and full remote control from any room. The Redeye device works far better than expected!
And, lastly… My last blog entry received a few comments from readers, with some great information, that I thought I’d pass along.
Milt Baker shares this tip for stern mooring:
1. Disengage the windlass chain wheel (gypsy) so the capstan can turn independently.
2. Lead the line loosely through the forward hawse, directly to the capstan.
3. Then hook the line around the after horn on the hawse, and tension the line with the capstan, all the while keeping tension of the bitter end,
4. Once the line is properly tensioned and is being held in place by a hand on the line on the down side of the capstan, have one person (preferably the strongest one available) take tension on the line between the capstan and the hawse while another person removes the turns from the capstan.
5. As soon as the last turn comes off the capstan, the person holding the line between the capstan and the hawse quickly secures the line to the hawse. This usually doesn’t involve giving up any of the line.
The secret to it all is that the turn around the horn of the hawse makes it easy to maintain the tension, even when the line is released from the capstan. With a little practice we’ve found that one person can do it all. Quick, safe, easy!
The picture above shows the lead with the turn around the hawse horn. It’s an easy move to go from what this picture shows to securing the line to the hawse. …”
And, Dean Heathcote sent this note:
“…In reading about your recent anchoring options, I wanted to share some experience on stern tying in Desolation Sound with deep water say, over 80 ft and 200ft from shore – usually means a “steep rise” in the bottom. As long as you have a “good uphill bite” and limited slack in the stern line, the anchor should stay set on a very short scope. I have done this several times in over 150′ of water with less than a 2 to 1 ratio. Once the anchor and stern line are set, adjusting for the boat’s best position is easy. Only caution is “wind”. If it comes up, the weak link is the stern line. If it were to break, the anchor will loose bite as the boat swings – not a pretty thought. Unless you carry 300 – 400ft of super heavy–duty line, such as tow line, you probably will want to restrict stern tying to “well protected waters only”. Other than that, stern tying can be a great way to go. …”
And, I received this response, from Wolf-Thomas, to my comments on the Schengen rules:
“…What is the problem with the “Schengen Rules”? If you want to stay longer than 90 days in the EU you only have to ask for a visa. I thing the cost are not as high as in the US – 140 US$.
And even the visa-free entrance is much easier than the proceedure at the US-Border. Do you thing we need a special “Lex Americanus”?
If you are interested about US immigration rules:https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/…”
I had not intended for my comments to sound like I was complaining, and I do agree that a long-term stay visa is probably the solution. The tricky part of this, as I understand it, is that each country has their own process, and rules, for applying for a long-term stay visa. And, it is not clear, at least to me, that an extended-stay visa obtained in one country is valid in another.It would not be uncommon for a cruiser to visit many EU countries while in theMed. When I asked my Monaco-based lawyer about obtaining a visa in France, he said that it was something that would need to be applied for at a French Embassy in the US,prior to the trip. Whether or not this is correct, I do not know. At the present time I am just trying to understand the rules, and most people I speak with are saying, “Why bother, the rules don’t really apply to you, and aren’t enforced.” So, perhaps it is a non-issue. I can’t tell you.
That’s it for now! Roberta and I just dropped anchor in Kas, Turkey. A storm is supposed to be coming, so I have 350’ of chain out, and we’re prepared for whatever the weather gods want to throw our way.
N6805, Sans Souci