Yacht Pipit


Addaya, 10th September 2012

You can see why we're still here. This photo was taken early last week and although the seas have calmed now, there is another similar blow heading our way...

There were only a few days of calm weather before another stronger and longer lasting blow was forecast to come out of the Gulf of Leon, so we didn't go to Fornells as it doesn't afford the shelter from northerly winds that Addaya does. We stayed here in Addaya, initially in the marina whilst we had someone climb the mast (one thing neither of us like doing) to investigate the problems with the anchor light and wind instrument transducer.

The news that the bearings are badly worn on the wind instrument was not unexpected, but means more expense and replacement. Whilst typically, the model we have is no longer made, the replacement should plug straight in, and require only calibration after fitting. Apparently, you can replace the bearings with very inexpensive parts from RS Components, but as the units weren't designed for this it would require careful surgery with a Stanley knife and Araldite to make good. In case this doesn't work too well we decided this will probably be best done over the winter to keep as a spare, so have opted to order a replacement for now. The problem with the anchor light still hasn't been resolved as there was a bit of a misunderstanding by the chap (Pierre) who went up the mast with the new LED bulb - he thought we wanted him to put it in the tricolour, which he duly did, but of course by the time we realised that, he'd come back down the mast with the old tricolour bulb! We're hoping it is only the LED at fault and not a connection somewhere else, and Pierre can swap the bulbs next time he's aloft.

We spent a lovely couple of days at anchor in the lagoon here, exploring around in the dinghy, but came back into the marina on Thursday morning before the strong winds started. Although we were quite securely anchored, the mud is very soft and 'liquid' and we've heard many reports of yachts dragging. There are many yachts in the lagoon, some anchored and many on buoys of unknown security. We were still waiting for the part to repair the anchor windlass and thus still having to lower and raise the anchor by hand. The prospect of us dragging or another boat dragging towards us and having to re-anchor manually in up to 30 knots of wind at 0300 with the associated risk of damage to the boat or injury to one of us, or having to start the engine and move in a hurry whilst Andy had the battery master switch off (this would cause alternator damage) whilst repairing the windlass fault, did not appeal. So we opted for the expensive part of valour and came back into the marina. The good news is, it's now September so the rates are a bit lower. The bad news is that IVA (VAT) rose from 18% to 21% on September 1st...

On the positive side, if we have to be 'stuck' somewhere, this is probably one of the nicest places to be. As soon as we arrived in Addaya, we both really liked it. Whilst it is a holiday destination, it is small and low-key. Tucked in past a rock-strewn, dog-leg entrance and behind a little island the natural setting of the marina and port reminds us of La Roche-Bernard... Except warmer... And with Spanish-style apartments and villas... The staff in the office and the marineros are all very friendly and extremely helpful.

Puerto Addaya.

The natural setting in Addaya, not to mention the ducks that remind us of La Roche-Bernard.

There is just one bar/restaurant (La Cantina) in the marina at which we treated ourselves to a pleasant tapas lunch when we first arrived. The 'village' up the hill consists of just three other restaurants, a gift/tourist shop and a single supermarket. The supermarket is small, but it does sell a small selection of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables in addition to the basics (i.e. beer & wine), so whilst culinary choice will be limited, we certainly won't starve. The owners of La Cantina obviously have a good sense of humour, as you'll see from the photos below showing the signs explaining how visiting drivers should get into the car park to frequent their premises:

Sign #1 for the average driver.

Sign #2 for the unobservant...

There has been another bonus in being weather-bound in Addaya. We've finally had a chance to meet John & Maggie from Lazy Pelican. We originally contacted them via the virtual world of the internet when we both had articles published in the same issue of the Bavaria Owners' Association magazine. Their plans were/are similar to ours - to sail away from the UK to the warmer climate of the Mediterranean. They were initially a year ahead of us, but we have now caught them up. They are also heading from here to Sardinia and possibly onwards to Sicily, weather and cruising time permitting. Really nice people (and I say that not just because Maggie drove us to a big supermarket in Mahón for a stock-up as they had a hire car for a couple of days before Lazy Pelican was re-launched!) with whom we will undoubtedly cross paths (I should say sailing courses) as we make our way towards Sardinia, Sicily, and next year, the Ionian.

Whilst here, we have had a chance to see the Sublift in action. It is an ingenious piece of machinery, sort of similar to a travel lift except that the whole vehicle, engine an' all, submerges as it travels down a slipway. For the non-nerds who won't find this as fascinating as we do, scroll past the next few photos!

Sublift going down the slipway.

Engine and hydraulic pump now underwater and yacht being manoeuvred into position - easier with this particular yacht as it has a lifting keel!

Yacht now in position, strops being lifted via the remote control.

And now safely out of the water - looks more stable than a travel lift.

The good news is that the anchor windlass is now working again! Andy spent hours a week ago on Saturday removing the old windlass control box from behind the switch panel and fitted the replacement. If you think getting the anchor up manually is hard work, then try fitting a new control box! Access is severely limited even when contorted at un-natural angles, with no room to get tools in:

The new control box is not only physically larger, but the three high current terminals as well as the low current ones are in different positions than on the old model. Andy thought that this would be a major stumbling block as there was virtually no slack in the existing wiring. As the power drill would not reach in, he also thought that it would be impossible to drill new mounting holes. Both these obstacles were overcome more easily than he expected. However, once fitted, the windlass still did not work! He had already tested both the old and the new control boxes by powering them off a separate 12v supply - the solenoids on the new one clicked away happily and the old ones did not, so although he had opened the old one and had seen no obvious wear or corrosion, it seemed that, as previous investigations suggested, this had been the culprit. So the next day (last Sunday), it was part-way back to the drawing board. Discovering there was +12v going out from the control box to the remote control but only +10v coming back when the up & down buttons were pressed, he realised that there must be a bad or broken cable/joint. The most likely place was near the windlass itself, so Andy struggled to remove the panel in the forecabin. This did indeed reveal a joint in the cable - a horrible mess mummified in insulation tape. Unwinding this exposed 'car part' butt connectors and it was clear that the +12v wire had a break in it where it had been bent sharply. Andy fashioned a temporary repair as we didn't have any 3 core cable. Over the winter we plan to take the whole anchor windlass off to check the salt corrosion which gathers around the base (a common problem and due mainly to the rubber mounting pad) and possibly replace the brushes and change the oil. At the same time Andy wants to make a proper job of the wiring repair. We can only surmise that although the windlass was specified from new, it was wired not at the factory, but by the commissioning agent as it was an awful botch and not like any of the other wiring we know to have been done by Bavaria.

Having moved back out to anchor on Tuesday, we were able to row in and get some photos of Lazy Pelican's re-launch with the Sublift on Wednesday:

John and Maggie joined us for drinks aboard Pipit and we enjoyed a leisurely evening chatting. If we'd had our wind instrument fitted, we would have taken the weather window (albeit a motor-sailing one) they did on Friday for a successful crossing to Sardinia. Alas we've had to entertain ourselves with simple pleasures:

We've seen leaping fish before, notably on the Vilaine, but nothing on the scale of the anchorage here - at dusk the fish seem to go berserk, leaping high (often to deck level) and far - seven is the current record for successive leaps, but alas none has so far accidentally landed in the dinghy - surely it's only a matter of time...

We moved back into the marina yesterday, ready for Pierre to go back up the mast this morning. We now have a new wind transducer (seems ok after spinning in circles a couple of times to linearise and then re-calibrate), but still no anchor light - there must be another bad connection somewhere twixt control panel and mast top - more investigation required, though my guess would be that it's at the top of the mast...

So, onto our plans for over-wintering. We would like to reach Sicily for the winter and have been gathering information on two relatively new marinas in the south, one at Marina di Ragusa and the other at Licata. Both are offering excellent deals and on paper, have the facilities we need. Marina di Ragusa has been a popular choice for liveaboards in previous years and seems to have quite a number booked in for this winter, but it seems the town and shopping is slightly further away than in Licata and requires a bus journey. We've been lucky to glean lots of information from other members of the Cruising Association and also via the grapevine from fellow Lagos over-wintering friends. We still aren't sure which we'll choose, but as both are within a day sail of one another (or easy hire car drive) and both advise that they have plenty of space, even if we don't pre-book, we'll wait until we visit them ourselves. We've done this the last two winters and have been completely happy with our choices. Having said all that, we have quite a few miles to go in order to reach Sicily, including two long overnight passages, so it really will depend on weather. Sitting here in Addaya when the wind was blowing incessantly and angry looking or dark rain filled clouds filled the sky, not to mention the big breaking seas running (for six successive days) it's been hard to imagine getting across to Sardinia, let alone around its coast and across to Sicily, but as we know, weather is a fickle thing and hopefully this is not Autumn arriving early. It is still hot during the day, particularly out of the wind, but when the strong winds were blowing we were eating dinner below at night, not something we have done for months!

There is another big blow due to arrive on Wednesday, but hopefully we'll be able to get away a day or two after that when the seas have calmed down a bit.

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