Barry's Blog #143 - Lulled into a false sense of security

If you've been keeping up with our blogs and YouTube videos then you'll be aware of how stressed we've been during the past few months with getting A B Sea put back together and made seaworthy.

After we splashed and didn't leak below the waterline that was a welcome relief. We were still concerned about the engine performance and I knew that I'd be babysitting it for at least a week. But we had high confidence that everything would be okay.

When we were a few days into our passage back east towards Turkey I could feel the stress, tension and worry slowly being lifted from me as each nautical mile slipped under the hull without issue.

But then on day 6, as we dropped our anchor in another beautiful Greek bay, Aannsha, who had jumped into the water to visually check that our anchor was set, spat the end of the snorkel out of her mouth and said "The prop shaft anode is not there." Bugger.

Heading east

As usual I'm getting ahead of myself and I'll come back to the missing anode later in this blog.

The morning of day 4 back in the water we raised the anchor at 07:30 hrs and as there was no wind began motoring in a generally easterly direction out of the northern part of the Evia channel towards our destination which was the Greek island of Skiathos.

The 7 hour trip was uneventful and like an overly concerned parent I went below every hour or so to listen for unusual noises and to visually inspect the various parts of the engine we'd worked on, check that the bilge was free of water or oil and keep tabs on the engine coolant levels. Each inspection increased our confidence level as there were no problems to be seen.

The early start also allowed me the opportunity to gauge roughly what time our solar panels became effective at supplying enough power to counteract what our onboard systems were drawing from the batteries and at what time of the morning the solar panels actually began recharging our house batteries.

The solar panels only recharge the 3 house batteries. The alternator on the engine recharges the house batteries, the starter battery and the bow thruster battery. Looking at the numbers on the electrical panel at the nav station I had a niggling thought in my head that there was an issue with either the alternator or the connection to the batteries, as they didn't seem to be charging correctly. This is an issue I'll discuss in detail in a later blog.

Anchoring

Over our time spent on A B Sea Aannsha and I have managed to get our anchoring technique pretty good. Before we leave wherever we are, we sit down and via a combination of Google Earth, Rod Heikell's pilot guide and Navily we scope out our preferred anchorage plus a plan B and C anchorage options if our plan A doesn't pan out.

Once we're on our way and 'Ray' the autopilot is handling the steering we find our three anchorage choices on the chart plotter and mark each one with a way point, so there's no confusion when we reach our destination.

Arriving at Skiathos we were pleased to see that there was plenty of room at anchorage A and that the bottom was a mix of sand and weed patches.

With Aannsha at the bow and everything ready to go, I slowly crept A B Sea into a depth area of around 5 metres (16 feet) and over sand and instructed Aannsha to "Drop it." Following RYA guidelines we never put out less that 4 : 1 scope and if there's enough swinging room between us and other anchored vessels we'll happily scope out to 7 :1. That way we get a good night's sleep even if the wind does pick up. Anchor chain is of no use to you sitting inside the locker.

Once the anchor was on the seabed I began motoring A B Sea very slowly backwards laying the chain on the seabed as straight as possible. Meanwhile Aannsha payed out more chain and told me visually and audibly when 10, 20 and 30 metres of chain were out.