I’m being eaten by annoying biting flies as I write this, in a beautiful anchorage near Bodrum on the Turkish coast, called Kissebükü Koyu. The weather is hot and I’m thankful that we can jump into the refreshing azure blue sea any time we need to cool down. I’m so captivated by life on board at the moment (except for the flies) that I’m finding it hard to stretch my mind back about seven weeks to our final leg of the mad dash back to Kaş.
Mad dash back to Kaş - final leg
We’d had three days’ notice that there would be a full lockdown for the period of Ramadan and we wanted to be nice and secure back in our home marina at Kaş. It wasn’t just the fact that we’d already paid for the 12 month contract and would be able to have hot showers and toilet facilities whenever we wanted, along with an on-site supermarket. It was also because if, as rumours had it, the lockdown was extended for longer than the three weeks, we were in a safe place and wouldn’t have to worry about provisioning, pumping out black water or being in a difficult position should we get caught in a storm at an anchorage.
A couple of hitches
The last leg of the journey took the expected thirteen hours and was pretty uneventful except for a couple of things.
The first issue was the mainsail. When we went to unfurl it, it got jammed part way out as some of the sail got creased, bunched up on itself and got stuck in the slot where the sail comes out. Unfortunately the creases went all the way up to the first spreaders so Baz couldn’t access them to sort out the problem. Fortunately there wasn’t too much sail out, so we continued without a problem and with the headsail out when the wind was strong enough.
The second hitch happened while we were transiting Greek waters, when the engine suddenly lost power. It felt as if we’d hit something, or possibly got something caught around the prop. Baz checked the engine and it was okay. He turned the key to start the engine again and it started. Strange.
We carried on without incident, although it was in the back of my mind that if we got caught by the Greek coast guard without a working engine we’d be in trouble. They are well known to ‘impound’ vessels that have engine issues and then you basically don’t have freedom to sail again unless your boat is checked by an ‘authorised’ survey engineer. Which of course isn’t cheap. And neither is the paperwork.
I prayed to the wind gods to keep the headsail full of wind until we were out of Greek waters, in case we had another stoppage. But I had nothing to worry about as wind and iron sail saw us safely back to Kaş.
We found the culprit
In the large channel leading up to Kaş marina, we stopped and brought the dinghy down off the davits so that we could get off the back of the boat once we were tied stern to on our pontoon.
When Baz was bringing the dinghy closer to the stern of the boat, ready to tie it alongside, he noticed something wrapped around the rudder. I got him the boat hook and he fished out a nylon hessian-type bag that had wrapped itself around the rudder. We reckon that it had first hit the prop, stopped the prop and then when the prop had folded closed, the bag had slipped off and tangled itself on the rudder.
Helpful marinero and neighbour
On arrival at Kaş marina, the helpful marinero welcomed us home and expertly tied the slime line to the bow cleat then assisted us going stern to. Our friend Jens who lives on the boat in the berth next to us came out and gave us a helping hand getting A B Sea tied to the pontoon.
We must have looked as tired as we felt because the marinero asked us where we’d come from. When we said we’d had a 13 hour passage from Bozukkale, he looked quite impressed!
We did a little debrief to the camera and welcomed our new patrons Debussy and Marco Kleiner on board. Then we put the boat to bed and cracked open a well-deserved cold beer.
Fixing the mainsail issue
Good friend Mike came over a couple of days later and helped hoist Baz up the mast high enough so that Baz could free the sail from the mast groove. Baz used a combination of his fingers and, further up the mast, the handle of our kitchen egg slice (egg flip). If you haven’t got one already, an egg slice or *spatula spoon is an essential piece of kit if you have a furling mainsail. Just make sure the edges are smooth and ends are rounded so you don’t damage your sail.
Jens added to the morning’s work with a good joke about Baz looking like a baby in a big nappy when he was sitting in the bosun’s chair!
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It didn’t take long before the job was done and Baz was troubleshooting why the problem had happened.
How did it happen?
We traced it back to the day when we had to anchor at Yalikavak with the mainsail out after the outhaul had got jammed one of the blocks which had become misshapen. It was one of the boats original blocks so wear and tear had probably just taken its toll. Once anchored we’d tried to get the mainsail under control by dropping it, forgetting that you can’t drop an in-mast furling mainsail unless it is completely unfurled. When we’d fixed the block situation, we furled the sail away but hadn’t realised that it must have dropped enough, that the sail had gone away baggy and that was when it had creased.
At least we know what to do now if that problem happens again. It’s fairly simple and providing the boat isn’t rolling crazily from side to side, one of us should be able to be hoisted high enough to fix the issue.
Until next week, I wish you health, wealth and courage, as you take the actions to bring your dreams to life.
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