All through the night I'd been lying on my side with my knees tucked up, drifting in and out of sleep as the torrential rain alternated between a herd of mice and a herd of elephants dancing around on the deck of A B Sea. I felt snug and warm and the mice and elephants doing their dance was actually quite soothing.
It was the first proper rain that we'd experienced since last winter in Greece and it now signified the beginning of a new winter in Turkey. As I lay there dozing, my mellow was abruptly twisted back to wide awake reality as our bilge pump burst into life with its usual loud roar, which sounds like a jet plane trying to take off.
Shit! Water in the bilge! There's a little hiccup with our bilge pump float switch which means that once it's on, it won't switch off, even when all of the water has been pumped out. I threw off the bed covers and began the process of removing the seat cushions from the bench seat at the saloon table, taking the large first aid kit and bulk-buy washing up liquid out from under the seat and opening up the bilge inspection hatch. Greeted with the same sight as usual, just a miniscule amount of water in the bilge sump and the pump still roaring away ready for takeoff on runway three. I dug the cooking tongs out of the galley drawer and plunged them down to the bottom of the bilge to pick up the float switch and then unceremoniously let it drop back down. Instantly the roaring stopped. The first few times this happened there was a panicked rush by Aannsha and I to see how much water was rushing into the bilge, now 3 years on, there's just a rolling of our eyes and a methodical replay of the above each time it happens. Obviously we have a leak somewhere when we get torrential rain, another thing to add to the list. I guess we can also add to the list, figuring out how to make the float switch turn off once all of the water has been pumped out of the sump.
Problem sorted, silence re-established (except for the rain) and we headed back to bed. As I got back into bed I stretched out fully and my feet encountered a big wet patch at the foot of the bed. Bugger! Too tired to bother about it, I returned to lying on my side with my knees tucked up where I could no longer feel the wetness. I'd deal with that in the morning.
Where's the leak?
The following morning the clouds and rain had disappeared to the west leaving a sunny, pleasant and for winter, quite a warm day. Time to find the leak.
My time in bed had been spent figuring out where the rain water was getting in and I concluded that it had to be the starboard helm position. My prime suspect was the autopilot control head instrument.
As I was clearing out the cockpit locker to get access to the rear of the helm panel, Aannsha suggested that she pour some water over the top of the instruments while I watched from underneath to see where it was coming in. A good plan.
Sure enough the instant she poured the water it started dripping madly from the autopilot instrument. Suspect confirmed, it was a simple job of removing the autopilot instrument, cleaning off the old Sikaflex, apply copious amounts of fresh Sikaflex and re-bedding the instrument. The next day after the Sikaflex had cured I removed the excess and that was one job ticked off the list.
Aannsha's phone rang. The display showed a Turkish number. It was the marina office. A large package had arrived for us. I went to pick it up.
Back at A B Sea we unwrapped it and were happy to see that it was the electric powered oil filled radiator that we'd ordered online a couple of weeks ago.
The previous winter in Greece our friend Nikos had lent us his oil filled radiator and it kept us super warm. He said we could keep it as he had no use for it but unfortunately its large size meant we had nowhere to store it onboard.
This new one that we'd bought was exactly the same in function but it was the mini-me version which we'll be able to store in the forward sail locker quite easily when it's not in use.
Winterising the dinghy
When we're sailing our dinghy lives up on the davits at the rear of the boat. When we're at anchor she sits alongside on the port side. When we're tied to the marina pontoon she can do neither. So our poor dinghy had been tied up next to Kev's boat on the pontoon nearest the marina wall since we'd arrived at Kaş marina. Every time we walked passed we noticed more and more growth appearing below the waterline. She needed to come out of the water.
With Kev's help we removed the 40 kilo (88lb) outboard off the dinghy transom and lay it on its side on the pontoon. Then we used Kev's jet washer to power clean all the marine growth off it. It's a fair hike from Kev's berth to where A B Sea is berthed, so we trundled the outboard down to our end of the pontoon on a marina supplied trolley.
Then with much huffing and puffing and several safety lines we got the outboard across the wide gap between the pontoon and the pushpit rail of A B Sea where the outboard normally lives and secured her tightly. I wish we'd filmed it because it was a heck of a feat I can tell you.
Back to the dinghy at the other end of the pontoon, Kev and I hauled her out onto the pontoon, bum up ready for more jet washing. I always knew our dinghy was big, but it wasn't until I saw her impersonating an upside down turtle on the pontoon that I truly realised just how big she is, especially compared to the dinghies of other yachts on the pontoon.
The jest washing and scrubbing with kitchen scouring pads took some time but eventually she was looking clean and spiffy. She was also trundled down the pontoon on the marina trolley and when we found a gap between two berthed yachts we put her in the water so that I could row her to the port bow of A B Sea. Kev took the bow line, I scrambled up and over the life lines and we attached the spare halyard line to the front of the dinghy.
With Aannsha filming, Kev guiding the dinghy and me hauling away at the cockpit winch, we managed to get the dinghy up over the lifelines and top down onto the foredeck, where we lashed her down tightly. She'll spend the winter there.
Stay safe wherever you are and whatever you're doing and I'll bring you more tales from Sailing A B Sea next week.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.