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Barry's Blog #186 - The 13 hour run

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

When we sailed A B Sea back to Turkey in July 2020 after our unexpectedly extended stay in Greece we had thought long and hard about our medium to long term plans, where we were headed and in what sort of time frame. Eventually we decided that it would be best for us to spend quite a while in Turkey.

Around the world, countries borders were opening and closing seemingly without rhyme or reason, new rules and regulations were being announced daily and of course thrown into that mix was the now new to us, post brexit rule, of only being allowed to stay in an EU/schengen country for 90 days in every 180 days.

We knew that we could apply for 12 months temporary Turkish residency, then wait to see how things unfolded on the travel restrictions/closed borders situation and finally make a better informed decision about our long term travel plans. In order to qualify for temporary residency one of the things we needed was either a 12 month rental agreement for an apartment or a 12 month marina contract. The marina contract was the obvious choice.

Full lockdown

Fast forward to April 2021 and while we were out sailing and exploring the mid west cost of Turkey we received 3 days advance notice that Turkey was going into a nationwide full lockdown. No movement at all, especially between cities and towns and across provincial borders. After weighing up our options we decided that it would be best for us to spend that lockdown time safely tucked up in a marina. That's why we made our mad dash back to Kaş.

Cast your minds back to video #143 and blog #153 where we discussed the pros and cons of marina life versus anchor life and it was quite obvious that I was definitely in the pro anchor camp. As we entered our third and final day of our dash to Kaş I reluctantly and quietly scratched up another pro for marinas. A safe place to wait out lockdowns.

13 hours to home

For our final day we were up at 05:00 hours and prepping the boat. The previous day we'd tied up side-to at the Lorymar restaurant jetty in Bozukkale bay in strong winds.

The following morning the wind was still gusting strongly and blowing us onto the jetty so slipping our lines from there had to be timed just right. Luckily we timed everything perfectly during a brief lull in the wind, unfortunately we'd been waiting so long for that lull that we'd forgotten to switch on the cameras.

We left at 06:00 hours and expected to be tying up in Kaş marina by 19:00 hours. With the strong winds still blowing at Bozukkale we were hopeful that we'd be able to get both sails out and not need the engine on our long trip. The wind had other plans.

It seems the gusty wind at Bozukkale was just localised and when we got out into open water the wind became fickle and changed direction every 15 minutes. We attempted to unfurl the main sail anyway to catch whatever wind there was, but since our incident with the broken furling line block at Yalikavak three days previously the sail had developed a crease and became stuck with just half a metre sticking out from the mast. We sighed and shrugged. The sail wasn't out enough to cause concern or affect the boat in any way so it was put onto the 'to do' list once we were back in Kaş.

We did manage to fully unfurl the head sail and when the wind did decide to blow that gave us an extra knot of speed over ground. When you're on a 13 hour run every little extra bit of speed helps.

Things were going quite well, but just as we were rounding the north eastern tip of the Greek island of Rhodes the engine suddenly lost all power. Aannsha and I glanced at each other with shocked eyes. We were inside Greek territorial waters and if you develop engine problems there you must be towed ashore, hauled out, the problem fixed and then get a full boat survey before you can go back into the water to continue your journey. A very expensive proposition.

I put the throttle into neutral and went below to visually inspect the engine. Nothing was out of place and she sounded as she normally did in neutral. Going back on deck I switched the engine off, waited a couple of minutes and switched it back on. It fired up and sounded normal, so I put it into forward gear and away we went as if nothing had happened. Another shrug between Aannsha and I and we concluded that our prop may have hit something unseen in the water.

Leaving the coast of Rhodes behind us we finally got some good wind out of the south and achieved a max speed of 8 knots. We were just 2 hours from Kaş when we lost the wind completely so we put the head sail away and motored the last little bit through glassy calm water as the sun began dipping towards the horizon behind us.

What hit the prop?

We tie up stern to at our berth in Kaş marina so we made a quick stop in the middle of the channel into the marina bay and dropped our dinghy from the davits and tied her on A B Sea's port side. While I was un hitching the dinghy I noticed a section of nylon woven sack wrapped around our rudder. I fished it out with a boat hook and we both agreed that it was probably the culprit which caused the odd issue previously off the coast of Rhodes. Mystery solved.

Assisted by the marinero and our neighbour Jens we were finally secured in our marina berth, 13 hours and 10 minutes after we departed Bozukkale. Time for a hot shower and a cold beer. Then we'd wait out the 3 week lockdown with all of the comforts of marina life and get A B Sea ready for departure as soon as the restrictions were lifted.

Main sail fix

We drafted our mate Mike in to help with the main sail fix. He'd seen this problem before and explained exactly what was needed to fix it. The primary tool turned out to be a sturdy plastic egg slice from the galley.

I strapped myself into a bosun's chair, secured the spare halyard with a bowline and Mike winched me slowly up the mast. As I went up I used a combination of my fingers and the handle of the egg slice to push the creased sail back inside the mast. With the last bit of sail pushed in just below the first spreaders I gave Mike the thumbs up and he slowly unfurled the sail.

With it fully out I was lowered to the deck and then we re-tensioned the main halyard. It only needed moving a small bit further up the mast but that had been sufficient to cause the sail to crease and get stuck.

Lesson learned and now I know that should it ever happen again it's a job that Aannsha and I can easily tackle together. Thanks Mike.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

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