It has been a few months that we have problems with the starboard propeller. It does not forward traction... and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to maneuver the boat. After receiving the advice of Daniel (Ocean Respect), contacted MaxProp – the manufacturer of the helix, and extensive research on the Internet, It is highly unlikely that the saildrive (reversing clutch located between the engine and the propeller) is in question. The Yanmar saildrives have the reputation of being fragile and poorly designed. To feel safe with two operational engines we need to repair before continuing our journey towards the South. We make a stop in Olbia (North East Sardinia) which is a major port and where we should find a Yanmar dealer ...
Thursday 5 November: Olbia
Olbia is indeed a large port with many yards and marinas. We go to the bottom of the port for us Moor at the free public dock. First day travelling across industrial and port areas to find someone that little help - all in Italian! Finally we find a site that can take out our boat out of the water in order to make a diagnosis of the failure, bring the parts to replace and repair... the output water is scheduled for five days. Big expense in perspective!!!
That leaves plenty of time to do further research on the Internet ... Miracle we find an article about exactly the problem we have ... and explains step by step procedure to repair, with many diagrams and photos... all without having to get the boat out of the water and replace parts. Banco! we cancel the appointment with the site, get out the tools and early start disassembly. An hour and a half later the offending piece (the cones inverter) is in the backpack and walks from one end of town to the other to find a mechanic able to dismantle - especially not a shipyard including the only advice would be to replace the part. But no one wants to understand what I'm looking for, and we always sends me a little further... to get rid of me. A few hours later a craftsman automotive mechanic includes more or less what I want and is willing to give it a shot. In five minutes the clutch is taken apart and the gears, bearings and other rings are aligned carefully on his bench. A light tap of dough to break in on the clutch cones, a good cleaning healed... and the clutch is nine come. I have to insist to pay time of the mechanic who seemed happy to have been able to help me. An hour later all got back in the boat... and the tests are conclusive and we saved a few thousand euros!
Some round trips to the supermarket and we are ready to return to sea
Sunday 15 November: en route to Naples
This time it bites, Cane folds and unfolds the wire spool with its rattle noise... We have water in the mouth... we can already imagine the tuna prepared as sashimi in our plates. The fight is hard! but "Tuna", although weighing a ton, seems lethargic. More that a few efforts... and Philippe back aboard a superb piece of wood... what a disappointment!!!! Tonight we will eat "pasta".
A light breeze rises. It is with a lot of hope that we set the sails... but very quickly the flat calm returned with the Sun going down on a sea of oil. We slip on gold liquid – what a beautiful show.
As the wind does not rise at night we decided to stop on the archipelago of Pontine about sixty miles from Naples.
Monday 16 November: Rocher Evengelista
A strong gust of wind from the West is announced and let's take refuge us in the port of Ponza. We are the only pleasure boat and take our time to choose the location where we will be best protected from the westerly winds.
In the night, Frank on his sailboat "Ange de Mer" came also to shelter in the port. Sailing in Greece since 4 years with scientists and research missions of the wrecks. It is a pleasure to receive on board and listen to him tell the Greece. This gives us even more want to go.
Until the storm comes we walk through the streets of Ponza
the cemetery on a rocky escarpment and surrounding hills.
Saturday 21 November:
The weather was not deceived, the wind begins to rise late in the day. We put on electronics and Philippe active the anchor alarm in case the anchor déraperait. Gusts of wind descend from the mountains and reach in seconds 45 to 50 Nodes. When the wind picks the string stretches up and these are the Crow's feet ( rope that connects the anchor chain to the two front points of the boat) that cushion the brutal kicking. Let's have dinner quickly and Philippe controls us regularly on the map the displacement of the boat and the force of the wind. Tao made of big lurches across the Bay, but the anchor does not move. It is late and sleep of a sleeper in the square. At night, Philippe hears a "KLAK" forward boat. A good we get up, Philippe puts in motion by safety engines, I light the fire bridge, Philippe puts on wax sound and lifejacket to see what is happening on the bridge. It is one of Crow's feet which broke at the node level. The other is still holding, but for how long? the wind is getting stronger and the swell enters the Bay. Fortunately the anchor is always hanging in the sand, we have not moved an inch ...
Philippe does what it takes to secure all. It is 4 o'clock in the morning the wind calms down , we can get some sleep.
Sunday 22 November:
Ponza stay or take advantage of these low wind 48 to reach the next shelter?
The day passes and Philippe took the opportunity to make a new Crow's feet - this time with splices rather than nodes. It connects the new AIS transponder. A ride down to the Coast Guard Office so that they check on their screen our AIS signal issues well. Everything is ok.
As night falls, we raise the anchor around 18: 00 direction the Straits of Messina and Sicily. Have a transmitter and AIS receiver is reassuring especially in corners as Messina where cargo ships are many.
The wind is not waiting for you and we are the engine. Around 3am we spend on purpose at the foot of Stromboli to see reddish lava lava. No luck big clouds completely obstruct the mountain.
Tuesday 24 November:
We had not planned to do the same engine and the fuel gauges indicate that we have 30 litres in each tank. Well enough to reach the port of Naxos 15 miles more to the South... Finally if the gauges are good!