What key items made it to this years prep list?
Water quality tester
Works list at Cleopatra (including inclining injectors and resolving the starter motor issue)
Varnish cabin sole boards
Treat teak decks with borocol
This is by no means the full selection but the fun is in the discussion, thought process and final outcome.
Why a portable generator?
After a great deal of research and thought about where to place the washing machine which we installed last year, the next challenge was to work out how to run it whilst not attached to shore power, trying to determine the real facts of the wattage for the machine and figure out what it would need in terms of generator power. It’s a lengthy tale which ran from the challenge of speaking to the Czech manufacturer, posting a question on the Cruising Association forum (which is like a Pandoras box with some very useful suggestions and a sub text of people making snide comments about each others suggestions) and eventually managing to run a test using the targeted Honda 2000i in situ which was generously offered by a CA member who was also at Cleopatra and ended up discovering that the generator wouldn’t do the job. Secretly it was a relief, having been in an anchorage off Sardinia where someone was running their generator for hours which was very obnoxious. We still have the benefit of being able to use the machine when we are in a marina when crew changes typically happen. The secondary benefit would have been to be able to use our coffee machine (those of you who have enjoyed the delights will understand) but it’s a pretty pricey solution for a decent cup of coffee!!
Take care when ordering electrical goods for the boat: one small change in a order makes a huge difference in the functionality. Modern AC equipment requires pure sign wave power so don't buy the option with a LED type controller, instead go for less complex manual control version.
Consider an alternative: upgrade the inverter so it will run washing machine and coffee machine!
Water Quality Tester
The water maker, also installed last season, was the best thing ever, but we were nervous of the success of the pickling process, hoping if we had wintered the machine properly and effectively. We were confident in the quality of the water it produced but wanted verification. Thanks to our Norwegian friend Per Ole, we zoned in on the tester we wanted. After a couple of days of the boat being lauched we were able to concentrate on un-pickling and testing. Delighted to say for the small investment of around £30 our water quality is that of mountain spring and we don’t have to rely on shoreside water supplies, which often don't exist in Greece. Our next investment is a new design of emergency reverse osmosis desalinator, the ORKA, using cutting edge technology and offering a back up water supply and battery charging. Designed by Georgina Skinner.
To Go or not to Go. Ah the lengthy debate, extensive research, review, discuss, review, discuss. This piece of kit is being considered whilst we are still in the Med so we can practice using it, get up to date weather and feel comfortable with all aspects. The decision was not to Go, firstly roaming charges in Europe have been removed and from mid June the data package we have will enable us to get weather easily, we are only in Greece for the season and local SIM cards are an option too. It’s on the cards for next year, the Captain who was so convinced we needed it now has a possible other idea.
Works list at Cleopatra
Periodically throughout the winter I have exchanged emails with the technical department at Cleopatra. As we know ensuring work is completely in a timely fashion from a long distance is always a little worrisome but the emails of assurance from the yard seemed ok. Once on the ground the Captain had at least three visits to the office to get the mechanics to come and show exactly what had been done. Start motor problem resolved with old wiring removed but the work on the engine bearers was by no means complete. It’s very frustrating
Varnish cabin sole boards
Leroy Merlin sell the best varnish called V33, highly recommended by our friend Jorge Rainha from Lisbon and used very successfully on Onegin in 2016. Would we have enough on board? Which type had we used? (record keeping is essential with boat works and despite the excellent list making some things fall through the cracks) . With the Captain at the boat early and me still in Lisbon the WhatsApp traffic was constant, and making sure we had supplies enough. Picking the time to do the sole boards was the next challenge. The guy was finishing the work on the engine bearers, the wind was whipping up a sand storm, I was due to arrive. What a treat to have super bright work. Well done Captain!
Treat teak decks with Borocol
Our friend Jorge also gave us a great tip to keeping our decks in tip top shape. hose down decks with fresh water and apply with even brush strokes the liquid borocol. Allow to dry. Over a period of approximately two weeks the decks will take on a new sharper look. We had been able to purchase a huge container of this from Spain when the boat was in Lisbon so thought we’d have no troubles only to find at the end of last season the 10 litre container had been squashed in the gas locker, the lid had cracked and contents had spilled out leaving us with nothing. Jorge to the rescue! he left us two 1.5 litres bottles to be packed in carry on luggage. The Captain was able to undertake this job once we had left Cleopatra and washed off the orange sand dust that seemed to creep into every part of the boat. Alongside another boat in Port Mandraki, Corfu the morning of boat cleaning was complimented by our German neighbour who said they used exactly the same treatment.
Travels with Onegin
We left the yard with the Captain’s surveyor friend Hugh. He had arrived with enough time to do the hull survey and spent a week with us doing a week long sea trial! We travelled north to the top of Corfu, intending to circumnavigate but weather conditions on the west side of Corfu are quite different to those in the channel between the mainland and the island. The rich history of the region is fascinating, the influence of the Venetians is huge and of note architecturally. The sea battles were well depicted in the fortress above our safe harbour in Port Mandraki. The extra virgin Olive oil available in Lakka, Paxos was delicious. The freshly caught mackerel purchased from the fishing boat was a delicious feast.
Back to Lefkas to switch crew and have Jamie & Katy Morgan join us, we were ready for the next steps to head south in the Ionian. Fiskardo on Cephalonia, the blue caves and Ship Wreck Bay on Zakinthos, the little, dockside Greek man with honey, lemons, bread and eggs. The big winds fill in at 3pm every day, speed up along on the the trip to Katakolon where we went inland to Olympia.
Every potential Olympian should have to go the home of the Olympics in order to qualify. Over a period of 1100 years some 4900 athletes won medals, approximately 900 of their names have fantastically been found been recorded in stone! The Olympic legend continues now as the flame and the games travel around the world but the birthplace of the games is a treasure to behold. For the Captain, it was an honour to able to return some ashes of the Olympian Bernie to the home of the Olympic flame.
Another week complete and on to Patras for the next crew change. Goodbye Morgans, hello Carrie McDougal. Boat cleaned, laundry done, sails up and permission to pass under the bridge spanning the entry to the Gulf of Corinth. Thunder rumbling in the distance, we shoe horned Onegin into the delightful Mediaeval harbour at Nafpaktos. A treasure of a place, with more Venetian influence. The harbour is a horse shoe shaped with high walls surrounding it, a very secure fortification.