Wednesday, 20 June 2018

First stop: Bastia

We finally cast off from our winter haven of Taverna, Corsica after more than a week of preparations: wash, wax, polish, gelcoat touch-ups, bottom paint, water tanks cleaned (or so we thought), motor maintenance, life raft revision, and sails on.

We enjoyed Taverna as a winter spot and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap, safe, friendly, and professional place to leave a boat. Their reputation has been spreading rapidly, though, and you need to book early if you want to leave your boat on the hard over winter. As of May, they were already fully booked for this coming winter.

We had a lovely 25-mile sail up the coast to Bastia in preparation for a jump to the Italian island of Elba, where, we were told, we would find one of the best shipyards in the Med for a growing list of repairs. We could have gone directly to Elba but we wanted a small first sail and we really love shabby chic Bastia.

We are currently in Elba and I finally have time to write a first blog post because of all the maintenance jobs we have to do (which often involve long periods of waiting, but not long enough that you can go do some tourism). I’ve been posting frequent updates on the fix-it jobs on our facebook page (sailingmareda). For those of you just tuning in, we have battles on several fronts:

Black slime in the water tanks developed after 1 week, but a good dose of chlorox seems to have done the trick. I think the slime booger was probably from growth in one of the lines rather than the tank itself. We learned that you have to be very careful about water quality in the Med. On most docks, the water faucets are labeled potable or non-potable. We didn’t know we had to verify this each time. We do now.

Eeeuuuuuwwwww !
Our B and G chartplotter’s touchscreen is dead. The computer works fine and most of the functions can be accessed with buttons, but we can no longer place a waypoint or get cap and bearing. The electrician came yesterday and informed us that the Zeus 2 system doesn’t exist anymore and we would have to buy a Zeus 3 for 1500 Euros. Since we have so many other backup systems (MaxSea on 2 computers and an Ipad, OpenCPN on 2 computers) we’ve decided to just live with it. The Navionics on the B and G gives excellent detail on ports and anchorages that we still can access once we arrive in the area (the system screen still follows the boat, so at least we can “see” what’s around us).

Outboard motor maintenance done. (We pay someone else to do this because changing the water turbine can be a nightmare).

Change spinlock cam – big big nightmare. We are having to drill out the screws that seem to be glued into the backing plate. Patrick just finished digging out the head of the last one (took 2 days and 3 trips to the hardware store for Cobalt drill bits), and now the fun begins: we have to try to get the spinlock double-block up and out of its position, but it is, of course, glued into the gelcoat. Once it’s removed, I can change the cam while he digs around to try to figure out where the rest of the screws went and if we have to re-thread the backing plate for the new screws. We may need some professional help with that one, but it is the busy season and we may have to wait our turn.

But wait !! While I was busy leaving him alone, Patrick managed to get the spinlock block off ! The glue wasn’t as thick as we imagined. Woo Hoo ! Now to change the ailing cam and figure out if we need to rethread the screw holes.

In the meantime, enjoy the photos of Bastia.

Polyphonic Corsican Singing

A visit to the hardware store.