X - Sicily II, Italy.
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IX - Sicily, Italy.
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XI - Sicily, Life in Marina di Ragusa.
Log Entry Saturday 28th September - We arrive at Marina di Ragusa.
We left Porto Palo at 2300 hours and motored to Marina di Ragusa, bypassing the traditional northwesterlies.
The evening passed without incident, at around 0630 hours in front of us the moon began to fall below the horizon, and the run raises it's head to our stern.
We had "hugged" the coastline during the night, the lights, turned to land on this dull grey morning, Marina di Ragusa ahead of us. As we approached we prepared Sailaway, call the marina on the VHF (CH74) and entered as instructed. There appears relatively high activity with the arrival of "winter berthers" we need now to examine the services available with regards to the work to be completed and make our decision, do we stay or, look at Licata?
Log Entry Sunday 27th September - Our saga continues!
We we had it confirmed today that our domestic battery bank is knackered! We woke to find them down to 10.8V, having to run the generator to keep the fridge cool, that is important to us!
We ran the engine to heat the water for a shower, and guess what the engine began over heating within 15 minutes! Needless to say the tools came out and Sailaway was reduced to "workshop status" once again.
The engine cooling water intake belt had destroyed itself, it was only fitted 15 months ago as a regular two yearly replacement of drive belts. Digging further, found a block of plant life in the intake filter, the blockage must have been causing resistance which in time probably burnt the belt out?
We were glad to find something positive as we have a 12 hour overnight motor tonight to Ragusa Marina, there we will have to source new batteries as well as costs for the current known work to be completed.
Log Entry Saturday 26th September - Plant goes from strength to strength.
Plant was sitting in the cockpit this morning, we both remarked on her growth progress, Ann is a little critical of the marks I make on the wall indicating and tracking her growth?
The first picture on the left, May 2013 leaving the UK, the centre January 2015, the right photo taken today, 26th September 2015!
She makes us so proud!
Log Entry Saturday 26th September - Last night, our most colourful sunset ever we believe!
Not much to say really - we quite like it here!
Log Entry Thursday 24th September - We awake in Porto Palo.
Due to the coming westerlies, we dropped our anchor on the west side of the bay behind the west mole/wall. It is a busy place, much busier than we remember 5 years back when we were here last. Still we were only here for one night and other pressing issues on our minds?
Both the east and west shores are lined with boat yards and storage areas, we watch as the yard on the west side launches and recovers two fishing boats. From the yard space available around the large "sledge type lift" it appears to be one out, one in.
It takes them less than an hour to launch one, haul another out and chock up.
They also have a smaller travel lift and a separate area for smaller craft, nonstop today! We consider it as a possible lift out for Sailaway but the yards are a little bare and isolated from the town, we certainly could not spend a winter in there!
Log Entry Wednesday 23rd September - We leave for Porto Palo on the southeast tip of Sicily.
We have been here for 4.5 weeks now, our destination is one of two Marinas on the south coast, Ragusa & Licata for the winter. We have tried obtaining detailed prices of what we require but have found the language an issue, friends of our Ann & Stephen (Wandering Dragon) are already in Ragusa, they have chased the office up on our behalf, apparently "I confused them!" Ann finds that very understandable as we have been together for 25 years and she still does not understand me?
The trip was aimed at being leisurely, no pressure on our rig, or transmission - plenty of time for Ann to bloody, "WhatsApp!"
With an average speed of just over 3 knots, we eventually rounded the cape, the first of many fishing boats follow us in to Porto Palo. We will be here a couple of days we have strong westerlies and thunder forecast over the short term.
Log Entry Sunday 20th September - More rain and electric storms.
The weather is clearly breaking, we have a couple of good days, then bad. The forecasts are becoming far less accurate, this today and this evening not even forecast by the local services.
We are waiting to leave now, Sailaway's hull is clean and we have a plan, we will wait for this lot to clear.
Log Entry Saturday 19th September - The arrival of pure luxury, super yacht "Quantum Blue".
As we sat in the cockpit drinking our morning coffee in came a super yacht, not too unusual but this one large enough to demand the use of the harbour pilot services to enter the harbour and set anchor. One can only imagine what the interior is like but one particular feature really took my interest.
The vessel chose to anchor some distance behind us, as it prepared a platform came out of the bow of the vessel. It was a platform for the guy to stand on and operate the anchor with full visibility - Ann wants one! This is the first time I have seen this feature, consideration in design detail to the finest degree, that is wealth. Once the anchor was secure the Pilot Officer regained his chariot from the bathing platform at the stern, similar in size to a tennis court.
The crew then began to launch a second tender from it "garage"!
Motor yacht Quantum Blue was built by Lurssen yachts and delivered to her owner in 2014. Quantum Blue has length of 104 meters (341 ft) and is designed by Tim Heywood Design. Her interior design is by Alberto Pinto Design. At the moment (November 2014) not much information is known about the yacht. But please come back for an update soon. Photos on this page by Frank K.
SuperYachtFan received the information that Russian billionaire Sergey Galitskiy is the owner of the yacht Quantum Blue. Sergey Galitskiy is the founder of the Russian retail chain Magnit. He founded the wholesale company Tander (Russian for Thunder) in 1994. In a few years the company became one of the largest grocery distributors in Russia. Galitskiy also founded Transasia in the same period, Transasia became the exclusive distributor of Procter and Gamble products in certain parts of Russia. As Transasia was not allowed to sell P&G’s competitor products, Galitky founded Magnit. Magnit became one of the largest food retailers in Russia. Magnit has more than 9,000 stores and 230,000 employees. It realized annual sales of USD 12 billion with a net profit of more than USD 1 billion. Magnit became stock listed in 2006, Galitskiy still holds around 40% of the shares. Sergey Galitskiy’s net worth is estimated at USD 10.7 billion.
Log Entry Thursday 17th September - Time to clear off Sailaway's weight, she has been a lazy girl!
We had dragged our anchor again last night, it had reset itself so we had sat tight though the winds and rain and would relocate this morning in the calm. We prefer to be out in the clear some what, not too close to anyone. As I lay awake last night I had heard a sound that could only have been one thing, Ann woke too and I said "We have caught a fish in our dinghy!" I could not raise the effort to investigate at that time but when we had breakfast, I remembered the noise during the night, sure enough we had a fish! By now a little too stiff to eat, but a strange coincidence, back in 2010 when last here we had the same thing happen but by the state of it it had been in our dinghy for a couple of days.
Our first job this morning was to re site Sailaway, away from the two vessel that had become our neighbours during yesterdays blow! We made ready and started the engine, Sailaway would only move at 25% of it speed, and that took some time to get there, she was just too heavy from the growth on her hull. We had run her in gear almost daily but clearly not enough in these waters, three weeks sitting here had taken it's tole? I am so please we had not tried to recover the anchor and re site yesterday, in that blow, with those seas we would have had a major issue moving. We new we had to clean the hull, to ensure we could move properly if the need arose.
We dug out our gear, I was not too surprised, back in 2010 after sitting for five weeks in the marina here while we returned to the UK, we had the same issue but then no air tanks. I dress in the water to avoid the weight stressing my knees, Ann is my "on board buddy!"
She kept an eye on me, she told me the growth coming off was considerable, I knew that as most of the time I was working blind because of it. It helps a great deal if you know in your mind the shape of what is in front of you. Ann's primary role was to be on "jelly fish lookout", they has appeared in the water in numbers in the last week or so, some of them the size of buckets. Ann said they seemed to show curiosity and then be frightened off - they probably heard me cursing down below!
It took three dives to clean her well, the growth, at times being up to 100mm thick, like a carpet. That was after Ann had cleaned her two weeks earlier?
Log Entry Wednesday 16th September - A change of plan for us, time to celebrate or commiserate?
Sailaway is tired, she needs attention in a number of areas, our "jobs to do" list for the winter period was sizable and this year and included a lift out for essential work below the waterline. Our winter destination was a yard in Sardinia, we know the people and the area very well. The yard also allows you to work on the outside of the boat yourself, which is a real plus, all we needed to do was source some local labour to assist us?
We have uncovered a second area of real concern to us, our mast has signs of wear, fortunetly at the moment our rigging looks good. During our crossing over from Greece we found black debris on our deck, either side of our mast, but more so on the starboard side? On the first sighting we thought is to be just airborne dirt and washed it off. A couple of days later it had re-appeared, upon close examination it included black flakes, some form of coating was being broken, looking up the spreaders holding the shrouds gave us a possible issue. As we sat awaiting Peter in Siracuse we had a much closer look. our mast is held up with shrouds, or wires. Holding the wires out from the mast and creating the correct forces to hold our mast up, are spreaders. The spreaders have almost sacrificial aluminium caps of which the shrouds run through, the caps are softer than the shrouds and therefore wear first.
I must confess this is an area I had never considered to be an issue, our mast has not been down since we left England. The shrouds have worn both of the aluminium caps, cutting deep into them and are now cutting into the shrouds themselves. The starboard side far worse than the port, it is impossible to see how much solid aluminium is left before cutting through completely as the body is encased in the shroud fabrication? We consulted with two "experts" who indicated we could still make the 500 miles to Sardinia, but, as you can imaging one mind runs wild with all the possible scenarios, all resulting with the mast falling down!
The second major issue that had been continuously on our mind while travelling was our stern gland/stuffing box. This unit is the only thing holding the seawater out around our propeller shaft, especially when motoring. This picture was taken in the winter of last year when we identified that it was approaching the end of it's working life! As we had arrive at Astipálaia (Dodecanese, Greece) in early July we were disturbed by the running repetitively of our automatic bilge alarm pumping our seawater that was finding it's way into our hull. In the above picture, the clip on the hose to the left had broken and seawater was pouring into the hull at great speed. It was easy to find the ingress as when we stopped the engine the water could be heard gushing in! I was able to get a spare clip on to seal it back up but the two sections of the hose have separated, over tension on the clip began to split the rotten hose - on our winter job list to do, but Sailaway must be out of the water to complete it? The hose was not the only issue, due to the failing of the stuffing box seal it was impossible to maintain a water tight seal around the shaft, we would hourly pump in grease to help, but the bilge pump alarm and discharge kept us aware of it's failing. Engine revs were kept low for fear of over stressing the rotten hose. It had been good, even in that condition, we had covered 1000 miles in it's present state?
The third issue was my knees, now permanently swollen and more painful than previously. When considering all we decided to call it a day and move no further on than necessary, a number of options were investigated and discussed with friends. We came to the conclusion after great thought, that a couple of marina's on the south coast were probably our best option, both around 50-70 miles away maximum. Unfortunately none of the yards allow you to work on the outside of you boat yourself you have to pay them, I would have had to paid some labour regardless as I am now unable to complete the required work myself. We had also booked flights from Sardinia to the UK in November, we will loose them too, cheaper to let go rather than change usually!
Right, so moving on, we thought to hell with it, lets celebrate, that is what we did.
We found a place ashore with music, ordered drinks and pizza, then more drinks. We were the first ones there but not quite the last to leave!