Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 19, 2017

Back in French Polynesia

12.10.17 – Thursday – My return to the boat was delayed by more than a month due to the sail drive saga. A few days before I left home I was told that it would be sent on a ship called Taporo on the 6th of the month and that it normally takes 5-6 days to reach Hiva Oa. That meant we might get to the boat together.

After landing in Hiva Oa I met Vincent near the small terminal. The man is originally an aviation mechanic and in addition to his boatyard he works for Air Tahiti, the only domestic airline in the country. He told me that the sail drive arrived the day before and that as S.O.P.O.M, the company which inspected the ruined drive, did not return it to Hiva Oa so the shock absorber needed to complete the assembly was missing. They want 350$ U.S for the work they had done; if I let them keep the drive – they would forgo that payment. Big joke! Just the diaphragms cost around 600$. I asked Vincent to try and bargain with them, insisting that they send the shock absorber and the diaphragms back.

Coming to the boat I was happy to see the drive in place but other things that I was told were already done were not even started, like sanding and preparing the hulls for painting. Now that I am here everything will start moving faster. The rest of the day was passed trying to put the boat in order, plan the necessary provisioning and do a lot of cleaning. There is a long list to be accomplished before we can refloat her.

13.10.17 – Friday – Jet lag hit me, waking me up at 0230. I passed the time reading my book – The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa – which is partly about Paul Gauguin’s life in Polynesia. At 0500 I saw light outside and noticing there was no wind, decided to lower the old, torn jib. Having done that in the past several times the operation was quickly concluded and I continued to install the new one. Normally it is done by two people, one hoisting the sail and the other feeding the luff into the groove in the fore- stay profile; being alone on the boat meant that I had to run back and forth between the sail and the winch. By seven o’clock the job was done.

After breakfast I marched to Atuona, a walk of about 40 minutes, combining exercise with the necessity of doing some shopping. Took a taxi back and continued working on the boat. After lunch fatigue sent me to bed for an invigorating one hour snooze and then more work. Number one job was removing the old mainsail lazy-bag. Again, working alone required some improvisation, especially in the matter of distancing the mainsail from the boom. That task was finished close to 5 p.m so I decided to delay the installation of the new bag for the morrow. 

14.10.17 – Saturday – At 0515 I started installing the new lazy-bag and connecting the lazy-jacks to it; I finished by eight o’clock. Having promised the sail-maker in Israel to send him a picture showing his logo with Hiva Oa mountainous terrain in the background, I took the following picture. 

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Another important job had to do with my solar panels. On the way to Pitcairn Island we experienced a squall during which we took the mainsail down; part of the sail spilled out of the old lazy-bag, chaffed against corners of the solar panels resulting in some infuriating tears. To prevent such thing in the future I attached simple household furniture corner protection gismos; what’s good for one’s baby should be good for my sail!

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15.10.17 – Sunday – More work – cleaning the outside and then a part of the inside. I am looking forward to the coming work week hoping to see some real progress.

16.1017 – Monday – Again, very  early in the morning I was at work. I decided to install the starboard alternator, the one I home to repair and while doing it I tried to move the engine pulley and found that it was STUCK! What the F—! From home I asked Vincent twice whether the engine was turning freely after the drive was separated from it and both times he confirmed it did! Had he checked the engine himself he would have had four months to fix it! After I sounded the alarm, demanding fast action, Vincent and Willie, his mechanic, came to have a look. The result was that the engine was taken out to the shop, all the work done installing the drive was for nothing, as they had to take it out before dismantling the engine.

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                Tattooed Willie

Vincent worked hard into the late evening to release the seized motor and to make a list of the needed parts. At close to 10 p.m I had the list with the part numbers and sent it to Marine-Warehouse in Florida, requesting a speedy delivery by air. Let’s see how this turns out.

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                                       Vincent on the job

To be continued…

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Posted by: catamarantwooceans | September 22, 2017

A Sailing Trip in the Med

1.9.17 – Friday – A few days ago, friends of mine, Ilana and Moshe (Moses) Navot, who own a Beneteau 450 called Imagine, asked us to join them for a short trip to Greece.

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We love the Greek islands, having sailed there quite a lot on our previous catamaran “Roughsoda” and were happy to join. The plan was for Moshe and a few friends to sail to Rhodes, normally an unpleasant trip against the wind and waves, to where our wives would come by air, then sail in the Rhodes area and back to Israel.

Five of us went out of the Herzelia marina, Skipper Moshe, two ladies – Dahlia Raz and Tova Hoffman, a younger man who goes by the name of Shark De Mayo and I. The wind was light and on the nose and we had to motor. Imagine has the Gory three blades folding prop which has the overdrive facility: you back the boat at a minimum of one knot then put the throttle forward and get a coarse pitch which gives you better speed and fuel economy. On Imagine this made for close to 7 knots which made us cover the 174 miles to Limassol marina in Cyprus in 28 hours.

The new Limassol marina is a part of a big development project which includes villas, several restaurants and shops and of course docks and a boatyard. The shower rooms are first class and even have hair dryers…

3.9.17 – Sunday – With 280 miles to go to Rhodes we figured the trip will take two full days. The forecast was for WNW winds up to 16 knots, which would probably be more in reality, so we decided to go closer to shore in the area of the Greek island of Kastellorizou, near the Turkish coast, where the wind should be a little lighter.

4.9.17 – Monday – It was engine work all the way, we didn’t even raise the main because the boat does not have a traveller and we could not flatten it enough for motor-sailing. Imagine was recently fitted with a mainsail that is furled into the boom and we have to gain more experience with its operation. When we came close to the Turkish coast the wind topped at 22 knots with short, steep waves. Still, our speed over ground was good and we realized that our arrival into Rhodes would be in the early morning hours in darkness.

5.9.17 – Tuesday – We had supposed that the marina would have good lighting, also counting on the almost full moon, but as we approached the general area, navigating by GPS plotter, it was very difficult to find the entrance. We finally saw the red light at the entrance, the green one obscured by the high breakwater; once inside it was easy to find a place alongside the inner wall of it. The time was 0330.

Later in the day Ilana and Gili came to the boat. We checked the forecast for the next day and were dismayed to learn that it was going to blow up to 30 knots in our intended area of operations; Thursday was going to be a lot better.

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The Rhodes marina is quite a big one and has a lot of services in and around it. Across the road you can find a good supermarket, where in addition to food you can  have your laundry done. If you purchase good for over 100 euro – your laundry is free. There are a few really good restaurants, especially a seafood one, the name of which I forgot – it’s the one on the corner with the blue signs and a steakhouse – El Toro – which disproves the myth that the Greek cannot cook meat properly. There is a small chandlery in the marina and another, bigger one plus a fishing equipment shop across the road.

6.9.17 – Wednesday – Shark left to fly home and we decided to rent a car and tour the island. Moshe took a picture of the Rhodes crew.

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                                pic by M.Navot

We drove to the obligatory tourist destination of Lindos, which is a very pretty place and then off the beaten track to the monastery of St. Michael in the mountains.

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                                    Lindos bay by M.Navot

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At the entrance to the church the ladies could take and wear a “decent” apparel.

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Altogether a lovely tour.

7.9.17 – Thursday – The weather has improved a lot, too much, in fact – there was no wind! We motored to Panormitis, a beautiful, protected bay on the south-west corner of Symi island and dropped our anchor. The small village has an important monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael, to which the devout as well as tourists come to visit and worship.

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The village people want to keep the place orderly, as befits a religious site; so rules are posted in several places.

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To go ashore we had to use a small dinghy that Moshe borrowed for the trip. It had no outboard and we quickly found out that one of the oars had a broken pin so the only way to row was canoe style – not so easy when you have to shuttle six people ashore. Looking around we saw two yachts tied to what looked like a ferry dock. I asked the locals ashore whether we could tie there too and they said we could. We took the anchor up and Med-moored Imagine to that dock.

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After the evening prayers, heard through loudspeakers, were finished, the village became quiet and serene. There was one taverna ashore, a family business with father and daughter serving tables and the mother cooking excellent dishes, everything so fresh and tasty. After dinner Gili and I walked on the walkway spanning the circumference of the moonlit bay – bliss!

8.9.17 – Friday – Out of Panormitis, again with no wind, we motored 24 miles to the west south west to reach Tilos, where a boat basin near the town of Livadhia beckoned. We were greeted by Stefano, the harbor master, a big jolly guy, who speaks softly and carries a whistle  to attract the attention of the yachties.

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On the north side of the basin one could enter the crystal clear cool water; Gili and I swam for about half an hour building up our appetite for dinner.

9.9.17 – Saturday – The final destination of the day was Chalki, a small island on the west side of Rhodes. Before getting there we made a lunch stop in the bay of the uninhabited island of Alimia, watching abandoned houses and wild goats on shore. Later in the afternoon we entered Chalki bay and moored to a floating pontoon the town of Emborio put in place.

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                                       pic by M.Navot

In the background you can see the hill with a ruined medieval castle at the top; Gili and I were determined to visit it. Walking up the road to the site took 50 minutes and then we had to climb to the top of the hill to get to the Kastro – the castle.

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Up at the top, the view was magnificent. Two Italian guys who got there ahead of us took our picture.

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Going down was much easier and we got back to the boat just for dinner. We found a taverna which had nice fresh fish including Gili’s favorite Barbunia – red mullet. Ice cream and coffees followed in a local “Zakharoplastia” – sweets and coffee shop. Another great day in Paradise.

10.9.17 – Sunday – This was the last day on board for Ilana, Dahlia and Tova. We sailed back to Rhodes marina and had a farewell dinner at the El Toro steakhouse.

11.9.17 – Monday – The ladies left the boat and the three of us – skipper Moshe, Gili and I continued with our preparations for the trip back to Israel. The plan was to do it in three stages: 70 miles to Kastelorizou, the easternmost inhabited Greek island, situated about 2 miles from the Turkish coastal town of Kas (pronounced Kash). Next – stop again in Limassol, Cyprus, a leg of 210 n.m and then 174 miles to Herzlia marina.

We went out of Rhodes marina at 6 p.m intending to reach Kastelorizou in the morning. On the first two hours we had nice wind from behind but then it abated and when our speed dropped below 4 knots the engine took over.

12.9.17 – Tuesday – An uneventful night passed and at first light we saw the island ahead. We turned into the enchanting bay and as if by a powerful magnet the boat was drawn towards the dock near Athena restaurant owned by Vagelis Mavros. The first time I sailed to this island, twenty years ago, he was there at the dock holding a tray with a beer for each of the crew. He greeted us:’’Welcome to Europe, my name is Angelo”  and invited us to come to his place for dinner. Now he was there again, to catch our lines.

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                                            Angelo’s place

After we Med moored close to the restaurant a movement in the water caught our eyes – two big turtles were circling the area. We understood the reason for their behavior when Angelo came by and fed them with leftover fish. Other boats arrived, two Israeli yachts and a big Lebanese motor yacht; boats coming from Turkey brought day tourists. We passed the day dealing with the departure procedure for the next day and in the afternoon climbed to the top of the hill above the village, from where nice views of the island’s bays could be seen. I was a bit frustrated not having my proper Canon camera, which was left in French Polynesia. I had to take pictures with our smartphones, not bad – considering.

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kastelo

                                          pic by M.Navot

In the evening we sat down for dinner at Angelo’s; a big group was seated at a long table near us. Angelo put on some Greek music and a young man led them dancing. Good vibrations!

13.9.17 – Wednesday – Out of the bay, we sailed between the rocky islets to the east of Kastelorizou. The wind was from the WNW blowing at 17 knots and Imagine flew along at good speed. Finally, after all those motoring days I could call it a SAILING TRIP.

14.9.17 – Thursday – The good conditions continued all through the night. I tried to tempt Moshe (and Gili) to bypass Cyprus and continue straight to Israel but the idea was rejected since the forecast was for light winds and Moshe felt we did not have enough fuel; Imagine has a 200 liters fuel tank plus 40 liters in jerry cans and we already used a third of that quantity, so passing Cape Gata, we turned to the north east to Limassol.

15.9.17 – Friday – After filling up our fuel tank we went out; the WNW wind was still there in spite of the pessimistic forecast. It stayed with us until night and then became less than 7 knots. Motoring once again.

16.9.17 – Saturday – The wind came back during the morning and we sailed at good speed, passing the ten knots mark in one of the gusts. Imagine is a fast and comfortable boat and even Gili, who in the past swore she would never sail on a monohull, felt good all the way and enjoyed herself immensely. After a radio inquiry by the Israeli navy shore station and a visit by a fast navy boat we continued to enter the Herzlia marina at 1300.

Altogether it was a very enjoyable trip. The down side was that out of 16 days we spent 10 to go to and from Rhodes. Moshe is planning to retire in the near future and would be able to go for longer periods. I’m sure we’ll be happy to join!

22.9.17 – Two Oceans update: After prodding Marine-Warehouse with e-mails I got the arrival date of my Sail-drive to Tahiti – September 23rd. Vincent in Hiva Oa says the part would reach the boat around October 10th. I shall plan my flights accordingly.

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | August 21, 2017

Sailing a 2400 years old boat

August 2017 – In 1985 a diver found relics of an ancient merchant boat in shallow waters near a Kibbutz called Maagan Michael, quite close to where we live. A big project of underwater excavation ensued, the relics painstakingly treated and preserved and finally put together and presented in a museum in Haifa. The boat was dated to the 5th century B.C

More details are available on Wikipedia: English –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%27agan_Michael_Ship

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Ma%27agan_Michael_ancient_ship

Hebrew – https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%94%D7%A1%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%94_%D7%94%D7%A2%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%94_%D7%9E%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%92%D7%9F_%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%90%D7%9C

In 2014 a project of building a replica of that boat was started, led by professor Yaakov (Yak) Kahana of the Haifa university. I knew Yak through mutual friends, one of which is Zulu, who participated in my last voyage to French Polynesia and was one of the volunteers working in the project. I had a chance to visit the site during the building process and was very impressed by what I saw. The boat was built using the same methods and materials as similar vessels were built in antiquity and the only modern additions were those safety items imposed by the Ministry of Transport.

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note the twin rudders

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the 140 lbs. anchor

Sadly just before she was launched last March, Yak passed away after a long fight with cancer. She was named “Ma’gan Michael 2”.

I was lucky to be invited for a short trip from Jaffa harbor to Herzlia marina. The replica does not have an engine, so we were towed out; then the sail was unfurled, and with a light southwesterly we sailed north. The wind was 7 knots and our speed over water was around 2 knots. A single “gust” of 10 knots pushed the replica to the 3 knots mark.

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This was great fun!

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Two Oceans update: Trying to maintain a boat by remote control is never easy. I had hoped that the guys in Hiva Oa would be able to fix the ruined sail drive but it turned out they did not have the right tools for the job. The drive was sent to the Yanmar agent in Tahiti and they gave a quote for the repair “depending on the parts availability” and giving no guarantee for it, which was about a thousand dollars less than a complete new unit. I decided to import one from the U.S using the services of Marine Warehouse of Florida. The unit is expected to reach French Polynesia at the end of September (ocean freight) so I will only go back to the boat when the delivery date becomes clear.

In the meantime I’m at home, reading books, watching too much T.V, doing Yoga and looking at other people blogs. We plan to join a friend’s monohull, a 45 foot Beneteau, for an 18 day trip to the area around Rhodes starting September 1st. I hope to report on that when we come back.

Until then – Adios,

Miki

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