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July 1999 Diary

Spezial report this month: The passage from Fethiye to Rhodes was quite a lesson for us beginners!

31th July 1999 technical problems: We should have had the deck ready by now, but it is not so. First my Bosch grinder gave up (1 year old) and today my sander, as well a Bosch brand and only 1 year old, refuses do work properly. I was able to fix the grinder and wait for a spare spart. But I could not find the problem in the sander. It has only little power left. This is again frustrating. There is not a day with something breaking apart.

My shortwave radio a Sangean ATS 818 acs, as well only one year old (sure just past the warranty) plays funny. It puts itself into "Lock" position and sometimes a few days later it decides to cooperate again. Only a reset, deleting all programmed frequenzies "solves" the problem for another few days.

I try not to listen to much to the news, but it was handy to receive a weatherfax now and than using my Macintosh PowerBook and the software Multimode. Its a shareware for Mac users.

Besides this no real dramas ahead. I am able to send a new picture to the web. See Nastasja and her Grandma enjoying a pick nic in the forest. And have a lock at our deck the way it locked when I did cut out the rotten balsa wood.

Nastasja enjoys every day on the beach and she now start speaking more fluently. Sometimes she would not stop talking the whole day. Nina spents most of the time with her, while I do working on the boat. After all it is not to bad to live on board and repair the boat. It is not more complicated than living on board and have the boat on a dry dock. The only differnence is that we can jump into the cool water if we feel like;) and wash the sanding dust off every now and than.

25th July 1999 As always I underestimate the time consumption for my projects. The most areas on the deck have been laminated, but need a lot more taken care off. I did built two frames of plywood that I laminate into the hull. They elevate two hatches, which have always been flushed by seawater. This way the water will divert around the frames.

With all our delays and the money running out quick, we came to a point where we need to rethink our planes with AMBERELLA. Nina and me having arguments about what we should do. I my opinion we should continue the project as far as we can. There is still time to finsih AMBERELLA and maybe have a break than. But Nina is more pessimistic with her opinion and I can't blame her with the luck we had so far.

22nd July 1999 Still at Safira Beach, near Rhodes. I work at the deck and do some major repairs. The deck has a balsa core, which is at some areas badly rotten. I cut out 3 big sheets and replaced the balsa with marine grade plywood. I laminated 2 coats of fibre glas rowing around the plywood, to add strength. I put the sheets back onto the new core and put weight onto it. The cuts will be laminated back in place. The biggest worry is to get the repair invisible. To do that I must be carefull to get the same thickness of core and rowing, before I place the deck sheets back. Than I grind the edges to a wide bevel and laminate the cuts with matt and rowing.

AMBERELLAs deck is made of polyester resin, while the hull is made of epoxy. The difference in quality is very obvious. I would not be happy if the hull had the same problems than the deck. The deck has become soft over the years and a lot of haircracks let water inside the core. The previous owner did some poor repairs, by filling some soft spots with polyurethane foam. This works if there is little damage, but if the balsa got soft, it must come out. It was a strange feeling when I put the circular saw on the deck and cut our the parts. But I when I laminate the sheets back I add a lot more fibre glass in order to have the same strength as before.

On the other hand, repairing the deck is cheaper tham laminating to the hull. If I bond something to the hull, I must use epoxy resin which is about 3 times more expensive than polyester. Every repair or design I made inside, for example the galley, was bonded with epoxy, because polyester does not hoöd very well on epoxy.

19th July 1999 One more day past until I finally had the pump screwed tightly. In order to do that I had to take off the oil filter and while I did that, I changed the oil and heater plugs of the engine. The bad news, after I started the engine. The pump was still dripping water. In order to fix the leak (which I though I could fix beside changing the impeller) I have to take the pump out, but this is impossible, because it does not come off without removing one engine mounting bracket. Stupid, but true.

Well later this afternoon the pump stopped to leak. Maybe I am lucky. This leak is not a big drama. Although the pumnp is a gear driven one, the water can not mix with the engine oil, becaus it has 2 holes under the shaft, where excess water comes out in case of leakage. I have read about different systems, and that most people prefer belt driven pumps, because geared pumps eventually allways leak water into the oil circle. But as I said it is quiet impossible with my one.

17th July 1999 I managed to put the parts of the pump back together, but was still not able to screw it back. The location of that pump is so bloody stupid. I wished I could ask ther designer of the engine to do the job! I need a device that goes around two corners and screws upside down...

It was not hard to find the right impeller, but while the usuall impeller cost about 8$, mine cost about 25$. Just because the shaft system is a little different from what I saw at the marine stores. no comment on that matter.

Beside this trouble, we meet Nina's mum again and had a wonderful afternoon in the cockpit, with turkish wine, olives and a few snacks. At least we pretend to be on holiday.

16th July 1999 Today I went big shopping. I flashed my Visacard without concern. I really should worry a little more. But some items are necessary. For example I picked up my GPS, a Garmin 128. It’s a solid piece of electronic, I hope, and it has not too many fancy features, I would not use anyway. I bought a lot of little stuff, which nobody mentions in his boat building books, but which add a lot to the expenses on a boat project. Just a few stainless screws, some hose clamps, some brushes and a little tin of paint and again I feel like I lost my wallet!
After this I went back to my water pump. The hydraulic oil from yesterday was working. The frozen bronze piece jumped easily off the impeller shaft.
Now I was looking at working my way to the second impeller. There was no sign how to get to it. I tried to remove the whole pump, actually managed to release the bolts, but no way… The oil filter and the engine mounting brackets stopped any movement of the pump. I simply must make oil change and lift the engine in order to remove that pump. Very clever design Mr. Renault, or shall I say Frog? So I had a second look at a ring that is between both impeller chambers. This did not move when I used a screwdriver, but with a hammer it worked and came off. But it did not go far. I could see the impeller, but that was all. Again I unscrewed the whole pump and was able to move the ring a little more. There were two pins that hold the impeller and I found out they could be removed, This way the ring came off a little more, but I had to force the ring with hammer and screwdriver of the shaft. Again the oil filter and the mounting brackets were in the way, but somehow it came off. I still don’t know how to get it all back, but this is a worry for tomorrow.

15th July 1999 After some sanding on the deck I cut 3 big sheets out of the deck, because the balsa core is rotten and socked with water there. I will replace the balsa with plywood and laminate the sheets back to the deck. I have done this already once and think it is a better solution, than just spraying foam under the deck in order to cure delamination. This was done by the previous owner and resulted in a water soaked deck. The last spot I did about 1 1/2 years ago is in very good condition in I hope to make it invisible, when we fill and paint the deck.

After this I wanted to do a little job. Checking the impeller of the saltwater pump for the cooling system of the diesel engine. That was to become a 2 days experience. The fact is the pump is at the most undesirable spot one can imagine. Not just that. I was postponing this task already twice, because I would not have any idea how to open it. All the mechanical books I have, write from a easy task to open the impeller pump, just by unscrewing a few bolts, pulling the impeller, changing it, sealing and done. Not so with mine. It took me two days to figure out. Since I have to manual, (I am still looking for the manual of 3 zyl. Renault marine diesel, with Paragon hydraulic gearbox) I referred to some descriptions of other pumps. Finally I was able to reach 4 bolts with a universal joint screwier. When I got them out, I saw one impeller. By the way? Did I tell you that I have a double pump, with 2 impellers and 2 circuits? One feed the cooling system and the other acts as permanent bilge pump. If there is no water in the bilge (and that is what I preferJ) the second impeller gets a little water from the other chamber in order not to run dry.
So here I was trying to pull the first impeller. All books say it should be easy. Not so mine. I had to cut the impeller of its bronze shaft, soak the shaft with hydraulic oil and try next day. (see 16th July above)

14th July 1999 An off day. We went toghether with Nina's mum and her friend Heinz to the " 7 springs", a pretty touristic place in the heart of Rhodes. We enjoyed a picknik up in the hills and went through a 187 m long water tunnel. It was fun to wade through the narrow man made tunnel in complete darkness.

If you want to know more about Rhodes and see some pictures, please read our Rhodes report, from January 1999!

13th July 1999 Nina and Nastasja took the bus back to Faliraki. Nina's mum has another week holiday at the hotel.

I will keep sanding the deck. I have two sanders and a generator on board and can sand out here without disturbing anybody. In about a week I would like to paint it. The fine dust is everywhere. Nina gets crazy, but what can I do? The deck finally needs to become waterproof!

A big job is done: I made the decision to change the exhaust pipe. The old did start to leak and it was only a matter of time when I had to do it. The big difference between Turkey and Greece is, when I go into a shop, call the items I need and get them immediately. Welcome back to civilization!!! I still can't really deal with it yet. I actually started to make a list of things I really need to buy, before we leave Rhodes again. In Turkey those lists where useless.

I needed a pipe of 2.30-m length and 64mm diameter and instantly got it. This is nothing new to you if you live in Europe or in America, but go and ask those questions in Turkey! You will get an answer, which is "Maybe". When I bought the pipe I ask for 2.30m exactly and the shop assistant measured it with his flexible meter. Just before I left the shop I looked at it and was wondering if the Greeks are more accurate than the Turks are. No way! I measured it and got 2.20m! So I ask for another pipe.
It took me about 2 hours to bend and place the pipe in its position. Done. This bugger does not worry me for the next decade.

12th July 1999 We anchored for about one week in Faliraki beach. Not much happened there. It was blowing strong all day and AMBERELLA was dancing in the waves. One night was interupted by a big bang. The line that was relieving the anchor chain from the bow did break. It was worn through.

Yesterday the coast guard came and told us to leave. Anchoring was prohibited on this beach. When we asked some other sailors later, nobody knew about this and it there was no mark on the newer charts.. But anyway, we lifted the anchor and set the little jib making course North. Again the gales reached about Bft 6 and it was a little wet ride. After we rounded Cape Voudhi we had the breeze on our nose and had to motor again.

Once more the engine striked after 10 Minutes. Again the diesel filters seemed to be dirty, something I could not understand after I cleaned the whole tank 2 weeks ago and bought the diesel at a gas station and not from a tank truck.

We anchored very close and outside the jetty, where the new marina is under construction. Again not a nice anchorage. Later in town we checked for some empty spaces in the marina. But I saw our rotten jib ripped to pieces again. So we save the expense for a new jib!

7th July 1999 I did a few jobs on AMBERELLA today, while Nastasja and Nina enjoyed the swimming pool of the hotel. It was time for some electronics. I changed the cabel fot the relay of the anchor winch. After Nina managed to rip it apart. I used a heavy duty cord line.

I installed 2 x 12 V powerplugs. With this I am able to charge my digital camera again. Here a late picture of the almost finished bath.

The bath has a waste water tank of about 65 Liters made of fibre glas. There are still small things to be finished and I am not happy with some details, but the toilet works and is comfortable:)

But back to the Electronics. I unpacked an at least 15 years old echo sounder from Navicom (Japan). It was on the boat when I bought it, but did not work when I tried it last year. First I was about to throw it away, but as my budget reduces to Zero, I gave it at second try and suddenly the little wheel in the sounder started to spin and worked. I cleaned the case with a lot of dish soap and now it looks like new. It has a range of 0-20 and 0-120 meters and an alarm funktion. What more do I need?

I want to buy a GPS with external antenna. The Garmin 128 looks quite alright. Again an expense of 500 $, but this is a must. The Greek charts have not many landmarks and it is not easy to do costal naviagation with them. This waters are not very familiar to me and I just want to be safe now, since we did our Fethiye to Rhodes passage.

5th July 1999 I will do nothing but flying the parachute today and forget about all the problems. Nina's mum arrived and they have their family meeting. Nastasja is excited. More updates next week....

4th July 1999 Back on the Web with some new stories to tell. Today we left Rhodes. We can't afford to stay in the marina any longer and we had to leave the private mooring after our problems were solved. A short leg to Faliraki beach, about 8 miles down south, was our choice. This was again a little adventure, with rocks scattered all around the beach. We hit one of those but had no damage. At first we dropped the anchor and I went diving. But we were a little close to a rock formation and changed the anchorage. The wind is blowing steadily from the west. It's not a perfect anchorage, some rocks pop out here and there, but free and safe as long we have westerly winds. The wind blows here from June to August from the west. Always. say the Greeks..maybe:)

Another damage was visible today. When were struck by a motor yacht in Rhodes our frame for the windgenerator was holding most of the pressure. One of the clamps that hold the supporting poles must have slid closer to the wings of the generator, when the motor yacht hit us. We did not realise this, because the wind was blowing steadily from one side and the frame looked allright. But when we left Rhodes I heard a rattling noise. The tip of all wings have got a broken ends now, because the touched the clamp at full speed. Damned. Luckily I can switch the generator of to prevent it from further damage.

We will stay here and await the arrival of Nina's mother. She has booked in one of the dozens hotels on the beach and Nastasja is already excited to see her grand ma.

1st -3rd July 1999 We are in Rhodes.The passage from Fethiye to Rhodes was quite a lesson for us beginners! Read the special story!

What happend from May to July?

My parents did visit us in May. We took a break for 2 weeks and spent most of the times with them. My PowerBook Laptop left with them for repair and we started to work on the boat again. We drove to Antaliya and were shopping in a real market were we could get some items for the bath. It looks quite nice now. Nina finished more mattresses for the front cabin. We installed sun cover for the cockpit and I finally supported the wind generator with 2 more tubes.

We wanted to move!

I concentrated on the rig and sails, because we planned to leave Fethiye. The temperature gets here over 40 ° C (104 F) and some night the heat is above blood temperature. We are not sure if we will come back, but we need to do still some jobs, which are cheaper in Turkey than in Greece.

Leaking watertanks

A few things happened to AMBERELLA. When we moved on board, we filled the water tanks. 700 Liters went straight into the bilge, because the tanks were leaking. At least 6 cracks had to be fixed. The cracks were on top of the tanks, near the keel bolts and could not hold the pressure of the water hose, which was about 2 meters higher than the tanks. When I filled the tanks for a check up while on land, I did not notice any leaks because when the tanks were filled to top level, there was no pressure to the tanks, because than the water source was 2 m deeper than the tanks. The tanks are laminated into the epoxy hull. A bad choice, because with the movement of the boat, especially on the keel, they eventually crack. It took me another 4 days to fix them with epoxy and fiberglass. Water out of fiberglass tanks taste very bad. At the moment we use the water only for our washing. I need to install a drink water only tank, which can be cleaned easily.

Power from mother nature

I use two hard solar panels of about 45 Watt and a flexible one of about 35 watt. The wind generator is an Air marine and I think it was a good choice. It is not as noisy as other sailors told us and its power is remarkable. Yesterday it reached for the first time 25 A in gales of 7.
I fit the solar panels and the switch panel. With 500 Ah of batteries I can charge my electrical system with solar (about 8 Ampere max) and wind (about 25 A max, but on the average little breeze about 5- 8 A). We have no working alternator at the moment, because I don't know yet how to built the regulator. So we rely on the natures power sources.
I tried it and it works quite well. Our cooling unit runs all day and night and draws 3-5 A on average. There is still more electrical stuff to install and I will see how the charge will be once everything draws power. At the moment the batteries are topped always at 13-14.4 V.

Living on board

We are still landlubbers. It is hard to learn to clean up after I used some tools and especially when I know that I need them later again.
Nastasja makes a mess with her toys and Nina freaks out when she has to clean it up again and againy parents did visit us in May. We took a break for 2 weeks and spent most of the times with them. My PowerBook Laptop left with them for repair and we started to work on the boat again. We drove to Antaliya and were shopping in a real market were we could get some items for the bath. It lookes quite nice now. Nina finished more mattrazes for the front cabin. We installed sun cover for the cockpit and I finally supported the wind generator with 2 more tubes.

Whats next?

All in all we made some progress and we are finally able to sail. AMBERELLA is still far from finished. We will not cross the Atlantic Ocean this year. That is sure. The rest is open. Where will we winter and where will we keep working on the boat? How will we get more money for our budget? We don't know yet. We take one step at a time and hopefully succed all those worries.

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