36 10.9N 05 55.9 W
We left Lagos on Thursday morning and arrived here in
Barbate on Friday around 1900. You may ask why it took us so long and
Why not Gibraltar? All will be revealed below!
After an uneventful motor sail along the coast and a brief
chat with Piper (June and Steve) to see where they were
I started to prepare supper when the engine stopped! Rob
restarted it after a few minutes but it stopped again. We decided that
It was probably a fuel blockage but also found that the
water filter looked a bit murky so engaged the alternative uplift supply.
Having checked my notes on service and ‘get you
home’ tips from the class I took 4 years ago we changed the secondary
This seemed to do the trick and the engine ran again for bit
longer. However it stopped in the same way so we knew the problem was still
there. We decided to try and sail so unfurled the large genoa and continued to
drift east at about 2 knots. I read my lesson notes and also tried calling
Piper again on the VHF to ask Steve for advice, but got no response. As we were
quite close to the coast south of Faro we made use of the mobile and called our
friend Graham in the UK who used to service the engine. He gave us a list of
things to try which all seemed very daunting! Anyway around 20.00 we had a VHF
call from Piper and they turned round to come to the rescue once they knew what
was wrong!! ( Although apparently they too had a fuel blockage problem so Steve
had to sort that out before they could get back to us).
Thank heavens for friends is all we can say. Steve came
aboard around 2200 after June had brought their boat very carefully alongside
(despite a nasty swell!) he then proceeded to check all the pipes and junctions
and eventually around midnight found a blockage in the top of the primary
filter cap. We had changed the filter in February and also checked it much
earlier on in the process of elimination but had not taken the top fitting off.
Once this was off and replaced hey presto! the engine was working again. While
all this was going on Piper was standing by – June on the helm. Steve
finally transferred back on board Piper and we said our goodnights around 0030
so we were able to head off towards the agreed destination of Barbate
(Gibraltar was just too far after the trauma of the engine.) We had no more
engine problems but the auto-helm had a ‘wobbly’ around 0400 and
the boat turned round as the MOB alarm went off! Having fixed that we settled
down to try and get some rest with our usual watch keeping of 4 hours on/off.
June called us to let us know they had decided to head for Sancti-Petri as they
were fed up with the sea conditions (as were we) but we decided to persevere to
On arrival off Barbate we made the decision (regretfully) to
go around the Tuna nets which seemed to take forever but one delightful outcome
of that was we saw an Orca whale!!! It was about 20 feet long and came within
100metres of the boat – we think it would have been after tuna or
possible dolphins chasing the tuna. No time to get a photo as it only
surfaced twice and I wasn’t going below in case I missed it.
We entered Barbate (thanks to Trevor and Lesley for the info
on the tuna nets right at the mole) and were all fast by 2000. Showers and a
beer in the new bar were soon followed by supper and a very long sleep.
The following morning we decided to leave early and fight
the tide to get to Gibraltar.
Jacky and Rob