17th July 2008 - Valencia to Pensicola (the motoring holiday continues in the rain)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Thu 17 Jul 2008 23:40
We went to bed last night to thunder and lightning and awoke to a grey rainy day.  We had a couple of long sails ahead of us, 60 miles to Pensicola and a brief stop for dinner followed by an overnight sail (under the stars) to Sitges.  It did not look too promising.
We motored out of Valencia in very little wind and drizzle.  However, the one consolation of the scattered rain showers was that they brought some wind every time they passed and we managed to get a small amount of sailing in.  Jane had the best of it, managing to get "in the groove" and up to 8.6 knots before someone removed her brain and she completely lost it.  Unable to figure out which way to turn the boat we had numerous accidently tacks.  Unfortunately, Andy missed his chance for a sail as just when his go arrived the wind died - never to return.
With this short spell under sail I realised that there really was something wrong with the propeller shaft as, without the engine, I could hear it rubbing on something as it turned.  We stopped the boat and I had a look underneath but in the swell I was not able to swim down and could not see anything wrong.  After a conversation with "Good Old Dan" I decided it was safe to carry on and we continued motoring to Pensicola where we anchored in the calm.  Diving under the boat again it looked to me like the cutlass bearing in the P bracket had failed, or perhaps only partially as everything still felt fairly solid (not that I have any idea what a cutlass bearing actually looks like!) .  Another conversation with "Good Old Dan" and he is confident that there is unlikely to be any serious problem in getting to Barcelona and it is not a difficult job to replace the bearing - just expensive as the boat will need to come out of the water.
Pensicola is a beautiful looking place, an old village purchased on an island like hill at the end of a spit coming out from the mainland.  Very picturesque as we approached but when we rounded it to the other side the long sandy beach on the mainland was lined with hotels and the sea full of jet skis and people being towed on banana boats.  We anchored under the old town and ate up our left over food.  Jane and Yvonne excelled themselves in the food preparation department and Steve again did another excellent job on the barbeque - the highlight was definitely the kebabs of honey marinated pork and chorizo.
At 10 o'clock, after only a brief three hour rest, we upped anchor and headed off for our night sail to Sitges.