24th to 25th May – Barcelona to La Ciotat (“the Co mpetent Crew in action”)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Mon 25 May 2009 22:01

On Sunday 24th May we left Barcelona.  It had been a great place to spend a year and was a good base to explore Spain from but we were happy to be moving on.  The trip to La Ciotat was 190 miles and with an experienced crew I had vowed to try and be more chilled out than on certain occasions in the past.  This proved not to be a problem as everyone was extremely competent.  I was a bit worried initially about the new propeller and prop shaft as they had not been sea trialled to any great extent but the new propeller performed wonderfully.  Unfortunately the conditions were not kind as the sea was quite rough and wind right on the nose and so, apart from one hour of sailing, we motored all the way.  The Mistral was forecast for the following day and we needed to just push on to be sure of arriving in La Ciotat in time to avoid it.


Our first problem came when I went below and saw that the bilge pumps were working.  I checked under the floor in the aft cabin and it was full of water.  My first thought was that the leaky boat problems were back but on checking the lazarettes I discovered that one of them had not been locked and all the water on the deck was running straight into it causing the pump to go off.  I do not know whether the water in the boat has leaked out of the, now supposedly, sealed lazarette but as it was quite dirty it could have been old water.  However, after properly locking the lazarette and mopping out the water the problem did not recur.


With my competent crew on watch that night, I was under strict instruction from Emma to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.  It seemed to work as I was fast asleep when Emma woke me at three in the morning to say that there had been a bang and Ed thought that the rigging had snapped.  Leaping up top (remembering first to put some clothes on) I discovered that the one of the two inner shrouds had come detached from the deck and the other was loose.  Only the outer shrouds were holding the mast up.  Ed had managed to re-attach the shroud and tighten the other so that it was no longer loose.  However, it meant that there was no chance of sailing and putting any further strain on the mast before it could be looked at.


Of course, with our luck, the wind changed as the sun rose and what could have been a lovely sail into La Ciotat turned out to be another motor.  We had chosen to go to La Ciotat as a friend of mine, Tom Miller who is the skipper of a 92’ superyacht, Cyclos 2, is based there with his partner Carolina while their boat was having some work done on it.  This turned out to be very fortunate as Tom had bought some riggers out from Falmouth who could look at my damaged rig for me.  They discovered that none of the four shrouds had locking nuts on them to stop the rigging screws from undoing.  Looking at old photos of the boat it seems that this had been the case ever since Bali Hai was delivered in 2006 and the riggers said that they were amazed that the whole rig had not fallen down earlier!