42:15.38N 8:42.41W Friday 3 September Vigo - Bowthruster problems and solutions

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Fri 3 Sep 2010 22:59

“Bugga said Winnie the Pooh as he put his bowthruster in the car” – now read on for a study in not very much time and far too much motion.


Saturday          Bowthruster failed as we leave the marina.  Anchor in Bayona bay alongside another Amel 54 belonging to Kaj Liljebladh who is also doing the ARC and whom we first met in La Rochelle.

Sunday            Examine the problem with Kaj’s help.  Spend an evening ashore with Kaj and other Swedish yachties.  They obviously survive on drink and do not eat.  Return to the boat at 0100 and have bacon and eggs to recover.

Monday           Look at problem with bowthruster and spend lots of time trying to explain to Amel that it is not a coupling failure but a drive line failure.  They do not believe me and think I am being stupid.  With severe misgivings, they still think that they are right, they say that we will have to return unit to them but still convinced that I am wrong.  Ring Spanish friend from the Rally.  He is on holiday but fixes a marina in Vigo who will haul out boat.

Tuesday           Leave Bayona at dawn and take, high tide only, short cut through rocks to arrive at Punta Lagoa marina, Vigo at 10:00.  Ricardo the marina manager, friend of Alfredo and Alberto Lagos of our Rally organiser family is on hand and ready to assist. Boat immediately hauled out of water on suitably large and impressive travel hoist, without having to dismantle rigging. 



Remove bowthruster, this time an easy job – probably due to Amel dismantling it to sort out alignment problem 4 weeks ago – whoops was it them that caused the problem?.  At least I was correct, it is a drive line problem.  Also removed all food from freezer and fridges, they do not work out of the water as they use sea water to cool.  Ricardo opens marina club, which is closed and starts up freezers and fridges – food saved, happy wife.

Tues 1600        Hired car from Vigo railway station – on return could not find marina which is well hidden, rescued by Ricardo.

Tues 1800        Depart Vigo for La Rochelle with bowthruster.

Wed 0800       Two hours sleep en-route and arrive at the Amel boatyard/factory, 1,150km.   Bowthruster taken apart whilst we watch – gallic shrug, never happened before etc., but very willing to sort out the problem.  It was a problem that resulted from the work done in July and was the first time that it has occurred.  The drive shaft has now been modified to prevent a reoccurrence; future units will incorporate this modification.

Wed 1700       Bowthruster repaired and reassembled.

Wed 2000       A well earned dinner in Chez Andre and our first night in a land based bed since June, courtesy of our favourite hotel in La Rochelle, the Hotel St Nicholas.

Thur 0800        Back at Amel, we arrive as they open, again.  Collect bowthruster and other spare parts.

Thur1000         Leave La Rochelle after a rapid cruise round Carrefour – Elizabeth could not resist it and retail therapy good for relationship.

Thur 2200        Arrive Vigo after 1,170km return journey (decided to go all autoroute on return).  Very useful Euro 7.50 all in Chinese buffet and back to the boat – this time we found the marina without trouble.

Fri 0900           Start work on reassembly of bowthruster.  B****r of a job, fiddly rather than over complicated – I am now an expert and it holds no terrors, a useful result.

Fri 1430           Bowthruster complete and tested out of water.  Put boat back together and have quick sandwich.

Fri 1600           Return hire car – they do not open after lunch until 1600 – and avoid paying for an extra day.

Fri 1700           Boat launched, bowthruster works – real result!

Fri 1800           Fridges refilled from Marina club kitchen fridges; no lost food, another result.


Fri 2100           Collapse with a beer, waiting for Andrew to arrive, eta 2130


An interesting week with challenges and some really excellent support from both the Punta Lagoa marina and Chantier Amel.