** Updated** St Raphael - again
I think today was one of the more eventful days of our voyage so far! It started well enough – a lovely sunny morning in St Tropez port where we’d splashed out on an overnight stay to give Heather & Di a treat – only spoilt by skipper’s foul cold/cough/headache. The girls returned a final wander around the town in time for us to leave our berth at midday, but the engine wasn’t happy, sounding an unbearable warning alarm. No problem, just a broken belt which had damaged the lead to the over-temperature sensor as it disintegrated. It was quickly fixed & we were off, unfortunately without checking the sea conditions, which were rough in an unforcast force4 – 5. Lindsay gamely went below to mop up all the water that had entered into the open galley window, dealing a near terminal blow to the kettle (which seems to get more than its fare share of abuse in rough conditions!).
Once we hade sorted things out we had a great sail back to St Raphael to drop the girls off for their train to Nice in the afternoon. It was sad to say goodbye to the last of our 4 sets of guests who had kept us company for most of the last 6 weeks, marking the watershed between a leisurely exploration of the coast and a more purposeful sprint back to the UK.
Unfortunately the engine had other ideas. Just as we were switching it off in perfect sailing conditions, it stalled and was not going to re-start. In the past this has been down to a fuel blockage, so I went into the “clear blocked fuel line” routine again. Having tried 3 different solutions, including running from a spare fuel can, I could still not get any fuel to flow through the pump and concluded that it must be the pump itself that was the problem. Aha, thought I, this is where junking the generator pays off- I have a spare fuel pump! Two hours later and we limped back into St Raphael with the engine running well enough with a jury rigged electrical fuel pump hanging in mid air as none of the lines I had were long enough. The port people were great, on standby to help us into a berth and organising for a proper engineer to come & hopeful sort us out.
Later: the engineer reckons we have to have a new fuel pump, but the supplier hasn’t said when it will arrive. We met him as we went for a morning walk today (Sunday) and he said “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, who knows?” with a typical Gallic shrug. We’re getting short on time, so I may have to may the jury rig more robust so we can move on if it takes that long.