Crossing the Ionian Sea

Sue & Alan
Mon 18 May 2015 15:07
Yesterdaym when the wind increased and we started seeing up to 40kn in big big seas I decided to save our jibsl & mainsl for another day. So we abandoned sailing, put the donk on at 2,000 rpm, pointed towards into wind (which was our best course over ground anyway) and then promptly retired below decks. We'd been taking many big hits from the sea and the sails were just flogging each time the seas knocked us aside whilst our autopilot corrected our course, so this decision made sense to protect us as well Ticketeeboo. These nasty conditions lasted almost 12 hours and we are so grateful for the safety of our little bubble below decks. At times we could barely make 2kn and only started touching 3kn towards the end of the day. Nose-into a F8 is not something to cherish. At times we were almost submarine. Whilst below decks taking shelter, we spotted another yacht, to stbd, with just a little genoa battling against the F8 & seas. He looked to be doing really well too. Fortunately, by obs
erving and admiring the show we were able to notice when he tacked and we soon realised this tack put them on a dangerous collision course with us. This meant I needed to be in the cockpit pronto and initiate an immediate change of course to take us round his stern. OK we're on the donk and we have to assume his engine might be off and he's only sailing so we get out of his way, safely. Don't mind any of that except I did get a little wet at the time......... and he was lucky we were keeping a good watch! Can't help feeling sorry for the drenched crew on that yacht though. It looked like a lighter factory yacht which was suffering badly making little headway into wind in terrible conditions. That's when Ticketeeboo delivers nicely helping keep us safe & dry. It finally rained early evening so we had a fresh water deck wash thrown in for free. By nine o'clock, just after dark, winds were down to 20kn so as soon as Sue hit the sack I made changes to take us through the night more effi
ciently. By midnight we were seeing variable 5kn wind and no change since or expected! Bit by bit the seas have calmed and all we have now is a 2-3m S'ly swell, which is on our beam to help rock us to sleep!!!
Deck inspection today revealed one kamikaze flying fish, which had entirely de-gutted itself when it impacted on our mainsheet winch during the storm. Also, our anchor retaining pin needed a new pin retainer. When I attempted to re-tighten our mast-mounted whisker-pole guess what? The sodden bayonet fitting came un-attached (for the second time) so now I have a longer locking screw fitted. The last problem I found is we have a missing bow roller nut and washer. Whilst this might not be fatal it can only get worse if we loose the complete roller and fittings. Hence I've made a temporary fix, pending sourcing a suitable 20mm nut and washer at Levkas. Earlier this morning I took the opportunity to shut the donk down and drift for short while so that I could check & lubricate our new Volvo shaft seal (I heard a strange noise at 03:00 and pin-pointed it to the shaft seal. The noise went when I gave it a squeeze to let some water temporary pass freely to lubricate & cool it. Volvo recommen
d adding grease every 200 hours and we've done 170 so that's another job ticked-off & ticketeeboo. Our oil levels are fine and the only other doubt I spotted was our engine exhaust hose. It looked like it had been overheating and it's outer black skin was almost white! A quick taste test by me supported by a more aggressive Sue taste-test, confirmed the white stuff is definitely salt. I can only deduce we must have a cockpit seawater leak, which drips onto our exhaust hose leaving us a tasty white salt residue. Another job for my todo list "Find & fix cockpit water leak".
Just one more day to far-far-away!
xxxx to F,J,P & S and S,R,M & T xxxx
Ticketeeboo MMSI 235071989 Callsign 2CED3, Ham callsign = m0hng
At 18/05/2015 14:45 UT our position was 38°11.10'N 018°10.78'E