43:22.07N 8:23.74W La Coruna - Mixed Feelings

Niord's Big Adventure
Tony Gratton
Sun 9 Jul 2023 21:08
01-09/07/2023 La Coruna
Our arrival at La Coruna should have been a celebration, but it was not too be. We were all dog-tired after Biscay. As Niord slipped into her berth, a loud clunking noise was heard when she was put into reverse, so the usually faultless engine on which so much preparation had been made was quickly shut down. Something major was amiss. The second disaster followed in quick succession. Our main cold water pump decided to give up the ghost.
This was parked for now as we had formalities to complete, involving a brisk walk to the port police before they shut down for the weekend. Next priority was lunch and a beer in a cafe overlooking the marina. This raised our spirits somewhat. We had a major clean-up to do down below after Biscay! Neil had talked a neighbour into lending us an air pump, so Tony could check the pressure in the accumulator tank, in case this was the issue. No joy. On returning the pump to Chris from Ragdoll, he jumped at the chance to help, so instead of heading out for the evening, Tony rolled up his sleeves once more and set to with Chris. Chris had experience of similar issues in the past, and is a qualified naval architect! He soon identified the problem, and with the aid of some of Tony's ample spares the pump was brought back to life, and the foot-pump was transferred to a different feed. After a couple of celebratory G & T's with Chris, we were sufficiently revived to head out for the evening for tapas.
Sunday was Mr C's birthday, so all of our troubles were parked for the day, as we set out to explore La Coruna, and find somewhere for dinner. We took a walk through the old town to the beach, pausing for a beer on the way, and another on the way back. This was when we discovered 1906. A gorgeous reserve beer which became our bevvy of choice for the rest of our time here. In the evening, we had an excellent meal at Portella with the odd glass of vino!
Monday, the day of reckoning. The boys were packed off for some sightseeing while the aft cabin was emptied to access the aft engine bay, prop shaft and stern gland. There was carnage in my pristine engine bay! The bolt holding the shaft in place was in two pieces buried under the engine, and the shaft had slid out from the coupling, just about hanging on by the last millimetre of key. There was a good splattering of oil right and left of the shaft. Tony's heart sank. Niord was going to have to be lifted to assess the damage. The good news was that as the shaft had slid out, we had probably not dropped a blade. Next thing was an underwater inspection using our endoscope tied onto a boathook. The boys had returned and Neil lent a hand. The news was better. The prop was intact, and from what we could see there was no damage to the rudder. Neil was itching for a swim, so jumped (literally) at the chance to do an underwater inspection. Tony had borrowed Chris' (from Ragdoll) underwater air supply, but Neil did not need it. Neil's dip confirmed the better news.
Tony and Neil managed to get the shaft back into place, and Tony fabricated an emergency bolt from an old anode stud in his stores. We weren't going anywhere without a proper repair though.
Tuesday, the boys left us. Mr C's aging sailing jacket was consigned to the bin after raining plastic 'snow' throughout the boat!
Thursday, the replacement bolts arrived. Unfortunately, so did the Orcas, some four weeks earlier than last year, making their presence felt with their first attack in Galicia. This was smack in the middle of our route down to Baiona!
Friday, the new bolt was fitted, and a major clean-up in the aft engine bay had things once more restored to their usual pristine condition. Now the weather was against us, with strong wind and big swells at Finisterre. And so it proved to be also in La Coruna. Luckily we had the 'conservatory' up, so could watch events serenely from the cockpit. We decided to delay our departure until Monday. We were eight days late, and about 120 nm short of our original landfall, placing us under serious time pressure to make Lagos by the end of the month, notwithstanding the Orcas waiting along our route...
Some impressions of La Coruna. Beautiful vibrant old town with a great vibe, and some excellent food and drink. Still light, and blue skies at 10 pm as we're so far west. Artisan ice cream, and pleasant walks. The Torre de Hercules looking West towards Finisterre, our next destination.