Corsica to Sardenia and lots of wind

Our anchorage at Porto Frialis on the east coast of Sardenia. We are sheltering from a NNE gale that has been blowing for 2 days now.


Problems in Ajaccio

We left Ajaccio on Tuesday. To keep on schedule we want to get to Tunisia by the middle of the month, so we had to keep moving. Things didn’t go so well for us in Ajaccio, our port engine driven 110 Amp Mastervolt alternator that charges our main lithium battery bank stopped working. Outremer arranged for parts to be sent to Ajaccio for us, so we waited there 3 extra days, but they never arrived and we needed to keep going, so we had to leave without them. Our starboard alternator is working fine, and pretty much all our power needs are handled by the solar panels and the hydro generator, so it’s not a huge issue to be without half our engine charging capacity. 

We had an accident at the Ajaccio fuel dock before we left. I was pulled up well forward of the dock and we had the fuel fill hoses extended out to top up our tanks, when a power boat came in behind us and lost control of his boat in a wind gust and smashed his anchor into the back of our transom. The damage isn’t severe, but we exchanged insurance info and he called his insurance company to tell them it was his fault. We will have to deal with the repairs and claims once we get back to Marseille. 

Our port transom handrail took the brunt of the impact. He hit us pretty hard so we are very lucky there was not more damage

This accident happened the day after Gavin and I had to push off another boat that was about to run into us in the anchorage as they were pulling up their anchor. It’s just too crowded here and too many of the people have very little experience. 

We stopped on Tuesday night in another crowded anchorage 20 miles south of Ajaccio, and after having to adjust our rode twice during the night so other boats wouldn’t swing into us, we decided we had had enough of crowded Corsica and it was time to move on to Sardinia. 

The passage to the NE coast of Sardinia involves traversing the Bonifacio straight which was pretty sporty as we had 25 to 30 knot winds and 3m seas. We had a very fast sail over to Sardenia and found a nice anchorage just south of the islands. 

Another 25 knot wind from the NNE yesterday brought us to Porto Frailis on the SE coast of Sardenia. It’s one of the only anchorages we could find that gives protection from northerly winds. We are staying here an extra day as it’s blowing a gale from the north again today. The strong winds have given us some excellent, fast sailing days, but the crew is getting a bit tired of all the motion. 

Things that have broken

Ocean cruising boats have literally thousands of systems and components and for the most part everything works great, even in such a harsh environment of wind, motion and salt water. But stuff breaks all the time and that’s just part of the experience when cruising. The trick is to have enough spares, tools and MacGuyver skills to fix or work around the problems as they occur. 

I’ve really benefited by talking to other sailors about problems they have experienced and how they solved them, so I’ll do the same and list the problems we encounter on Wildling as we go along. 

Mastervolt alternator failure. I’ve already talked about this, see above. 

This is the error code we get simce the alternator stopped working. There are also a lot of small plastic particles on the floor in the engine room. I’m assuming they arrived when the alternator died!


Sea water pump failure. The pump stopped working because the internal pressure switch broke. I can’t find a replacement switch so this remains out of action until we get back to France. 

Starboard shower drain pump failure. It looks like the pump got stuck and the nylon gears stripped out. There was nothing unusual about how we were using the pump so it’s a fault in the pump. We can’t get a replacement until we get back to France so we are all sharing the port side shower. 

The water level gauge in the port fresh water tank is broken, it constantly reads 100%. I will need to get Outremer to look at this as it’s the second time it has happened. 

The top batten on the mainsail has snapped at the back of the fitting that attaches to the mast track. This is not a new problem, I think it happened during the Outremer cup, but I didn’t realize the issue until yesterday. We can still sail but I’m a bit worried about why it happened and how we can fix it to be sure it won’t happen again. We will have to talk to Incidences, the company that made the sail. 

We removed the batten fitting from the luff of the mainsail to see what happened. It is snapped about 3/4 of the way along


Getting Ready for Tunisia

Corinne, our guest for the last week, is leaving tomorrow morning to go back to London. She has been a lot of fun to have on board and we will miss her a lot!

Once the winds ease a bit we will continue on to Tunisia. It looks like the weather will be good the next few days, so we will hopefully  leave tomorrow. 

5 Comments on “Corsica to Sardenia and lots of wind

  1. OMG – I didn’t realize so many things could go wrong. Hope the rest of the sail goes smoothly. Have been enjoying the info and Robin’s photos. Very jealous of all the beautiful places you have visited – but I am living vicariously while you are on this sail.

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    • Hi Jackie, you know when we first started cruising in our Catana 471, I thought we were either really unlucky, or we had a bad boat when things broke constantly. Now I know the same stuff happens to everyone and it’s just part of the deal. They don’t tell you that in the brochures though! Someone once said that the definition of cruising is “Repairing sailboats in paradise!”

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  2. Hello Doug,

    thank you for the update. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while as I am in the market for a 5X, and the info you’ve provided is excellent !

    I was about to ask you if you could make a list of things that have broken down since delivery (and the cost of replacement, if not under warranty), but well, it seems you were faster than me…

    Anyway, I hope the rest of your trip goes well, and good luck with the insurance when you’re back in Marseille.

    Best
    Paul

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    • Hi Paul, so far everything that has failed has been fixed or replaced under warranty. Outremer is very good about that and it has never been a difficult conversation. It’s great peace of mind to know they are ready to help anytime there is a problem!

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      • That’s good t read. We are expecting to get delivered our new 51 in spring 2017 and I intend to have it in the med for around 18 months before heading to the Carribean.

        So far sailing always required repairs and I did and do not expect this to change a lot with a new boat. But I hope Outremer will handle things smoothly and gibe assistance.

        Like

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