Our Easter Sunday was spent on passage, a pretty good way of enjoying it in our opinion. The passage from Karacoren to Marmaris we estimated would take us about 7 hours, assuming we maintained an average speed of about 6 knots so we didn’t have the luxury of hanging around. While we had the engine on all the way, we did unfurl the genoa a couple of times, which helped us along a bit. We were happy to be tied up in our berth in Netsel Marina by 3:30pm so we could settle in and prepare for the rigger’s arrival the following day.
Replacing the standing rigging was quite a process. We had agreed to have the mast removed and the majority of the work to be done while the mast was on dry land. So, on Easter Monday (during Ramadan, here in Turkey), the riggers (Tarkan and colleague from Performance Marine Services) set about removing and folding all three sails, the mainsail boom and two downwind poles that normally reside on the mast as well as disconnecting all the wiring for the wind instruments, radar, VHF, lights, etc. from the bottom of the mast and removing all but one halyard that lead to the cockpit. That was one full day’s work. The remaining halyard was used the following day to hoist Tarkan on his Bosun’s chair so he could secure the lifting straps around the mast just below the second spreader.
The mast was to be removed by crane in the haul-out dock of the marina but the marina had too many boats either being hauled or re-launched that day so we had to wait until the end of their working day, i.e. 5:30pm before we could enter the dock. However, we were delighted by the diligence, attention and skill of our two riggers and the crane operator as well as the support given by other riggers, who just appeared at the appropriate moment, and a forklift operator during the whole operation. The support shown gave us confidence that our guys were well respected amongst their peers.
As part of our annual contract at Finike Marina, we were able to stay in Netsel Marina (also one of the Setur marinas) for seven nights without additional mooring fees. We decided to leave the marina on the Wednesday to save precious days and instead anchor off Marmaris beach. When we enquired about the marina fees they would charge once our 7 days were up, this was a no-brainer; the cost would have been about €300/night!!! Actually, the holding is good and there is plenty of space so it really wasn’t a hardship and in fact gave us an opportunity to check out how well our new anchor behaved.
Tarkan and his assistant not only replaced all the rigging but also fully serviced all the furling gear for the two headsails and the mainsail. We were particularly concerned about the genoa furler as it has been giving us trouble. They completely stripped all the furling gear down and replaced various parts (seals and the main bearing for in the genoa furler). Hopefully this has solved the issues we have had. So far so good, but time will tell. They also had replacement sheaves made for the track blocks for our genoa sheets which were badly worn. Meanwhile, we set to work to clean up around where the mast was stepped on the keel, re-paint the aluminium deck collar around the mast and touch up some spots on the mast where the paint was beginning to bubble. Finally we managed to clean and polish the mast so it matches the shiny new stainless steel rigging. We and the riggers were ready to re-step the mast one week after it was removed.
With our rigging completed and all sails, electrics, etc. re-installed, we thought we were in pretty good shape to continue our cruising. However, the boat had other plans. The attachment point for the hydraulic ram to raise and lower the swim platform broke. Tarkan kindly came to the rescue and had a stronger attachment made which we then installed successfully. Then it became clear we needed to have a professional help us service the vacuflush toilets. Fortunately we managed to find Adnan, of Ege Marine based in Yacht Marina, who serviced the two toilets one by one and replaced various parts. This involved a couple of trips across Marmaris Bay to anchor off Yacht Marina for a few hours at a time. Meanwhile we had time to peruse all the wonderful Marmaris chandlers and stock up on various spares. While doing so, Howard was tempted to replace our 6 HP outboard motor, with a 9.8 HP one that was on special offer during Ramadan. Our problem was that we didn’t want to have two outboards and had no good way of selling the 6HP one. The morning we were about to leave Marmaris we had a text from the shop selling the 9.8 HP engine saying he had found a buyer for ours. So, we spent another day in Marmaris exchanging outboards!
Finally on the 4th of May, we departed Marmaris, almost a month after we arrived. How time flies! We wanted to stop off at the fuel dock before departure but a large gullet beat us to it and after an hour of hanging around, we decided to head out. We are glad we did because a few minutes after leaving the confines of the harbour, a thunderstorm struck with strong gusts which would have been hard to deal with; we were much better off out in open water. It didn’t last long so we continued to head for Ciftlik, just 12 nm away. We were glad to be anchored when numerous boats arrived later in the afternoon and into the evening. However, we had to re-anchor, around 2300h, after a wind shift because the anchor was struggling to re-set in a weedy patch.
The next day we proceeded to Bozukale at the western end of the gulf. We sailed most of the way with reefed genoa alone as the wind was gusting up to 30 knots at times. We were particularly pleased that we could sail using the autopilot and make water and still the solar panels were able to keep charging our batteries. We decided to tie up at the Sailors House dock. Fortunately the owners were there to help us with our lines because the wind was blowing us off the dock. The meal ashore was excellent, as was the warm welcome by the family who own the restaurant and dock.
The following day found us in Bozburun, a lovely well-protected bay with a small harbour. As the wind was light, we decided to try out our mainsail on the way there. We unfurled it carefully, knowing that it had been furled in the marina when the wind was behind us (not ideal). Upon furling it again, we noticed that the new splice in the furling line was jamming so we contacted Tarkan. We passed two large boatyards on the way into Bozburun where gullets are made. Needless to say, there were numerous gullets all around the bay and moored along the outer harbour wall, most waiting for the tourist season to start.
We were in Bozburun several times in 2020 and again sought out Osman’s Place, a restaurant on the waterfront owned by a very hospitable Turk and his Scottish wife. On May 10 we dined there along with 2 Australian couples and an American couple, most of whom had also overwintered in Finike. While in Bozburun, Tarkan came down to replace the mainsail furler line, and also to try and sort out why, after replacing the rigging the mainsail was jamming in the mast. The conclusion was that the sail, 2008 vintage, was too old and had bellowed out too much. We have a new Elvstrom main being delivered tomorrow, five days after the measurer came to the boat! We also had a diver down to check the prop and anodes, and to clean the hull. Unfortunately, when Howard took his first swim of the year he had to spend about and hour cleaning off the marine growth that the diver had ’missed’. We had some fun running-in the new outboard and after a few hours are happy to report that the dinghy planes with the two of us aboard. That makes for a happy hubby :-). The Tohatsu 9.8 is a lot quieter than the previous Honda.
On Thursday, May 11 we departed on an 18.3nm passage to Orhaniye, a well protected inlet with its ’Jesus’ spit (people can walk out on the spit in ankle deep water way out into the bay). We will stay here a few days to shelter from some strong winds, and wait for our new sail and Tarken to re-tune the rigging after the new rigging had settled in and to make some adjustments to the in-mast furling system. The folks we dined with in Bozburun are also here, so it’s quite a sociable gathering. Yesterday evening we all had drinks and nibbles on the American couples’ (Hanan and Lisa) Hella 44 catamaran, MaxtoSea. A 2019, very spacious boat, bought sight unseen in Finike, with 2,600w of solar; definitely no need for a generator!
On Tuesday, Ian, the previous owner of the boat will be joining us as we venture north up the coast. He has very kindly agreed to bring an AIS unit and a transducer for the watermaker, both essential replacement parts for the current malfunctioning components.
Our short-term goal is still to reach Istanbul by mid June, if we can, and then head south-ish around the Greek islands, taking advantage of the northerly Meltemi winds, when they are not too onerous. They are at their peak in July and August and can blow hard for several days at a time.
November should see us back in the US, celebrating Thanksgiving with Scott and his family in their new house in Southern Pines, North Carolina.