Welcome

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find the journeys of Ti Gtu and information that I have researched and found useful for maintaining and servicing yachts and motorboats.

I post full information that I find on the Fay Marine information site, accessed through www.faymarine.com/ and I can be emailed at paul@faymarine.com.



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Happy sailing,



Paul Fay



Monday, 29 May 2017

On to Cuxhaven and through the canal.


Norderney was left on Thursday and initially getting round the end of the island was 'fast n frillin' but as soon as we were out the wind was very good. We were aiming to go into an island called Wangerooge for the night but the sailing was fast and as our arrival would have been at least an hour before there was enough water to enter we decided to go to the East end and anchor for the night. As around most of the Frisians the channels have changed slightly and where it is shown as having plenty of depth for anchoring, we actually dried out for a while but that was fine and other than that we had a quiet night.

The anchorage was left at 10am on Friday for Cuxhaven which means negotiating the shipping lanes which have very heavy traffic and the German authorities reasonably expect yachts to keep well out of the way.

It was thick fog and we negotiated the shallows out hoping that it would clear once out. It did thin but was very disconcerting and we were very glad of the AIS receiver which shows all the ships around and where they are going.

After clearing the shallows we hoisted the forward sail to find that it had ripped at the top during the fast sailing. How we hadn't noticed it was a mystery. A temporary repair was made and we carried on into Cuxhaven where the sewing machine was put into service and a repair made.

After a couple of days there we entered the Kiel canal and started the passage through.

Mo was finding the sailing very tiring and I was not much better so we stopped twice as we passed through the canal eventually deciding that it would be pushing things much too much if we pressed on to Poland as we had intended so we decided to enter the Baltic and very gently sail towards Copenhagen.

 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Through to the sea - eventually.


We carried on through stopping at Dokkum for a couple of nights. This was a fortified town still surrounded by the moat and star shaped earth battlements. There are two enormous windmills on two of the star points which are very spectacular. The cost to moor up overnight is under 8 Euros.

From Dokkum we went just 13 miles to a lock where we left the canal system to go out behind the Frisian islands. We went through the lock in the evening and set sail in the morning to cover the 50 miles to Norderney.

Didn't we get it wrong!!! We did not realise that the tides inside the Frisians can change up to 2 hours earlier than the tide outside. This left us plugging a foul tide to get the other side of the island and then the wind died. We turned back. Went back through the lock and as the wind was forecast to go Easterly for a few days sat on one of the totally free docks provided all over Holland for three nights.

We did lots of cleaning and touching up the hull paint where I had managed to scratch it going through the locks. Found that the outboard fuel pump was leaking so bodged that with a couple of paper gaskets and then set off again through to exit at Delfzul and sail to Borkum the first of the German Friesians.

On arrival we moored next to a Dutch cruiser we had met before and his greeting was 'you're ok you're leaving the EU!!!' Apparently the Bio fuel that the EU forces it's citizens to use had gone foul and stopped his engine. He then proceeded tell us that it is a known problem and complain about lots of the laws they are having to adhere to like the EU suddenly banning 2 stroke scooters leaving all the dealers with lots of them that they can't sell.

The UK government went against EU law and allows marine diesel not to contain bio fuel which stops the problems found in Europe.

We stopped one night in Borkum before sailing (and getting the tides correct) for Norderney.

On arrival we were met by the police who with great language difficulties said that the marine police would be along to see us about going aground. We initially didn't understand but after they had gone we realised that they thought we had grounded outside. We had followed another British boat in and when the marine police arrived in their dinghy they looked at us then went off in the direction of the other British yacht. It wasn't us that had caused a problem but we were the boat with a recognisable red ensign not a white one so the land police had visited the wrong yacht.

 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Broken down.


Broken down.

 

We left Harlingen for a gentle motor through to Dokkum. Leaving the marina was interesting as at high tide the lock from the sea into the canal is opened for a few hours causing quite a current through the marina. The manager and another man came to help us and were very pleased when we managed to get out easily. Actually when reversing the skeg and rudder got stuck in the mud allowing the current to turn the boat in what appeared to be perfect control. PHEW!!! if only the watchers could have taken my pulse!!

We motored up the canal for just a few kilometres when the engine slowed and shortly after that started making a horrible loud rattle. I dived below and started examining the motor. It was quickly evident that something had gone wrong with the drive between the engine and gearbox as there was an enormous amount of what looked like sand coming out at the bottom of the housing.

We were approaching a bridge which opened and on the other side was a yacht waiting quay which we gratefully tied to.

Up on the bridge there were workers cleaning it and Mo went up to them and they called the bridge controller who said that someone would come and see us. After a short while a launch with police type people aboard came and discussed things with us. They preferred us not to stay on that quay and arranged for us to go to a commercial dock where we could stay for a while. As it was difficult for us to move they tied us alongside the launch and took us back through the bridge to the Shipdock Draaisma, which is actually a covered dry dock with two boats in being worked on.

There is a supplier of the R&D drive plate in The Netherlands and the boss of the yard called them and after a couple of days a new drive plate arrived. The supplied plate is an R&D one but different to the original which did worry me but another call to R&D in the UK reassured me and the cost was reasonable for an essentially British part supplied abroad working out at £208 rather than the £168 it would have cost in the UK. Thank goodness I can fix it myself as labour would have been expensive.

Why it happened.

This is actually the second time in 15 years that this plate has failed so I called R&D and had a long conversation with their excellent .






 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Through to Harlingen.



After Marken we had really good sails through the Meeres and then out into the sea again at the East end of the 15mile long Afsluitdijk dam. This is just a few miles from Harlingen and the whole trip from Marken took two days.
In Harlingen Ti Gitu went through the lock into the canal system again and into the HWSV marina. This is a small marina actually on part of the canal or moat around the old town. We have been here twice before. It is incredibly tight to get into but once in the shelter is really good. The moorings are 'box' type which have two posts to get between and then tie to them and the shore. The marina put a red or green sign at the end and the green means that the berth is available for use. The manager is really helpful and as Mike is leaving us here offered to take him to the train station rather than getting a taxi.
Mike's son Mark is currently in Harlingen having work done aboard the 80 meter motor yacht he captains. It was great to see him again and amazing to have a look at a vessel of this type which despite being ten years old is still in immaculate condition.
Ti Gitu needed a good clean and we needed a rest and supplies also the wind is Easterly so we stopped in Harlingen for a week and plan to set off through the canals to Dokkum and then Lauwersoog while waiting for the wind to turn from the East so that we can head for the Kiel canal.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

North through Holland



After a couple of nights we left Brugges and sailed along the coast to Vlissingen pronounced Flushing. This is where the Dutch canal system can be entered and the 'mast up route' through Holland taken. It was a gentle trip just making around 30 miles a day ending up passing through Amsterdam on the North Sea Canal and out into Marker Meer.
While passing through the town of Haarlem we watched a rather different type of street cleaner. It was a small barge which not only cleaned the surface of any trash but also had a grab which was used to find and retrieve the bikes that had fallen into the water. There was a pile of them aboard.

Strange street cleaner.
When I was younger we knew this as the Zeider Zee. It is a vast inlet which has been dammed in two places. The Southern part renamed Marker Meer and the North called Ijssel Meer.
In the South part is the island of Marken. The whole island is below the level of the surrounding water with a dyke all the way round the island and the harbour.

Houses behind the dyke at Marken.
The whole place is incredibly 'quaint' or 'picture squeaky' as Mo and her friends describe these sort of places. Ti Gitu entered the harbour to find that for three days the mooring there is free. Surprising as it is a very popular place and even in the cold weather we are having, the island is full of tourists all day.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Across the Channel to Bruges

Monday the 10th April saw us leave Dover and first head due East then turn South East to cross the shipping lanes before the last leg to Dunkirque. The wind was light but good and we averaged 5 knots all the way.
 
Sunrise at sea.
One night was spent in Dunkirque before heading along to Zebrugge. Ti Gitu passed through the outer harbour and entered the enormous lock with two car transporters which made us feel like an ant next to them. One burst from one of their propellers would have had us crashed into the lock wall. However the lock keepers and tug operators were great and moved the front ship first and then let us go before the second.
 
In the lock with the 'Big Guys'.
We went up the canal to the small marina at Bruges and had a great day out looking at the town. The central square is amazing only slightly spoilt on our visit as there was a fair occupying the centre which stopped us standing there and looking around the whole in one go.
There was a Salvadore Dahli exhibition which Mo and Mike wanted to see so they went and I walked around the town soaking up the real art unlike what they were viewing. (being such a politically correct person Mo and Mike didn't really want me in there with them).
 
Part of Bruges square.
We only stayed the two nights and in reality it was not worth the effort of going up the canal. It would have been much easier to stay in the marina at Zebrugge and take a bus up to Bruges.
We left Bruges intending to spend a night in Zebrugge but as the wind was fair and we were through the lock (on our own) decided to sail the 15 miles along and entered the canal system in Holland at Vlissingen.


Sunday, 9 April 2017


We dried Ti Gitu out on the sand at East Head and gave the bottom a scrub. It was just slimy with some weed and came off easily but still wears you out doing it. 
 
On the beach at Chichester
 
It was Wednesday when we left Chichester harbour sailing in light winds and flat seas. Best way to start the summers sailing.

We had looked at going into Brighton and then Easbourne marinas but the obscene charges of £40.00 to park a boat for a few hours stopped us. We decided on Shoreham which is a commercial port and much more reasonably priced and then went and anchored off the beach at Eastbourne for the next night.

The problem with sailing this coast is the strong tides and general lack of anchorages. However with the light winds anchoring off the beach was fine.

Friday saw us arrive at Dover where our friend Mike is going to join us for a while going over to Dunkerque and then along the European coast towards the Keil canal and the Baltic for the summer.

A few hours after arriving in Dover we had a visit from two very nice officers of the UK Border Force. They obviously wanted to know where we had come from and how many people on board and once they were happy that we weren't trafficking people they then gave us lots of information about how to avoid any problems while in Europe and especially when returning. 

The wind looks good for crossing the channel on Monday so here's hoping.