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.

At the bottom of the blogs is a 'subscribe' link. After subscribing your web browser will automatically check for any updates that have been posted.

Happy sailing,

Paul Fay

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Enjoying the Netherlands

We left Harlingen and sailed along to the Ijsselmeer where we entered and anchored behind the dam for the night, then onto one of the free moorings at Stavoren before going to Hoorne where we anchored for a few days enjoying the old town and many restored ships.

We passed through Amsterdam along the canal before turning South and stopping at the Ijmond marina. Just after the marina is a motorway bridge that we didn't realise only opened every four hours. As we came round the bend at 09:55 we watched it close and were getting rather hot under the collar trying to contact someone to get it opened when I noticed a telephone number and a really helpful chap from the water authority informed us of the next opening time - 14:00 hours. We sat there for the four hours and waited - only slightly impatient.

Once through, the next town is Harlem where it costs 15 Euros to pass through all the eight bridges but only another 3 Euros to stay overnight with water and electricity. We paid the 18 Euros and stayed.

Willemstad was next where we went out and had a meal on our wedding anniversary before heading to Veerse Meere which is packed with free mooring places. Some are on the islands and some on the shore. All have rubbish bins and very basic toilet facilities. We are currently using these moorings while waiting for the weather to improve before heading the 12 miles down the canal to Flushing and then West towards the UK.

If possible while on the way, we will once again go up the canal from Zeebrugge to Bruges and stay at the yacht club there before crossing to the UK.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Through Holland

Ti Gitu stopped at Borkum before entering Holland again at Lauwersoog. We went through the lock and into the lakes where we stopped at a 3 x 24 free stopping pontoon. It was magic. From there it was a really slow trip through the canals to Dokkum and then on through towards Leeuwarden. Again we were stopping at the free pontoons and at one we met Ewout and Caroline, an Anglo - Dutch couple who are really great and really kind to us giving lots of local knowledge to help us on our way.

The stern gland of Ti Gitu was leaking so we turned off the direct mast up route and headed to Harlingen and out to the Frisian island of Vlieland where we dried Ti Gitu out on the beach and changed the seal also the shaft anode and scrubbed the bottom again, which actually was fairly clean.

A gale was forecast so the next morning we headed back towards Harlingen, having to tack to windward for 20 miles, thinking that we might carry on towards the Ijsselmeer but the current was very strong against us as we turned to go South West along the coast and being rather tired from the previous days exertions we telephoned Willem the harbourmaster of the H.W.S.V. yacht club who had a berth for us. This yacht club / marina is a gem. It is in the old moat from when the town was protected with 'star' embankments. It is a bit narrow to get into but really well sheltered and very quiet unlike the moorings in the middle of the town which are surrounded with restaurants and bars. We have decided to stay here for a couple of days before taking a good tide down to the Ijsselmeer.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

On to Holland.

Going out between the Friesian islands can be difficult with tides and so we opted to go through the Waddensea. This is the area between the islands and the mainland. We were doing our 'Riddle of the sands' bit.

There are shallow creeks running behind the islands and the guide books say that a vessel of 1.5 meters depth can pass through at high tide. The channels are marked each year with 'withies' which are Silver Birch sticks with a few branches left at the top. They follow one side of the channel at up to about 200 meters apart and it was difficult to guess how far we should be away from them. We made our way to Langeoog for a couple of nights and then towards Norderney. This was particularly difficult as nearing high tide we ran aground and had fears of being stuck for a while. In the end we only stuck for an hour before the last of the tide allowed us to carry on.

A Withie. 

Mo has a fit each time we see anything resembling a withie!!!

We arrived in Norderney late in the evening to find the place jammed with boats and we had to raft 4 deep against the harbour wall. We had enjoyed the place when we were there before, cycling round the island.

This time the marina manager made it very clear he did not like Brexiteers - "Zis is der vay ve do things in Germany" etc. etc. Isn't it a shame that out of all the really nice people we met  in Germany it is the rectum that will be remembered.

We left there early the next morning round the outside to Borkum for a night then onto Lauwersoog and into the Lauwersmeer which are a lake area with lots of the 3 x 24's. These are pontoons or shore side mooring places where you can stay for 3 days for free. We spend several days in the lake and then moved into the canal system proper staying at a shore side mooring.

The engine repairs are holding up despite being partly temporary, I expect they will last OK until we are back in the UK. Also the patch that I glued with evo stik on the forward sail seems to have cured that problem as we have used it in some strong winds.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Back through the Kiel canal and engine problems

We decided that cruising in the part of the Baltic we had seen was not our type of cruising. We like anchorages and meeting like minded cruisers. It was therefore decided to head back through the Kiel canal and have a gentle cruise through the Friesian Islands.

But the engine was making distressing noises again just like when the drive plate had failed. I emailed the company who manufactures the plate stating what had happened and said that I expected them to send another to us without charge as when I had asked them they said the one supplied by their Dutch agent would be fine. I then telephoned them and was amazed at the response. I have been using their products for decades and can not believe the negative response I got.

I ordered a replacement from another source which got lost in the TNT hacking fiasco.

When we were approaching Kiel and motor sailing we began to hear more noises as we heeled. I began to suspect that the engine mounts were failing. This was something surprising as I had only replaced them nine months before. When we arrived at the waiting pontoon for the canal and I could examine things properly I found that the mounts has failed. Problem is they came from the same company as the drive plate.

Deciding to use another 'Vetus' type mounting I tried to find some in the Kiel area as it appeared that trusting the parcel carriers from the UK would be unwise.

Eventually I found another make which has the same specification as the Vetus ones and with some slight adjustments they were fitted.

All the noises stopped!!

After a week on the pontoon we headed through the canal stopping in a couple of places and then stopping in Cuxhaven for a couple of nights before taking the only Easterly winds forecast for a long time and went and anchored behind one of the Friesian islands, Wangerooge, where we dried Ti Gitu out and gave her a long overdue bottom scrub.

The drive plate never arrived. It was on a TNT two day delivery service and after about ten days when the tracking started working again it showed as having been delivered and signed for by someone with a Rhodesian name. The supplier is asking TNT to find the parcel and return it.

I have told the company who supplied the engine mounts about the failure and they requested photographs and other details which I presume they will send the manufacturer. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

We are currently making our way West through the Frisians and in a few days hope to be at Lauweroog in Holland where we will enter the canal system for a while going round to Harlingen. Although we have seen it before and it will be busy with boats the Dutch canal system in really nice and there is plenty to see and easy cycling to different places. I think the canals are nicer than either the area of the Baltic we saw or the Frisian islands which all seem to be tourist traps.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Sweden and South again

We went across the straight to Sweden. I had emailed the marina there for the price but had not had a reply. It is only 2.5 miles across and on arrival we realised that this particular marina is incredibly expensive. We watched local come and tie up for a short while and leave again. We decided to do the same and went for a walk around the town before leaving and going back across to Denmark where we anchored for a couple of nights.

It looked like the weather was going to be poor for a while so we decided to start heading South again and go to Germany again.

After the anchorage just South of Helsingor we had a fast sail to Rodvig where we again anchored and then started through the straight North of the island of Mon.

It is all very shallow and the channel is very twisty but fairly well marked and all was fine. We anchored half way for the night but as is often the case here found that the bottom was weedy and we had difficulty finding a clear patch for the anchor. There was little wind overnight so it was fine and we continued to Vordingborg where we went into the marina and an alongside berth rather than a 'box' berth but still with the difficult to use hoops rather than cleats to moor to.

All of the intake water filters need careful watching as they are collecting lots of the weed which floats around.

We are now going South West towards the Kiel canal but the problem looks like being the wind which is basically forecast to be Westerly and wet for a while.

So far the sailing in the Baltic has been pretty good, we haven't used the engine much at all. There is little fetch for waves to build so it has all been a bit like 'lake' sailing. Down side is the lack of decent anchorages and places to land with the dinghy which means using marinas but these are reasonable compared with the UK at about £18 to £20 a night and some of the more remote ones are less. Food prices in Denmark are generally around 40% higher than home and the cost of eating out can be very high. We found that Germany and Holland are considerably less expensive.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Copenhagen and Helsingoer

After Koge came Copenhagen. We chose one of the smaller marinas within easy cycling distance of the city. This was Kalkbranderihaven which has 250 berths, the one a few yards away has over 1000. The people were incredibly nice to us and the yacht club invited us to use any of their facilities and when they had a party invited us for a meal. The only problem we discovered was that the restaurant in the marina is really a night club which kept everyone awake until 03.30 on the Sunday morning.

Copenhagen is a nice city, Mo liked it more than me, it is a real tourist trap with a couple of cruise liners disgorging several thousand people each day. A day was spent looking round and the next visiting the national museum which has an incredible amount to see.

After catching up on sleep Sunday night we set off North. We tried anchoring close to Copenhagen but it was rocky and we ended up several miles up the coats where we found sand fairly close in. A couple of nights were spent there before sailing on to Helsingoer.

This is at the point where Denmark is just two and a half miles from Sweden and where the Danes collected dues from passing ships for centauries, which made Denmark wealthy at that time.

The fortress there is impressive and despite being somewhat expensive to look over we felt it was worth the price.

Across the water is a marina in the Swedish city of Helsingborg where we will head for a couple of nights to see the old city.

The cost of marinas here is reasonable compared to the UK at around £18 to £20 a night but the price of food in the supermarkets is high, nearly twice as much as the UK and surprisingly alcohol is just a bit more expensive until you make the mistake I made in Copenhagen ordering a bottle of beer which was opened before I realised that it cost £8.50!!!!

After Sweden we are looking forward to getting back to Germany to re stock the larder with reasonably priced food and after that anchoring in the Frisian islands will be nice again.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

North through Dane Land

The Kiel canal was a bit like driving down a motorway with trees blocking the view on each side and after the Dutch and earlier French canals it seemed rather bland.

At the Kiel end we stopped for a few days before sailing towards Heiligenhaven but the wind forgot the forecast and turned East dead on our nose. After tacking for hours we anchored off a beach which was fine and the next morning headed for Heiligenhaven. This is just a tourist trap and we simply anchored off and left the next morning.

The next stop was Burgstaaken for a night then a rather poor anchorage North West of Gedser point before going to Klintholm marina on the island of Mon.

I have often noticed that many sailing folk from this area don't have very good anchor gear or skills and we are beginning to realise that they rarely anchor they just tend to sail from marina to marina which explains things. So far we have found very few decent anchorages.

It is all fairly flat but Mo did notice the local mountain - a sand dune at about 100ft high.

We were two days sail from Copenhagen but a gale was forecast and looking on the chart we noticed Koge tucked in the bay. It has a recently built marina and is very reasonably priced so we headed there.

A pleasant day was spent looking round the old town and visiting the museum where they give you an I pad with ear phones with an audio description all the exhibits. A really good system.

Currently Ti Gitu is sat in a 'box' berth in Koge waiting for the gale to pass. These 'box' berths are not easy to use, especially with 40ft, 15 tons and a cross wind. They are just two poles out from the pontoon which the boat passes through having to lasso them for the stern lines before getting a line ashore at the bow. Not easy at the best of times and in Klintholm it is made doubly difficult as there are not cleats to lasso but hoops that a rope has to be passed through. If there is no one ashore to help it is nearly impossible. Not designed by a sailor!! We have been somewhat comforted to see that the locals all seem to get it a wrong as us!!