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

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!!


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.