Monday, June 30, 2014

St. Tropez Update

Mostly good news today.  All was fine at anchor.  The breeze dropped right off to 6 knots by about 1pm.  Our guests were finally delivered ashore and able to start their journey to Germany.  And, I was able to meet with the Harbor Master and the crew of the boat that caused all the trouble last night.  Everyone was very cooperative and shared their contact, insurance and registration info.  So...while it will be a hassle, I think all will end well.

Also, perhaps most importantly at this point it seems that most of my damage may be limited to the bow pulpit and some paint issues.  Structurally, I think/hope that the boat is sound!  She's a strong one!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trouble in Paradise

I actually liked St. Tropez much better when it looked like this…
gopro st. tropez 132
Unfortunately it now looks like this…
wind storm 133wind storm 134wind storm 135wind storm 136wind storm 137wind storm 138
Last night the winds came up at the dock to around 25 and of course some big old 55ft cruising boat decided he had to come in and tie up to the dock. I saw him back down the row from me and get into his assigned spot. Then a few minutes later -- bang!! Something hit us!! (The wind was from dead ahead of us.)
It was the cruiser and he's lying up against the four boats to my left and I guess he decided to stop going forward when he ran into my bow pulpit!! I have no idea how he got there but I wasn't in the mood to ask a lot of questions. So, being that we were in spot #1, I had the option to peel off right and leave the dock. I took that option in about 30 seconds flat.
No idea how that situation ended, but the last I saw was it didn't look good. We motored out into the bay here and dropped our anchor surrounded by multiple 100ft+ yachts and rode out the night in about 30-35. Now at 530am I've seen two gusts to 42!! The forecast is calling for 15-20!!!
So now we have our two guests onboard who had planned to leave at 830am via rental car for a drive to Munich.  No way to get them to shore, and this wind seems to not want to let up any time soon.  That should be interesting.
Also, I’d sort of like to get back to the marina myself.  I have a boat name, owners name, insurance company, etc. to get ahold of.  I suppose that info will be pretty easy to get from the marina or any of the other four boats that this guy decided to hit!!

World Cup

In St. Tropez watching the World Cup with the Dutch!!

Jim Gregory 

Friday, June 27, 2014

France: My initial observations...

My bathing suits seem to be much larger than those worn by the locals. 

Jim Gregory 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Just finished the overnight trip of 160 miles from Spain to France.  Crossed the Gulf of Lion without incident, but it certainly was less than comfortable. 

Avg speed about double that of my friends that just finished the Bermuda Race. That was a tough light air race...

Jim Gregory 

We are here!!!


Jim Gregory 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Projects Done! France is next.

Everything came together almost as planned yesterday and we are a few minutes away from leaving the marina here in Badalona.  First stop will be Palamos, Spain to see a friend and then hopefully we will cross the Bay of Leon and enter France within the next day or two.

Starting to wish that I'd studied my French a bit more...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hurry up and Wait!

There has been quite a bit going on lately, and yet none of it seems to exciting.  But, for those that want to know here is what we’ve been up to lately.

Last week, Deb and I flew to Miami to pick up our Spanish Resident Visas.  These visas will allow us to stay in the EU for more than the 90 day limit that currently exists for visitors from the United States.

Miami 047

We were thrilled last month when notified that the visas hade been approved.  Thrilled that is until we read that in order to pick up the visa we needed to visit the Spanish Consulate in Miami!  We were in Spain, but needed to fly “home” to pick up the visa before returning.  Ugh.





The best part about this trip “home” was that our son Patrick was returning from his adventure in South America.  With just a bit of planning we were able to coordinate our time in Miami with his return.  What a great bonus to have been able to spend Father’s Day with one of my two sons!!

After just three days in Miami, we got back on the plane and returned to Barcelona.  Our bags were full of supplies from West Marine and US grocery stores.  It was as thought we had gone home to go shopping!!

Before we left for Miami we had returned to EMV Marine, the yard that stored the boat over the winter.  We are very impressed with EMV Marine, and we left them a list of things to work on while we were gone with the hope that most would be finished when we returned.  Not very likely!!

Our list included;

  • Resolving some engine vibration that we were dealing with.  (Monday Target)
  • Installing a new three blade propeller.  (done)
    Miami 059Miami 063Miami 064
  • Repairing the hydraulic panel (today?)
  • Refinishing the carbon fiber binnacle (Monday?)
  • Completing the installation of the heater. (done)

Of course, when we returned, none of this work had been completed.  And so, we sit here once again “stuck” in Barcelona waiting for our departure date which now appears to be next Tuesday.

Thinks could be a lot worse.  We are not complaining!!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Spanish Consulate, Miami

First in line this morning to pick up our new Spanish long term visas!!

Jim Gregory 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pat is back!!

Great timing to be flying back to Miami to pick up our visas at the same time that Patrick is returning from four months in South America!!


Jim Gregory 

When it rains, it pours and pours…

When things go wrong on the boat, the situation often gets worse before it gets better.  Problems seem to show up in groups. The more of those problems that you have, the more difficult it is to determine the root cause.

Often times, the moment that you think you have everything under control is the time just before you find out that things are worse than ever.

Such was the case a couple of days ago, when for a few brief moments I was actually convinced that we must be sinking.

It all started when…

I decided to check the aft locker to make sure the heater and autopilot area was in good shape after our passage to Menorca.  Both of those items had seen a bunch of work over the past week and that’s usually where the follow-on trouble occurs.

I had been sitting at the Nav station directly over the fresh water pump and I’m sure that it was not running when I left.  But, by the time I’d made my way to the stern and opened the aft hatch, fresh water was shooting everywhere. Coincidence or not, this was definitely not good!!

Menorca Early June 111

It took about a second to find the source of this pressurized fountain of water.  A small fitting (shown here) that linked the hot water tank to the boats water system had cracked and slid off the pipe that it was attached to.

Highly motivated, I ran below and turned off the breaker for water pressure. 

The day was saved.  Or, so I thought!



Here’s where things start to get worse.

As expected the light indicating that the bilge pump had been activated was glowing brightly, but … the bilge pump was not running!  Why not?? (see footnote for explanation) 

Now, I was really not happy.  I lifted the main floorboard and was happy to see that it didn’t look like more than maybe a third of our fresh water had “escaped”. 

I then moved aft to see how much water was making its way through the aft cabin.  There was more than I wanted to see, and the shower sump in the head was overflowing as the water ran through the bilge to the main pump area.  Not, great but things were manageable.

I decided to flip on the shower sump to deal with the water there, and figured that would give me time to deal with the bilge pump malfunction.

Here is where things get really really bad!

I flipped the shower sump breaker and …. nothing!!  That pump is pretty noisy and there was nothing.  No noise.  What the heck?  Why were all my pumps dying at the same time???

I didn’t have time to worry about that for long, because when I looked back to check the shower pump, I noticed a miniature version of Niagara Falls entering the aft cabin.  There was water literally shooting out of the heater vent, and flowing out around the night light!! 

Holy shit!  I’ve got all my pumps on strike and now I’ve got water flooding the boat from god knows where.  I thought briefly about tasting the water at my feet, but realized I was standing in the head.  I love my boat, but that thought quickly evaporated. 

What was happening?  Where was the water coming from??  Why were my pumps not working???  Were we actually sinking???  What now?

Menorca Early June 114

And, then my moment of enlightenment, and shame! 

When I had flipped on the Shower Pump breaker, I had actually hit the wrong switch!!  (Yes, perhaps it is time for glasses.) 

What I actually did was turn the Water Pressure breaker back on!!  

On my way to saving the day, I had actually restarted the pressurized flow of water in the aft compartment and pumped our entire 40 gallon tank full of fresh water into the bilge!!

Who was it that decided to put those two breakers next to one another??? 

Nice work Jim…

*For anyone interested.  The bilge pump was not running because it’s thermal cutoff switch had engaged.  The pump is in the engine compartment.  We had run the engine for a couple of hours on a hot day, and then the pump probably kicked in and pumped the first 5 gallons or so of the flood waters overboard before cutting out.  Something to work on in the future for sure.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ciutadella, Menorca


On the far western end of Menorca is the city of Ciutadella, the old capital of the island.

We spent two days here last week docked at the local yacht club.  The harbor and city's historic quarter,  is surrounded by narrow medieval streets filled with palaces, churches and fortresses.

It is one of the two primary cities in the island, along with Mahon which we visited earlier.

Originally founded by the Carthaginians, it was already the seat of a bishop in the 4th century. Menorca’s violent history includes occupations by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Moors, British and French.  During the Middle Ages, it was an important trading center.

On 9 July 1558, the Turks with a powerful armada of 140 ships and 15,000 soldiers, put the city under siege for eight days entered and decimated the town. The town was defended by only a few hundred men. All of Ciutadella's 3,099 inhabitants who survived the siege were taken as slaves to Turkey. In total, 3,452 residents were sold into slavery in the slave markets of Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey.

In 1708, the British came to Menorca, attracted by Mahon’s natural harbour, the longest and deepest in the Mediterranean. Apart from a short time when they were ousted by the French, they were to rule the island for a hundred years, finally relinquishing it back to the Spanish early in the 19th century.