By Captain Lennart
Here is a report of a yacht delivery, which we did for a Portuguese customer in April 2017. Read what Captain Lennart has to say about this trip from Šibenik/Croatia to Figuera da Foz/Portugal:
My crew and I arrived at the 10th of April in Šibenik.
The boat “Jilly“ is a Hanse 495, has an age of 6 years, a marvellous design and is comprehensively equipped.
The contact to the owner is very open and honest from the beginning, well appreciated that. Thanks Paolo…
While my crew was busy with taking provision, I started my first walk around.
“Jilly“ is in a very good condition, she has not been used a lot for the last years,
After inspecting the vessel ( I noticed only small deficiencies, by the way the wheel turned from one side to the other, I did not feel too much play in the gearing system…) there is only one way to find out, what’s the matter with her:
We have to move her.
The weather forecast promised us slight winds from the aft.
For the beginning we had really good conditions.
Our first leg brought us to Messina and taught me once more, what I very often experienced before.
Don’t trust any ship surveys, unless they were made by yourself.
Some statements in the survey were just wrong, but what is more important,
a surveyor most likely never takes the boat out for a sea trial and his competency very often consists of noting what he gets to face at first glance.
The survey said, that there is a radar on board. That’s true.
But is a radar on board a navigational aid, when its only on board and not operational?
The next question (assuming the radar is operational) would be:
Can I work with what the screen is able to show me? But that is step two, you cannot judge it without completing step one.
The survey mentions further a former leakage at the main engine seawater outlet.
Well, to be honest, he was close to the reason of the leakage.
He just forgot to mention, that the seawater hose of the generator, which was mounted on the top of the main engine, caused the seawater draining to the main engine.
The survey mentioned, that the sails are worn about 75 %.
When I counted the amount of alcohol, left from the former owner, I got in the near of
75 %, but does this have anything to do with the sails?
What is really important concerning sails on a boat?
That you can use them.
How to find out ?
Hoist them! Put them out!
At that point, if the surveyor had done this, he would have recognized, that it was not possible to hoist the main fully, and that you couldn’t furl the jib in and out without a handle.
I am wondering, that some people forget that the sails and the engine are basics for the boat and there life’s.
Don’t forget, as a rule of thumb, if you are not able to furl in a jib by hand during calm conditions, you will tear the reef line or something else one day for sure, for example if you need full power on the winch, when there is a lot of wind.
There is always a reason, why the jib is hard to furl in. Look for that.
There can be various reasons.
So whenever you like to buy a boat, ask somebody who is used to sail on different boats a lot. You get the advantage of practical experience.
What I also learned (again) is, when somebody tells you the engine is serviced, ask him what parts – in his opinion- belongs to a yacht engine…
But ok it is not a big secret to make sure that the seawater for cooling gets a chance to reach the inner cooling cycle.
From the mussels I found in the seawater filter I planned to prepare a starter for the lunch for 3 persons, but my crew refused.
I have to admit, that I am very restless for the first days of each delivery.
It always takes time to become familiar with the boat and the circumstances,
although I have seen many boats and caught plenty experience during the last 25 years.
So did I mention, that the wire of the steering gear broke, when we passed the boot of Italy?
Of course just at that moment when the wind increased and we planned to reef both sails.
After a lot of noise, from my side and the sails, we steered her by the emergency tiller.
The construction of the emergency steering system on the Hanse is exemplary.
You need less than one minute and its ready for use.
Another big advantage, compared to other constructions of so-called mayor player’s yachts, is the relatively high lever you have, when you steer.
The tiller shows to the stern, and therefore can be longer with a gain in steering power.
Well done, Hanse.
We reached Messina Marina after 3 days, I felt now familiar with the boat.
The guys from the marina are very friendly and helpful.
The night in the marina was a nightmare.
Two times the boat jumped up and down like in a storm at sea, both times I went on deck to keep an eye on the fenders and ropes.
On YouTube you will find images from the swell of the passing cargo vessels and ferries.
Messina Marina is still a port of refuge, but never first choice.
We left the next day and went to Milazzo.
On Easter Sunday we walked several times with jerry cans from the self-service fuel station to the boat.
Of course the fuel dock was closed and anyway a water depth of around 2 meters limited the access.
The Hanse 495 has a draft of 2,4 meters, for some places too much, but she is sailing so well on upwind courses with her draft…
A nice and friendly Swedish couple, which was also looking for fuel, could not understand, that there is no fuel available and nobody seems to have an idea, where to get fuel.
We left Milazzo, because I saw a weather window from Palermo to Mallorca 2 days later.
What we didn’t expect is that we got really good support in the marina Villa Igiea close to Palermo.
We were able to replace the torn wire.
Tonino, the Harbour master, is also a very good mechanic. I explained him , that we have no tools to take off the pedestian of one wheel.
The access to two of the four bolts is so limited, that Tonino had to weld a tool for us.
He also arranged the new wire.
After a long day the job was done, I put the emergency tiller to the side.
We were really lucky and caught the weather window up to Mallorca.
“Jilly” reached El Arenal after 3 days.
Everything worked well, also the autopilot.
We had a small crew change and went to Cartagena, which is a really lovely town.
The next day we shifted to Garrucha, which gave us a better start position to head towards Gibraltar.
Garrucha is during westerly winds not comfortable at all, but its possible to stay there.
The weather forecast promised a change from west to calm and then strong easterly winds with gusts up to 25 to 30 knots.
My assessment of the weather situation was not clear, but I said to myself, if the wind comes stronger, its only direct from the aft.
The forecast was right for the first day and the updated forecast shows no big changes.
We came to that area and time when the wind should increase to 25 knots.
The wind passed the 30 knots and became gusty and changed the direction not much but rapidly.
We furled the rest of the jib in, which was quite a heavy job.
I was really astonished, that the reefing line survived.
The wind went over 40 knots constantly and “Jilly” sailed without sails already more then 5 knots.
All the night we had 45 to 50 knots, in the morning we got constantly 50 knots direct from the aft.
6,5 knots without sails…
Sailor don’t look back…
From time to time it was raining, once you get out in the cockpit you have been wet immediately.
About 20 miles east of Gibraltar the wind went down and also the visibility.
We didn’t see Gibraltar this time, later in the evening I saw some parts of Tarifa.
My plan was now to get as much west as possible, because the wind was going to comeback to west.
Of course it was not enough west we made, but from the next morning we could have an upwind course heading toward Albufeira.
The conditions now were perfect, west-southwest 12 to 15 knots wind, “Jilly” started to run like hell. Always more than 8 knots speed, I put her closer to the wind.
We reached Portimao during the night, and felt immediately asleep.
We slept and were occupying the fuel dock and left Portimao after refuelling her at noontime.
We made a short voyage to Lagos and had a really nice time there.
Our next stops were Sines, Cascais and Nazare.
On the 4th of May we passed during high water the entrance of Figuera da Foz.
The entrance can be very dangerous
I called the maritime pilots 30 minutes prior to our arrival.
They approved my decision to come in with the comment, “But be careful at the entrance”
About 2 hours later the situation had changed due to the Ebb tide.
You could see already Eddy’s at the entrance… although the wind was only 5 knots from west and the swell outside very calm.
But we looked at the Eddy’s from shore site, “Jilly” was already moored at her final destination.