Engine repair and launch at Preveza
Graptolite spent the best part of four years in the boatyard of Cleopatra Marina in Preveza mostly due to Covid lockdowns. Idleness like this does a boat no good at all and we had some bad problems with sticky bacteria clogging up the fuel tank and fuel lines and corrosion in the engine. The engine was so bad that I even bought a new engine from a Volvo-Penta dealer in Lefkas, but they were unable to deliver it in a reasonable time and I got my money back. We went back to Plan A which was to try to get the old engine running again. The engine was lifted out of the boat on September 10th and put back in again twelve days later. We rigged up a temporary 70 litre fuel tank with a lot of jerrycans of diesel. After reconnecting the engine, on September 24th we launched and sailed to nearby Preveza Marina to wait for the electrician to fit a new alternator. Work was completed the following Monday and we sailed out into the Ionian Sea. About 5 miles out the engine overheated and the batteries were not charging. I poured a bucket of water in the seawater filter which fixed the overheating problem and later I found a battery isolation switch left in the wrong position. Apart from that, the old engine was as good as new.
North to Corfu, Albania and Montenegro
By evening we reached Gouvia Marina in Corfu where we stopped for the night and topped up with diesel. At first light we sailed along the mountainous and bleak coast of Albania. As night fell we anchored for a few hours in a remote bay near Vlore hoping not to be boarded by the Albanian coastguard. The following day we crossed into Montenegro waters and tried another nap in a remote bay but with less success. As we were crossing the Croatian border we were chased by a Montenegro police launch and taken into Kotor to pay a small fine for not spending half a day and a lot of money on the official formalities. They clearly watch all bays very closely. It actually turned out to be cheaper and quicker than doing things properly but we will probably go via the Italian coast next time.
Arriving in Croatia for lift-out
We did clear into Croatia in Dubrovnik in the authorized way and spent the night in Marina Frapa. By coincidence, the cruise ship that H has been working on, the AIDAblu, on was also in port and we invited the Captain, Peter Schade, over for breakfast. As we were sailing out of Dubrovnik port we had a salute on the ship’s horn. This is apparently a great honour as it is normally reserved for captains leaving the ship. Our next overnight stop was a bay on the island of Korcula and the following day we arrived at Marina Kastela which was our final stop before hauling out for a refit. If the money holds up we intend to get a bow-thruster fitted, new standing rigging, new upholstery and mattresses, new navigation instruments and radar and new decking. The boat is 21 years-old this year and has done over 60,000NM so she deserves a facelift.
Lift-out was on October 7th and we flew back to Berlin on the 8th.