Log #19E Palma & Transmission Problems

February 21, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19E Palma & Transmission Problems

February 3 to March 20, 2001

I key this into my laptop on a beautiful warm (25C) sunny day here in downtown Palma, alongside the concrete wall in a no man’s stretch of pier between Pier 46 and the new marina under construction. No security, water, or electricity, but the price is right – free! We came in here on March 17 after hearing about this location from a Brit yacht, Marionette, whom we had met a couple of days earlier while at anchor at Las Illetas. He came in earlier and was unwilling to pay the 12,000 pesetas ($96.00 Cdn) per night mooring charge, so found this location that will probably be available free of charge until the new marina is completed.

However, I get ahead of myself, The last log left off with my concerns about the insurance situation while we were in Andratx. I am still waiting to hear if accepting the allowance of $889.00 Cdn will adversely affect my premiums. In the meantime, we have installed the new Selden Furlex roller furler, and hoisted a spare 140% genoa we carried. So we were operational, and have made our way in a few legs here to Palma, arriving on March 17, St Patrick’s Day.

Before leaving Andratx we became acquainted with Allen, a South African who is living on Navio, and trying to sell her and another 45 footer, Tempest. We visited with him, had him over for a couple of meals and exchanged some books. A few days after Brian and Irene left in early February, Judy went up to Paris for 10 days to visit with her sister, her new baby, Anna, and son Pierre, and her parents who came over from Toronto. I had the luxury of having Veleda to myself out at the mooring for that time. Unfortunately when Judy returned she had a bad cold, sore throat and couldn’t talk for about a week, (a mixed blessing?).

There were delays in getting the new roller furler, then in getting the installation instructions, then waiting for four days for the weather to settle down so we could install it, then getting a new luff tape for our spare genoa as the original did not fit the groove in the furler, all contributing to a couple of extra weeks’ delay. No problem, as we are not in any hurry, on a safe, free mooring, in a lovely climate, and in the pleasant community of Puerto De Andratx, where we have met several friendly expats.

We exchanged a daily newspaper with Francis a retired physician from the UK, single handing on board his catamaran Lambrusco which he keeps at Club De Vela for the winter. We enjoyed an evening with Paul Kinselmann and his wife Mary in their home, a renovated Spanish farm up in a mountain valley outside of Andratx. Mary is the agent through whom we bought the furler. Paul is an enterprising, fantastically capable individual who built his own boat, the 47 foot Tula, on which he and Mary did a circumnavigation a few years ago. Their home was renovated from bare stone walls into a very cozy Spanish style hacienda overlooking their orange and olive trees down the valley. He was just completing the planting of 120 grape vines in a stretch of land above his orchard. Judy and I went down to “pick” some oranges. I thought it would be a good photo op to take a picture of her in an orange tree about to pluck a juicy orb. However, the sequence was short changed by Mary who shook a tree to cause a dozen or more to cascade off onto the ground, assuring us that this is the best way to collect oranges as then you know they are ripe. So much for a shot of Judy in a tree with an orange about to be plucked. They were lovely.

The paella was delicious, a thick orange coloured sauce in which the rice was cooked with spices and herbs, onions, peppers, pieces of chicken, pork and large tiger shrimp, done in a large paella pan over a circular gas burner built into the original kitchen fireplace alcove of the farmstead. A lovely dinner with them, another German couple, and Allen. Before leaving I used their telephone to send some E-mail. Also Paul helped me by cutting out a piece of hardwood, shaping it, and drilling the holes for a replacement plate for my anchor pulpit, as I had lost one overboard few days earlier. He has a very complete workshop.

Paul also loaned us a book of plasticized charts that he is in the process of completing for the Balearics, as well as having them available from his website. These chartlets are offered to Cruising Association and Seven Seas Cruising Association members for use in the Balearics, asking only the he be informed of any changes or additions so he can keep them updated. If any are interested they can E-mail Paul at <abalone@ocea.es>, or check his website at <www.tulas-handy-charts.de> . Thanks for everything, Paul and Mary.

Meanwhile back on Veleda we went through several force 8 gales on the mooring. One night we stayed at Horst and Traudl’s (a retired German couple we met through Paul), when they had us over for supper and to use the washing machine and shower at their condominium; as a storm was blowing they invited us to stay there rather than going back to Veleda for the night. Fellow boaters, as they are, know the little amenities that cruisers appreciate. They have done a circumnavigation in their 33 foot sloop, and were staying in a friend’s condo for the winter before taking off again in April or May. Thanks Horst and Traudl.

There is a real building boom going on in the Balearics. In Andratx there must have been over a dozen construction cranes, and we saw similar numbers in each bay we have visited. However, the Spanish work ethic is different from that we are accustomed to. Very little work in progress was ever seen at these construction sites. One day I was surprised to see several workers sleeping in the streets, curled up in their boiler suits, a jacket as a pillow. It was their siesta! The few times I have noticed work under way, I was surprised at the lack of common safety precautions. I would see workers with jack hammers chattering into concrete, yet the workers would be without hard hats, ear protectors, or safety goggles, and wearing running shoes.

Andratx is mainly a German vacation enclave, with several German furniture and food stores. It is not as developed yet as some other areas are; but it is getting there.

We took a day sail a few miles down the coast to Santa Ponsa, where we dropped anchor for the night. We had the first correction for Paul’s charts, as one of the shoal buoys was not in place. We put out our light anchor thinking of staying for only a few hours, but remained for the night. Of course the weather changed, and we found ourselves being blown towards shore in 35 knots winds. However, our anchor alarm on the GPS is quite accurate now that the selective availability has been discontinued, and it indicated our anchor was holding well. It is difficult in the Balearics, at least in Mallorca, to find an anchorage that is protected from all points of the compass, and usually one or two quadrants will be open to the sea. Murphy’s law says that in that case, that is where the wind will blow from! Situation normal!

We went back to Andratx the next day to fuel and water, pick up some mail sent to Mary’s, and to fax off the European insurance quotes to our Canadian agency. We said goodbye to our friends, and left by 1100 on March 14, heading towards Palma in a pleasant southwest force 4 wind. A lovely clear day in which we hoisted both main and genoa for a while until gusts from the coastal hills caused several accidental gybes. We motored close inshore, going inshore of Isle Malgrats at Cape Malgrats just past Santa Ponsa, enjoying the sculptured arch off the cape. Similarly we went inside Isle El Toro at Point de Sas Barbinas, except we had hoisted the genoa again, and went through comfortably under sail.

As there was a more consistent southwest wind, we hoisted our spinnaker for a lovely two hour run around Point De Cala Figuera and up into Palma Bay (Bahia De Palma) to Las Illetas. As we approached Isle de sa Torres, we dropped the spinnaker and started the engine, getting ready to anchor in a small cove on the north east of the island. However, when I put the engine in gear, we did not have any impetus! The propeller was not turning.

We hoisted our genoa and sailed around sa Torres, but did not try to anchor in our originally intended location as it was too small. Instead we went north another half mile to anchor north east of Isla del Paso, off a beach inside of Isla de la Caleta. We had to avoid a couple of shoals off Caleta, and dropped anchor in 15 feet on a sand bottom, letting the wind drift us down a bit to lay out the cable. This time we used the heavier 35 pound CQR anchor with 3/8″ chain rode. If for some reason the anchor had not caught, we had an escape option, to drift or hoist sail again to go north of Caleta. It dug in securely. We were OK.

Upon inspection, it was not the gear linkage as we first expected. This was intact. Then we noticed the shaft was separated from the transmission. I inspected the prop, and it was still there. We were lucky, as in a situation such as that, if the gear was in reverse when it disconnected, the shaft and prop could shoot out the stern, lost to the deep six, and a one and a half inch hard to get at hole in the stern would cause us to take on water.