Log #19F Palma – More Problems

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

Log #19F Palma – More Problems

March 14 – 21, 2001

Once we were safely at anchor in Las Illetas (39 32.0N, 002 35.4E), we soon realized the shaft separation was something we could not fix ourselves. We called Paul who gave us a few contacts to call, but unfortunately after four or five calls, we found all the shops so busy they could not spare a mechanic to come out to assess the problem. One firm said it would be two months before an opening would allow a mechanic to come out.

So we took Sprite a couple of miles west to Puerto Portals, a large expensive marina, in search of a mechanic. The place was very large, and since we landed at their dinghy sailing school (closed of course) and had to climb over a rock wall to enter at the back of the marina, we wandered around for ten minutes trying to find the marina office or a workshop office. Finally we went behind the strip of restaurants and bars to an inner courtyard and found a yacht agent and service office called Ocean Marine. They looked more like a yacht brokers or charter outfit, however the English gentleman we spoke to was most helpful and after a couple of phone calls arranged for Peter, a mechanic from a firm called Pro Marine, to meet us at the Arena Bar in 75 minutes and go out with us to help. Sure enough he showed up just as we were finishing a light meal at the bar. Judy, who was soaked from the spray coming over in Sprite, went with them by car to the beach where Veleda was anchored and I took Sprite back myself.

Of course we had to move everything out of both the port and starboard lockers to get access to the shaft. Peter rapidly identified the problem; the nut holding the shaft to the transmission had loosened, and the thread was damaged. He tried to file the thread to reattach the nut, but to no avail. He would have to replace the nut.

OK, so we stayed there comfortably for the night, to await him and the nut next day. While waiting we had a lovely morning in flat calm water, a warm sunny day, and luxuriated on Veleda; I did a bit of cleaning of Veleda’s toe rail and rub rail, while Judy repaired a tear in the sail cover. In the afternoon we lazed on the beach for a couple of hours waiting for Peter. He arrived late afternoon, and busied himself in the bowels of the starboard locker working on the shaft. In the meantime, the wind had picked up from the southwest, and an uncomfortable swell started to jerk Veleda in a corkscrew motion. Peter was unsuccessful, as the threads were not standard 150 or 200 thread, but 175 North American thread. Strange, as it is a new Yanmar engine and new shaft, and should have been standard metric thread, but nothing is ever simple! He would have to order a new nut, and as it was Saturday night, this would not be available until Monday.

He was aware of the worsening conditions at the anchorage, and so connected the shaft to the transmission with a Jubilee clip, which we call a hose clamp. He advised us that if we wanted to move, we could, but to use low revs, and not go in reverse. So, after he left, we took Veleda around the opposite side of the isthmus into the northeast corner of Cala I’Oli. It was only a distance of less than a mile, but took 45 minutes to traverse it. This side was much better, and only one other boat was in the bay.

Sunday was another lovely day. Judy went over to Marionette and exchanged some books. I took Sprite over to Isla de sa Torre to clamber up the ruins of a Martello type observation tower that gave an excellent view of Bahai de Palma. However, that night the wind shifted westerly and was blowing right up the bay, swinging us towards a lee shore once again. I didn’t get much sleep that night because of the heavy bouncing and our precarious position. The next day was worse, with 40 knot winds and 3 to 5 foot waves pounding us towards shore. We had to get out of there and go back to our original anchorage, which was now on the sheltered side.

We called Marionette, who was leaving for Palma, and Richard agreed to stand by in case we couldn’t power into the wind at low revs. So I hauled up, hand over hand, 60 feet of 3/8th chain rode and the 35 pound plow anchor. This time, slowly motoring into a 40 knot wind, and giving the southern tip of Isla de sa Torre a wide birth, as we did not want to risk being blown on its rocky point, it took us 75 minutes to travel just over one mile. We dropped anchor in the same spot as two days ago, but started to drag! I pulled up the anchor and we eased northward about 100 yards and dropped the anchor again. This time it held, and we had an escape route between the isthmus and an island, if it did start to drag again. It didn’t. However, I noted while motoring around that the anchor shaft had bent during the night, as it was so well dug in and the wind swinging us through a 180 degree arc was so strong. A 35 pound CQR anchor stock bent!

Peter did not show up that afternoon. We didn’t trust the wind. After calling Marionette, who was in Palma, we decided to go into Palma as well, late that afternoon. We went aft of them in a “free” stretch of the concrete pier between one Marina (Pier 46) and the construction of the new marina. Richard found this spot as he did not want to pay the 12000 pesetas (about $95.00 Cdn) a night at one of the marinas. OK, we were settled in, not at anchor and at the mercy of the shifting winds.

Peter came late on Tuesday with the nut which had just been delivered to him. Working away in the starboard locker again for two hours trying to get the nut fitted – no luck! The threads on the shaft were too damaged to take the nut. The boat would have to come out of the water, the shaft be removed, and hopefully new threads tapped onto the shaft so it would accept the nut! When? He didn’t know as this was the busy season as people are getting their boats ready for the summer. He’d call us next day.

Next day, Wednesday, we had a visit from an official who said we could not stay where we were and would have to move into a marina. We didn’t! We stayed put for the day, hoping to hear that we could be hauled out. I went over to the Audax Marina/boatyard, which Peter had suggested, and they were able to haul us early next day (Thursday), but no room at their marina for Veleda that night. So we stayed where we were, hoping the police or harbour officials would not come back demanding we move immediately.

This brings me up to the present, as it is 2300 on Wed. March 21 as I finish this. No one has come back to ask or tell us to leave, so I hope we are safe until 0800 tomorrow when we will carefully make our way over to the Audax boatyard travel lift to be hauled out. We hope to be fixed and back in the water before dark, and we will be off out of Palma to Cabrera.