Log #25e To Girne, Northern Cyprus

June 28, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 25 EMYR, The Logs

Akko, Israel
June  28, 2002

Hi Folks,

We are here in ancient Akko, or Acre as it is also known. This is across the bay from Haifa, and is now a UN Heritage site with the unearthing of the Crusader fortress and even older civilizations within the town walls. We had a pleasant sail across with Geoff Collins, a friend of Judy’s family, and met up with Mike (of Three Sheets to the Wind) and Avi a local Israeli from the Carmel Yacht club on his Contessa 32. It is great to wander through this ancient walled town, still inhabited by Arabs. We hear the calls to worship again from the minarets around this aged harbour.

The inverter to give me 110 power from my 12 volt batteries to charge my laptop packed it in a few days ago. I couldn’t use the computer. The chandlery in Haifa was able to get me one, but it was for conversion to 220 volts. However, I was able to get an attachment that then converted 220 to 110, and so I am operational again. Nothing is ever simple.

I hope to be able to send this tomorrow (June 29) from Geoff’s place back in Haifa, and to leave Israel on the 30th for Kemer in Turkey, a three day sail, possibly stopping in Cyprus for an overnight anchorage enroute. We have enjoyed the friends we have been sailing with and the marinas we’ve moored in, but we are looking forward to being on our own again, sailing independently when we feel like it to secluded anchorages. We have been in Haifa for a week with Three Sheets to the Wind and JoHo who came up from Herzliya with us after the rally. We still need to get some work done when we get to Kemer before we take off for Crete and the Greek Aegean for the rest of the summer and fall.

Here is Log #25e about our leg to Girne in Northern Cyprus. I’ll write more about what we saw there and the political situation, as there is still a tension between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. However, I was courteous enough not to ask the President Dentkas about it when we met him at the reception at Girne Castle.

All the best,


Log #25e To Girne, Northern Cyprus

Haifa, Israel
June 27, 2002
Covers the period May 1 to May   , 2002

We have covered 269 nautical miles since joining the EMYR in Bodrum on May 6th, but this leg to Girne from Kemer will be the longest of the rally. As mentioned in my last log, we got off to a good start at 1000 on May 17 into a light force 2 or 3 SE wind. We tried sailing off the wind for 20 minutes, but our speed dropped to 4.2 knots, and we needed to average 5.5 knots to make the entry window in Girne, so we motor sailed most of the 160 miles. In the early afternoon we got a message from Malaika II, the committee boat, about fish floats along our course line. The nets were deep enough that as long as we didn’t actually hit the floats we were OK.

As group leaders for Group 1 we had to do a position check for all our boats every four hours to keep track of them. We would call each boat individually and ask for their latitude and longitude. It only took about ten minutes to do this radio check, and gave us an opportunity to see how they were making out. We found out that Utholm, the German boat, was having trouble with their GPS, and could not get it working properly. We rendezvoused with them as they were in visible range (actually they were following us closely in order to keep on course), and passed over our hand held GPS after putting new batteries in it. It was good to get it operational again as we hadn’t used it for several years. Our Garmin 128 has been very reliable, and we have not had to resort to our hand held back up GPS.

The rally is accompanied by two Turkish Coast Guard vessels, #83, an older traditional patrol boat, but well armed with twin Bofors and several machine guns, and #103, a new fast (50 plus knots), streamlined, turbine driven craft using water jets for propulsion. These vessels circled around the rally yachts, to accompany us throughout the rally. We seldom saw them, but knew they were there for any emergency. This first afternoon the rally had an emergency. One of the crew on Zig Zag, a French boat in Group 2, had severe stomach cramps. Antoine on Alizes, one of our Group 1 French boats, is a doctor and communicated with Zig Zag to assess the severity, suspected appendicitis, and requested we contact Hasan, the rally leader, and arrange for a medical evacuation to shore. Hasan contacted the Coast Guard, who in turn contacted a Turkish doctor who was sailing on Lul Lul, a Turkish boat also in our Group 1. Coast Guard #83 took the ill man aboard and rushed him to Alanya, and the hospital there operated that night. The decision was made to evacuate early rather than waiting to see if the condition got worse, as then a night time evacuation would be more complicated. We got word that he was OK and recovering well when we arrived in Girne next day. Thanks Turkish Coast Guard for a job well done!

We continued on motor sailing all night. Judy and I did our usual night routine watches where I take the first watch from supper until midnight, or 0100, or whenever I get tired. Judy then comes up and takes the middle watch until 0500, or whenever she gets tired. However, with David on board, we put him on watch at first light for a few hours so both Judy and I could get a bit more sleep. This is an unusual opportunity as we have not done night passages with another crew before. Thanks David, it was good to get that bit extra sleep. This was one of the difficulties of the rally as most of the passages were overnight passages with activities often lined up at the next port next day. For example, we left Kemer at 1000 on the 17th and were to be in Girne, Northern Cyprus between 1400 and 1600 next day. At 1930 we had a reception in Girne Castle with His Excellency, Rauf Denktas, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Rally schedules are not relaxing!

We motor sailed through the light SE to SW winds until noon next day when the winds started to increase from the SE at force 6 to 7. We actually shut the engine off for an hour and sailed close hauled into this increasing wind. To make our heading we had to motor sail into it and double reefed the main and furled the genoa in 50%. Then the problems started!

No Water! Our engine stopped pumping water every time we heeled to starboard. So I had to try to keep Veleda on an even keel, or heeled to port by changing tacks. All this started at 1300, when we were only 12 miles from our destination. We would shut the engine down and check out the water lines and the strainer, start up again, pump water for a bit, then it would stop again. Change tacks, go down wind (away from our destination), motor straight into the wind, shut down the engine, take off the hoses, blow through the hoses, examine the water strainer, start up again, over and over for a couple of hours. We finally had to admit we could not get it fixed and so had to tack into the wind, sailing close hauled the rest of the way to Girne. The tacking one way then the other added about eight extra miles to our trip. As we approached Girne, we called ahead to say we had no engine power and would have to come in under sail, and requested a boat meet us at the entrance to help us in. We were advised the entrance to the old port was too narrow, and recommended to go a couple of miles eastward to anchor in the commercial port. Hasan would arrange a mechanic to look at the engine over there.

The entrance was not too difficult. I made sure we were well up wind before furling the main and heading in on the reefed genoa.  Once around the breakwater we altered to starboard, into the entrance opening, going downwind between the outer and an inner breakwater. Once inside the large harbour we had to decide where to anchor, clear of ferry boats and merchant ships. It was a large rectangular basin with only a few ships alongside. On the north side I saw some yachts secured bows to in Mediterranean moorings, and a travel lift on shore. We altered to port to come into the wind, losing way, and furled the genoa to anchor off the travel lift. I anchored a hundred metres from shore in case we dragged, and to be far enough away from the anchors of the boats on Med moorings. We didn’t drag!

I wanted to relax a bit and wait for the mechanic that Hasan was sending. However some guys at the travel lift were waving at us, and yelling something we couldn’t understand. Then a small row boat came out with a couple of men who passed us a line and wanted us to tie a long line to it. Then they took it back to the travel lift jetty. I wasn’t sure what they wanted. Perhaps it was just to give us a line ashore to stabilize our anchor? No, they wanted me to pay out more anchor cable. So we let out more cable. They wanted us to let out even more! Then I realized they wanted us to put out enough cable that Veleda could be pulled over alongside the dock. That was a long way away! However, we have 200 feet of heavy chain cable and another 250 feet of line, more than enough to stretch over to the dock. They helped us secure to the dock and we were welcomed by the manager of Delta Marina in the commercial harbour, and he had a mechanic look at the water problem. He went through all the checks we had done at sea, and took off the water pump. Still no water when we started up. Then he took off the hose going into the heat exchanger, blew through it, and when it was replaced and the engine started, we had water! I still don’t know what the blockage was, and subsequently we have found a couple of other problems that have been fixed and it works well now. We thanked him and asked how much? No charge! Could he stay for a drink? No, he had to get going. So I put a six pack of beer into a bag for him and thanked him again. Thanks Delta Marina!

Then we had to haul up all the line and chain we had out. Thank you David! We put him to work hauling the anchor, and then headed out around to the old harbour to be rafted off Laroca, a German yacht, beneath the ramparts of Girne Castle, an ancient Crusader fortress. We were finally secured by 1800, and had to walk around the old harbour to register with customs and immigration with our passports and crew lists. There were no entry fees, and we were given shore passes to be returned for our passports when leaving the country. Now we had to get ready for the President’s reception.

Below I have pasted the write up I put into the rally Bible about Northern Cyprus. More about this divided island and the reception, dinner, and tours we had in this pleasant Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in my next log.
1/       Girne, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Arrive – Sat. 18 May               Depart – Mon. 20 May (pm)

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Med. after Sicily and Sardinia, having, due to its strategic location, been occupied since Neolithic times by the Mycenaeans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Knights Templar (before going to Rhodes and finally Malta), French, Venetians, Turks, and British. Girne (Kyrenia) is on the beautiful north coast beneath the Kyrenian Mountain range.

Disagreements between the Greek and Turkish communities hampered the struggle for independence. Many Greek Cypriots wanted to be part of Greece, while many Turkish Cypriots wanted the island split into two distinct political areas. When independence was achieved in 1960, the constitution guaranteed representation of both communities, but continuing conflicts made the document unworkable. In 1963 the Turkish community withdrew from the coalition government, and each community governs itself with its own president, council of ministers, and legislative assembly.  

In 1974, when a coup forced out the president of Cyprus, Turkish forces invaded and took control of the northern third of the island to protect the Turkish minority. The two zones were supervised by UN peacekeepers, and Nicosia is still a city divided by the “Green Line”. Efforts to restore a united country were further hurt when the Turkish-occupied zone declared independence in 1983. This declaration was condemned by the United Nations and was recognized internationally only by Turkey. Talks, however, continue between the two communities, and efforts are directed toward establishing some kind of federal republic. This issue is currently accelerated by the potential acceptance of Cyprus into the European Union

Our visit will feature a reception at the castle to welcome us by the President. The Magosa tour on Sunday the 19th, of Lefkosia (Northern Nicosia), the capital, bisected by the Green Line, will take us through the 16th century Venetian walls into the fascinating architecture and narrow streets of the old town. We will visit the St. Barnabus (the Apostle with Paul) monastery, the Museum of Archaeology, St. Nicholas Cathedral, the Othello Tower, and the ancient city of Salamis.  On the 20th the half day tour will focus more on the divided city of Nicosia.