Log #32a Return to Veleda in Istanbul

April 12, 2004 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 32 Istanbul and The Black Sea, The Logs

Atakoy Marina, Istanbul

April 12, 2004

Hi Folks,

Here is my first log of our #32 series from Istanbul into the Black Sea. I hope to complete the #31 series about our stay back in North America for the winter, but wanted to be current in our present travels from Istanbul. It has been good to get back on Veleda and into the routine of preparing the boat, planning our destinations and sailing to them. Right now we are in Atakoy Marina on the European side suburb of Istanbul, getting information about the Black Sea and the Ukraine before setting off in a day or so up the Bosphorus into Kara Deniz (the Black Sea).

We have met Tony Moore of MY Southern Flight, a CA member, who went up to the Ukraine last year and has provided us with valuable information on the area. To leave here we have to clear out, as Istanbul is the last port before Bulgaria in which we can process our forms.

We have provisioned ourselves for several days, and are looking forward to getting back into the sailing routine in the Black Sea, and on our way to Bulgaria. Our ability to send E-mail will depend upon the availability of mobile phone access in Bulgaria and Romania, and so our communications may be sporadic.

We’re off on a new adventure into the relatively uncharted waters of the Black Sea, and the former Soviet Republics of Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine.

All the best,


Log #32a Return to Veleda in Istanbul

April 11, 2004

I write this on our 24th anniversary while at anchor at Cam Limani in Heybeliada in the Princes Islands just outside of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.

We returned to Kalamis Marina a suburb of Istanbul on the Asian side at about 1730 local time on March 25th after spending ten days in England after leaving Toronto April 15th. We had debated going into a pension or hotel for the night, but we arrived early enough that we were able to clear away the cabin and V-berth in order to have a good night’s sleep on board Veleda on the hard. There was a ladder erected for us and a worker set up an electrical connection so we could charge the batteries, needed after the nine months since we left Veleda for our emergency return to Toronto due to Judy’s mother’s cancer recurrence in late June. The office was open and we went in to thank Tunçay for his consideration and assistance. It was good to be home.

Veleda was dirty, dusty, with bird droppings all over her deck and on the sail cover. The boom had been raised and the after end lashed down, as the shackle for the main sheet traveler had separated. There was a film of dust inside, as we had left open the main cabin overhead hatch (not the companionway hatch) beneath the overturned covered dinghy for additional (to our dorades) ventilation. The boat did not smell musty, and other than the dust the inside was in good condition. Before being able to turn in, we had to remove the bagged sails, outboard, life ring, whisker pole, and boat hooks from the main cabin, and replace the cushions which we had propped up before leaving in a hurry last June. Considering we had less than 18 hours from the time we arrived at Kalamis Marina at 1730, last June 30th, until we departed at 1100 next day, we did a relatively good job of preparing Veleda for an uncertain time period on the hard here in the marina. It was unfortunately a bad winter in Istanbul with at least three major snowstorms, one having more than 55 cm (about 2 feet) of snow, and much cold weather. We were relieved that Veleda, uncovered and left in such a hurry nine months earlier, seemed to have weathered the winter so well.

Next day it was start to get her ready for sea. Her house batteries were in good shape and responded well to the charger, with all the lights and circuits operational. The upper deck would be a clutter until we could launch her and get the dinghy into the water and the outboard on it. The bicycle cover was badly torn and the bike was badly rusted. We lowered it to the ground to make more room in the cockpit. Then we started the many maintenance tasks to get Veleda ready for launching as soon as possible. Our contract with the marina expired on March 31st, and I wanted to be in the water and ready to leave as soon as possible, as we would be paying a daily rate of about $25.00 Cdn ($17.00 US) per day after that.

A major four day task was to wet sand the bottom, apply a coat of primer and two coats of bottom paint, drips of which I still have on my sandals, toes, and a few on my shirt, even though I was wearing a disposable jump suit for most of the painting (except for the last touches when the boat was sitting in the slings of the travel lift ready to be launched). We had to refill the engine with antifreeze as it was drained for the winter. In addition we had several tasks left over from last spring to complete. We replaced the tertiary fuel filter assembly which we bought from E&C Marine in Toronto, as the old one had developed a fault as we rushed back from Sinop in the Black Sea last June, then undid the bypass we had set up to get us to Istanbul. The water heater connections were leaking and so we replaced the hoses from the engine heat exchanger to the heater and the connectors on the heater itself. We topped up all the batteries, and tightened belts. We were finally ready for launch on the 30th, four and a half days after we arrived.

The engine didn’t start! We were ignominiously towed into a slip in the marina. Upon checking the engine start battery, we found it was dead. Oh well, $120.00 and the next day we had a new 90 amp battery. We put Sprite into the water and secured our 10 hp Mariner. It started after a few pulls, with new spark plugs, and I took it for a long run up into the adjacent stream outlet with no problems. However, next day when I tried to start it, I pulled my guts outs to no avail! Water in the old fuel! So I had to dump over 20 litres of old gas from the tank and put in 25 litres of fresh fuel at $1.80 Cdn per litre for a total of $45.00. Then I took the dinghy with four empty jerry cans for diesel and one for gas over to the fuel dock. Returning, in the first rain shower we have had since returning, with $135.00 of fuel, I restored our full jerry cans on deck. Incidentally, the US is concerned about the price of gas going up to $2.00 US a gallon; over here the price is about $5.50 US a gallon. In Canada the current price is about $0.75 a litre, less than half price of gas here in Turkey.

However the rain continued, and we found our mast/deck joint was leaking badly and unfortunately short circuited our electric heater sitting at the base of our mast. It was resuscitated next day. Our bilge pump was coming on every few hours, and we had to trace the leak. The packing gland seemed to be the culprit. Judy fits into the cockpit locker better then I do, and so tried to loosen the packing gland nuts, to no avail. I then squeezed down to try, again to no avail. We asked at the co-operative chandlery if they had a more flexible worker who could fit in and apply the necessary pressure to loosen the nuts. “No problem!” they said. After a day and a half with no one showing up, I went down, after Judy had replaced the wrenches on the nuts, and tried again … with success! However after tightening the packing gland, Judy noticed that the back end of the rubber hose from the packing gland to the stern tube was leaking. After tightening the clamps, the leak finally stopped and we feel secure about our watertight integrity once again. Veleda was ready for her sea trial.

April 4th we left at 1245 into a light SW wind for Pendik, down the coast from Kalamis. Seeing the industrial development in that area we changed course for the Princes Islands to go to well sheltered Cam Limani on Heybeliada. We checked out our two self steering systems. The Simrad initially worked then stopped; a power problem, we suspected. The old Benmar worked, but the handheld mechanism would not make course corrections. The VHF worked OK as did the water maker. Then we noticed our main boom was separated from the mast. The gooseneck fitting had fractured! We lowered sail and motored the rest of the way into the anchorage. We had three major problems to address after this first check out sea trial; the Simrad and the Benmar self steering mechanisms, and the gooseneck fitting for the main boom.

Back at Kalamis, the office put us in contact with a metalworker who came over to see the problem with the boom fitting. I thought the fractured part could be welded, but the workers indicated that on an aluminum fitting that would not hold and it would be best to make a new mast fitting for the gooseneck. Reluctantly, I agreed for an initial fee of $450.00 Cdn. A friend on an adjacent boat helped to translate and talked the workers into $400.00, as we had not done any bargaining with them. Frankly, I think we could have gone even lower, but that is the price one pays in a foreign country without knowing the local rates or bargaining systems. He also noticed a fracture in the stainless steel shackle on the aft stay! Attempting to remove the shackle, we found the pin corroded and oil and hammering would not free it. The metalworkers applied a pipe wrench to the pin and finally got it free. We reshackled the stay, connected the boom, hanked the main onto the mast, but on tightening the outhaul we tore the sail from the corroded grommet at the foot. Fortunately Judy had just sewn in a couple of straps at that junction, and so we will sail with this defect until it gives. We may have to replace the entire main shortly as it is the original sail that came with the boat 26 years ago. We have another mainsail on board with which we can replace it. We will be inspecting, repairing and oiling all the fittings as corrosion is a major problem, not really noticed until this nine month layover.

We are aware the mast fitting was probably weakened in the winter storms when the boom, which still had the sail attached beneath its sail cover, was flung to and fro causing the main shackle pin to loosen and separate. This allowed the boom to fly back and forth before the yard personnel secured it with a stern lashing (as we found it upon our return). This extreme winter storm stress probably caused the gooseneck fitting to weaken and ultimately fracture in the light winds of our sea trial, as well as the resulting stress on the aft stay fracturing its shackle. We are happy we found these problems in our sea trial rather than in a serious gale on the open water. We hope we have adequately checked all our other fittings, finding no defects other than a crack in our starboard bow fairlead which should hold at least until next winter when we may consider repairing or replacing it.

Judy did a good job of tracking down the electrical problems of the Simrad and the Benmar steering systems. On our second trial to the Princes Islands they both worked well. Well done Judy, my wife the mechanic!

We actually stayed an extra day or two to enjoy the hospitality of Dr Murat Api, a local physician who owns Psari, a 32 foot sloop in the marina. He and his wife, also a physician, and their four year old boy had us out to a local Turkish restaurant one night, and we had them to Veleda for a meal another night after a sunset cruise on Psari. Then we were privileged to be asked to their home for a meal and overnight to enjoy their hospitality. We look forward to further contact with them when we return through Istanbul in July after doing the Black Sea.

Now, all systems are checked out, except our whisker pole and spinnaker, and we are ready to head into the Black Sea again. However we will spend a day or so at Atakoy Marina to talk with the KAYRA people about cruising that area before we go up the Bosphorus.