261. Top Tips Tuesday - Things can only get better

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I was lead to believe that once we moved our yacht down to the Ionian from the North East coast we would be blessed with flat sea, warm winds and loads of sunshine. Well on our sail from Platarias to Lakka on the island of Paxos we certainly did have a fabulous beam reach, flat seas and sunshine, clocking over seven knots at times, however, it was accompanied with a cold wind, a bit like a 'warm' North Sea breeze in the middle of summer! Having said that it was considerably better than the week before where we 'enjoyed' an awful lot of rain so must not complain! However, my woes weren't finished. They started late last year with the grey waste tank emptying its contents into the bilge (only discovered the morning of the day we were catching the ferry that  departed  Corfu at  6pm).

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After much sucking of cheeks and muttering under our breath we discovered earlier this week that a non-return valve had been factory assembled the wrong way round. I had never checked it out when installing and as a result it wasn't doing the job it was supposed to do!  The last time I had spent 'quality' time in the lazzarete was some six years ago when I was a little bit more supple. Thank goodness for my Freebag, it made an uncomfortable job a lot more bearable. Am not sure if Jenny would be impressed with my use of the Freebag in that environment (I did clean the surface it was being used against first).

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They are, of course, a superb way of getting comfortable when leaning against halyard bags or other immovable objects when it's time to relax after a bout of housework or when reading up about our next destination using Rod Heikell's Greek Water pilot and its companion publication the Ionian. We spent yesterday at anchor in Tranquil Bay opposite the town of Nidri. Rod, in his excellent book Ionian, does write 'the bottom is good holding once your anchor is properly dug in, but it may take several attempts before it is holding to your satisfaction'. Interesting to read what Alex Blackwell, co author of Happy Hooking - the art of anchoring has written:

"In fact, we're so convinced that we are intending to help re-write many of the cruising guides. Where anchorages are rated as having poor holding, we believe they may have been rated with inferior anchors, as we have often found the holding to be good. So if your anchor is not holding as well as you might like, consider your options. The insurance of having a good modern anchor may just let you sleep peacefully through the night secure in your chosen anchorage".

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Our Vulcan anchor, designed by Peter Smith designer of the Rocna set first time in Tranquil, and of course held well last year in Vliho (just round the corner) when the Medicane blew through!

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Anchoring in Tranquil Bay gave us the opportunity to lift the floorboards, check the grey waste tank was performing as it should do and investigate why the shower drain pump was not functioning. We discovered that yes the filter needed cleaning, should have done it more frequently, but even after cleaning this the circuit breaker on the switch panel kept tripping when operating the switch. 'Dismantle the Flojet' was the order given. First we checked out the 'diaphram end,' no blockage or sign of failure, then it was a case of let's take the back end off and as we started to remove the casing rusty water started to trickle out. So casing off, peered inside and the conclusion drawn... It's terminal. Local chandler had a Chinese copy of the Flojet at a similar cost to the discounted price Andy sells them for back in the UK. I think it's a UPS from Andy then to the Vliho yacht club for collection back end of this week. Today we up anchor and set off for Sivota. Will be interesting to hear what crew member John's thoughts are on the village as it was some twelve years ago when he had his first experience of a Mediterranean charter! I've just signed the blog off, the sun has broken through, we are about to haul the anchor and yes things can only get better'. Let's hope our grey water issue of last year is now finally over!

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