Last Monday I flew to Athens accompanied by my brother in law Uffe who kindly came along to help for a week. We hired a car and drove through the pouring rain for four hours before we reached the boatyard on Pelaponesos where "Aquarella" was standing waiting. I was apprehensive about seeing the boat again which had been our summer home for so many years. While Uffe started cleaning the hull I went about emptying the boat of all Max's clothes. I didn't want to be confronted with sad memories every time I opened a cupboard. So I quickly threw everything in plastic bags and carted them off. The boat was left last summer in badly organised chaos and it didn't help to add all the luggage to it. One bit at a time most of it was put into place and the next day Uffe and I went to work with an exaggerated amount of energy. Up and down ladders we went, cleaning inside and out, waxing, polishing and painting the antifouling. Thursday was booked for launching and we were ready in good time.
Uffe showing me how to mount the zinc anode on the propeller
The launching ramp at the boatyard has only enough room for two and a half boats so if you can't move out of the way as soon as your boats bottom gets wet, there's a problem. Everyone has to wait. There was a problem. The engine wouldn't start. I stared down at the big chunk of complicated metal and tried to think of something. Bleeding the diesel was the only thing I had ever tried so Uffe and I did what we could but to no avail. Each time I tried to start, a loud moaning noise filled the air, followed by a choking sound. Fortunately a kind German mechanic saw and heard our plight and offered to help. He started by asking how old the batteries were. About six years I said (in fact they were 8 ) "You'll have to buy new ones" he proclaimed. Off the men went by car to the town while everyone around the launching ramp stared impatiently at me, willing me to move away so they could embark on a circumnavigation before lunch.
In next to no time the men were back with two new batteries, but after they were connected the engine still wouldn't start. The mechanic found out that one of the two fuel filters was blocked and after opening the reserve filter the Yanmar jumped into life and even consented to spitting out cooler water after all the black smoke had subsided. With a an audible sigh of relief from all the impatient spectators (and myself) we got under way and sailed out to the anchorage.
You have to watch out for turtles before dropping the anchor