Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2009: Preparation

The main work on Thetis this year was to sandblast and repaint the keel. Also to replace the water hoses feeding the cold water to the heater. These hoses had caused a lot of trouble last year.

This year I also bought and brought with me a Simrad AI50 class B AIS (Automatic Identification System) transceiver. Also, I had sent to Agmar Marine (now called Moor & Dock) a set of new blades to replace the broken ones of the wind-generator and a seal kit for the leaking water-maker. However, the water-maker had a more serious problem then leaking seals. It needed a new motor, the old one was completely corroded. The motor was ordered several weeks ago.

The rest of the work done was the usual yearly maintenance of varnishing the exposed outside woodwork, polishing the stainless railing, the hull, and applying a new undercoat.

Friday May 8, 2009

I am inside Thetis. She is standing on land in the Agmar Marine shipyard. Inside the main and front cabins there is total chaos while the right cabin, where I sleep, is an oasis of comfort. I left Washington, D.C., on Tuesday May 5 on a BA flight to London and then another one to Athens. I spent Wednesday evening with my brothers and had dinner with the whole family. By the time we returned to my brother Nikosʼ house it was past 1 AM and I was scheduled to catch the 9 AM flight to Leros. I did not sleep very much.

Anyways, I arrived here in Leros on Thursday morning. Thetis looked gorgeous with her newly painted underbody, her polished hull, all her railings gleaming and her tiller and her passarella and the rest of the exterior woodwork freshly varnished.

I had brought with me the new Simrad AI50 class B AIS and right away discussed with Panayiotis, the electrician, the details of its installation. The motor for the water-maker had not arrived yet but I told Agmar to go ahead and launch the boat tomorrow. I will come back to Leros when the motor is at hand.

Last October, when I left Thetis, I had emptied the water tanks. So I called for a water delivery since the tap water in Partheni is brackish. But after the water was delivered and the tanks were filled I noticed water leaking into the bilges. After some investigation I isolated the problem in the left tank. At that time I discovered another problem. The head pump did not operate.

This evening Agmar Marine removed the leaking left water tank. Its bottom was heavily corroded presumably from electrolytic action, although it was properly grounded. Being of a suspicious nature, I asked the yard to remove the right tank as well. Sure enough, it too was corroded. Launching Thetis tomorrow was not now feasible.

Saturday-Sunday May 9-10, 2009

On Saturday morning the tanks were repaired by welding a new bottom to them, and they were tested, and installed.

I took the shipʼs papers to the Limenarchio (Λιμεναρχείο - Greek Coast Guard) in Lakki for the inevitable official stamps. By the time I returned to Partheni a new water delivery was made and the tanks were filled. They did seem OK but I could still see water in the bilge. I could not locate the leak.

In the Yard

Panayiotis came and we installed the AIS. It worked very well as a receiver and detected several ships despite the antenna not being specific for AIS and being surrounded by a forest of metal masts in the shipyard.

I had a problem receiving a GPRS signal from Cosmote, but after a few phone calls it was resolved. Here I now have 2 different internet connections: wireless via Cosmote and Wi-Fi from the yard.

In the afternoon I could still see some small amount of fresh water flowing into the bilge.

On Sunday morning I took both sails out of the cabin and installed the genoa. This took some time because I had to run back and forth; an assistant would had made a big differnce. I then uncovered the dinghy and washed its cover. I also replaced the autopilot plug and put the covers on the fenders.

It was time to investigate the water leak. I opened the water tank covers and checked the tanks and their connections. No leaks. Where was this water coming from?

I had a nice dinner at Giusi e Marcello in Alindas.

Monday May 11, 2009

This was a long and frustrating day. First thing in the morning while the wind was light I installed the mainsail. That took over an hour because of the fussiness to install the 3 reefing lines and the 4 battens properly.

I was then informed that Panayiotis will be coming to install ground wires from the water tanks directly to the keel. This was because measurements indicated that the boat ground strap, which is embedded in the fiberglass and connects the engine, rudder, tanks, etc. to the keel, has an electrical brake. This will be rectified next year. Before Panayiotis arrived another fellow, came who removed the tank covers and all the floorboards.

While the floorboards were off, I sponged all the water and collected it in a bucket. I then flashed the bucket into the bathroom sink. All of the water came back into the bilge. I looked at the all the seacocks. The outlet seacock was shut. I now opened all of seacocks. The mystery of the water was now solved.

I then went to Lakki and bought some provisions, although my plan was to do the bulk of the provision shopping when I reach Samos.

I disassembled the head pump and cleaned it. Now it, too, worked.

At around 4 PM Panayiotis came. He quickly installed the grounds to the tanks, and as an extra precaution he also ran a new ground cable from the engine to the keel. But that time, of course, it was too late for a launch. Maybe tomorrow…

After re-installing the floorboards and restoring order in the main cabin, I washed the deck and the cockpit. I then took the gasoline canisters, for the outboard and the genset, to a gas station and refilled them.

For dinner I went to the Mylos restaurant where I had a terrific fried squid and maridakia (μαριδάκια - small fried fish).