Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2022: Sécurité, Sécurité

This web page contains the logs of a very abortive attempt to test the temporary by-pass of the fuel tank. Instead of a succesful test Thetis ended being towed to the Samos Marina.

Route in Samos

Thursday August 18, 2022

I left in the morning our Kalami house and drove to Samos Marina. I had packed some lunch but on the way I had to stop at the AB store to get some cold cuts.

After I arrived in the marina I prepared for departure, that is I put temporary double lines (bidemia - μπιντέμια) and removed the more permanent bow lines with springs leaving them on the quay. I rolled-in the AC cable and removed the bow step ladder and stowed it.

I departed from the marina at 1020. The wind was variable at 15-25 knots and I motored since the whole point of the excursion was to test the new fuel arrangement. But there were 2 problems: I had forgotten to take with me the adaptor for re-charging my iPhone and I also forgot to take with me my prescription ear plugs.

We arrived, without any glitch, at the Kyriakou cove [37° 38.3' N 26° 51.2' E] at 1125 after 4.3 M. I anchored in 7 m depth and let out about 25 m chain. I tested the holding by strongly reversing since I could not snorkel for luck of ear plugs.

I sent an SMS to Cynthia advising her of this arrival

I had a fairly pleasant morning but in the afternoon I was attacked by myriad biting flies. I kept at them with the fly swat. The only nice thing in that afternoon was a small dolphin that for over half an hour chased and ate fish vey close to Thetis. At about 5:45 I was ready to go back to the marina. I turned on the motor and raised the anchor. As I was turning Thetis to exit the cove the engine stopped. It refused to start again. I quickly dropped the anchor to prevent the boat going to the rocks and tried to start the engine again. The jerry can was half full. Suspecting that it was too low to feed the 1st fuel filter I got out my second jerry can from the sail locker and siphoned fuel to the half empty jerry can that fed the engine. Again the engine did not start. Assuming that air got into the lone I started pumping the hand pump after the first filter. It took some time but to my great relief the engine started. I raised the anchor and headed back to the marina. By that time my iPhone was low on battery. We departed Kyriakou at 18:15.

The ride to the marina was fine although rough and bumpy. We arrived at the marina‘s entrance and then the engine stalled again. The time was about 1915. I should had anchored but instead I first tried to raise the marina on the VHF channel 9 and after no response I tried them on their cell phone +30 693 118 5765. I spoke with the attendant who said he will come with his dinghy right away and tow me. Shorly I saw a dinghy exit the marina but it went on a different direction. I called again and he told me he will have to refuel first. By that time Thetis had already drifted into deeper water, too deep for anchoring. Time passed. Another call (by that time my iPhone was way too low in battery); he told me that he is having some difficulty and he will call the coast guard.

Still drifting towards the Turkish coast. I opened the headsail and sailed parallel to the Greek coast but the waves were substantial and the wind was over 35 knots. The autopilot had trouble controlling the boat under sail. I turned around but the wind prevented me from getting closer to the the Greek coast. After another futile call to the marina he said that he did call the coast guard. By that time my iPhone was dead, I carried on and around 9 PM I made a “Securité” call on VHF channel 16. I gave them my coordinates and they said to stand by. I was almost W of Kolona (Heraion). Shortly after that I received, still on channel 16, a call from a Coast Guard vessel. They told me that they are near Samiopoula and that they were coming. They did arrive and they passed me a fairly long line which, as they directed, I secured on Thetis’ bow. They seemed very efficient and professional. They also asked about the boat’s particulars and ownership. Some time went by when they hailed me on channel 16 and said that another vessel was underway. After more time another Coast Guard arrived and the first one told me to cast off their line. I did so and after a making many circles around Thetis and all 3 men looking in their hatches they did produce a line and passed one end (no loop) to me and I tied it to the bow. We switched to VHF channel 12 and they told me they are expecting another vessel. After almost 1 hr she did arrive she was the small cruiser Αναστασία Σοφία (Anastasia Sophia). They were 3 men aboard. They got hold of the line already tied to Thetis’ bow and started towing me. As they instructed I tied my tiller to a center position. We were, according to my GPS/Plotter about 4.5 M from the marina. We were moving fairly slowly. It was way past midnight when we were back at the marina entrance. Very slowly and skillfully they maneuvered my boat and with their help we docked side-to the marina fuel dock. The time was past 2:30 AM.

A Coast Guard (Λιμεναρχείο) officer came and asked for Thetis’ peppers. I gave them to him and I also gave him my business card. I was supposed to see him tomorrow in his office. I also gave, after thanking them, my business card to the crew of Anastasia Sophia. They assured me that my insurance will cover the towing cost.