A short trip out to (hopefully) fix the instruments

Olympic Marine Boatyard, Lavrion, Greece in gorgeous winter sunshine

I couldn’t complain about coming out to Greece for a few days of maintenance on Nimmie. The weather forecast was for 16-19 degrees with a cool wind. Very different to the UK! The reason for the visit was to try and sort out the navigational instruments that had decided to stop working on our final day in late September. Our initial thought was that this was as a result of the speed and depths logs’ anti theft codes being corrupted as they were the ‘master’ ones that then fed data to the other instruments. They were over 20 years old after all! So, once we were back in the UK we bought second hand but slightly newer versions from eBay that didn’t have the anti-theft codes built in. The theory being that the same issue couldn’t arise in the future. Given that we had no idea whether this would sort the problem or whether we would need to purchase a brand new nav system (costing mega euros), I came out this week to meet with the electronics engineer to see what could be done. Liz, sadly, had to work. AirBnB and car hire booked, I landed at Athens airport on Sunday evening. Up at 6am UK time on the Monday was a slight shock to the system but I managed to get to the boat at Olympic Marine, Lavrion in plenty of time for the meeting with the engineer. I wanted to check whether the problem was still the same before he came on board. The new domestic batteries that had been installed in October were working well with the solar panels charging them and showing a full charge on the battery monitor. The batteries were bought in Greece as the additional VAT and import duties from the UK are prohibitive post Brexit. They still ended up costing over €1200 for the three batteries including installation.

Once onboard, the instruments were turned on and, lo and behold, some of them actually worked although the wind and depth instruments were completely blank – very different to last time. I probably think that the problem was due to not enough power coming through the batteries when we only had one working. Anyway, Nikos, the electronic engineer from AMZ Yachting Services, duly arrived around 1030 and proceeded to source the cause of the new problem. It seems the VMG wind instrument that basically shows a zoomed in version of the main wind one had broken cables behind the mounting plate and the data from this instrument fed through to the others. Once isolated, the rest all worked! He replaced another connector that was also a bit dodgy so we now have fully functioning instruments. Hurrah! It could have been so expensive otherwise and we didn’t want to leave it until Spring 2022 to find out. We will keep the replacement ones on board for the time being and then sell them if we don’t upgrade in the next couple of years. Whilst Nikos was there, we asked him to install a remote windlass control so that we can operate the anchor from any part of the boat. This will be very useful when we are coming into harbours with just the two of us and we need to tighten the anchor chain as we go stern to or when leaving a windy berth.

New hatch covers

Whilst out here, I did a few other maintenance jobs including checking whether the hatch covers Liz had made fitted. They are slightly too big so they will be coming back with me for an adjustment but they look good.

It’s been interesting being out here in the winter. Lavrion is very much a working town so everything is pretty much open although bars and restaurants are looking quite quiet during the week. I don’t know whether that’s because of Covid or just people starting to hunker down. Greece feels like such an outdoor culture that it seems hard to imagine people in front of roaring fires in the depths of winter. What I have noticed is that everyone, and I mean everyone, wears a mask inside. The other is that when in non essential shops, they ask you for proof of your vaccination status and ID. No one batters an eyelid and just get on with it. The Greek government has just announced that vaccination will be compulsory for the over 60s with a €100 fine per month of not being vaccinated. A significant amount of money given the average wage in Greece is €21,000. Very different to the UK approach but then they also have much lower deaths (18,000) and cases (945,000).

It feels good to be out here but there is a certain amount of worry that the rules will be changed again and I might have to isolate for longer or not get back at all. In the event, I managed to change my flight from Friday (tomorrow) to today for £20. It means I can get the PCR test completed and sent off on Friday and hopefully get the results over the weekend. It does make popping out to check Nimmie a lot harder. I can’t see us getting back out until May next year when we are planning on being here for a quite a few weeks.

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