We left the UK feeling that our current ground tackle was adequate to do the job. We knew that we would be anchoring in bays and that this was supposed to be part of the great life of living aboard. On our way to Almerimar, in 2004, we never anchored out at all (sorry we did once just off the Algarve coast but only for an extended lunch and swim break). Alan considered us new to anchoring as even in the UK we had only anchored on four or five occasions. In discussion with other people and reading up on the subject, it was decided that our CQR anchor and it's 8mm chain were insufficient for the Mediterranean (not to mention the rest of the world). Though a genuine 35 Lbs CQR; it and it's 8mm chain were considered far too light and after much deliberation Max and Jan persuaded us that a SPADE of 21 Kgs and 70 metres of 10 mm chain would be much better. This turned out to be good advice. We kept the CQR and 8mm chain to be used as a second anchor or as a kedge anchor if we needed one (It has not turned out to be a very good kedge anchor so we will have to sort one out at some point in the future).
When anchoring in the Med, beware. We had very little trouble anchoring, we only dragged once in 4 years, but some other yachtsmen are good at dropping their anchors on top of yours and making out that everything will be OK. Well, with this kind of configuration, it is very likely that as we swing to our anchors there will be some sort of collision between the two yachts. We had this happen once in a bay on the Italian Island of Ponza and, when the collision had occurred, the other yachtsman pulled up his anchor and was underway faster than one can say anchor. He did not even stay to apologise (luckily it was a glancing touch and no damage was done to Kiah).
It is good manners to check with the boat near whom you are planning to anchor to see just how much chain he has out and, in practice, this generally works very well. However, once again, there are some yachties who will always tell you they have 30 mtrs down. It seems to always be 30 mtrs even if the depth of water is only 3 or 4 mtrs. I guess they are just a bit anti-social and want space around them but it can be a bit of a problem if the anchorage is fairly restricted in terms of space. It generally means the newcomer has to anchor in greater depths further out, if they have enough chain.
These are our information pages, where we try to explain the things we encountered along the way and the things we changed. Here we tell you things that have happened, changes we have made, things that we really liked AND those we did not.
Thinking Davits to be the ultimate in professional launching and recovery of a dinghy, we duly purchased and had installed the Davits recommended by Peters Plc. Now it must be understood that we have nothing against Davits, in the right circumstances they are brilliant pieces of equipment and we would still consider having them if our dinghy was a rib, but it is not. Inflatable dinghies are difficult to manage on Davits, not from the point of lifting and lowering but the issue of holding them steady when they are hoisted and you are out at sea. When there are no fixed lifting points on a dinghy, if left to their own accord at sea, they will pitch and roll. Most dinghies we have seen can only be lifted so far up towards the davit arms and so one has then to consider roping them to the pushpit in order to stop them rolling (all of which takes time). The other issue is that an inflated dinghy at sea, we found, can be a nuisance in that they tend to fill with water (rain or sea water) and therefore can make the stern section of the yacht very heavy in a strong sea. The only way around this is to first cover the dinghy completely before you then tie it down to the guardrails. We gave our not inexpensive davits away to a friends Jan & Max and fitted instead a Monitor wind vane self steering unit.
Marking the anchor chains is a bit of a nightmare, only because we have found nothing yet that actually stays on the chain. We have tried cable ties and paint but always after a season the work has to be done yet again. anchoring at night) but we have yet to find it. If anyone out there has a foolproof way of doing this please let us know. We have heard of many different ways from many different people and these can range from using wool to cable ties, paint to plastic inserts. We now have some of the plastic pieces (inserts) that fit into the links of the chain so we are going to try these next. All good fun eh!. The cartoon above was commissioned from a fellow sailor by Doreen for Alan's 60th birthday present, it includes all the people that wintered with us in Malta 2005 and is a great memento. In fact we have not tried the coloured plastic inserts, Alan (in Gran Tarajal decided to try sail makers twine and put whipping mark(s) leaving a long tail at the 10, 20, 30 and 40 meter locations on the chain (one whip for 10, two for 20 etc with the corresponding long tails). We will advise in a year or so time how this actually faired.
Now with a new name “Winney” (not very original I know), our Monitor wind vane has been attached to Kiah's stern since we wintered in Fox's Marina, near Ipswich in 2003/2004. It is one of those things that somehow never quite get used and the book on how to use it never quite got read properly. We didn't use the vane on our trip down to the Med nor during most of our time in the Med. It seemed too difficult to sort out the sail plan that would allow the Monitor to do it's job properly and, at one time, we were thinking (as it says in the book) that the vane just did not work (like our first Water maker, see below).
It turns out it was nothing to do with the vane, or necessarily the sail plan, it was purely and simply a lack of understanding on my (Alan) part as to the intricacies of vane sailing and in particular the servo pendulum vane (which is what the Monitor is). This situation has now been rectified (still some bits to learn but getting there) and having read the manual several times we have got it right. On our last two trips around Lanzarote, Winney has been engaged and has shown what a remarkable piece of equipment she is. In winds from 4 knots to 20+ knots she has held us on course with no problem, in fact the stronger the wind blows the better she seems to get. On our last passage the wind range was all of the 4 to 20+ (higher as we moved further South on the Island) and veered 270 degrees of the compass, taking us from a reach to running and then through reach again (on the other side of course) to beating into wind. In lighter airs we spend more time watching to see if the vane is working ok but that's just lack of experience and trust we think, so running before in light airs needs more practice but it is still great to observe the vane in action. As the winds get heavier and the seas a little rougher, Winney comes right into her own. Once set close into the wind Kiah was held on course as good as, if not better than, the electric Auto pilot (Alphie) could do. Doreen & I are amazed and very pleased that at last we have justified adding the Monitor wind vane to Kiah's inventory. A brilliant addition.
As you can see from the lower picture, we contacted the Monitor people and they said that it would be perfectly OK to make a platform using the upper arms of the Monitor frame to support it. This has made it much easier to provide a permanent location for our ‘gangplank ’(see third picture).
This section is not just about Solar Panels but includes our feelings on mounting them. It took Alan nearly 5 years to decide to install Solar Panels and to mount them on a stainless steel arch. Frames on yachts don’t always look like part of the boat itself, they look very much like ‘add-ons’. BUT what do you do when you want to install Solar Panels and, move all the aerials sitting on the pushpit (they get in the way when we berth stern to and people have a tendency to grab them thinking they are stable).
We looked for a good frame, found one on another yacht and asked the Turkish stainless people if they could match it on Kiah. It turned out that they had also built the frame we liked (though it was on a somewhat larger boat) and they were happy to make one for Kiah. So discussions were completed, prices agreed and within one week the whole task was finished (this included negotiations, design, construction, fitting, cleaning and polishing as well as locating the Solar Panels on the top rail).
Max helped Alan to locate the required electrical cables and a suitable regulator. These proved easy to install and Max, supervised the installation of a SHUNT and NASSER battery management system, all of which worked perfectly. With two 85 Watt Solar Panels, we are now getting up to 8 Amps on most sunny days. Having the panels able to roll around the top stainless bar really does produce better results than fixed flat panels. Being able to tip them towards the sun has an amazing affect on the Amps received. The stainless arch added additional weight on the stern and we thought this would be an issue, as it turned out the weight was not a problem on Kiah though we have tried to relocate or remove heavy items to try and compensate. We had the arch built into the pushpit so that we did not lose any deck space and our stern seats were retained. Altogether a great job and we are very pleased.