30/04/2015, Finike, Turkey
Hats off to our friends at Setur Marin, Finike. We arrived at 4pm Tursday and on Wednesday they lifted us as promised. Better still, by close of day the bottom was already painted!
01/05/2015, Setur Marin, Finike, Turkey
We love Turkey. It's all about the spirit of the people, their culture and customs and the amazing food. Being with the people, engaging them and developing rapport, brings its own rewards. While we've been in the yard working on our boat, I've taught the technicians how to 'Coo-ee' and now they call me into their workshop each time they have a Nescafe. Fantastic fun since their English is limited so we laugh and giggle a lot while communicating in gestures.
Every now and again I come across real professionals. In the boat business, people who are experts with Inox (metalwork) are sought after. Well, we found one here in Finike and his name is Makhmoud. Between my ideas and his genius for making good Inox work, we've added many new features to the boat. Notably this bespoke stand for the chart plotter. This took three days to get every angle correct, but was worth it for the precision.
27 degrees, sunny
04/05/2015, Setur Marin, Finike
Wow, what a night! And another great day. The boat was put back in the water this morning. Our turnaround time has been so fast we've had other yachties commenting on it as they walked past now we're back in the marina. Another highly productive day seeing us way ahead of plan in terms of setup time.
But wait ... The best part? Close your eyes and come on an exotic journey with me.
It's dark (10pm at night). We're sitting in the cockpit of our boat with a romantic light on that I made with paper serviette wrapped over the cockpit tanle light. We have a very pleasant Slovenian digestive. Our taste sensations are alive with blackcurrant and other wild flowers and berries exploding in our mouths. We're still good friends and just enjoy each other's company. There's a full moon. It's the big version where it seems larger than life. It's dead still and the water is calm and silky. Playing in the restaurant at the end of our marina jetty is a live Turkish band with a woman singing soulful slow Turkish ballads. Could it get any better? Well yes, for the first time in our lives we saw (well heard first of all) Dolphins right inside the marina pens! This is most uncommon! They circled our boat and then casually swam around two pontoons either side of us , gracefully popping up for a breath or two every now and again. What an awesome experience. We ran out to the bow of the boat to watch them in the dark still waters. I'm sure they came in fishing. Either way it's a real privilege.
The lovely thing about cruising in boats is the people you meet and the wonderful 'life' stories they tell. Here's just one example. Fred and Jackie on their famous steel boat 'Blue Searcher' - a 41' Robert Clark. This boat is a cut down version of Chay Blyth's 'British Steel'. Much more interesting though, are the youthful and rich characters of Fred and Jackie who have nearly sailed round the world in over 13 years or so ...
It's actually good to check off so many jobs that I had planned to do. This is what we've done so far:
- small gel coat repairs to transom (minor cracks appeared in laminate)
- replaced Glomax at top of mast. The bracket had broken
- fitted new permanent steelwork to hold chart plotter above wheel
- new cockpit table grab rails
- re-rigged boats running rigging
- lift and anti foul
- checked AC problem and ordered new unit
- made deck sun cover for foredeck
- ripped out small ha basin in owners cabin and rebuilt
- cleaned all blocked outlets (following big winter storm that pushed wood chips in)
Still to go ...
- new water filtration system
- new (2nd) AC unit
- new Bimini and steel frame to support davits
- expert coming to check main furler system
- new inner forestay and furling system
- new boom tent sun cover
And the list goes on!
I know ... I've been duely reprimanded by friends for being slack on the posting front. That's because we're not used to being in one place for so long!
Still in Finike as per revised plan to get a range of improvements made to the boat. Having found a good yard capable of doing all the things I need I decided to night the bullet and stay still for a while. I'll post a few entries (below) in retrospect.
18/05/2015, Inside the marina at Finike - Turtle inside red circle!
Turkey has strict laws and controls on black and grey water waste from boats. The strictest in the Med and maybe the world. A lot of yachties were concerned about the extra cost of retrofitting holding tanks etc (many also respect the environment we share). However, the proof is in the pudding! Yesterday at 10am in the morning a large turtle swam within 20 metres of our boat right inside the marina! When you also consider my recent post about Dolphins chasing fish between the rows of boats then the purity of the water here is simply extraordinary - and this inside a commercial marina. Well done Turkey!
20/05/2015, On board in Finike
Steelworks have begin to go slower than I thought. The lesson here is how long it takes to produce excellent work. Bending the frame and matching a template produced something of substance on day one. Subsequent precision, welding, fitting and especially polishing is what makes for an outstanding result though. The AC guys only turned up at 5pm so we had the whole inside a tip till 11pm ... They'll finish today and next job is to install a powerful remote spotlight up the mast.
The new Bimini can't even begin till the steelwork is completed ... Friday night? And the solar panels can't go back on till the Bimini is done!! Definitely getting tight for time now - want to depart next Tuesday 26th for Cyprus.
Met some more sailing buddies. Michael and Sue from 'Macnoon' or correctly 'Captain Michael' ex: Australian Navy. Lovely bloke ... especially when confronted with afternoon beer:)
Here I am at the end of a hard day polishing the new steel work with Makhmoud the Maestro. It took the two of us from 2pm to 8pm to get the job done!
25/05/2015, Picture - Gumnuts alongside the yard at Setur Marina, Finike)
It's been a long, but worthwhile, process to make all our changes while in Finike. However, we're down to wire now since we wanted to leave tomorrow morning for Cyprus! That's looking tough as of Monday morning.
- new steel frame should be fitted today (more welding and polishing all day, but on the boat)
- the spray hood is 'expected' to be fitted today
- the fixed section of the Bimini should be ready for its final fitting (once the steel is erected)
- the mid section of the Bimini can only be made once the steel is up ...
- the solar panels have to be fitted to the Bimini ... And rewired
- the already ordered water filtration system hasn't arrived yet ...
So, looks like a Thursday departure to be on the safe side and also ensure our Turkush friends sleep at night instead of working till 3am!
Finally it's all coming together. The new Bimini on the back looks great and the solar panels are finally up!
21/05/2014, Caorle, Italy
We are living right next door to a famous film star these days. "Stormvogel" ("Stormbird" or the Shearwater), the 73 foot classic racing yacht, that was the boat used throughout the movie 'Dead Calm' starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil and Billy Zane. Well before the movie she was first to finish in the 1961 Fastnet Race, the 1962 Buenos Aries-Rio race, and in 1964 won the Bermuda race, the Sydney-Hobart and the China Sea race and then in 1967 won the Transpac Race (Los Angeles-to-Hawaii).
We've downloaded the movie and plan a night in to reminisce.
One of the reasons we came back to Finike was to complete the steel work. I wanted a new (stronger) pulpit at the bow. Here is dear old Mahmoud with his friend making 'Kontrol' with a German K since he rabbits away to me in German all the time. Lovely guy though and a great craftsman.
This beautiful three master schooner docked next to us on Friday night. The bow sprit is nearly as long as our boat and appears to hover mysteriously over us. It's a 'Yoga' boat with tourists booking a one week cruise on this luxury boat. It is stunning.
I say this lightly, but all of the words above are etched into my head since it's all I've heard all day every day for weeks!
Finike Turkish Yard words.
Montage - I'm going to fix it, make it.
Kontrol - check that what I've made so far works or fits
Kline Problem - Germish for 'small problem' (only ... meaning, I can fix it).
So, here we are nearing the end of our mammoth Finike refit experience.
Was it worth it? Yes, the end result is outstanding.
Was it value for money? Not especially. If you do the work elsewhere it will cost you the same, including Europe.
Was it delivered on time? No. On every single occasion the promises made (and remade, and remade) were missed.
Are they good people to deal with? Outstanding! A wonderful experience.
Overall best 'expert'?Sulayman, the Bimini guy will get his own posting - he's that good.
Today was a special day. I promised our friends at Atalya Gemi that I would take them all out for a sail - and we did! The fact that these 'masters' of Steelwork, Electrical and Sailmaker/Bimini production produce excellent results for our boats, but have never had the chance or been invited to actually be on one sailing.
That all changed today and the result was a picture in their faces. Worth every minute.
As a final way of saying goodbye, and to recognise our friendship, the Antalya Gemi team invited us for lunch, just before sailing. What we thought would be a low key meal in the usual town 'Locanta' turned out to be a drive into the mountains 40 km inland. The coolness of the air in the tres with running river plus amazing food was an awesome way to wrap up and say farewell to Finike.
No, I'm not talking about a past Turkish Sultan. I'm talking about Suleyman our Bimini maker. I promised earlier to give him credit where credits due and here it is.
His attention to detail, attentive 'customer centric' ear, and his dedication to producing work of quality are what make this a 'stand out' tradesman. On top of all that, he's just a plain nice guy! We have no hesitation in recommending him to any of our friends.
He made our new Bimini, spray hood, boom tents (highly recommended in the July/August heat), a tailor made dinghy cover and even sewed on backing to our mats and made covers for our cockpit table. Design is all mine. But the real work is execution and quality.
Here's his card. Pictures follow.