NIUE - All different, all dreams!

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Who: Eliane, Patrice and their children
Where: The Mediterranean
Multihull: Catana 411


Our hearts were beating fast as we let the moorings slip through our hands. Focus, breathe, don’t rush, stay alert and be positive. The dream which we had worked towards was just beginning. There we were on the Mediterranean Sea, quietly sailing from anchorage to anchorage towards the Strait of Gibraltar. We set off for the Balearic Islands, 140 miles away. The sea was getting heavier as we approached the islands. Upwind, Niue was progressing with difficulty, so we turned on the motor. The waves which were breaking in every direction, were as agitated as our stomachs. We heard the fire alarm of the starboard engine go off. We were 20 miles from Minorca. We disconnected the batteries. In our cabin, there was a strong smell that made my heart beat a little faster. When we opened the engine compartment, the smell and the smoke were strong, but there were no flames visible. The engine was running, although the engine control panel was off. Patrice cut off the fuel supply and finally managed to choke the engine with a rag. So there we were with a defective engine. Without hesitation we turned around and went back to the Catana Shipyard to carry out the repairs. In the end, it turned out that the alternator was the problem. It had burnt after having been splashed with sea water. We also noted some improvements that could be made. The bilge pumps are perhaps not fixed in the most appropriate place and we noted the presence of various water leaks at portholes, cleats and the arch. The handles of the escape hatch did not resist the waves hitting under the nacelle. We spotted water in the bottom of the hull too. We also spotted small holes in the mainsail, with the sailboat showing weaknesses in the batten pockets. We will take advantage of this stopover to optimize the boat.


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