Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

16 th to 23 rd of July 2018 - Lorient

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Plage de Larmor and Kernevel Marina.
Distance : 36 miles

We left the anchorage at 0900 and motored around the island through the southern most channel between the island and the Quiberon peninsular. Once out of Quiberon Bay we were able to sail close hauled all the way to Lorient harbour. The seas became quite choppy as the wind built up to Force 4/5 but we made good speed, tacking a couple of times. We had identified two possible anchorages in the entrance, however, the easterly one was way too exposed. The one we chose on the west side of the channel was also quite exposed, however it felt safe and the wind was forecast to settle to veer around to the north so we decided to stay there. We would also have some protection from the reefs at low tide. Although it felt a little bumpy where we were it didn't stop someone swimming nearly as far out as we were anchored.


The following morning we were awake at 0530 for an early start. We were off our anchor and motoring westward into the light winds by 0630. At 0800 Andy noticed the bilge pump was pumping furiously. This had been a bit of a problem because our fresh water system had been leaking. However, the fresh water pump was off and the bilge pump still seemed to be going pretty constantly. Andy took a look in the engine compartment and found the engine bilge full to the brim with salt water which was spraying from the exhaust elbow, the alarm also sounded at the same time and there was a nasty smell of burning rubber so we quickly turned the engine off and unfurled the genoa. We turned around and headed back to Lorient and fortunately there was now a light wind behind us. We had a couple of hours gentle sail back to Lorient and toward the marina, hoping the wind wouldn't die completely. After a bit more investigation Andy was happy that we could safely run the engine briefly to get us along side in the marina. 


It turned out that the alarm probably went off for an unrelated problem of the stop solenoid wire having chafed through (which in retrospect may have been linked to lots of salt water) causing a nasty burning rubber smell....nothing to do with the exhaust elbow, which was later confirmed to be the cause of our leak.

We spent a week in Lorient waiting for a new exhaust elbow to be delivered. However, we were able to get a number of other jobs done that we had been putting off. Andy also fixed the stop solenoid wires and we found a new pressure release valve in the local hardware store. So we no longer leak fresh water. An engineer came out very quickly to look at the exhaust elbow, removing it completely and committing us to staying in the marina until a new one could be delivered. We made the most of our stay, visiting Lorient by bus and the cultural capital of Brittany, Quimper, by train (TGV!). We had just missed the Tour de France. We had a couple of swims in the sea from the beaches around Lamor Plage.


Once the part had been obtained the engineers were very quick to fit it. This isn't a job we could have done as the bolts were very corroded and required re-engineering. We were ready and happy to leave the following day. Our longer term plans had changed again and we were in less of a hurry to head home.

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