There is another Amel 55 here at the dock at the Marina de Valencia. It is no. 2, built in early 2013 and it is owned by a nice Canadian couple. Time to exchange some ideas about improvements to the boat!

Apropos improvements, or repairs, rather. So my father and 2 elderly friends of his from East Berlin arrived on July 2 and we took off for Valencia on the next day.

The Esdorns and Bernd and Wolfgang from East Berlin. This was not the only empty bottle that day.

When we just had left the harbor I had the good sense to check the voltage on the switch board, expecting 25.6V, the normal "float" voltage because the batteries were at 100% since we had been on shore power for days. Instead, I saw 29V increasing to 31V over the next few minutes! Current was fluctuating wildly between 20A and 40A! Obviously, something was still wrong with the regulator and we were in the process of destroying the batteries by overcharging them. So the sails came up and the engine was turned off and I put in a call to Pochon, the Amel electronics people who had helped me program the new regulator. As is happens, at that point the cell connection started acting up and the English of the Pochon guy started going South as well. But the bottom line of the advice I heard was: it's normal that the voltage might spike like this in float mode. That didn't make any sense to me. With the Pochon guy on the phone I had hooked up the Mastervolt analysis box again and confirmed that the settings were correct, but noticed one interesting fact: the "sensing" voltage at the regulator was some 2.5V below the voltage I was seeing on the switch board - below the maximum voltage for bulk charging, 28.5V. So my conclusion was that there was some resistance in the sensing circuit that fooled the regulator into going into bulk mode when the batteries were full and float mode was called for. Pochon explained that fact away with some non-sensical argument. After anchoring overnight, I was up bright and early on July 4 and climbed into the engine room, armed with the electrical plans, looking for a lose connection.

Opening the box that contains the regulator

First point I checked was where the sensing cable attached to the alternator itself. To access that part, I had to remove a part of the engine room insulation which obviously had been done before. July 4th was my lucky day: the connection was lose!! So that explained the erratic charging current and low sensing voltage. I tightened the connection, replaced the insulation and hooked up the analysis box: sensing voltage now was some 3-4 tenth of a Volt HIGHER than the voltage shown on the switch board, which made sense. Later that morning I confirmed that the regulator switched to absorption from bulk mode at 28.5V - all was well. So my conclusions are: (1) Pochon can't be trusted and (2) I purchased a new regulator where there was nothing wrong with the old one. Moreover, I had thrown away the old one which could have been a spare. GRRRRR!

Over the next few days, we made our way South along the coast which is rather featureless and unattractive. But we were able to anchor pretty much every night and sail mostly the entire way. The highlight of the trip was a planned visit to the Columbrete islands some 30 miles off the coast but the weather conditions for that were tricky since the natural harbor on the main island is open to the East and we were in an Easterly period. We waited for two days and then made our first attempt, only to find that the forecast Southerly wind and swell was in fact an Easterly which made the prospect of a night at the mooring there not attractive. So we left and went to Castellon on the coast. Not what I would call an attractive place, made worse by a decrepit sailboat next to us whose bar for the furling mainsail was banging in the mast all night long. The next day saw us get successful, though. We sailed back to Columbrete and picked up a nice mooring. The swell was less, from the South and forecast to abate completely. We could go for a lovely swim in the 28C waters. We tried the flopper stoppers - boards suspended in the water that are supposed to act as a brake against the boat rolling. We ended up rigging one hanging from the end of the main boom and one from the end of the mizzen boom. Much better than hanging three of them from the rail because they have much more leverage. But not perfect as we found out when the swell came back from the North East! So much for the wave gribs I had been watching!

Approaching Islas Columbretes

Notice the flopper stopper on the left, hanging from the main boom

In the morning the crew requested that we try another place for the night so off we were to Burriana, some 25 miles from Valencia. Another great sailing day and an attractive marina without swell. Spirits were noticeably higher than in the morning!!

In Burriana Marina

Our last day was our best sailing day yet, with a tight reach in increasing winds and considerable thrashing. Valencia has three big marinas only one of which is full, the Northern part of the Marina de Valencia. Facilities are good and buildings are attractive. One has to wonder, though, why you would build facilities without AC .......

Kincsem in the Valencia Marina

Check out the pictures of our Valencia city tour in the Album by the same name.


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