It was the perfect day, sailing with some friends on my yacht, ‘Pleione’, a 1976 Beneteau Evasion 32. We had departed my home port of Votsi, on the Aegean island of Alonissos for a day’s sailing, mixed with swimming and snorkelling around the adjacent islands. First stop was the islands called ‘The Two Brothers’, after a slow sail in light winds and of coarse, wall to wall sunshine, we anchored in a small bay with crystal clear water, everyone dived in to explore the underwater surroundings. From here we motored back between the two islands, the wind having turned from light to zero, for our lunchtime break at the picturesque port of Steni Vala. It was on this leg that the first clue of impending disaster showed itself with the sudden emission of black smoke from the engine exhaust. I immediately eased the throttle and the smoke stopped, I then increased the throttle back again and all was well again. Sometimes things like this happen to a 36 year old Volvo Penta MD3B! At Steni, I thought it prudent to check a few things, oil level, water level etc. All looked OK so I started the engine without problem. Lunch over, we started heading back to Votsi. !0 minutes of motoring and I heard a strange noise from the engine, I stopped it straight away and with some off shore winds we had a good sail back to Votsi. I needed the engine to manoeuvre through the myriad of moored fishing boats in the port so reluctantly started the engine.

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