Category Archives: Guest blog

Words from our visitors or people we bump into

Guest blog – exams over

After a stressful period of exams, I was relieved and excited to have the opportunity to finally fulfil my dream of sailing in the Med. It was very daunting flying “solo” to a place I had never been before and staying with people whom I had never met. However, I was quickly put at ease by Sarah and Ian.

We drove to the Marina where the spectacular Linea was waiting and I was delighted to find out that we had good company present in the form of “gin palace” rental man Lorenzo. We conversed with him for a short while before heading off to the beach to top up the tan. However, we found out that this was one of the few bays in the fingers which was harbouring hundreds of sea urchins. We put this thought to the back of our minds and ventured out into deeper water. While snorkelling there we enjoyed chasing the fish which were inhabiting the coral. Normally snorkelling is not my biggest hobby due to the waters of sunny Cornwall not being particularly warm, however swimming in water hot enough to bath in was wonderful. Upon return to the yacht I was pleasantly surprised to find an iced coffee waiting for me, made by Lorenzo. We finished the day with a very pleasant evening at the beach taverna accompanied by great food and local entertainment.

The next day we said farewell to our neighbours and set off to the next finger. Sam and I both took turns helming which was great fun. During our journey we practiced our man overboard principles, experimenting with buoys and a lost “frozen ball”. Nobody was harmed during this exercise and both the buoy and the frozen ball were recovered safely. Upon arrival to our destination we anchored up and packed all the sails away. Sam and I then began to wind down and we engaged in activities such as diving off the boat. We spent the rest of the night together eating on board and after packing everything away we brought out the cards and had a great game of Uno.

Chefs at work

Over the next couple of days we did some bay hopping and Sam and I both took the opportunity to go to shore to walk to the various towns around our position to collect some supplies and take some photos. We continued to do some diving off the front of the boat and we also erected a rope swing which was thoroughly enjoyable. During the nights which we stayed in the bays Sam and I were tasked with cooking some carbonara. It was not too bad, however, Sam and I seemed to use too little pasta and cream meaning portions were a bit thin! Cooking on a boat, rocking from side to side, was quite a challenging experience but it was nonetheless enjoyable. On the next night we watched a talent show unfold from our boat. The “talent” was not actually visible to us (as we were watching from afar), however the music was certainly audible, so much so that we were all very tempted to go ashore and cut the audio cables. The music went on into the early hours of the morning.

Meet Genevieve

The next morning we prepared the boat in order for a short sail across to the second finger. We got the spinnaker out and we caught some nice wind, maxing out at roughly 6 Knots. The sail did have to come down before we arrived, as we had reached a fairly treacherous point of our journey- the entrance to Diaporos. We were therefore forced to motor in and we found a lovely sheltered spot in which we were accompanied by fellow Brits, an Aussie, a Frenchman and a Hungarian. At the Diaporos we continued diving and swimming from the boat, but we also took up games such as backgammon and draughts. We did this mainly, however on several occasions we ventured off into some of the inlets for some snorkelling and a general look around the stunning collective of bays. During these days we also played a lot of beach tennis, however we never did finish our mini “Wimbledon/Diaporos” tennis tournament. We finished off our stay in the Diaporos Island with a visit to the local restaurant based at one of the campsites dotted around the coast of the mainland. Our hosts were very welcoming however throughout the night there was an ongoing issue in the communication department, which meant that my main meal never arrived. This aside we all had a great night out and Sam and I were lucky enough to meet some of the locals, with whom we snatched up the opportunity of a photo.

The boys meet the “girls”

The next day we set off to our final destination of the trip and while under sail we conducted some more man overboard drills. We arrived at a pontoon and tied ourselves up. Sam and I then jetted off on the tender to Ormos Panagias to have a walk to the long strip of beach in the bay adjacent to the one in which we were staying. Unfortunately for us, during the trip back from the beach to Linea the engine very abruptly cut out on us- as we had run out of fuel- meaning we had to row back.

No fuel

In doing this I worked up quite an appetite which was met with splendid seafood from one of the restaurants in Ormos Panagias.

This was a wonderful way to finish off our fantastic 11 day stay on Linea.

Thank you so much for allowing me aboard you home and for making me feel welcome.

Rory Cornelius Smith

Notes from inexperienced crew member

(Apologies Sheena for the delay in posting, ed)

Notes taken by an inexperienced crew member way back in September on the trip from Marina di Ragusa to Kefalonia

After a serious list of boat vocab (halyard, sheet, reefing rope, gib, gennacker and so on, I found a short list of needy knots such as the bowline and the very useful half hitch and some instructions on how to do them (it took me an unacceptably long time to fully grasp Sarah’s knot lesson) we move on to a list of boaty expressions, cooked up after a glass of wine or two……,.

THE SUN IS OVER THE YARD ARM (time for  a drink) every evening at dusk except when out at sea

THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND (drunk) not every evening…….honest

ALL HANDS ON DECK (everyone get to work) when Captain gave the orders

SHIP-SHAPE (tidy) how Sarah keeps her boat

ANY PORT IN THE STORM (anything goes) no storms but an unplanned port for sure

BATON DOWN THE HATCHES (get ready for a difficult moment) cos if you don’t you find water dripping on your head in the middle of the night

DOWN THE HATCH (eat up) yes this happened very often as there is not just one breakfast on board the Linea

BRACE YOURSELF (get ready) well we must have done it as no one went overboard this time

I LIKE THE CUT OF YOUR GIB Ian’s chat up line

SHE’S HITCHED (married) “sorry but I’m already hitched” – perhaps after the above

SHE’S HALF HITCHED (not sure if this means your marital state or your mental state) whatever it means it made us laugh

TO TIE THE KNOT (get married) well this doesn’t really apply to us oldies

TO MISS THE BOAT (miss an opportunity) but I really did nearly miss it one day when I spent too long saying goodbye to the turtles…

GET KNOTTED what you mustn’t say to the Captain

TO BE DECKED (k:o.) this is what happens if you tell the Captain to get knotted

Sheena – Linea crew Sicily to Kephalonia; September 2016

Guest blog – Sicily to Kefalonia

p9231743When I saw that email asking whether anyone would like to join the sail over from Sicily to Kefalonia I jumped at the chance, booking my flight down to Sicily almost before getting the go ahead!
So the adventure began….we actually spent a couple of days stocking up and sightseeing, it was great to see my old friends Sarah and Kim again and hope that Ian didn’t get too fed up with our giggles…..if he did he masked it admirably. After a day’s visit to Ragusa, a pretty town split between the upper modern part and the lower ancient part, a maze of little streets, churches, doors and steps, we were ready to go. Next day we got ready to leave the harbour, to my amazement I was at the helm steering us out of the Marina before I knew what was what! But we got out without damage. We had our safety lesson by Il Capitano and a demonstration of useful knots by Skipper Sarah, a subject destined for many a laugh later on when the knots were actually needed….my half-hitch was for a few days somewhat half-hitched but I did eventually become a bit of an expert at attaching fenders!!! We were told that this was the longest ever stretch of sailing so far only when we had left land and couldn’t change our minds!
Italy disappeared over the horizon and soon we were sailing into the blue. No chance of lightening the load as food was part of the out at sea experience. We had some beautiful meals arriving from the hold……often two breakfasts, magnificent lunches and evening meals, snacks and appetizers! But who the hell was it who ate all the chocolate????
Ian and Sarah managed the boat and we muddled around in between, it took me some days to get which way the ropes (I know Ian, that they aren’t called ropes) went around the winches….a phrase was coined “to do a Sheena” that is, to wind it round the wrong way!
p9161551Amazing that we managed not to get on top of each other too much in such a small space, for 72 hours at a stretch, even being joined by little Taylor Swift who flew in on her way down to Africa, perched on a bag in one of the toilets, fluffed up her feathers, tucked her head under one wing and slept for the whole night. She continued to follow us for most of the day after, hopefully finding her way eventually to where she was going.
img_1674After a lovely gentle sail across the ocean we arrived, tired but exhilarated, almost exactly 3 days later at Argostoli, Kefalonia where John (or was it Giorgo…..) with the long grey ponytail met us at shore. Long grey ponytails seemed to be the fashion in Kefalonia, we were spotting Johns wherever we went. That night, while safely moored, there was a big thunderstorm, I was relieved not to be rolling about on the sea as I staggered about trying to close my hatch.
Next day, late evening, Erin arrived for a visit. Unfortunately being last on board she was relegated to sleep in the cupboard while I luxuriated in the spare room, sorry Erin!
Then we were off again, this time 6 of us on board, but going round the coast of Kefalonia. We tried going into a small harbour but it was too shallow and we had to change plans and sail off to Zante, the opposite island, the winds were good and we raced across. Our port of call was Agios Nicolaus, a small unassuming little village whose claim to fame was some nearby caves and the ferry coming in. We were met as we arrived by Nicolaus, a little man selling oil, honey, olives, sage, currants, bread and cheese, the spice of life! He let us taste his wares and needless to say we bought a bit of everything and he went off with a huge smile on his face!
Next day we sailed back to Kefalonia stopping off for a swim in the middle of the sea, I was waiting for the dolphins to arrive but they didn’t grace us with their presence this time. We arrived at our next stop Effimia (I think) to stock up on wine and ouzo, a busy little place where we had to squeeze into a very tight spot, niftily managed by captain and crew! Getting on to land was a bit dodgy though as we looked longingly at the other boats’ long gangplanks in comparison to ours which needed a bit of a jump at the end to get ashore. Luckily we drank our wine safely onboard!
Next day we had a short way to go to our destination Fiskardo so we anchored in img_1725a lovely bay with transparent blue waters where Sarah passed on her fishing skills to her daughter and we had freshly caught sea bream for lunch. Erin for some reason was not using her right hand to wield the killing weapon and I had to look the other way, but the fish was delicious!
Over the bay another boy bonding boat had anchored too and the boys were skinny dipping and showing off their bods, not all worthy of being shown off if I may say so.
At the lovely Fiskardo we anchored on the other side of the bay and sent the young ones off in the dinghy to attach the long mooring lines. There was a strong current and some strong language as we all annoyed Oliver and Erin by shouting instructions like ROW ROW GO GO as they struggled in the current and Oliver’s bowline came astray (oh boy, was I relieved not to have such knot pressure). We eventually managed, only to see a boat full of Swedish girls come sailing in, one of them swimming in with the lines and doing the whole thing quite slickly. However, the wind HAD dropped considerably by then. We had a delicious meal at the famous Nicolas restaurant and the next day we swam with the fish that Sarah was going to catch later on and then we sadly left the boat and caught a bus back down to Argostoli, the airport and real life again.
Thanks guys for the BEST sailing holiday ever, so many laughs, and don’t worry (or perhaps do worry) because I will be back again!!!!

p9181594

Guest Blog – Degree finished , time to relax.

K12After a not so pleasant-Magaluf holidaymakers-infested-plane journey from Oxford to Birmingham to Palma, Keira and Ian were waiting at the airport with open arms on a warm Saturday evening. We drove to the marina (Club Nautico Palma) where Sarah was waiting on the boat and preparing a cup of tea for my arrival. This was my first experience staying on a boat so it was a great learning curve.

The next day we made use of the facilities at the marina where Keira and I spent an hour in the gym catching up about our holidays in both Cornwall and Spain. Later that afternoon we received our results from university, we were both very pleased and we all celebrated on the deck with the sun setting in the background with Ian and Sarah’s hidden away cava!

Whilst we were in Cabrera, we made the most of the beautiful National Park by exploring the island by foot, walking up to the lighthouse and the castle that dates back to the 14th century. We also did lots of snorkelling and saw a huge clam and many sea breams. Every evening we were spoilt by Sarah’s delicious meals that she barely let us help prepare- what a treat! It was in Mondrago where I had my first Paella of the holiday, followed by a lemon cheesecake looking out onto a deserted beach at dusk- beautiful! After dinner we got on the dinghy back to Linea where we spent one more night before sailing to Calla de s’agulla. After doing our routine yoga on the top deck, we enjoyed our daily muesli and yoghurt for breakfast in the sun before kayaking to the beach, AKA German version of Magaluf! After people watching, sunbathing, bat and ball competitions and swimming, we kayaked back to the boat to have some aperitifs before our night out in the town.

Ian kindly took us ashore and Keira and I got lost in the streets that were aligned with bars and clubs that all looked the same. We had a lot of cocktails and a lot of fun, and being the only British in the whole resort we suspected! Ian collected us at 5am equipped with jumpers for our ride back to Linea, thank you Ian!! The next day, we woke up hungover and unaware that we had travelled 25 miles to Pollenca! The best thing about meal times on a boat is that there is a possibility you can have fresh fish caught from the sea that very day… Sarah caught a sea bream, so we had ceviche with salad for our dinner- delicious! Sunday was my last day before returning to the UK so Keira and I spent the day on the beach, determined to beat our score with bat and ball -we got to 200 I think! Monday morning we went ashore and said our goodbyes leaving behind blue skies and sun, I took a bus to Palma airport and returned to the UK to rain and grey clouds, I had the blues to say the least!

What a fantastic holiday, filled with laughter, fun and games, and wonderful company. Thank you Ian and Sarah for such a brilliant and memorable experience, I will be back soon!

Lucy Anne Hunt

Guest blog – An outsider’s perspective

guest2Having cycled 70 miles from Puerto de Pollenca, through the stunning mountains in the North of Mallorca, the 5 of us arrived at around 4pm to our favourite little beach bar where we’d arranged to meet up with Ian and Sarah.  On a high from our exertions, and dehydrated from the heat of the day, we eagerly gulped down our beers while we waited. There was no mistaking them when they arrived, but gone were the shackles of life in the Dales – I couldn’t now imagine Ian wearing a shirt and tie and conforming to the routine of a steady job.  They both looked somehow ‘nautical’ and at one with their new life bobbing around the Mediterranean in their boat Linea.  It was good to see them and to catch up with their latest exploits.  After another round of drinks (or two) spirits were high and we headed back to our apartment, just a hundred metres away, and retired to our private rooftop terrace, complete with barbecue and hot tub.  While Ben, Adam and Leah went off to shop for food for the evening, we chatted about home in the Dales and the stark contrast of their new life on the boat.  More drinks and a fabulous barbecue later, the kids disappeared to go and find a bar where they could watch the Champions League final, while we opted for a soak in the hot tub. The space of the villa struck Sarah in particular, who, having lived aboard for around 3 months already, was clearly aware of the tight spaces inherent in any yacht design.  The wind was strong and once we’d dried off, it was sadly time for Ian and Sarah to head back to Linea to keep an eye on her overnight as she pulled on her bow anchor, bobbing and yawing in the bay throughout the night.

The following day, with the wind still blowing strongly, we headed off for another bike ride – this time heading out towards Cap de Formentor, the lighthouse at the end of the most North Easterly peninsula of the island.  It wasn’t too long before we realised that the excesses of the previous day (both cycling and drinking!) were having an adverse effect on our ability to pedal, so we turned back, had breakfast and did a spot of sunbathing before walking to the marina where Ian had agreed to pick us up in the tender to have the afternoon aboard Linea.  The 15hp outboard pushed all 6 of us very nicely into a strong headwind out into the bay and towards Linea at anchor.  As we approached, there was Sarah, waving from the stern ready to take our painter (technical term for the line that attaches the tender to the yacht).  Having chartered many yachts around the Med (in Greece and Croatia) it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary charter yacht.  This was a solid yacht, built for sailing and for living aboard.  For a start, a slab-reefed Mainsail took the place of the now common in-mast furling sails (which perform very poorly upwind by comparison).  Once aboard and furnished with yet more beer (after all it was 3pm by this stage), Ian took us on a tour around the deck.  Everywhere I looked this yacht was different.  There was more mast rigging and a more substantial mast to start with.  On top of that, all the deck gear (pulleys, winches, cleats and jammers) looked like they’d come off a much larger yacht – all very substantial.  The Spinnaker pole and foresail pole were both solidly built with beautifully crafted stainless steel fairleads and cleats at bow, stern and mid-ships.  An array of other kit was festooned on the mast and spreaders including radar, VHF antenna, Foghorn and lights.  Mounted to the tender Davitts (used to lower and hoist the tender when not in use), a powerful guest3floodlight, directed at the mainsail area could be switched on to highlight the sail like a triangular beacon in case a passing craft should fail to notice the navigation lights during a night passage.  It would be impossible to miss Linea (unless of course the watch were asleep!)  A powerful wind generator and array of solar panels mounted at the stern meant that Ian and Sarah could run their fridge for free without running the engine – not important when you’re on a 1 week cruise, but expensive in diesel, and noisy, if you live aboard.  Beyond this, the boat has an incredible array of electronic ‘clutter’ – some of which works and some of which doesn’t, covering all manner of requirements – man overboard, more VHF antennas, wi-fi booster, etc. etc.

The deck is coated in a sandtex type product which affords excellent grip, but also takes the skin off your knees – and it’s surprising just how much time you spend on your knees on a yacht, especially as a Catholic!  The cockpit has plenty of space and is very comfortable for 2 – perhaps a little crowded for the 7 of us – as the spilled bowls of crisps and broken glass confirmed later.  It’s surprising just how far tiny pieces of toughened glass can scatter when crushed by Sarah’s bare foot!  Talking of bare feet, at my suggestion, Ian took a great shot of my cod-like lady white feet (which had, to be fair, been in cycling shoes all week) next to his very brown, weathered man feet.

Down below, the electronic wizardry continued with a myriad of kit, without which, one wonders how Magellan, Cook and Shackleton ever managed.  I’ve never seen a Bavaria like this one.  This was from the early Bavaria stables and the difference between it and the typical modern day budget versions (though they have improved of late) is staggering.  The quality of the joinery wouldn’t be found on any, but the most expensive of modern yachts.  Overall, a very nice 44ft yacht which is larger than one would imagine for its size.  There are cubby holes in abundance –  Ian has somehow even managed to get his bike on board!

On to the reality of life aboard … Having only ever once spent 3 weeks in one stint at sea, I can only imagine what this must be like.  Surely this must be the true test of any relationship – and in reality, an unfair test.  How many couples spend 24 hours per day, 7 days per week together, in the same 44ft long space – with nowhere to go and no decent doors to slam after a tiff?  On the positive side, there are no shelves to hang and no wallpapering to do.  In their place though, is an apparently, endless list of things to repair, replace, scrub and clean.  I don’t know how many of you have ever been around a yacht chandlers?  As an engineer, I happen to love them – but it won’t surprise you to know that you don’t get much change out of £100, regardless of what you need to buy!  In terms of the general routine of life aboard – whilst there are certain routines that need to be adhered to (weather checks, engine checks, etc.), there is no fixed plan, no final destination, no need to go anywhere in actual fact.  It must, therefore be quite pleasant to have a reason to go somewhere and to have to be there by a certain time.  In the week we had been in Mallorca, Ian and Sarah had had a visit from Ian’s father who just happened to be sailing into Palma on a cruise ship for a day or two.  This had given them a reason to sail from Soller where they had been based for several weeks, to Palma at the Western end of the Island. Following this, we had agreed to meet them at the end of the week at Puerto de Pollenca, diametrically opposite Palma at the other end of the Island.  So, after saying their goodbyes to Ian’s Dad, they had sailed via the Southern coast to see us.  The effort was very much appreciated – we had a lovely time.  Sarah is doing a great job with her blog and Ian in keeping them both safe at sea.  There are many followers looking out for details of their latest adventure.

Your friends are here in Wharfedale thinking about you both.  Keep plugging away.  It can’t be easy sometimes.

Nick

Nick Chown and family, on board May 2016