Tag Archives: Bavaria 430 Lagoon

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

Another new country

We have been on the move again. Departed Sicily on Thursday morning for a wonderful, gentle, sail arriving in Kefallonia early Sunday morning. 310 miles at a very sedate average speed of 4.3 kts. About ten hours motoring and sixty-two hours sailing, including a continuous twenty-four hour run with Genevieve the Genaker. Great company on-board including a visit from Taylor the Swift who spent the night sleeping in the forward heads before continuing his / her migration south.img_3385

A poem about all the worrying noises (for Sarah) on the boat

CAla del bollo

What’s that noise?
It’s tins sliding in the lockers;
The mast creaking at its base;
The headsail sheet a-clanging;
Wind whistling, as we gain pace.
It’s the bilge pump pumping water
From the gap beneath the floor.
The sound of wood a-knocking;
Someone’s not pinned back a door.
It’s the loose lines that are clanking,
They just need pulling tight.
The turbine making ‘lectric
That we need to power our lights.
It’s the engines and the thrusters
And the noisy anchor chains
Of other boats around us
That are causing you dismay.
It’s the whistle of the kettle
Saying it’s time to make a brew.
It’s the chugging auto pilot
As it does the work for you.
It’s the fish nibbling at the hull,
The coral crackling below.
The large blue straps vibrating,
On the dinghy; don’t you know?
It’s the radio that has static
when there’s much chatter between
Boat owners and marinas,
And more sailors, yet unseen.
It’s water coming from t’engine
That’s cooling it as we drive.
It’s good to hear that splashing
‘coz the impeller’s alive.
It’s children shrieking on the beach
People having such a lark,
I wonder why they choose to be
Where we decide to park?
It’s the Man Over Board alarm,
It alerts me if you fall,
And the smoke alarm detects
Vapours that are abnormaal.
It’s the breathing of the dolphins
As they come along to play.
Your screams, clicks and shouts of glee
mean you scare them far away
It’s ‘Drag Queen’, the anchor alarm
making noise that’ll wake the dead.
It’s just as well; we’ll hear it!
When we are asleep in bed!

So safe to say, no worries,
noises are quite the norm
As we get used to Linea;
She’ll care for us in a storm!

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