We left Saranda after saying goodbye to our agents Jelja and Gazman and headed straight to Kassiopi. We exchanged our gas bottle and as soon as we were ready set off from the bay and sailed westwards.
I was lazing about reading the pilot guide when Ian mentioned something about a big black cloud ahead.
I scurried off to get my wet weather jacket. I had already had to remove my wet weather trousers because I was too hot. So I was looking rather fetching in my wellies, shorts and waterproof.
Ian suggested putting a further reef into the sail to make it smaller. I was busy with my zip! He realised we had no time to put the reef in because by the time you’ve thought of it, it is, of course, already too late! I had time to release the main sail just when the storm hit us. The rain came lashing down, Ian had reached the wheel and resumed the helming from the auto pilot. We turned in a huge circle and ran away down wind. The wind was gusting up to 46 knots and the boat made a top speed of 13.5 knots. (I am glad I didn’t know about that until we made landfall in Italy some 24 hours later!) Ian was being lashed by horizontal rain as the lightning came down and the wind howled. He was like King Lear raging against the elements!
As quickly as it arrived the storm left us and thunder continued to rumble overhead for another hour gradually retreating. Ian put his jacket on over his soaking wet shirt – in an attempt to keep warm. How am I going to get that dry?
The rest of the day and night went uneventfully as we batted at an average speed of 6 knots towards Crotone, Calabria. The sea was rather lumpy and so we rolled up and over waves the whole time which made us feel pretty awful. It seemed like an incredibly long crossing but, in fact, it was quite quick. We arrived at 0430hrs just off the coast and rather than trying to enter the port in the dark we decided to hove-to and sat bobbing about like that for three hours whilst we had a nap.
Soon we were heading into the Yacht Kroton Club in Puorto Vecchio, Crotone and were looking forward to a pizza, a sleep and some wine later in celebration of Ian’s 56th Birthday!