Tag Archives: sailing

Sometimes I wonder why…

I am approaching my 8000th nautical mile and I am finally beginning to feel a little more relaxed on the boat. (Some of the time!)

Recently, we met some new friends, Bridget and Steve on Waxwing of Dartmouth, and inevitably the talk turned to traumatic times we have had to suffer.  It was then that Steve posed a taxing question.

‘Given the stresses and traumas experienced when sailing in the Mediterranean, what is it that we enjoy and what makes us want to continue with this adventure?’ he asked.

Hmmmm, I had to confess that I do sometimes wonder.

First and foremost, we have enjoyed learning massive amount along the way.

We have learnt:

  • To shut the seacocks in the bathrooms if we are sailing on a close haul or beam reach.   (Otherwise the water siphons up and floods the bathroom!)
  • That the wind is either blowing too hard, not at all or on the nose!
  • To wear shoes on board so that we don’t stub our toes.
  • To keep everything stowed properly whatever the weather.
  • To invest in head phones so we can communicate without yelling at each other, especially in stressful situations.
  • To put up the sun awning up when anchored or moored to try to keep cool.
  • To tie the anchor firmly to the bow when not in use.
  • To remember that the rising crescent moon looks very like a fast approaching sailing vessel.
  • To continue to be stunned by the awe-inspiring sight of the star filled sky.
  • To keep checking the weather forecasts.
  • To practise anchoring technique.
  • To investigate strange noises immediately To check the engine daily according to the RYA ‘wobble’ mnemonic.
  • To fill up with water, gas and diesel whenever possible.
  • To use technology,  (AIS – Automatic Identification of Ships, Radar or electronic charts) as an aid to navigation and sailing, but not the be all and end all!
  • To trust our instincts.
  • That sighting dolphins, turtles and starfish always lifts our mood.
DCIM119GOPRO

Since there is mostly just the two of us; and not to get schmaltzy; we have had to rely on each other when things get tough.  We have had to ‘man-up’ on occasions and are improving at staying calm under pressure.   We have had to think in different ways to solve numerous boat problems.

We have had to cook when leaning at a rakish angle.  We are constantly having to fix stuff.  Especially  toilets – often!  Generally something breaks every day.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it is a simple fix, sometimes it is much more involved.  (As in; the Starboard shroud started to twist and break the other day so I had to carry 19.7kg of new ones back to the boat. )  We have had to use our initiative and think quickly or change plans rapidly to fit a new situation and make things safer.  For the most part, we have succeeded and that, in itself, brings a certain satisfaction.

It’s true, that you really don’t know what the day is going to throw at you when you wake up (Thanks are due to Sue and Malcolm on Sukama for their insight, which I think is bob on. ) and we are better at reacting and adapting our plans accordingly.  We have experienced  violent peaks and troughs of adrenaline during the course of our travels which  is oddly addictive.  Even if the peaks do make me awfully thirsty!

I am pleased to have had time to read,  to practise my Italian learning, and to play endless games of calming Scrabble.

I have been gratified to notice that people are making increasing efforts to limit plastic pollution in the seas (although still more can be done everywhere to reduce the amount of single use plastic being produced, used, bought and, ultimately, making its way to the sea).

We have been lucky enough to meet some really interesting and fun people.  The other day we were with a group of Greek,  French, Brit and Lebanese nationals which was really special.

We appreciate being part of a community of wonderful fellow sailors and live-a-boards who are always happy to share their spare parts, their experience, their assistance and useful advice on all sorts of boaty things.

We have met friendly, kind and accommodating local people almost everywhere.  We have eaten some amazing food and cheeses from local producers.  We have drunk some world-class wines, some mediocre wines and, occasionally, the truly awful – but it has all been fun!

We have visited some interesting places and seen lots of piles of old stones and enough amphora to sink a ship!

Keira and her friend Sammy.

We have had great times making memories with new friends, visiting  old friends and faaaaamily.

All of these factors combined have helped to make life enjoyable and to make the stressful times worth coping with.

 

 

Malta to Cephalonia, Greece

Having analysed the weather yet again, no amount of re-looking could make it show what we wanted to see.  There was just no chance that we could set off for Cephalonia with the predicted low pressure system steaming in to give us a proper beating.

We decided to change the plan in the hope that the low would move out of our way.

So, we headed for Porto Palo on the south coast of Sicily.  We had a fairly good sail north and arrived in good time.  We anchored in the bay in among many of our friends from MdR who had recently left the marina, it being close to the end of the month and the start of May prices!

The next day we headed in the direction of Syracuse.  At least if the weather forecast didn’t change Chris would be able to return home from Catania.

We had a very pleasant sail up the coast and arrived late afternoon.  Despite their being heaps of space on Quay 11 – the Town Quay, we were not given permission to go there.  We were told to anchor off.

David and Chris went ashore and Ian invited Gwen and Glen from Pardella over for drinks.   It was good to catch up.

Glen and his new book.
Our favourite restaurant in the market area of Ortigia.

The next day the wind was due to really pick up from the South West in the afternoon.  We decided to go ashore and have lunch near the market with the two Gees.  It was such fun and ended up being quite lengthy!  Needless to say, by the time we returned to the marina pontoon, the wind was whipping the waves across the bay and not only would it have been wet to go across the bay to the boat, it would have been dangerous.

Luckily, kind people on the pontoon offered to put us all up.  We stayed on Pardella and David and Chris on  on their neighbours’ (Diane and Fred) boat.  It was a noisy night with waves smacking the bow and lines creaking as the pontoon bucked!  We had to leave Linea all alone out there and just hope that the anchor was well dug in.

Waves crash over the pontoon of the marina, Syracuse.
Dismal weather in Syracuse.

Next morning, the wind was still lashing the pontoon.  All the boats that had been moored on the Town Quay had left in the night to anchor off.   Linea was still out there.

It continued to be wild.  Finally, at about 1800hrs we managed to get the dinghy engine started and Ian and Chris went back to the boat to retrieve Chris’ things so he could fly home the next day.

David, Ian and I made it back soon after saying goodbye to Chris, had a quick supper and retired to bed.

We decided on an early departure in the morning so that we would have some chance of arriving in Cephalonia before Angela and Lizzie had to go home!!

Me, Ian and David.

We put the sails up in Syracuse Harbour and sailed for 50 hours.  The sea was unpleasantly swelly for the first 36 hours but gradually began to calm down as we approached Cephalonia.

Some miles off shore, we could smell Cephalonia’s unique flora.  The heady combination of wild  sage, juniper, pine and cypress trees and flowering jamine.  It is the most fragrant isle.

We lowered the sails once we were inside the dog leg to Argostoli having made a record Ionian crossing time for Linea.   (We had trawled a fishing line the entire way, however, and managed only to catch a bit of seaweed!)

Ang, Ian, David and Lizzie.

We moored stern to the town quay and put the boat to bed.

 

 

 

Nothing beats and gyros and Mythos! One happy man!

 

By 1200hrs we were having a well earned chicken gyros and a Mythos beer in town with Angela and Lizzie.

 

 

 

 

 

Tired Capitan!

But we were all very tired.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbecue on board. Fresh tuna (not ours!!!) prawns and mackerel.

So good to be back in Greece.

 

 

 

 

Back in ‘The Shire’.

An Aerial shot of the Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa.

We pulled into our winter berth in the

Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, without a hitch and were pleased to see friends and neighbours from last year.  Our arrival coincided with one of the twice weekly happy hours at the Stella Marina Bar so we met old and new friends that night.

 

ALl Italy Laser Championships in Marina di Ragusa

Some days later, the Porto Turistico hosted the All-Italy Laser Championships.   The first challenge was negotiating out from between the pontoons, heading for open sea.

Scrubbing the bottom of the tender clean; one of the many jobs to do.

Since arriving back, we have been full-on busy with boat jobs; fixing, replacing, renewing, cleaning, servicing, removing, repairing and storing.

 

 

We have had visits from Alice, Ian and Jon.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sail anywhere (even if the weather had been suitable) because the sails had already gone off to be repaired.

Ian, me and Jon above the stunning Ragusa Ibla.

However, we were able to explore more of Sicily.  Touring around to Syracuse, Modica, Scicli, Palazzallo Acredie and Ragusa Ibla – beautiful cities with stunning baroque churches and buildings.

A temple and huge bronze statue at Agrigento.

 

 

 

 

We also drove out to Agrigento to the Valley of Temples and were suitably impressed by the stunning Greek Temples there, which are some of the best preserved in the Med.

Visiting Agrigento – The Valley of Temples with Alice and Ian in our little Fiat 500!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caltagirone National Park (Ancient Oak Forest) with the Kalura Walking group.

We joined a walking group and enjoyed a couple of noisy walks in the surrounding area with forty chattering Sicilians.

 

 

I also went olive picking again and have my own bottle of freshly pressed oil from my olives, ready to open in the spring.

Steve and Laura busy picking some of the 200kg we picked that day.

 

Kangaroo Sky above Pallazzallo Acredie

Ian welcomed back his road bike with open arms (thanks once again to Nick and Paul) and has been out on it a few times.  He reports that it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier each time.

Ian and Sheena. (Love how ancient columns are incorporated into newer buildings.)

We also enjoyed a few days in Rome, with my old friend Sheena and her family.  We walked all round Rome and saw all the main sights and some little hidden gems with our super guide Sheena, who has lived in Rome for 30 years.

Then, it was back to the boat for a few last minute preparations before heading back to the UK for a couple of months where,  for the first time in a while, all four of us Mouldings are to be in the same country at Christmas.

So, yes, we are going to be living back in Yorkshire.  Staying in a cottage – 26 Linton Falls until the 12th February 2018.

We hope to catch up with as many friends and family as we can.  Do pop in if you’re passing.

In the meantime, we wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.

 

 

2017 – The Stats

Total nautical Miles 2488

Sailed miles 1212 –  49%;  Engine miles 1276   – 51%

Engine Hours 319;  Total nights at sea – 6                                                              Nights anchored – 92;  Nights on a town quay or in a marina – 72

Nights in the boat yard – 9

Our final crew, David and Michael.
Most frequent flyers!

Number of guests – 21 – Bill, David, Ang, Lizzie, Alice, Ian, Sam, Rory, Bryn, Jill, Louis, (plus the rest of the family for dinner and drinks,) Jane, Alice, Ian, Erin, Josh, Keira, David, Michael, Alice, Ian

 

Litres of wine consumed – Gallons!

Yacht A – 340million Euros to build. The masts are 90m tall.

Number of Super Yachts seen – 1 – to beat all

Days of sunshine – 168  Days of rain – 12

Deepest water  – 3600m;  Highest waves – 4m;   Strongest wind – 38kn

Hottest temp – 36;  Lowest temp – 24

Fish caught – NONE;  Dolphins seen – Lots;  Turtles seen – 2;  Star fish seen – 1

Pitta Gyros consumed – Far too many!!

Times up the mast – Ian Masta-Climbing;  me pulling!  11

Genaker out – 15

Number of boat mechanics met – 10 plus the crane driver

Our Yorkshire Flag after a season in the windy Cyclades!

Number of flags and pennants shredded – FOUR –  Greek flag, Cruising Association Pennant, British Ensign, Yorkshire Flag.

A memorable year!

 

 

 

 

Hauled out

We sailed early from Rhinia and arrived in Siros to be hauled out.  Since we have a winged keel

Great shot of our winged keel on the trailer – 20cm to spare!

which measures 140cm across we need a trailer wide enough to motor onto with a bit of wriggle room.

Stavros from Atlas boat yard has just the right piece of kit and we were hauled out smoothly and professionally.

We trundled across the Lidl carpark and into his boat yard.  It is safe to say that Stavros would be world champion caravan manoeuvrer should he be inclined to enter such a competition. 

Stamatis and Georgios Gyparis, Volvo Penta engineers in Ermoupolis (father and sons team) quickly appeared and parts were ordered to arrive on Thursday

 

 

 

 

That gave us five unadulterated days for partial winterising of Linea, removing scruffy lettering and for cleaning her dirty bottom!

We booked into an Air B n B house high on the slopes of the Chora and experienced vertigo from being so far above sea level.

Having a Greek lesson from my new friend.

We spent a few very busy days scraping, polishing, sanding, cleaning and dusting.  I even fabric-conditioned our lines to make them soft and pliable again  – and they smell lovely.

Robert and Ian discussing boats.

We met Robert Brons in the yard.  Robert owns Morning Cloud 4 (a sailing yacht previously owned by Sir Edward Heath who was a world class sailor, as well as being leader of the Tory Party during the 1970s.)  Morning Cloud 4 has been stored on the hard in Siros for twenty years.  Robert showed me round this amazing vessel:  Built for speed and efficiency and able to sleep ten people in various cleverly designed bunks.  It has lots of ingenious original features and various improvements, it would be wonderful to see it restored to its former racing glory.

Ian with the ‘wild dogs’!

Robert was currently living on his yacht Saquila which he had sailed from Italy.  We spent a couple of evenings swapping stories with him and really enjoyed his company.  We were so impressed that he still had the enthusiasm and vigour for sailing at his age – 78 years young.  He cycled around town, sorted out his yacht and shinnied up and down the high ladder to Morning Cloud with the nimbleness of someone a lot younger.  He is often on the look-out for crew to help him sail his new yacht, so if any of our sailor friends might be interested please get in touch for more information.

One of the best things about being somewhere for a few days is that you really get to explore and find out more about the place.  During our stay Siros was hosting the All Greek volleyball championships and an international animated film exhibition and competition held in the beautiful Apollon Theatre that is modeled on La Scala.

We discovered a free shuttle bus that ran all day between the town centre and the sports centre, going right past the boat yards and Lidl – perfect!  And we explored the two hills of Siros; one topped by an enormous Greek Orthodox church and one topped with a huge Catholic church.  We wandered around the Choras and marvelled at the breath-taking scenes around every corner; the colours, the quaint doorways and the twisted bougainvillea blossoms like an umbrella of fluttering, bright butterflies.

We really enjoyed finding new routes to walk to and fro the boat yard and every day we were rewarded by some new and interesting sight.  I particularly loved the completely intact old (but functioning) pharmacy on the main street, which still has all the original mahogany cabinets, shelving, canisters, jars and enamel labels from when it first opened in 1837. (The first pharmacy in Greece.)

We also enjoyed the Industrial Museum which houses an interesting collection of items that reflect Siros’ manufacturing, glass-making, lace-making, printing and shipping past.

Georios, Stamatis and Vangelis Gyparis. The Volvo Penta Team in Ermoupolis, Siros.

After strong winds had passed it was time to be put back into the water.  We said thanks and farewell to Stavros, and the Gyparis family who have done such a great job on our sail drive, stainless steel and helm repairs.

Stamatis joined us for the ride across the bay to check that all was well with the engine and the gears.  It was all good.  We were making 7.5k across the bay because of our gleaming hull, so that made Ian very happy.  We parked on the town quay again and were, once again, warmly greeted by the lovely Thanasis.

Thanasis the most stylish and handsome harbourmaster in Greece!