Tag Archives: yacht

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!

Reasons to be cheerful (in Greece)

Well, Greece IS the word.

Not only is the food fantastic, fresh and delicious;  the countryside and nature varied and beautiful but the Greek people are amazing!

Everyone we have met so far has been the epitome (Greek word, I believe!) of helpfulness and friendliness.

I am not intending any hyperbole (Greek word!) when I say that all of the people we have met have been a delight.

I can site at least three examples.

First new spreader in place.

First, was with the delightful and verbose Stavros of Manitsas Marine, who was arranging for the replacement of our mast spreaders.  We took advantage of his address and ordered some essential boat items from our marine suppliers in Germany – an order that would take a maximum of nine days.  We waited patiently but by the 27th July we were resigned to leaving it behind.  DHL could still not give a firm idea of when it would be delivered, even though it was apparently in Kavala some 20km away. We needed to depart as the winds were favourable and we had a long way to go.

We set off for Thassos Island about 20miles away after a very productive beach clean, up operation (200 litres of rubbish plus about 20 polystyrene boxes).   We arrived at Limenaria where we discovered a huge marina development was still underway.  We counted 14 trucks, diggers, steam rollers, etc., standing idle on the half-finished quay.  Anyway I digress.  In the morning we planned to leave early so Ian was up at 0530h to do his engine checks.  He discovered a bilge full of water and coolant.  Not good.

We called our friend Stavros at Manitsas Marine.  He gave us the number of a mechanic in Kavala.  He put us in touch with a mechanic on the island.  An hour later, Georgio arrived.  He contacted a friend who came to the boat on Saturday and spent four hours fixing new core plugs to the engine block.  He charged us 60 Euros.  All of this involved numerous calls to Theo the mechanic in Kavala who acted as translator.  What a star.

Second, Stavros was concerned because we asked him if he had any of the core plugs we needed. He didn’t have any in stock but said he would go into Kavala and buy some for us and not only that he would bring them to Thassos as he was coming that afternoon by boat with his family.  He also said that our parcel had arrived and he would bring that too – which he did at 2030h at night.  How incredibly kind!

Thirdly, we were keen to go to the Nestos gorge to do the river trip but car hire was very expensive in Kavala so we decided we would have to go by bus.  We found it difficult to suss out where the buses stopped and how we would get to the little village where the tour started.  We rang Helen at www.riverland.gr  and she offered to call the various bus companies to find out the score.  She rang us back in 20 minutes with all the details we needed to know.  Not only that, she agreed that they would drive down to the main road and pick us up at the bus stop and drop us back there after the trip.

Once again, above and beyond!!

Commonwealth War graves commission cemetery on Limnos. A very beautiful and moving place to spend the afternoon.
Windmills on Limnos

I met a lovely lady in Limnos who was down at the quay to drum up business for her laundry service.  (Vicky at FAME laundry 6936815902 2254024727 10 Euros for a 6KG load.)

She was handing out cards to boat owners and chatting.  Just as she was talking to some people about when to pick up their laundry she accidently dropped her car key, house keys and business keys into the sea!  Nightmare!  But she responded to this problem by saying, ‘If that is the bad thing that is supposed to happen to me today then I will accept it.  It is certainly not the worst that could happen!’

Such a positive and optimistic attitude.  I liked her immediately and quickly offered Ian’s services to dive down and retrieve the keys.  She said that wasn’t necessary as her brother is a diver and would come to find them and her husband was already on his way with spare keys!

So, plenty of reasons to be cheerful in Greece.

 

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

A waiting game

You would have thought our life style had very few time pressures, but if we want to meet up with friends and family from the real world, and we do, we have to be in certain places at certain times.

For several months we have had a crack in one of our spreaders (crucial bits for keeping the mast up) and have been trying to find an opportunity to solve the problem in a way that didn’t stop our summer sailing for too long. After several trips up the mast with the tape measure we ordered replacements from EuroSpars in Plymouth to arrive in Kavala as we dropped off Sam and Rory. The boat yard, rigger, and crane were all booked.

First spreader removed

UPS decided things were going too well and contrived to send our parcel via the scenic route to Kavala. After a weeks delay our new spreaders arrived. Stavros at Manitsas Marine orchestrated the troops in between telling us what was wrong with the Greek economy, government, port authority, and tax office, Adonnis sorted out the rigging assisted by “the fat man” skillfully maneuvering the crane. By 1600 hrs we were back at anchor, invoice paid and ready for the first of several hops south to meet-up with Sarah’s brother, Paddy, who had already arrived in the Cyclades. We were hoping another parcel of supplies would have arrived by now but DHL made UPS look efficient. Our parcel had left Germany 17 days earlier, DHL had no idea where it was and were only able to give us vague promises of delivery. We decided to abandon this parcel, it only contained spares for our VHF radio, who needs a radio?

Friday 28 July looked to be perfect for the start of our journey south, a 50 mile leg to Limnos.

The Meltemi is coming

We had a weather window to get south before the next Meltemi kicked in. The forecast showed wind in the right direction, not too much, not too little, clear skies, and 26 degrees. Mary Poppins, “Practically Perfect in Every Way”. We were up at 0530 to get the best of the day’s conditions. As I made Sarah’s tea I started my engine checks (multi-tasking), odd, the coolant header tank is empty. I opened up the bilges to find them awash with seven litres of coolant, not good. That’s the end of today’s sailing plans.

It’s definitely leaking

So we are once more waiting, this time for engine parts. Even this life style has its stresses.

Best Kept Secret – The Northern Aegean

We sailed North on a close reach with favourable winds from Alonnisos in the Northern Sporades to the Sinthonia Peninsular in the middle of June.  From that moment on, pretty much, we were one of a mere handful of yachts sailing around this fabulous area.  Admittedly, there are not that many decent harbours with the same sorts of facilities or mooring space as the Ionian, the Sporades or Evia but there are lots of good anchorages depending on the wind direction and, if there is a town quay, it is nearly always free to park there.

Not only is the scenery stunning, the scent of the pine trees noticeable and pungent, the coast is quite unspoilt and development is fitting and limited.

Full of ‘Tsipouro me’!

We have anchored in virtually deserted bays. We  have moored on a rickety pontoons,  rubbed shoulders with fishing boats and, we have parked on a town quay between posh charter motor boats (with friendly skippers who plied me with the local tipple – ‘Tsipouro  me’) in a small place called ‘Nea Fokkaia’ – easy for you to say!

We found the paradise island of Dhiaporos off the east coast of Sinthonia Peninsular (rivaling anything we have seen in Thailand) and enjoyed the crystal clear waters.

The journey by car from Ormos Panayia to Kavala allowed us to see more of this beautiful part of Greece.  The road wound through stony mountains, along precipitous coastal routes and through lush rural farmland.  There were huge round bales of hay like giants’ draughts pieces; fields of nodding sunflowers, heads bowed like ashamed drunks; huge glimmering mirror lakes and gentle rolling hills reminiscent of the land around Ripon.

On the road home was a shop selling every imaginable size, colour and design of pot and ready-made shrines. 

 

The gods were benevolent the day we skirted the most holy of holy pieces of land in Greece – The Atki Peninsular.   A place where time is still reckoned by the Julian calendar (13 days behind the Roman  calendar) and the day is ruled by the Byzantine clock with hours of variable length.

It is an awe-inspiring view.

This rugged peninsular has for centuries existed as a world unto itself.  Divorced from the modern world, the holy community has a few roads or mod cons.  The medieval monasteries occupy spectacular sites on the rocky bluffs and cliffs-sides teetering over the rocks and sea below.

Think Potala Palace, Tibet; Bavarian castles; St Basil’s cathedral; onion-domed minarets; Colditz’ impenetrable walls; Tudor balconies and cool blue-green paint. 

At the tip of the peninsular is the spectacular Mount Athos that rises some 3000ft towards heaven.

Mount Athos

Once home to some 80000 monks, there are now only 3000 monks living on the peninsular.  However, even the monks must have realised the value of the tourist dollar, as building and restoration work was in evidence, as were roads, solar panels and phone aerials.

On the day we dropped Sam and Rory at the airport in Kavala, we visited a photographic exhibition.  The images featured the monks and scenes from their lives on the holy peninsular.  The culmination of 8 years work by Stratos Kalafatis.  He trailed around the vast peninsular by mule to visit hermits and far-flung communities.  The exhibition has been shown around the world and the quality of images is excellent.

South winds were due from midday on the 13th July.  We set off motoring across the bay to get round the Atki peninsular.  We had read that should a cigar-shaped cloud develop over Mount Athos then it would be prudent to be far to seaward. The winds fly down the sides of the mountain and make for very big seas and frightening sailing.   So, it was with a certain amount of relief that there was no cigar. Close! But no cigar!

Although we were motoring, we were rewarded with a sighting of beautiful dolphins.  Not just your common dolphin either.  These are their snub-nosed cousins, Grampus griseus, and although a couple did briefly come and play at the bow, they clearly had more important duties in mind and disappeared off to concentrate on fishing.

As the wind picked up we were able to put the genaker up and knocked off the remaining 40 miles in good time.  After a heavenly few weeks up here we realised that the gods are truly smiling on us.