Thursday, 26 September 2013

After the lord mayors show...

Anyone for a spot of dingy racing?

Timoni coming into Sivota.
 Credit for this weeks pictures go to Sarah, Liz's daughter who took all of these during and after the regatta.  Thanks Sarah.
Liz & Tony having a cuddle after the enforced absence.

Yours Truly taking it easy.
I have not taken any photos since returning last Friday, in fact when we got up this morning I could not believe that it was already Thursday again, maybe a sign of contentment.  We've spent most of this week taking down the bimini sunshade and supporting steel work and replacing it with the winter cover.  This was not because summer is over here yet, it's not!  It is a little cooler on a night so sometimes at four in the morning we are having to put a sheet over us but other than that it still beautiful.  The reason we are messing with the winter cover so early is because when we had it made a year ago it was supposed to be a spray hood at the front which joins on to a cockpit tent at the back, ie. they should be separated and can be used independently.  As it was almost winter last year when Orkide, the lady who made it, delivered it we agreed to leave it until after winter to get it made as we had originally specified.

Anyway we had arranged to sail to Nidri to have her look at a fitting of it before doing the final alterations so we erected it in Lefkas and then rang her to say we were coming.  She had to go home to Turkey and was not there, bugger!  So we took it down again and then her husband, Horatio, rang to say he would have a look, we asked him to bring Susie who works for them as she would have some idea of what was needed but unfortunately he turned up on his own and didn't have a clue what he was looking at.  So we agreed to await Orkide's return and too the thing down again.  I must admit we are getting really expert at it now though.

After being disappointed by all this we decided that we were going to have a few day's away in the boat and we have headed off to Palairos this morning, flat calm!!  Winds got up a bit now but still not enough for a good sail.  Anyway the advantage of being here is we can go off to the Panorama tonight for a good Indian meal.

Finishing on a personal note, we are sorry to hear that Sandra's aunty Marge and her uncle Ron are both in hospital for various problems, also a good family friend John has been in for an operation, we would like to wish them all a full and speedy recovery and rest assured we are thinking about you all.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Rally and Regatta...

The rain - it did rain!
 Sorry for the late publication this week but I have been on the South Ionian Rally and Regatta all week.  We have raced Tony's yacht, Timoni, which is essentially identical to ours, a Gibsea 302.  On Sunday afternoon Tony and I took it down to Sivota to be nearer the start on Monday afternoon at Poros bay just around the corner.

The rest of the crew LtoR Tree, Mike, Bruce and Skipper Tony.
 Late on Sunday it became apparent that a storm was in the offing and during the night a serious wind got up.  Next morning while Tony was still snoring away in his pit I decided to go for a walk to stretch my back a little and got just nicely out of the village when it started to spit with rain.  Before I had got back to the boat the had opened and I got soaked to the skin.  This persisted most of the day with increasing and variable winds.

In Little Vathi, Meganisi after the second first day of racing.
We toyed with the idea of going around the headland to what the weather was like out in open seas.  In the end Skylax (Rod Heikell) decided to take a peep out and within minutes all the guys who had made the effort to get to Poros were streaming into Sivota with tales of mountainous seas and up to fifty knots of wind across the decks. The racing for Monday was abandoned!

Vying for position in the start at Vasiliki.
Tuesday Morning we had to first sail around to Vasiliki, were we should have finished Mondays race, before setting off for day two, around the bottom of Meganisi and the to little Vathi in the north of the island.  Big swell and fairly strong winds still but we all arrived safe and sound.  We had evening entertainment in the taverna from the band Lemonade who came down for Thessaloniki especially for the regatta.

 Day three was around the cans north east of Meganisi.  We had three separate races and some really terrific racing in strongish winds, however a couple of over zealous boats resulted in damage to some boats.  We ourselves had been in several near misses over the last couple of days due to people not really understanding, or abiding by the rules.  Cracking sailing though!  Onto Dessimi bay for the evening at anchor and a BBQ in the beachside taverna.
Away with a flyer

A ferry decides he has the right to bust up the party.

Liz, waiting for us at Sivota after the final race.
Day Three was the actual regatta race rather than the rally and involved perhaps 150 yachts of all shapes and sizes.  The course taking us around Arcoudi island and back to Sivota.  Again some unbelievable sailing although the wind did start to diminish before the end and within about a mile of the finish line we managed to get the spinnaker flying, we had been hoping for about a five mile homeward run with it but this wasn't to be the case.  We passed the guys we needed to beat to keep ourselves happy and that was the main thing.

After the race finished we managed to get a pontoon mooring in the bay and readied ourselves for the party, three bands playing including Lemonade who we had enjoyed earlier in the week.

Then today home for a much needed shower, I'm sure I must have stank not having had a shower since since Sunday but it was all well worth it for a wonder week of sailing.  Thanks to Tony for allowing his boat to be used and for putting up with me for the week and cheers to Mike, Bruce and Tree for the entertainment as well as the sailing.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Smile, things may just go wrong...

Not this power pole but a more scorched one.
Nice boat, shame about the dint.
 Things started looking iffy on Monday afternoon when we were due to go out on Timoni, Tony's yacht, for a practice with the spinnaker prior to next weeks rally and regatta.  We cast off from the pontoon in the marina heading out to open sea with the five crew on board and everything looking dandy, well at least for the first ten seconds after which Mike shouted stop Tony, put her in reverse.  We all looked around to see bits of pontoon flying in all directions followed by a ten foot fountain of water.  Milliseconds later the power pole, which is bolted the pontoon decking went splash into the hog wash!  You've guessed it, we had forgot to unplug the shore power supply from the boat and the umbilical tore the pole from it's mounting.  Mike and I hopped ashore as soon as we got near enough and shut off the water and tried to rescue the pole from it's watery grave.  We both got electric shocks and after getting the pole back to terra firmer it started crackling and popping profusely before bellowing smoke and flame from the inside, and still the breaker didn't trip!!!  Don't trust the Greek electrical system for earth leakage 'coz this one didn't seem to work at all.  Anyway it's fixed now, no one hurt and nothing other than the power pole and pontoon damaged.

Kostas rescuing what they couldn't fish out. 
This morning Sanny and I were watching the people on the pontoon opposite us starting to winterise their pride and joy.  Slowly they have been packing up gear and removing rigging from the two masts in order to lower them.  We turn our heads for a few seconds and there is this almighty crash and we look across to where the noise emanated to see the mizzen mast laying across the coach roof.  They have since seated it correctly as in the photo but it must have damaged something, fortunately not them.

The two Bulgarian guys trying to get their washing sorted

My table centre with the second try of epoxy.
With all this excitement going on I decided to walk around to the loo and take a picture of the boat whilst doing so and discovered the two Bulgarian lads who look after the Beyond Yachting charter yachts and a pile of very wet towels and linen.  Kostas the marina diver was going down and rescuing more linen as I arrived.  I spoke to the lads and it seemed one of them was pulling their handcart (seen in the picture) behind his scooter, he went around the corner but the cart didn't.  He had salvaged most of the kit himself but some had gone to the bottom thus having to get the diver involved.  End of season blues methinks.

My own little misdemeanour came when I started to alter our saloon table which you may recall we converted to drop leaves at both sides early in the year.  Our temporary method of holding the leaves in place was unsatisfactory so whist back in the UK I made some aluminium slides which will retract under the leaves as supports.  The fitting of these meant epoxying six bolts into the underside of the permanent table centre.  After three days the first epoxy I used was still sticky and I pulled out the bolts by hand.  So with very sticky fingers I have had to rehash the lot and use some new epoxy, I'm still not convinced this will be good enough although at least it's going hard (as the actress said to the bishop!)  Never a dull moment on G pontoon!

The blog will be late again next week as I will be out on the open seas at the rally and regatta, if I'm still alive on Friday next I will cobble it together.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Annnnddddd relax.....

Chinese Dale
 Well the blog wasn't done yesterday as we spent most of it travelling to Corfu Airport to send our eldest Grandson, Dale, back to blighty.  It was his first real independent journey and I think he was apprehensive to say the least, I think he had visions of getting on the wrong plane and ending up somewhere exotic like Birmingham rather than in God's chosen county Yorkshire.

Expressive Dale
We will certainly miss his friendly banter and exhibitionism around here now he's gone.  I have never seen anyone live for food, beer, and using free WiFi like he does.  Any time you walk into a bar or taverna three question come out, generally in this order.  Bigggg Beer? Have they got WiFi here? and finally what's to eat?  For the first four days we thought he might well drown himself in the amber stuff but at least that appetite, once sated, diminished a little, kids and candy shops comes to mind.

Dale with Attitude.
The phone is a permanent fixture in his hands, his thumbs rattling away almost as fast as I can type on a keyboard, there may well be a generation of young people who suffer from RSA because of it.  SnapChat seems to be his favourite application as he take thousands of photo's primarily of himself with various facial contortions and sends them winging over the ether to his mates then giggles at the replies.

Dale and micro mate Spiros.
Cruise ship in Corfu.
 Anyway we think he enjoyed spending time out here with the oldies (that's everyone barring me!) and was always polite pleasant which was to be a bit of a bonus to us as we have seen some very unpleasant teenagers back in the UK.  I don't really know what his perceptions of living in a small yacht were before he came but I think he found it a little compact and bijou when he got here, he kept referring to it as living in a tent.

Thanks Dale for making the last ten or eleven days very interesting and entertaining for me and your Grandma now we can breath out (because you took up more room than the pair of us put together) and wind down again now.