Preparing for Winter

November 8, 2010

I know that this will surprise some people, but here we have a second entry on the blog within a couple of days of a previous post. The reason is pretty simple – once J had finally put finger to keyboard and caught up with her trip back to UK and Ireland, there was a still week’s worth of news to let you know about since her return to Rampage, so here goes:

J got back to Gouvia on Friday 29th October at about 11pm, after a boring but on-time flight on an almost empty plane. It was great to have her back and she didn’t do an immediate inspection of Rampage to see if she’d been kept up to scratch in her absence. The one thing that J did spot immediately was that I had washed one of the seat covers whilst she was away and the difference between that one and the others was amazing.

The net result of this was that we decided to take all the covers off and get them washed and dried in the laundry. The resulting return to a proper blue set of upholstery was great and a complete surprise to us both – we had thought they were faded and stained and had been expecting to have to replace them all this winter but the trip to the washing machine had resolved the matter for at least the next year or so. Result!

The pontoon with the flotilla boat's tenders being cleaned before being put away for the winter.

J returned to a marina that was a positive hive of activity. The final charter holidays of the season finish with a race around the islands just off Gouvia Bay. All the charter boats were gathered in the marina so it was very full and there was great excitement. After the race, there was a big, noisy party in one of the marina bars. As we weren’t invited, we stuck our noses in the air and went off to “Zorba’s” for supper with Andy and Sue from “Curly Sue.” Next day all the holiday makers had gone – flying home on virtually the last Sleazy Jet flights of the year out of Corfu. It was then that the army of workers sprang into action, cleaning and prepping the vast fleet of charter boats before they are lifted out of the water. At one point there must have been 80 to 100 boats with their sails out drying in the sunshine prior to being taken down and stowed. I really regret not getting a photo as it was quite a sight to behold.

Although the weather forecast was good for the next few days, we had decided not to go anywhere as James and Chrissie from Bear Necessity were hoping to come out to put their boat ashore for the winter and I’d agreed to help them do the preparation work. We didn’t know when to expect them but were happy to await developments. In the interim, we cycled into Corfu town and did a bit of shopping for a picture frame – turned out that the local supermarket had some so we needn’t have bothered – and visited the local hardware shop to buy some more floor mats for the winter.

James and Chrissie as Bear Necessity heads for the fuel berth.

Tuesday brought James and Chrissie, so we cracked on with the job list to get their boat ready to hibernate through the winter. I spent most of the next couple of days working with James to take down the sails, get the engine serviced, the holding tank flushed through and countless other tasks sorted before Bear Necessity was lifted out of the water on Wednesday afternoon in a fairly horrid downpour.

On Thursday evening, we gave James and Chrissie fajitas for supper and next day joined them for a trip round the north of the island in their hire car. They flew back to UK the following morning, whilst we set off to spend a couple of days out of the marina, as the weather forecast was good for a couple of days.

James meets a fajita for the first time.......

Initially, we were going to go to Gaios on the island of Paxos but we were a bit late leaving so went back to Platerias instead. We moored up there on the quay and were all settled in for a pleasant evening when the boat suddenly started to shake in a very worrying manner. Dashing up on deck the cause became obvious; a large motor boat was attempting to leave and had fouled our anchor. I don’t think the skipper realised what he’d done and was trying to free himself by using the power of his motors; the result of this was that he was trying to pull Rampage off after him. Thankfully, the mooring lines held and he eventually realised what had happened and was able to free his anchor and leave us in peace. However, his efforts had broken our anchor out of the bottom and left us insecure, so we had to cast off, lift the anchor and reset it. This didn’t take long but it did break into our peaceful evening.

Rampage in Platerias - note natty new Blue Ensign.

The following morning we set sail back to Gouvia into threatening clouds and a nice wind, which enabled us to sail just about the whole way from Platerias to Gouvia, which was a great feeling. The new compass fitted to the autopilot also worked once it had been properly calibrated, so that we had a nice leisurely sail without needing to steer all the time.

Ouch - sailingholidays.com boats playing at being dominos.

The main reason we had come back to Gouvia was the poor weather forecast, which showed strong winds and rain due to come through during Sunday night/Monday morning. In the event, the winds were a good deal stronger than forecast and the rain was torrential. It hit about 5 am this morning, with winds gusting to 70 mph, sheet lightning and rain by the bucketful. We were kept awake by the winds and noise and by the motion of the boat as the winds battered away at the marina. This morning it became apparent that there had been some damage caused in the marina – apart from the usual lack of electricity. Some boats in the yard had been knocked down by the wind, some of the outer pontoons had broken their joints and some of the lazy lines had parted company from their mooring blocks. All in all, an entertaining time. And the winds are due to reappear tonight.

It's meant to be straight and level....

Anyhow, that’s us up to date and if there’s any further news after the wind tonight, we’ll put up another post!

.... so's this one as well!


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