Now we are six…

April 17, 2011

The coast of Corfu near Paleokastritsa

In contrast to the tail end of last month, we’ve not only been very busy but have also had visitors for the first time this year. As used to be said by drill instructors ‘I left you in this position’; we were just back in the water after our lift out and bottom scrub and were hard at work polishing the boat’s fittings. The job was finished in fairly short order and we then fitted the new sails, which thankfully fitted perfectly (D was slightly worried, as they were made to the measurements he took… The reefs, however, (lines of grommets in the sail, so you can make it smaller in high winds) were in slightly different positions on the new sail, which meant that one of the reefing lines (a rope that is pulled to make the sail smaller) was too short for the job. This meant that we had to replace the rope with a new, longer, line which in turn meant taking the boom to bits and threading the new rope through a complex mechanism. That took most of an afternoon, thankfully when the weather was nice!

Bern & Alan set out for a day sail in Sanuk with their family

A couple of days later, we packed up the boat and took her out to trial the new sails. We were accompanied by our next door neighbours, Bern and Alan, who came along for the ride and so that J could show Bern how we manage the anchor winch. We had a very nice if fairly uneventful day out, with just enough wind to try out the sails without being too blustery. The new sails are a significant improvement and we are now able to sail 10 /15 degrees closer into the wind. The clean bottom also makes a difference to performance and we were doing a comfortable 6 knots in the light winds.

(A few days later Bern and Alan took their own boat out (another Bavaria 38) with another friend and neighbour, Jake. This time, when they stopped for lunch they discovered a stowaway on board – a small cat had made herself comfortable in the sail bag on top of the boom and inadvertently been taken to sea with them. When they came to raise the sails she leapt out and all but launched herself off the back of the boat, stopping only just in time when she realised that the pontoon was not where she had left it!)

Our friends Pete (Barry, that is, not Lynch), Tig, Annabel and Olly arrived in Corfu late on Friday 8th and were met by the owner of their rented villa, which was down the coast on the western side of the island. We’d been there a week earlier on a recce in the car and had decided that we couldn’t find a safe anchorage over there so we remain based in Gouvia for their visit.

Olly, Annabel & Pete explore Gouvia marina in the tender

In view of their late arrival, they decided to spend Saturday at the villa and take a deep breath before joining us on Sunday for a trip out on Rampage. They arrived mid morning and we set off to explore the bay; with little wind, we decided to motor just round the corner and then anchored for lunch. Whilst we ate lunch, the wind got up and we had an exciting sail back into Gouvia, going along at 6 ½ – 7 knots with 2 reefs in both sails. Pete, Julia and I loved this, a nice test for the new sails but 5 year old Olly was unmoved and remained below, drawing detailed pictures of Rampage, while Tig and Annabel were less than impressed and glad to get back into the marina. Annabel (6) was particularly disconcerted to find the deck sloping alarmingly to one side, unused to such unruly behaviour in her father’s motorboat.

On Monday, we drove down to join them at their villa and had a very relaxing time there, driving back that evening after a barbeque supper. It should be noted however, that Julia, in a moment of foolhardy excitement, decide to dive into the unheated pool to retrieve a sun umbrella and then declared that it was really “not too bad” and gamely swam a couple of lengths. Pete and I were deeply sceptical but Tig, feeling that the gauntlet had been thrown down, felt honour bound to take the plunge. Neither lady remained in the water long.

Js first swim of 2011

The next day we got up early (7 am!) and motored Rampage down the coast to Petriti, a little fishing village about 12 miles south of Corfu town. We got there by about midday and dropped the anchor and were soon joined by the Barry family. We then had a protracted lunch at a waterfront taverna before having a really good afternoon’s sail round the bay, mainly on the headsail.

Annabel & Oliver make friends with one of the taverna cats

Well, most of us had a good sail; Pete spent the majority of the afternoon in the saloon with his small son who spent a couple of hours catching up on his beauty sleep after a very busy term at school. We’re assured he slept soundly that night too, so he obviously needed it. Indeed it’s only fair to say that Olly has just two speeds: stop and go and just two volume settings: on and off. Before his second visit to Rampage, the whistle on his lifejacket had mysteriously disappeared and the ship’s bell had developed a curious sponge-like growth which muffled the clapper and made it far less appealing!

Peace, perfect peace!

While Olly slept for Britain, Annabel got to grips with using a hand-held compass and spent a happy time testing Uncle Duncan on the bearing to various different objects. We were all much impressed by his startling accuracy until he pointed out that from his position at the helm he had a clear view of the compass on the binnacle! Everyone had a turn at the helm and, as the boat wasn’t heeled over by the wind, it was much more enjoyable than our excursion last Sunday.

Annabel at the helm

Intense concentration as Olly takes instruction from Pete about steering the boat

The Barrys then spent Wednesday and Thursday exploring the beaches of southern Corfu whilst J and I continued to clear odd bits of work from our winter ‘to do’ list, including servicing the aft heads, resolving a leak in the sugar scoop shower, refueling the boat from jerry cans and generally doing things that had been a bit neglected. Shortly before the Barrys arrived on Corfu we had bid a sad farewell to our friends Corinne and Claudio who have set off to sail through the Corinth canal and on towards the Black Sea. Before they left they had given us a lovely set of fabric table mats in thanks for having the use of our bicycles while we were in UK. The package was beautifully decorated with three handmade lacework flowers which J admired very much. As a result, we received through the post last week, two truly exquisite samples of lacework from Corinne’s mother who has a remarkable collection of old Swiss lace. We are delighted and privileged to have been given these and J immediately took them into Corfu town to be framed so we can display the properly. She also took the opportunity to have some of Annabel’s and Olly’s wonderful drawings laminated.

Our last evening with Corinne and Claudio - slightly out of focus - it was a good evening!

On Friday, I drove down to collect the Barrys from their villa, and bring them back to Rampage until their flight that evening. When we got back to the boat, while ‘Bels and Olly decided where their artwork should be displayed, Pete winched me up to the top of the mast so that I could repair the wind indicator, which had been sticking. I’d gone up the mast instead of sending Julia, as she wasn’t confident of being able to fix whatever was causing the problem. As it turned out, it was a small tag of metal that had been bent out of shape and jammed the pointer occasionally. That done, we had supper at Zorba’s – a local taverna renowned for the size of its massive portions before packing everyone back into the bean tin and taking them to the airport. We’ve just heard that they had a good flight back, although everyone was a bit tired by the time they got home.

Duncans first ever trip to the top of Rampages mast

Oh my word, its a long way down!!

Today has been spent doing nothing very much except writing this blog, as the rain has been falling heavily all day, having started during the night. We ventured out to buy food for supper and that’s been the total sum of activity until the rain stopped about an hour ago and we went out for a short cycle ride to get some air into our lungs.

With the weather forecast similar for tomorrow, we’ll probably follow the same pattern of activity before James and Tina arrive on Monday, when we’ll be busy helping them get Bear Necessity back into the water, assuming that the copper coat has been finished. We may then be able to get out for a bit of sailing before Easter weekend, when we’re due to go to a local hotel for a traditional Corfiot Easter celebration, including spit roast lamb, other local delicacies and – we’re told – lots of local wine!

Farewell to the Barrys


One comment

  1. Great to see you are back in print again and also back on the water. It’s been a while coming but I have recently agreed to purchase a boat. It’s a 2003 Beneteau Oceanis 411. I will be taking possession of it in about three weeks and will be keeping the boat down in Cork if a berth can be arranged. Happy sailing.

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