Morgan up the mast

April 26, 2011
Angel Morgan – half way to heaven

We had been watching the activity (or rather the lack of it) round Bear Necessity with some concern whilst the Barrys had been visiting us.  The guy who’d contracted to do the job had reckoned on getting it finished in time for the boat to go back into the water on 19 April but hadn’t started work until the 16th, not really leaving enough time to get the job finished.  So it was with some trepidation we awaited the arrival of James and Chrisie on 18 Apr; the grit blasting had removed all the old antifoul paint and keyed the surface nicely for the Coppercoat but work on put the stuff on had not yet started.

Bear Necessity, with newly copper-coated hull, is lifted back into the water


In the event, it was agreed that the launch would be put back one day and we set to work to apply the 4 coats of resin and copper mix that is Coppercoat.  It took a team of 4 of us (one mixing, 3 painting) about 6 hours to finish the job, as the paint has to be touch dry before applying the next coat.  With 4 coats applied, we could turn in for the night and let the paint cure.  I’ve just realised that most of you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about! 

Coppercoat is a paint applied to the bottom of boats to minimize the growth of marine organisms – just like antifoul.  The difference is that it lasts for a long time and means you don’t have to lift the boat every year, scrape the old paint off and put new stuff on.  We have it on Rampage and it makes life much easier.  However, applying it so that it doesn’t simply come off requires a lot of specialist preparation, hence the need for a contractor to do the job.

On the Tuesday, the boat yard team appeared and moved the props holding Bear Necessity up, exposing the unpainted bits for the contractor to paint.  In the meantime, I got on with a stack of other jobs round getting the boat ready to go back in the water.  The following day, the crane team appeared in the early afternoon and launched the boat.  It was a little un-nerving to turn the key to start the engine and have nothing happen…..  However, James knew about a loose connection on the starter and soon had it running and we made our way down to their berth.  J and I then took things easy as Tina and Morgan, James’ niece, used our jet washer to clean down the decks after a winter standing in the open.

Morgan considers whether or not to go for a swim


With a lot of things still to finish on board, we took James, Tina, Morgan and Bridget (Morgan’s Mum) out for a day trip on Wednesday.  We got in a bit of sailing before the wind disappeared and then motored up to Kalami Bay, about 6 miles up the coast.  We had a lovely lunch there, with Morgan going swimming, before we motored back to Gouvia.  On the way back, Morgan asked to go up the mast, so we got out the bosun’s chair and hoisted her right up to the top, where she took photos and fiddled about with the wind indicator (jammed again, despite my attentions).  Indeed, I think she’d have been happy to have stayed up the mast until we got back alongside but I thought that might be a complication too far and brought her down before we started down the entrance channel to the marina.

Morgan's view of the deck from the top of the mast!


On Friday, I helped James to refit the sails and generally sort out the boat whilst J and Tina sorted things out down below.  I’d done some gelcoat repairs to the bow last winter and looking at the stowage for the anchor, could now see how the damage had occurred.  The retaining pin for the anchor was not in the right place on the anchor, so we drilled a new hole in the anchor, allowing the weight of the anchor to remain on the roller, thus preventing any further damage.

All of a sudden, it was late afternoon and Bridget and Morgan were about to appear from their hotel for a meal before going on to the airport for their flight home.  As all was still quite busy below on Bear Necessity, J invited them all over to Rampage for supper, as we had a simply enormous quantity of spaghetti bolognaise, which fed all!  It was a lovely evening to round out a busy week’s work and saved me from having to eat bolognaise 3 nights in a row……

Part of the Easter procession around Corfu town


The Easter celebrations kicked off that evening, although we didn’t see them, as they took the form of solemn procession round Corfu town to the accompaniment of soulful music from the many brass bands that flourish on the island.  James and Tina had picked up 3 new visitors from the airport and had headed straight down town to see what was going on.

One of the many buildings bedecked with red hangings for the Easter celebrations


The following morning, we were up at the truly revolting hour of 7am and headed into town in the company of the Bear Necessity crew to see the next bit of the Easter celebrations.  We got as far as the port in the car and were then told to park up and caught a bus into the centre of town.  The narrow streets were packed out with people watching a never ending procession of bands and sundry other random groups all pacing along at a funereal pace to the accompaniment of yet more solemn music.  We had been told that the next event would be at 11am, when pots would be smashed by the men in the crowd, so we went and had a look at the old Citadel and found the one café in Corfu town not already packed out.  We sat and had snacks looking out over the sea; a lovely relaxing time before we made our way back to the main square just before 11.  At 11, the people on the balconies round the square started to drop ever larger pots to smash in the street below, whilst in the crowd, men started to hurl their own, smaller pots to the ground.  The smashing of pottery was quite amazing and some of the pots dropped from the balconies were so large that they were simply tipped over the rails, rather than lifted up and dropped, as they were too heavy to lift!  We had seen pots of all shapes and sizes all over the island for the last couple of weeks and had been puzzled as to what it was all about; now we know!  The pots apparently contain all your sins from the past year – smashing them releases the sins and give you a clean start for next year.

Duncan and James prepared to smash their pots full of sins!


My pot, a nice red one, wouldn’t smash.  I wimpishly just dropped it first off, but it merely bounced.  So I picked it up and threw it down but it just bounced again.  I picked it up for the third go, really hurling the thing at the ground and the neck and handle broke off but the body remained stubbornly intact.  As I bent down to retrieve for yet another go, a small boy snaked his way through the legs of the crowd, grabbed my pot and made off!  J later remarked that he shouldn’t have done that, as he really didn’t want to be burdened with all my sins; however, I consider that the reason the pot wouldn’t smash is because there weren’t sufficient sins in it to make it even crack.  I leave you to choose whichever interpretation best fits with your view of my behavior over the past year…….

James, Chrissy, Duncan and Julia enjoy a coffee in the old citadel overlooking Corfu town. (Note the bay in the background where we anchored that night.)


We had seen a large firework display being put together on the walls of the Citadel, so we decided to go back to the marina and bring the boats back round to anchor in the bay for the night.  We did thisarriving in the bay mid afternoon.  The weather was beautifully warm so when Bear Necessity joined us, we were persuaded by the younger element to go for a swim – our first sea bathing this year.  Despite a water temperature of 22.5 degrees C, it felt distinctly chilly!  However we had a wonderful evening: J and I had a barbeque on Rampage and then went over to Bear Necessity for a few drinks, lots of music making (James, being a musician, has any number of different instruments on board,) and firework watching before finally returning to Rampage at about 1am to sleep.

Richard distributes champagne for us all aboard Bear Necessity


We were up the following morning by about 9 am and set sail about 30 minutes later for Gouvia, as we had to get back in time to go out to lunch.  We had a fast trip back and were back alongside by not much after 11am, which gave us bags of time to sort ourselves out before being picked up by minibus and taken to a hotel up in the hills above Gouvia to a most beautiful setting with glorious views across unspoilt countryside.

Traditional Greek Easter feast - large lumps of spit-roasted lamb


In Greece, Easter is celebrated in much the same way as Christmas is in UK.  It is very much a time for families to get together and have a special meal.  Not turkey however, but spit roast lamb is the tradition.  This was the menu for our lunch at the hotel, which went on for most of the afternoon.  About 15 or so people from the marina had signed up for the meal and a great time was had by all – J even swam again in the hotel pool but that was a step too far for most of us.  By the time we got back to Rampage, it was all we could do to stay awake long enough to make sure we wouldn’t wake up at 4 in the morning!

Today started bit overcast but eventually turned out warm and sunny again.  W have taken things easy but in the late afternoon we cycled round the bay to the little church out on a peninsula and then stopped for a drink on the way back. 

James and Chrissy aboard "Rampage"


It really has been a busy couple of weeks and we’re looking forward to getting in a bit of cruising after next weekend.  Do keep watching the blog!


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