A busy summer???

July 27, 2016

Well, we’ve neglected our audience something rotten this year. Apart from tales of resurrection (the return of Lady J), we’ve not published anything. Part of this can be ascribed to the lack of anything exciting happening but, I’m afraid, it is down in large part to indolence and idleness. To put it simply, we couldn’t motivate ourselves enough. You know, choice presents itself: write blog or continue to read a good book? Write blog or go for an ice cream? Write blog or go for a swim? Finally, you run out of excuses and then you realise that the laptop didn’t make it to the boat this year, so you’ll have to use the iPad. Ever tried writing anything of any length on an iPad? Then you remember that there’s this bluetooth keyboard thingy somewhere…… Having searched through lockers and cupboards you finally find the thing and the moment has passed…….

A happy skipper returns to the dinghy in Vonnitsa, having managed to buy a dozen bottles of cider

You get the picture? This sort of literary effort has to take place in the cooler times of day, as by midday it’s simply too hot and it’s just gets hotter as the afternoon progresses. By the time the evening comes round, there’s inevitably been someone turn up and either been invited to come on board for a drink or we’ve been invited over to their boat, so suddenly it’s another day gone by without having actually sat down and written anything.

To be comfortable in the heat, one needs shade and a comfrotable place to sit……

So, here we are in one of our favourite places, Abelike Bay on Meganissi. We’ve been here for two nights having left Lefkas Marina on Monday. True to form, as we were having a drink before supper on the first night here, a dinghy pulls alongside with the kind folks Otto and Marilyn who looked after Julia when we had the RAT on board two summers ago. They were headed ashore and we were about to eat but we arranged to meet up last night for a meal. See what I mean? The longer we spend in this part of the world, the wider our circle of friends is, the more frequently we meet up with folks we know.
Well, what’s been going on with us? We’ve been out here in Greece for about 6 weeks now. We flew from Gatwick into Preveza, just a five minute taxi ride from the yard. We had, as it turns out, a week on the hard doing jobs on the boat before we relaunched. It should have been 5 days but the engine refused to play requiring the attention of the yard mechanic which delayed us a couple of days.

Rampage on her way back into the water.

With no commitments to visitors or anything else, our vague plan had been to head south and go round the Peloponnese. However, fate intervened in the shape of Curly Sue, Andy’s boat. Currently for sale, a potential buyer was coming from Italy for a second look at her and Andy asked if I could be there for the viewing as I’d spent so much time working on her. After spending 4 hours in the midday sun showing this chap round we departed to Fiskardo on Kephalonia to meet my cousin Shaun and his wife Claire. Neither had been on a sailing boat before but they were on holiday near Argostoli, so it seemed a good idea to meet up…..
I really, really should have studied the weather forecast in a bit more detail. A casual glance suggested the usual pattern of winds from the north west dying down at night. What I’d failed to appreciate was the thunderstorms lurking to the south of the island. Perhaps the log entry for the day sums it up best:

  “Disastrous day with Shuan and Claire. Tried to take them to an anchorage for a swim and lunch but had to turn round as a storm approached. D&I both got soaked through bringing her back in. Then, while having late lunch, the anchor popped out, so got soaked again getting it reset. Finally, as we were going to bed, realised that the anchor had popped again (force 8+ winds from the south, broadside on to us)and were touching the rocks. D cut the lines ashore and we fled to Vliho. Terrifying coming into the anchorage as so many boats were not lit.”

After our rapid departure from Fiskardo, Duncan dived to check for damage to the rudder and keel. Nothing beyond a few scrapes to the paint, thank goodness.

Following that excitement, which I fear has coloured Shaun and Claire’s opinions on sailing boats for ever, our next adventure was, as ever, connected to the plumbing. Principally the aft head plumbing. You know, the cats cradle of pipes between the head, the holding tank and sea. It got blocked. Under pressure. Which I didn’t realise until I tried taking things to bits. I leave you to imagine the results of opening a pipe up which is full of pressurised pooh. Oh deep joy. Well, that took us a day to sort out in Tranquil Bay.

End result of the plumbing problems: cleaning the resultant mess out of the bilges…….

As a reward, we headed north through the Lefkas Canal and had a cracking sail up to Vonitsa. We hardly dropped below 6 knots all the way on just the headsail. Brilliant. Made up for the time spent bent into a pretzel shape dealing with recalcitrant hoses. We spent the next few days there, and met up with Pam and Roger off Cap d’Or before we headed south again.
Regular readers will recall that ever since we set off we’ve been somewhat obsessed with the generation and storage of electrical power. Over the years our battery bank has grown until it is now almost three times the size of the one we had when we left UK. We’ve also increased the number of solar panels but we were still having to run the engine to make electricity on a more or less daily basis.

Note the battery monitor, top right, showing full batteries!

So two things came together to help sort these things out. Firstly, Andy had a Kippor generator on Curly Sue which wasn’t on the inventory so he offered it to me. Result number one. And the chandlers in Lefkas marina have any number of different sized rigid solar panels, so we bought one which nicely filled the available space on the top of the bimini. It’s now sitting up there, gathering free electricity for us and bunging it into the batteries. For the first time ever, we are now largely self sufficient for electrical power, with the batteries typically sitting at about 85-90% charged. And that’s without using the generator, which would see them up to 100% with a couple of hours running. Result number two! We now use a solar shower bag for hot showers and the engine sits idle.
Anyhow, there are two last social things we need to mention before you all die of boredom. We arranged to meet up with Jackie and Pete on Argonauta. Jackie has had some health problems which kept them in UK but she’s now recovered enough to resume the sea gypsy life. We anchored near to one another off Kastos and had a great time there. Beach bbq, suppers on one another’s boats, much catching up as we hadn’t seen them for a couple of years. We left Kastos together and headed to big Vathi on Itheka for a night before we parted company. We headed round to Sami as there were strong winds forecast for a few days. Glad we did, as the winds blew up to force 8 for the next five days……

Pete and Jackie at the Windmill Bar, Kastos, before we headed off for our beach bbq.

Anyhow, we were sitting out the winds in Sami, which were strong enough to make it worth our while to rig the wind generator, when we had a message from Linda on Tantrum. She’d had a falling out with her push bike and had done her back in. We couldn’t move until the Tuesday because of the winds, by which time she was in kit form trying to cope by herself. So we motored up to Lefkas and anchored between the marina and the town quay. J spent the next four nights on board Tantrum whilst I stayed on Rampage. Then the port police moved us on, so we took a berth in the marina next door to Tantrum. By this stage, Linda was recovering well so we left her last Monday after nearly a week.

As I said, we are currently in Abelike Bay where we are awaiting a phone call from Andy about Curly Sue and her sale. If it’s going though OK, we have nothing more to do. If the sale has fallen through, then we have a job to do: moving Curly Sue ashore and putting her to bed for the time being. So, now I need to find some pictures to go with the words above and then I must get it published. We will post again when time, interest and temperatures permit……



  1. Is Julia really with you? I notice her mentioned in the text but there are no photos, mmmmm

    • Oh she’s here right enough just she’s the one taking the photos all the time, so she’s on the wrong side of the camera……

  2. Sounds like I bring you luck with the weather! these things never happen when I am on board!

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