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Here we are again

June 20, 2017

So, we thought we’d got it all planed out. Leave the car with a friend in Cambourne, hire car to Gatwick (via a couple of nights at Naomi’s) and a ghastly early morning flight from Gatwick. A week to sort out all the winter’s worth of jobs on Rampage and back into the water a week later. Sorted.

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No barnacles here then….

Only its never like that is it?
Learning from past experience, we did try starting the engine before we were due to be relaunched. Just as well we did, as it refused to start. So The Mechanic was summoned: he appeared later that day (Monday before launch day Wednesday) and did his usual poking and prodding; he emerged with the exhaust elbow in his hand. This is the bit that mixes the cooling water with the exhaust gas, keeping the exhaust cool so it doesn’t melt the rubber exhaust pipe. It’s meant to have a hole in it about two inches across. Naah, accumulated crud from 6 years work (last time I looked at it was back then) had reduced it down to about the diameter of my thumb. The Mechanic took it off to try and clean it but he and I both knew it was the end of the line for this one: they’re made of cast metal and eventually will wear too thin to be cleaned up again.

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Rampage out of her element just about ready to relaunch.

The Mechanic reappeared half an hour later, looking doleful. Knackered elbow, new one required. They have them in stock in Athens. Usually takes two days to get here. Hmmmm, not looking good for a Wednesday relaunch then. Followed The Mechanic down to the office, where I cancelled our launch slot.
The following day (Tuesday) we were due to hand the hire car back at midday, so we aimed to do some last minute shopping, lay in food for a couple of days and get our new cruising permit sorted from the Port Police. So, bright and early I visited the PP office to start the process whilst J went off in search of buttons or something.

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The view from one of the geocaches we found on Lefkas, looking down toward Meganisi.

Clearly, 9 am is the time to do business with the PP, as the office was empty and I was swiftly told what I had to do and where I had to go to do it. Fill in forms, get photocopies of various documents, visit the Town Hall to get a tax payment chitty (no Greek tax number and online account,so this is a special arrangement for furriners). Then take the chitty to a bank and pay 50 Euro, then back to the PP.
That little lot took me about an hour. So back to the PP office, to find it full of folks all trying to do the same thing as me. Because the boat and buses from the Aktio yards had all dropped off folks who had by now arrived at the office, needing to get finished by midday so that they could get back to catch their buses/boots back to Aktio.

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After our second visit here (first was two years ago) we finally found the cache! Looking back towards Parga.

Ho hum. Eventually, our turn came. Because we were good people and had done everything we were meant to do and (importantly), in the right order it took only a few minutes before we left the office clutching our new permit with dire warnings hanging over our heads about making sure it was stamped again BEFORE one year had gone by.
Then a rush back to the yard to drop J off at the boat before handing the car back in at the airport. Note no shopping. How sad. We ate at Panos again that night.
The waiting game then began. No sign of the elbow on Wednesday (just as well we cancelled the launch), nor on Thursday. It appeared on Friday and No barnacles here then….. The Mechanic fitted it in minutes few. Julia visited the office and took the first launch slot still available: the yard is busy just now as quite a few folks are lifting out before they return north to avoid the heat and crowds of July and August. Our slot was 3 pm Monday, so we had weekend to kill and not much, if anything left to do on the boat. So what to do?
In the end we hired a car again and spent a couple of days doing some geocaching; drove miles, found a few caches and ate lots of ice cream and generally escaped from the dust pit that is Ionion Boat Yard.
Launch time came round early: we were expecting the crew at 3 pm, they arrived at 2.30 to find us still doing, well not a lot. So the business of removing power cables and hoses and so forth delayed things until 3 pm, when we watched Rampage make her at through the yard and into the sea. It is always a little nerve wracking watching your boat being moved on land and always a relief when she is finally back in the water.

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Sunset over the Preveza anchorage after we finally launched!

This time there was the added complication of some work we’d had done over the winter. Rampage, in common with many modern boats, doesn’t have a traditional propeller shaft, she has a saildrive. This is an arrangement which has a structure somewhat like an outboard motor leg sticking out through the bottom of the hull. It is sealed by a diaphragm which has to be replaced every now and then. Rampage’s was done by The Mechanic, so we needed to check all was OK before we left the launch dock. All was OK,as was the new elbow.
Oh, the chart plotters then decided to throw their bit into the mix be refusing to find a GPS signal. Ho hum, navigate by eye and depth finder over to the anchorage off Preveza to join up with all the others doing as we were: fitting sails, fixing bits and pieces before setting off for other places.
We got up early this morning and fitted the mainsail, discovering a small tear in the foot that we repaired before carrying on with the job. It went well: in other words only one reefing line was incorrectly routed requiring it to be redone.
Tomorrow we head south to wherever. Watch out for updates as we go.

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2 comments

  1. Looking forward to your adventures!


  2. Sounds fab guys



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