Greetings from the land of keels and rudders,
The team is busy beavering away in the yard with the usual plethora of large and small refit jobs. Monsoon season started soon after we finished hauling, which is unusual, probably a result of global moistening; however it has encouraged us to leak find much earlier in the winter, so that’s a win win all round.
One of the frequent laments we hear midsummer is about the number of boats in the area and how crowded it is, somehow the irony never quite reaches the boat owner. Cows complaining of farm smells perhaps?!
Anyhow, in May for my trip aboard SY ‘Morning Calm’ a Trintella 65, we wanted to be local for crew changes but also to escape a bit. Starting in Corfu we buzzed over to Saranda in Albania for a couple of nights. After clearing in, a simple process, we anchored off so the crew could visit the Roman site in Butrint, 25mins away by taxi. A slap up meal ashore and a bit of the night life was cheaper than a gyros in the Ionian! Meandering slowly south, through Paxos and the inland sea by Preveza we felt positively lonely and in need of a quick pit stop at the Yacht Club, before ending the week in Sami for a crew change. Long ago economics of cash beauty and hassle made Sami and a taxi more favourable than the drag around to Argostoli.
Using the prevailing afternoon N’Westerly, two hops took us down to Pylos in the Peloponnese. The long passage from Zante down is made easy by favourable wind and sea conditions, safe in the knowledge that a new cruising area will be the reward at the end of the day.
Pylos is a Vliho sized embayment with lots of anchorages, a marina and a charming higgledy piggledy town, an easy place to spend some time. Methoni just to the south is the next picture postcard stop with an awesome castle to explore. For us though, the jewel in this area is a few miles to the east called Finnikounda. The shallow anchorage fronts a really classy beach town, full of nooks and crannies, liking to a cross between Fiskardo and old Vassiliki! Our other place of note in this area is Koroni, with its safe anchorage behind the breakwater and old Aegean style town tumbling down to the water.
This was the extent of our trip to the south, with the following week spent coastal hopping back north, never as enjoyable as the south bound trip but interesting none the less. In other years we have carried on from Koroni into the Aegean, completing the circumnavigation through the Corinth canal. I have to say this anti clockwise trip around the Peloponnese has to be my favourite in the Med, it’s interesting, challenging and constantly changing with many notable sites en route, a definite for any bucket list.
I realise that not everyone has the time for this minimum 10 day trip, however if enough people request it we will put a fact sheet together about distances, ports, historic interest, places to leave the boat and transport links. So let’s say if by the end of January the interest is there, I will produce a sheet in February.
A big change for SY ‘Morning Calm’ next season is that she will be available for charter for the first time. After cruising to New Zealand, Alaska, Mexico, the Baltic and of course extensively in the Med, the owner has decided that he no longer has the time to fully use her. Now others will have the opportunity to enjoy this very special boat & in the New Year we shall be launching the details of what’s involved in chartering this awesome boat.
Closer to home in November we had the sad task of recovering another beautiful boat which had broke its mooring and ended up on the rocks outside of Nikiana harbour. Not a boat we knew before the incident but became involved with at the request of its insurers. As usual it was a €5 shackle whose failure led to the loss of a well maintained family live aboard. Most tragic was the bad luck of the owner having left the boat only one hour before she broke loose.
Other cautionary tales from the area include boat thefts, a spate of nuisance break-ins; where dinghies, outboards, fenders and solar panels have been taken. Our advice would be to keep as much as possible down below, when the boat is not in use and importantly to ensure your insurance is up to date.
Back in the yard I set off recently to list the boats needing rudder repairs, as this is all small repetitive work we always batch boats together. After looking at twenty or so boats with growing consternation, I went back and rechecked, then with more interest went carefully through all of our charges and found 3 boats out of 87 which need work. This is odd, normally 1 in 4 need attention. What was the change, rising sea levels? No, a better standard of seamanship? Some mix of new and experienced boat owners, so not that either. It took a while, but after much thought I put it together… You will see of late, we seem to spend much less time chasing boats around the bay, completely due to our push for Rocna style anchors. Now I see there is a further knock on effect, less sagging back against the quay while you are in having supper. So our over- riding message this Christmas is forget the shiny new cockpit cushions and if not already done, get a Rocna!
Finally I want to thank everyone new and old who continues to support the whole Vliho Yacht Club service, I am sure we don’t get everything right all of the time but it’s sure not for the want of trying!
From all the team, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.