Family on board

After living alone on board most of the summer I was really looking forward to having children and grandchildren on board for a while . First to arrive by ferry from Athens was my oldest son, Philip, his wife Henriette and daughter Olivia.
Aquarella is moored a few hundred yards from the shore opposite Poros. There wasn't room in my little dinghy for all of us plus baggage so I thought it safer to park the dinghy as near as possible to Aquarella's mooring and take them from the ferry quay by public waterbus across the sound, walk along to where I'd tied the dinghy then take separate trips with baggage and passengers over to the mooring.
Safety on public transport has much to be desired in Greece though and the water buses are clearly no exception. The wooden motor launch with a very powerful engine and 23 passengers on board was sailed across the densely trafficked sound at full speed by a 10 year old!
My 7 year old granddaughter commented dryly " Good that it wasn't a two year old"

After pottering around the sheltered waters of Poros bay for a few days we set out for the open sea and sailed to Vathi on the volcanic peninsular of Methani. I was nervous about taking the boat into harbour for the first time, until now I had only stayed at anchorages. Aquarella has a long keel which means she is very difficult to reverse with. My husband always took her to the quay bow first, after dropping the stern anchor 20 meters away. I had always stood on the foredeck with the mooring lines ready to jump ashore.
Now I sent Philip and Henriette up front with the lines, ready to fender off the other boats and jump ashore.
When we passed the breakwater into the tiny harbour I wished I had chosen a bigger space to practice my first harbour manoeuvre. There was very little room to turn the boat so when I was too slow to get into a slot between the other boats I turned round and went out again. I took a deep breath and made a new attempt. This time I reacted faster, checked the sea bottom for other anchors and chain, dropped the stern anchor in line with the slot and took Aquarella slowly to the quay. Apart from getting my foot tangled up with the fast running anchor line, all went well and I let out a sigh of relief.
It was a beautiful little harbour so we stayed a couple of days. When the harbour master came to see the ships papers he asked to speak to the captain. I said "thats me" and he said " congratulations!" and from then on only addressed me as "Lady"
Aquarella in Vathi after the other boats had left. 
Philip and I talked a lot about how I could take the boat into harbour single handed in the future and we agreed it really is a problem when you can't be in the cockpit to manoeuvre the boat, drop the anchor, let out the anchor line and be on the bow to throw lines ashore and tie up at the same time. In theory it should be possible to use the autopilot to keep the boat on course, let the anchor line run out by itself, put the engine into slow ahead and go to the bow to throw the lines ashore and hope there's someone there to catch them and help tie up. An alternative could be to land onto another boat, with fenders in between, and pull Aquarella alongside it towards the quay. In practice there would probably and suddenly be a strong cross wind to sabotage any attempt to make an elegant arrival. The thing is, you never can know.

We sailed from there around the Saronic Gulf stopping at anchor in Epidavros and Korfos then had exhilarating sailing with good wind over to Perdika on the island of Aegina. Perdika is a small, idyllic fishing harbour with little room for yachts but I thought I'd try my luck again at squeezing in. We arrived in the early afternoon before the usual rush hour of arriving yachts and there was plenty of space at the outer end of a jetty.
Again it took a second attempt before I got it right and the anchor line was rather diagonal to the jetty but I pretended it was my intention. Perdika is a beautiful harbour with colourful houses ( in fact about 25 restaurants) around the crystal clear waters of the small bay. We stayed a couple of days there before the return voyage to the mooring on Poros. On the way we ran into a pod of dolphins and took time to sail around them backwards and forwards to get a closer look and take some photographs. I was so happy to be able to share this wonderful experience with my family. It's far better than wide screen or flat screen.

The 2 week trip with my family was a great success, I gained a lot more experience, and in spite of all the cuts and bruises, lost items over the side, wasp stings, mosquito bites and sunburn we had a wonderful time together.

1 comment:

  1. You don't know me and other than the miracle that is the internet, I have only just met you. I caught your blog as a post on the YBW (Yachting and Boating World) website via the forum - - and I thought I would rop you a line to say that I admire your fortitude and courage. I also admire your ability to sail and to continue to enjoy your sailing having lost your "captain".

    My name is Dave Snelson, I will look in at your exploits from time to time and I wish you all the best in the world.

    Safe sailing