Aquarella photographed from my friend's boat
It took some time to edit all the footage of video I had filmed during the summer. I had wanted to do more but had always put it off to another day. Suddenly the summer was coming to an end so I put my act together and actually got round to doing it.
This time I had a little help. I attached one camera to a friends boat going the same way so I could get some sequences of Aquarella from a distance under sail.

 Another friend Kirsten was with me for a while and was able to film during a period of hard weather. It is otherwise very difficult to even think of filming in bad weather as all concentration is on sailing the boat in the safest way.
A scene from the video, bravely filmed by Kirsten in hard weather.
Sailing alone again

After 9 hours of solosailing I arrived at my last destination for the year, at the bay of Kilada. After a long rest I managed to paint a watercolour of the colourful scene there, just before sunrise. The work in progress can also be seen in the video.

painting aboard

Drama - again!

After two weeks in Sweden and Denmark I returned to the boat at it's mooring off Poros . It was the first time I had left Aquarella in the water which I was nervous about but everything was fine and as I had left it. It was great to see all my friends there again. One of them was selling his boat and needed some video footage of it under sail. We decided to swap cameras and take a sail while filming and photographing each others boats. This is the first time I actually see Aquarella under sail. The film footage taken will be included in a video I'll upload to Youtube when the editing is finished.
Me sailing Aquarella
Back in Poros many hours, days and weeks were spent writing my book about painting the sea.

Towing the dinghy
The search area between the mainland and Hydra
At the end of September a dear friend Kirsten came to visit me on the boat. She also paints watercolours and the idea was that we would sail and paint together for a week. Other friends suggested they show us some beautiful anchorages I had never seen before so we sailed off on a two boat flotilla. We anchored in the bay of Skillaion and bathed in beautiful turquoise water surrounded by yellow ochre cliffs. The island of Hydra was not far away so we decided to go there too.
Then something I've often had a nightmare about actually happened! The brand new dinghy we were towing behind was gone!
Vanished, nowhere to be seen. I thought if we just backtracked our route by motor we would have a good chance of finding it. We searched and searched to no avail. It was so hard to see anything behind the small waves and we imagined what it would be like if it was a man-over-board situation. Then the wind changed direction and we closely followed the Peloponese coast westwards to Metokhi in the hope the dinghy would have washed ashore there.
Our eyes were sore from staring into binoculars and after an hour or so we decided it couldn't have drifted that far so I turned and followed the coast east again. It was impossible to know where to look considering the wind shift and changing current. It was now getting dark. We would have to stop searching and find somewhere to anchor for the night. Then Kirsten suggested I call on the VHF radio and ask if anyone had seen the dinghy. I tried calling "All ships, all ships, all ships. This is Aquarella, has anyone seen a blue dinghy near Hydra" but I was unsure the old radio was actually working. I thought not, but then after 15 minutes the radio crackled to life. "Person seeking a blue dinghy? WE'VE GOT IT!" Wow what a relief! It turned out to be 6 Russians on a chartered yacht who found the dinghy in the open sea. We arranged a meeting point outside Hydra and tried to give them a bottle of whisky as thanks but they wouldn't have it. We blew them kisses instead.
Aquarella (the smallest yacht) in Mandraki the following morning
I then motored into Mandraki bay in the failing light. The bay is very deep and there were many boats anchored there with lines ashore. This is a worst case scenario for me. My long keeled boat can't steer backwards. I had to drop the anchor from the bow and let 60 meters of chain out, then reverse in a cross wind in pitch black darkness between the other boats to get a line ashore. Fortunately someone from another boat took our line and tried all he could to help but I was tired and stressed and had to try the manoeuver 8 times before it succeeded. The spectator boats gave me 10 points for the evening entertainment. I just needed a drink.
The following day an attempt to film from my drone ended up with it drowned in the sea and even though I fished it up, both the drone and the camera were ruined. When I removed the battery it was red hot and thick smoke bellowed out from it. That was another 700€ gone. On the way back to Poros we encountered such hard wind and rough seas that the drawers with all their contents finished up sliding around the cabin floor.
Despite all this we really had a great time, could laugh at all the drama and enjoyed ourselves so much we almost forgot to paint.
The sun rising over Hydra with the island of Dokos in the foreground
After Kirsten went home I sailed 9 hours to Basimakopolou shipyard in Kilada where Aquarella is now taken ashore for the winter. 

Dinghy kaput!

My wind scoop
I haven't actually sailed for a while. I've been spending every day aboard working on my new book from 7 am to 7 pm with a break for lunch and a nap at the hottest time of the afternoon. The temperature is often 35 c in the cabin and my "air condition" consists of a wind scoop which catches the lightest breeze and sends it down through the boat.
When the heat gets too much I cool off by taking a swim in the sea followed by a 1 litre fresh water shower.
For a few days I stopped writing to paint a new watercolour of the view. This will be an illustration in the book.
Painting the view from the boat
A storm rolling in, Galatas can be seen here on the right, Poros to the left
This is what you might call "a Greek bail out"
Unfortunately one problem was becoming a serious issue. Having my boat tied up to a buoy a few hundred metres from the shore I am totally reliant on my rubber dinghy to transport myself to the town quay to get provisions, water and diesel. 
balancing in the dinghy to use the foot pump
The dinghy was loosing air again and having to be pumped every morning which meant there was a new leak somewhere. I took the cover off and wiped soapy water over the surface but couldn't find a specific leak, it looked like I had washed it in champagne! I ended up alternately pumping and rowing like mad over to Galatas where a dinghy specialist has his workshop. After taking a water taxi back to my boat I felt rather isolated. The following day I got a phone call with the verdict. "Dinghy no good, total kaput!" It was a right off, with all the seams disintegrating!
This meant I had to buy a new dinghy to be sent from Athens for the grand total of 650€. I had to use the water taxi service several times the following days at 10€ per trip before I finally could row my new dinghy back home to the boat.

The next morning I was picked up by watertaxi again for the first leg of my trip back home to Sweden for 2 weeks. I had been asked to participate in an exhibition in Denmark called the  World Wide Watercolour exhibition  and wouldn't miss this opportunity. I had to leave Aquarella to fend for herself in the meantime which I didn't like but there are many other boats left at buoys here so I reckoned she would be safe enough.
The watertaxi came half an hour too early when I was standing there in my nightdress! (No picture of that)
To be continued...

Pick up with the watertaxi

A new book

After sailing to my favourite island Poros, I tied up to the mooring I have hired before in the middle of the channel betwwen Poros and Galatas.
Here I can relax and take it easy for a while, knowing that the boat is safely secured.
After months of hard work with paintings and exhibitions in Finland, Sweden and Denmark it was time to take a break and do something else. Something I have wanted to do for quite some time.
So I am now sitting here in my cockpit writing a book. This time the book will printed on real paper and not an ebook.
A few of the pages

Actually “writing” is not really a description of the work I’m doing as the book will mostly be comprised of photographs of my artwork. There will be short descriptions of each piece and small anecdotes about the work. The theme of the book is the sea, so as I sit here surrounded and inspired by the sea, the book is gradually taking shape.
Bit by bit, page after page the layout is created on my computer with the over one hundred photographs of watercolours and acrylic paintings. 
I know I can’t keep away from painting and sailing for very long so I willl get back to that in due course. Until then I spend every day in front of the computer while rocking gently in the breeze.
In the cockpit, working on the book.

The fresh air of freedom

I'd forgotten it was the Whitsun holidays so I had to manage without my dinghy being repaired for 5 days. In the mean time, with help, I was able to squeeze Aquarella into the local fishing harbour so I could come ashore. The four year old dinghy was in worse shape than I'd feared and came back with two big patches and two new valves. 
My dinghy with the patches concealed under it's new cover
 which doesn't quite fit yet 
The next day I started off by taking up my stern anchor for the first time alone. I only have an electric anchor windlass on the bow and Aquarella with her long keel was not made for steering backwards. It took me 45 minutes to pull the boat by hand towards the anchor and raise it from the sticky mud.
The first sail of the season was just over 2 hours to Porto Heli. I'd looked forward to having the full use of the navigation app Navionics on my new Ipad air. 
That wasn't a great success, It stopped getting a fix as soon as I left the harbour! It turned out the ipad air version I had bought only has the option of a wifi connection and no cellular data. I could use the chart function but without the red marker updating my position. I found my way easily though using the boat's built-in, 20 year old AP navigator.
Arrived at Porto Heli
Greece has introduced a new cruising permit this year which is obligatory for all boats over 7 meters. The paperwork for this is not made easy however. The skipper must apply at the nearest port police/coastguard after paying the amount of 50 € to a bank, not over the internet. (the police are apparently not entrusted with handling money) There's no bank in Kilada nor Porto Heli. The nearest is a 20€ taxi ride away inland to the town of Kranidi. 
With bank receipt in hand I knocked on the door of the Port Police office and presented all the other necessary papers: passport, certificate of competence, old cruising permit, boat license, insurance. The officer in charge did not ask me to sit down, he yawned, sipped his cold coffee and leafed through the documents. The proof of paid insurance was translated into English, German, French and Spanish but not Greek. He struck the paper with the back of his fingers in disgust and declared his outrage in no uncertain terms! " Greek law demands this document should state in Greek that it is valid according to Greek requirements and the insurance sum must be written in Euro. This must be officially verified by your insurance company" He told me to contact them and demand they immediately send the Greek translation to them by email. I obediently phoned the office in Mariehamn on the Åland islands. The lady in charge of the Mediterranean boat section was at lunch and would call back after an hour. I asked the officer if it was okey to come back when I had talked to her. "You are not going anywhere" he said while closing the door. 
He then asked who the captain of the boat was.
That's me
The names of crew members?
There's just me
Then with loud bangs he proceeded to stamp all the papers and hand them over.
"Give me 2 euros for the photocopies and you may go."
He got them
I got the papers
Wow, what a feeling! Out into the fresh air of freedom!

That sinking, deflated feeling ...

I'm back at the Basimakopulos boatyard in Kilada, Greece after a long busy winter in Sweden.
For months I had been looking forward to completely relaxing on my boat and just looking at the horizon in the warm Greek sun. 
It didn't turn out that way at all.
climbing up and down the ladder every time I'd forgotten something
Firstly my brother in law Uffe who usually helps me for the first week couldn't join me this time as his wife Kerstin was ill. We had to cancel his tickets at the last moment. Really sad, especially for Kerstin who was so sick but also sad for him as he'd been counting the days to the trip. My thoughts were with them both but the prospect of being alone with all the work of making the boat seaworthy before launching was nevertheless daunting. 
With only 3 days to the launching date,  I had to work non stop 12 hours a day. 
And where was the warm Greek sun? It was pouring with rain and 15 degrees!
I quickly realized I could only manage to do the absolute necessary. That was: cleaning the hull and painting the antifouling on the bottom, polishing and waxing the waterline, changing the zinc anode on the propeller shaft and replacing the bottom plug. Everything else had to wait.
Aquarella about to be launched (notice the fully inflated dinghy on deck) 
The sun came out at last, Aquarella was launched on schedule and I could tie up to a mooring buoy in the middle of the bay.
I'd inflated my rubber dinghy, the only life line I now have to civilization ashore. The first trip with it went fine and the engine started on the first pull. It must have looked very entertaining though when I collided with the quayside at full speed without being able to slow down or stop the engine. I had to use the choke to stop it. This problem resolved itself without my intervention on the way back. 
I noticed in the evening a little air had gone out of the dinghy but I thought it might be owing to the cooler temperature. The following morning I realized there must be a leak somewhere. I climbed down to attach the air pump and the next thing I knew the dinghy was rapidly on its way down! 
Nearly all the air had gone and the engine was sinking fast. I quickly took a line and secured it, then took the first dip of the year, albeit unintentional. I had to unscrew the engine mount from the transom in order to pull it aboard. Wearing my life-jacket as an extra precaution I swam around taking oars, the pump, the seat etc before I could climb aboard again to hoist the dinghy on deck.
I still don't know what the problem is but I suspect it must be the valves. I won't be able to get help or get ashore before Monday so I'm stuck for the time being.
The deflated dinghy just after I had secured the engine with a line
To be continued...

New video (sailing and painting)

I have finally finished editing this video with clips of my solo sail around the Sardonic Gulf in Greece, in the summer of 2016. There is also footage of me working on one of my paintings. That was the view of Poros I had as seen from my mooring there.
Hope you like it. Click here:   Sailing on single handed#3
From the video