A last hop to Kos

By 11pm I’d rested enough to brave the next leg. In light variable winds Eileen left Chalkis’ pretty little bay and we made our way NW toward Tylos. Rounding Chalkis’ eastern coast, a brisk westerly breeze had Eileen of Avoca zipping along at 4 to 4.5 kts. Four knots is a good speed for a Yarmouth23 and unless I want to play around with the topsail (something I never do at night) I don’t expect much more speed from her without motor sailing.

Less pleasant conditions arrived with the dawn. A one knot north setting current between Tylos and Nisyros made for a wet ride against the NW winds but it did not last. By the time I’d changed course to the NE (toward the eastern tip of Kos) the wind had eased.

Later that morning, several other boats appeared from the west and it did not take long to realize that Eileen was now part of the impromptu race for a berth at Kos marina. Time to hoist the iron topsail… (i.e. start the engine) and get that extra knot or two. A Yarmouth23 motor sailing in light winds can do over 6 knots so they didn’t catch me… nah nah, na nahh nahhh… (said with infantile gusto). Must also have been the sleep deprivation 😉

Sailing from Crete

English Sailor

English Sailor

In the Cretan heat I didn’t come across any mad dogs, but I did meet this simpatico Englishman (pictured right). As we were to sail in the same general direction it was decided to form a flotilla of two, at least as far as Chalki.

Leaving A.Nikolaos early (7:30 is early for me!), we hugged the Mirabello Bay coast making our way North in light variable winds. As the Aeolian Energy Park on Ak. Ioannis came abeam, gusts from the NW had Eileen of Avoca almost keeled over, even with two reefs. Mind you, my flotilla companions’ Westerly seemed similarly affected, bobbing about in the surprisingly agitated seas.

After two hours of the boating equivalent of “lets play hobby horse”, I set a course of 58 degrees and settled in to some steady tiller-pilot controlled sailing. By sunset Eileen approached the uninhabited island of Astakida. Vrak. Ounianisia had already been passed and was barely visible on the horizon as two conical peaks to the NW.

GPS track from Crete to Kos

GPS track from Crete to Kos

Shortly after sunset, and despite a brilliant moon, Astakida just two miles distant, vanished from view.

The night sailing, though sultry, proved uneventful… until… two massive whales surfaced in a cascade of spume and wash, straddling Eileen…

nah… just kidding…

Strong Meltemi winds delay Eileens’ departure

Typical Meltemi forecast

Typical Meltemi forecast

I tried and failed to leave Agios Nickolaos and sail to Rhodes. According to the locals in Crete, the Meltemi is a little more persistent this year, making travel by sea somewhat uncomfortable.

I thought dry humor was the sole domain of the English. Apparently not! So I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about turning back to wait for the next weather window.

An uncharacteristically hot engine, vicious swell, sunburn, unresponsive jib furler and seasickness were my other ego consoling excuses for turning back.

A few days extra preparation shouldn’t go astray. Except that a few days looks like becoming more than a week and I have a deadline to reach Kos by the 5th. Let me rephrase that… I have a “preference” to reach Kos by the 5th.