I awoke to find a new arrival moored next to me. A chartered Bavaria with a Polish crew. They insisted I have a traditional Polish breakfast with them and welcomed me aboard their yacht. One black coffee and several shots of Metaxa later (what is Polish about that?), I managed to escape their hospitality and spent the day playing tourist in Zakinthos.
The all-male Polish crew next door was a cheerful collection of professionals. Eight in total, two proudly boasted that they worked for the biggest brown coal power station in Europe, another was a construction tycoon and the youngest at 22 touted the success of his families business in disposable plastics. I don’t remember the rest. They regularly went cruising together and had been sailing around the Peloponnese clockwise from Athens.
Upon returning to Eileen, I was invited yet again for a traditional Polish lunch. Unable to refuse the hospitality I nursed a dizzy head that night. By morning they were gone.
IMRAY Chart G1 Mainland Greece and the Peloponnísos ISBN 08522 805 8
IMRAY Chart G3 Aegean Sea (South) ISBN 9781846230769
Admiralty Chart 4302 Mediterranean Sea Eastern Part
BlueNav XL3 Electronic Chart Number: XLG34 for Magellan GPS Product Number: 980843-20E
November 1st, Day 1
GPS Tack to Egypt
Flight with Olympic Airlines to Athens, 4hrs later I was on my connecting flight to Corfu and by 11pm my voyage begins on Eileen of Avoca.
I was surprised to find the marina full of life as partygoers reveled well into the night. Apparently it was the last day of a flotilla outing for sailingholidays.com and everyone was “at it” with abandon. “At it” principally being the tavernas supply of alcohol. I happily went to bed as the sounds of nightlife turned decidedly ugly.
I asked the manager of the boat yard for some assistance in fitting the gear, but he made such a song and dance of how complicated it could be that I decided the path of least resistance was to DIY.
Perhaps the temperature had something to do with his reluctance. I never knew the human body could perspire with such exuberance!
Several blasphemous hours later the recalcitrant contraption was where it should be, but I still needed to modify the Autohelm bracket, fit some internal bracing to the through-bolts, and mount my flagstaff elsewhere.
The Autohelm bracket was essential because while the Aries is now bolted in place, it will not yet be operational until I get around to rigging blocks and running gear. A long sail to Gallipoli across the Gulf of Taranto without my trusty robotic assistant would be tiring to say the least. After negotiating access to the yard’s workshop I enthusiastically hammered the old bracket into a U-shape contrivance which mounts laterally on top of the tiller. Voila!
The other tasks would have to wait for another day.
A few celebratory drinks with the gregarious Neapolitan berthed nearby followed before I cast off from the pylons (a rather tricky maneuver), waved goodbye, and motored on through the much-improved (i.e. recently dredged) marina channel to the sea.
I set a heading of 70° and raised the mainsail as the sun set. Free at last.
An afternoon at the marina packing and lowering the mast using Mr Boyall’s concise instructions posted on the Yarmouth 23 user group and quoted below:
“I dropped the mast on Eileen of Avoca as follows:-
First the gooseneck was disconnected. Then the gib and stay sail.
The forestay was next and a block attached to the lower end. A rope
was then rove through the block and from there to one of the bow
rollers, the biter end was made of on the bits. The free end was taken
back to the cockpit via the other bow roller and round the winch. The
lower bolt in the Tabernacle was removed, the upper one loosened and
the mast lowered by using the winch. QED”
This can be done single handed but a little help to position the mast once lowered helps. Eileen of Avoca was now ready to enter the canal system.