Jul 25

Battling on

The last few days have been fairly tough; the wind has been blowing at a minimum of 20 knots and even at night the howling is always there, like something out of an old horror movie.

Lavrio to Porto Rafti (13nm)

After being stuck in Lavrio for 3 days we were all keen to get away early in the morning. We put up a reefed main in the shelter of the harbour and headed out. Turning North we headed straight into the wind which was around Force 6 as we left but pretty soon increased to Force 7 as we left the lee of the land.

 

Porto Rafti to Voulaki (10nm)

Started out early with a nice F4 and had a fantastic sail for a couple of hours, making good headway to our destination of nea marmari. However, a few miles away we spotted an agitated sea ahead and furled up the jib just before a 40 knot wind hit us. From there it became uncomfortable and under motor we were only making around 3 knots against wind and current. We decided to head for our emergency en route shelter of a small bay on the south side of nea petaloia. Although the pilot book said it provides good shelter from the meltemi (the name of the northerly wind here) we did not find that the case and if it weren’t for the fact that there were 3 other boats already anchored we probably would have tried to find an alternative.

 

Nea Marmari to Voulamaki

Departed at 7am to try and get some miles behind us today. Already Force 4 with some heavy guests as we headed out but this soon turned to a Force 8 hitting us beam on, causing the boat to roll and pitch fairly dramatically and causing the crew to feel uncomfortable (apart from Marc who slept through it all!). Simone was certainly feeling very nervous so we headed for a sheltered bay and dropped anchor.

A feeling of frustration creeping in along with some concerns over the conditions. We’ve been trying to get North now for around a week and it seems that the sea Gods are against us. A week of incessant howling wind, going to bed to it, waking up to it, eating meals to it and trying to shout over it is also a little nerve jarring. This is a long way from long lazy lunches followed by swimming and snorkelling. Certainly the hardest conditions we have ever had to deal with and its testing us all in different ways. Just to rub salt into the wound three other things happened here:

  1. The outboard for the dinghy refused to start meaning that we were stuck on board
  2. We tied 2 fenders on lines and threw them out the back in case anyone swimming was struggling to swim back to the boat against the wind. At some point Simone noticed that there was only one so we ended up heading out to sea to rescue our errant fender. After a few close attempts with a boat hook, Marc jumped in the trailing dinghy and fished it out.
  3. Tomorrow storms are forecast, don’t really want to be the only thing in the bay with a 20m high metal mast:(

 

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