Home! 13th November 2015. The Last Post

Moored up in Lefkas

As I mentioned before, the passage to Cyprus was uneventful.  The sea was empty, the winds were kind and the sun was in its sky.  It was with great excitement that we first sighted land at 1820 on 12th November but we still had a full night of sailing ahead of us.  The lights of Pafos came into view just before dawn on the 13th and it was looking good for an early morning arrival in St Raphael Marina in Limassol.  I sent SMS messages to Joan and Isabel, Jon’s wife, so that the reception party could be organised.  Joan suggested we go around again as they were not ready!

The actual length of the trip had been a matter of discussion for the crew.  We organised a sweep steak to guess the number of miles we would have covered by the time we moored in the final marina.  We each put in €10.  My estimate was 1303, which was way out.  Jon Over’s bid was the nearest to the actual mileage – and he won.  Now I am not one to cast aspersions on the integrity of a fellow crew member but I would only say that Jon was on the helm in the final stretch from Pafos to Akrotiri while the rest of us were sleeping below, and I am sure I sensed the boat doing a full 360 turn on a couple of occasions just off Aphrodite’s Rock.  Jon will have to live with his conscience.

Some stats:

  • 1362 miles covered
  • Departed Portoroz 30th October, arrived Limassol 13th November – 14 days
  • Average miles per day (24 hours) – 97 (includes time in port)
  • Number of days at sea – 9.3
  • Fuel consumption (approx) – 2.3 miles/litre
  • Fuel consumed (approx) – 585 litres
  • Fresh water used (approx) – 1775 litres (includes the full tank that emptied into the bilges on the first night)

For me an epic journey indeed but probably modest in the general run of ocean passages.  As John Campbell said, we learned a lot more about sailing and probably even more about ourselves.  Certainly for my part I owe a great debt to those who gave up their time to help me bring my beautiful boat from Portoroz to Limassol.

John Campbell, still a working man unlike we retired gentlemen, and yet a man with a big heart and a joy to be with.  I am hoping that we will be able to do some sailing on the Clyde on his Bavaria.  I have heard that it is good there, but my concern is that I am a fair weather sailor.  It is to John that I now owe my addiction to Hariboos.  It’s OK John, I’m getting help and support.

Alistair Campbell joined us in Athens and immediately added a new dimension to the team, nothing to do with his intellect as I mentioned earlier, but he called the fault with Mr Bean correctly.  He also noticed that the boat did not have cupholders at the helm stations and so when he got home he ran up two on his 3D Printer.  They are too small to take a cup or a coke can but they do fit on the rails perfectly!  Now every time I am looking for a place to put my drink down I will think of Alistair.

What can I say about my brother-in-law, Jon Over?  Well nothing that I could put on this blog!  Jon is a great mate and a man you want to have around in a crisis.  His struggle with the water hose over a period of two weeks was enough to try most men’s soles, but did he give up?  …. well yes he did but that’s a mere technicality.  He won the sweep steak … hmmm. And he managed to clutter up the main saloon after he decamped when Ruth came on board.  But, actually, I am not sure the trip would even have been possible without Jon.  It was his connection with Alan O’Boyle that secured us a great passage director, and through Alan, John came on board.  I really owe Jon, and I am already paying for it!

Alan is the consummate professional and a seaman and educator of remarkable quality.  Although I was nominally the skipper there was no doubt who was in charge on the boat.  The relationship between the owner and the “skipper” can be tense but once we had our “clearing of the air” chat a couple of days into the trip I think we all settled down.  I am truly grateful to Alan for delivering my boat and its crew safe and sound into the St Raphael.  I shall try to forget his many anecdotes and “wee stories”, but I will always know where the expression “he is on the fiddle” came from (Google it).  I had underestimated the enormity of what we were undertaking and it is no exaggeration to say that if Alan had not been there on that first awful night it could have been a very sad ending almost before it had begun.  Thank you Alan and may you continue to sail safely.

Of course the real owner of the boat is my daughter Ruth!  Jenny, the other daughter, gets the jewellery.  Well at least that’s what they tell each other.  It was such a joy to welcome Ruth on board at Kefalonia.  For one thing she doesn’t snore, unlike her uncle Jon whose place she took in the forward cabin, but also she is such a supportive person.  I think it is something to do with her bedside manner as a doctor.  Anyway the quality of photography improved immeasurably when she arrived as she had her Sony Gopro, but also the manners of the rest of the crew also took a turn for the better.  In fairness I did say to them that what happened on the boat stayed on the boat and give them their due they have respected that.  For Ruth this is just the beginning of her sailing life.  She is already confident and skilled and I look forward to her lugging me about the eastern Mediterranean for a few years to come.  Hopefully we can get the rest of the family involved a bit more also.

“So’, I hear you ask, “what about Mr Bean?”  Well when we got to Limassol he had to go into hospital (trouble with his plumbing) but I am pleased to report that all his troubles are over and he is now performing in the way all good autopilots should; quietly and confidently.  If he keeps going like this I might even change his name.

A great trip, a great crew and a magnificent boat.  I would not have missed it for the world.  Would I do it again?  Not on your life!

…. or?

To anyone who has managed to get this far may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

5 thoughts on “Home! 13th November 2015. The Last Post

  1. Have just spent a wet and windy afternoons reading your blog. Ian, it was an amazing journey!
    So many unforeseen barriers. What an adventure for not only you, but the rest is of your amazing crew. The sun rises and sun sets are I would imagine, something to remain in your minds eye for a long, long time. You must feel so proud to have completed the journey after the first couple of nights facing Bora. Would you do it again? Now it’s time to take it easy and sail around Cyprus at a more leisurely pace, enjoying the coast line, the restaurants, beaches, nooks and crannies. Remember you are retired and it’s time to take it easy!

    Liz & Ken xx


  2. I have finally got around to redoing the, hitherto unread, final portions of your blog! Immense! Interesting, informative and humorous ……. Well done Ian, a thoroughly enjoyable browse! Now, when you sailing to Dubai? Can’t wait to come to Cyprus for a wee shot in Lothian Sky! ⛵️


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