Thursday, June 15, 2006

...sailing holidays Pt III, the final insult.

The 'Mintaka' rolled into Vonista harbour, no worse for the long trip north.
This is where we met the Italians in their large 48' + yacht. The scene was six or so yatchs try to enter a harbour at the same time and all need the few spaces available. A strong cross wind is blowing little yachts onto the break water. Not a time for being unprepared, messing around & fudging with anchors & then shouting at people because you've caused other yachts problems.
The 'Mintaka' did the very English thing & smilled at the fools as we moored beside them.After a jolly group meal and a stroll around the Venitian fort dominating the town. (Those of us that found the way to the top)
We had the prospect to the reverse journey south. Still on the look out for turtles, giraffe & dolphin . Still being elusive. We braced our selves, stowed all breakables, wrote wills & said prayers & sacraficed a sheep for luck before setting out.
What lay before us was a blue sea as flat as a pancake, calm as a corpse.
Some one had switched the Ionian off for Sunday. Somthing was messing with our heads.

We implimented phase one of PLAN Z.
We sped back to Spartakhori to check on out missing member.
We dropped the skipper off & had a walk up the that hill again.
Ahhh, some improvement at last. Yay. But Veronica would not be joining the crew again, David & Veronica would stay & meet us at a later date. There was talk of Tangos. Would there be Tangos in Fiscardo ?
PLAN OMEGA. (Well this is Greece).
'Mintakas' crew bid farewell. See you in Fiscardo ?

At this point the Sea Dog felt the need for Sustinance in the form of meat balls.
Provisions were only a long walk up the hill away.
Finaly we waved goodbye to Spartakhori & that hill.

Sailing that day the wind picked up.
& Picked up. And then some.
At which point the sail tried to tear it's self free I cannot recall. The point at which the sea started to roll about as the spare crew was sent up front to fix it. I remember clearly.
With a lot of luck the problem was solved (Tsk. another sheep to sacrafice)

The crew decided to go a long way round on the journey south to Ay Euphimia where we were to catch up with the rest of the fleet.
As we rounded an island into the home straight we hit an acceleration zone, 'Mintaka' went from drifling in the lee of the land to reefed down to a handkerchief in moments. The remainder of the day was a hard slog upwind, wet, cold & raining. It was great. Was there achievment in sailing almost all the way in?.
The achievment of the foolish.

The log notes that weather turned. The sky went black. The thunder came. The rain rained. The lightning, lightninged (I know it's not a word)

Word of the day "MOIST"

The next day was, shall we say, a little cooler as the crew made thier way sailing along the edge of the storm.

The evening of the barbeque. It had rained all day. The evening had cleared up. & the children of the group were sent out to collect fire wood. (In the hope this would wear them out ? Maybe)
All the crews moored in a raft within a small bay & rowed dinghies ashore. Silly hats & cocktails clutched in hand for the evenings festivities.
An impromptue diving contest ,backwards out the the back of dinghies may hav been the fault of the 'Mintakas' Spare crew mate.

Our predictable scots leader didn't disappoint. The log notes when questioned "was the wood too damp for a fire", the reply came, "No wuth a gallun o petrul ut's no"
The log points out silly hats were to be compulsary & would be judged on their silliness.
The mintakas crew all went dress with suitinble matching attire.The Cabin boy & Sea Dog looking particularly dapper.
Cocktails would be judged on presentation, flavour & flamability.

The beer and the food dispensed the serious stuff started. The kids raced dingies blindfold (Well with buckets over their heads)
We lost none to the sea , and this still didnt wear them out.
The adults went on to play games with fenders. The log notes this activity would make a fine contraceptive.
The competition got competetive. The teachers took on the Lancastrians. There were nearly fisticuffs. Twice.
The teachers were victorious ( Victory by commitee, of course)
The night was a prelude. The lancastrians put forward their poet Barry , the Yorkies put forward the bard, 'Mintakas' own minstral Sea Dog. The scots as usual put them selves forward & sung Irish songs.
The entertainment was as interesting as the dinghy ride home.

We reached Friskardo the next day. The skipper and first mate were there. Yay.
We located the reputedly finest establishment in town & encamped ourselves.

Skipper and the first mate got thier Tango, to the delight and applause of all.

Then came race day.
Competition is a funny thing.
No-one is outwardly competetive. Or would own up to it.
Then the switch is flicked. Crews suddenly are emptying water tanks, removeing rubbish, trying to tune thier untunable rigs.
Suddenly it's regatta day. The Teachers were scoping out the competition. The yorkies had been winding the Lancastrians up. Another war of the roses in the making. The scots (/welsh) contingent make thier move getting a new suit of sails.
'Mintaka' had taken it's fourth member back for race day PLAN OMEGA Revision A.
All was set for the race.
The log notes we set off, a delayed start meant 'Mintaka' was in the middle of meat balls as we crossed the start line.
All was close, The dark horses aboard 'Cordillia' took off for the horizon in their smaller, lighter yacht.
All was close as we approched the Island. The wind stopped. We drifted. We waited.
We watched the dark blue line of the breeze across the water approach us from behind.
Then it hit we took off. As we rounded the Island you could have thrown a blanket over all the yachts, it was close stuff.
The smaller craft, 'Cordilla' & 'Leda' were left behind as the larger 36' & 42' boats sailed off.
We rounded the Island in a pack & set the course for Sivota the home leg.
We knew we were cutting things fine, shallow waters with rocks. We saw the Lancastrians (Neith) & the Yorkies (Arcouda) in front of 'Mintaka' Divert suddenly. Depth meters giving alarming readings on their course. Moments later we watched our depth count rapidly down to zero. One large swerve later & we were off into deep water again. A moments stupidity.
The yorkies in their large 42' footer took off , uncatchable. The lancastrians lay within the grasp of the 'Mintaka' all the way. In the same yacht class. This was our race.

.....but fate is cruel & fickle.

The biggest storm of the last fortnight hit the fleet just off the finish line. The rain and hail rained down and hailed. Wet gear was broken out, The sea dog & cabing boy retired down below. Lightning flashed in the near distance.
The wind lightened.
'Mintaka' & the Lancastrians on 'Neith' tacked and drifted toward the finish.
Who won. Hard to say. The Yorkies had won over all , but the race for second and third was very close indeed.
To avoid and contraversy shal we say it was a draw. The sport of sailing was the winner
All agreed it was the best Ionian regatta ever.

(We won though)


Tillerman said...

Best race report I've read in ages. So funny. Love those drawings.

sim said...


Youv'e made me think now. Sailing reports need a little boost.
The next sailing report I do for my news letter, In the flowery style of Dickens, or an ode to Homer (With the odd sacraficial goat) ?

Talkinman said...

Simon I was happy to conceed an honerable draw but your final coment makes it clear I must tell the truth!!!

Barry (NEITH)

Talkinman said...

Simon I was happy to conceed an honerable draw but after your final comment I have to tell the Truth.

(We won)

Barry (NEITH)

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