May 18, 2007
Party nights can have an effect on everyone, normally an alcoholic effect, so the lead crews tend to suggest a short trip for the next day.
Today is no exception we have to get round the headland to Vathi tonight, must be about three miles if you go direct…
During the party last night I was chatting with the young couple who had lost their engine on the way up (Alternator failure, and hence flat batteries). It turned out that this was only their second cruise, and their first attempt at going it alone, having done a “Share a Yacht” last year.
They hadn’t found it as easy as they had thought it was going to be, and this, and having the engine die on them, was obviously effecting their confidence.
I had a quick chat with my crew to make sure they would be happy without me and then offered to go out with the others to give them some reminders how do do things so that they could get the sailing bug again.
It is suprising how many novices get worried when the boat leans and how easy it is to re-asure them by simply showing them simple things like how to “heave to”, and to simply say “If your boat is heeling too much then shouldn’t you have already put a reef in?”…
“If you think you are going to need a reef shortly, then do it now, otherwise it will be harder by the time you eventually decide you really have to”
“If you think you could cope if you shake a reef out now, put the kettle on and wait a few minutes, if its still easing then shake it out”
Anyway we had a good morning going backwards and forwards between Meghanisi and Kalamos and then I could take a back seat as they got the hang of enjoying sailing again.
Coming into Vathi (often refered to as Little Vathi to avoid getting it confused with Big Vathi, the capital of Ithica) an enterprising taverna owner has built a jetty along the shoreline in an inlet off to starboard of the main harbour inlet.
“Georges” is our destination for the night and we slip in and tie up.
Suddenly I hear my own boat on the radio reporting that they are coming in, and then watch them sail straight past Georges up to the main village quay….
Eventually they get the idea as to where we are and come back to us!
Little Vathi is really ony the port for the main village of Meghanisi which is up on the hill behind it, but it has its own little supermarket and several tavernas and bars.
The harbour is basically three sides of a square, and can be subject to swells so it is best to go stern to on the end facing the sea. It is also well worth keeping out of the corners, Mediteranean mooring with boats at right angles to each other nomally results in crossed anchors and fun when they come to depart!
I have watched several interesting sessions of untangling anchors whilst enjoying a cool beer here, including one where the guy whose anchor had been caught undid his lines and came out as well. So now there were two boats bow to bow in the middle of the harbour and drifting down on everybody else whilst they tried to sort things out.. Fenders!
Why do we enjoy watching others get themselves into a fix, when we all know that sooner or later it will probably happen to us. Or perhaps we are only wanting to get our own back for having already had it happen to us and remember how embarassed we felt about it at the time.
Anyone going out to the Med for the first time, read up on freeing crossed anchors, it happens to everyone eventually and having already learned how to get out of the situation easily, using a line to support the other guy’s chain whilst dropping your anchor a litttle to unhook it can make the operation quick and easy and prevent red faces. Of course by the time you have hauled up two anchors at the same time your face will probably be red anyway…
Vathi’s other claim to fame is a wrecked aircraft on the bottom of the harbour. I was originally told it was a WW2 wreck but having found it and taken a look I would have said it was far younger and probably something like a four seater Cessna. If the water is calm it is visible from the shoreline. Go along the eastern quay antil you come to a cottage with a fancy wall and gateposts. You should be just past the ferry berth on the other side of the harbour. The wreck is about twenty or thirty feet out with its nose towards you.