Nafplio Day Three — Sailing Day

2 October

Our sailing trip was quite an experience. The Skipper was a crusty old Greek who has a PhD in Mechanical Engeneering from England and many years of experience teaching secondary school in Greece. He said he started sailing as an avocation during summers when school was out.

His boat, aptly named Erata, is 20 years old, and some of the clutter on board has probably been there for most of that time. He had just added a bicycle as deck cargo, but had not figured out how to keep it from fouling the jib sheet as we tried to raise it!

Of course he had his own way of doing everything (some much to Claudette’s dismay, such as not using a winch handle!) and, although the boat had good equipment (huge primary winches for ocean sailing), he insisted that lines be left where they fall so the cockpit soon became a tangle of sheets and furling lines.

We motored out looking for wind and eventually found a nice breeze that took us to a little cove for lunch and a swim. Unfortunately our anchor got snarled in an abandoned fishing net so when we tried to raise the anchor, we were faced with a huge mess of floats and monofiliment nylon. I went back into the water and hung on the chain while I cut the net away with a big kitchen knive. Happy to report that I did not cut anything else.

We had a fresh breeze as we got underway and soon it was hitting 20 knots. We were on an easy reaching course so the trip back was a pleasure.

Greek custom says you only sail into the harbor in an emergency so we furled our sails and motored the last half mile to pick up his mooring just off the seawall.

Here most boats drop an anchor as they approach the seawall, then back in, secure the stern to the wall and then tension the anchor line to hold the boat off the wall. Since we were returning to his fixed mooring, the anchor was alread set and my job was to pick up the float just like we would do at a fixed mooring buoy.

That was the easy part. He had not told me that the shore lines were also connected to the float and that the lines had to be untwisted and then walked back to the stern. Fortunately the wind was gentle so we managed to secure the stern, but then had to use a a rolling hitch and a foredeck winch to adjust the anchor line so that it would not chafe.

As a farewell greeting, he thanked us for taking HIM sailing!

That evening we rewarded ourselves with a fun dinner in Syntagma Square watching the children play as their parents enjoyed drinks and lively discussions. So what we had been reading about their lifestyle was really true–work mornings, siestas midday, strolling and ice cream/coffee early evening, and a late family dinner.

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