Last saturday was my first sail as skipper with brother-in-law Uffe as first mate. Well to be honest "sailing" wasn't really the word. There was no wind whatsoever so we went by engine. But it was good to get under way and check that everything worked. The GPS, Autopilot, Radar etc. and my somewhat rusty navigational skills. It was only a three hour trip from Kilada to Porto Heli but a good way to start. We talked a lot about how I was going to manage alone after Uffe goes home. Some routines seem simple in theory but how they really would work single handed, in practise and in all sorts of weather will remain to be seen.Early Monday morning I took Uffe ashore so he could take the hired car to the airport in Athens for his trip home. It had been a very successful week where nearly everything had gone as planned. We had even found time to explore the countryside in the car, a great luxury.
On arrival the wind had got up but we managed to anchor at a reasonable distance from the quay, the laid moorings and the other anchored yachts in the bay. I put 20 meters of chain out and Uffe reversed slowly to get the anchor to dig well in. He then instructed me in the use of the outboard engine for the dinghy. I had never used it much before and often prefered to row instead of trying to fight with it. A dinghy with an outboard is after all a lifeline when living aboard a boat at anchor. I didn't want to tie up to the quay where there is very little privacy, a lot of noise, dust and dirt and no possibility to take a swim when it gets hot. After a few tries and Uffes patient tuition I got a little more confidence. The first time I started off on my own from the jetty ashore, I collided with a moored motorboat and got entangled in it's mooring ropes. But practise makes perfect so I am told.
When he left I felt very much alone.
Fortunately it wasn't for long as I had just got an email that friends Sam and Mike on Master Spy were coming after a few hours. They had sailed to Kilada to meet me but I had already left then. They anchored up within shouting distance for a couple of nights before they went on their way.It was so great to see them again and the pleasure of their company, the long talks, the laughter and mutual memories made the transition easier. The night after they left, strong winds started howling through the rigging at two in the morning. I had to go on deck to take the sun awning down, yet another job Max and I always did together. It took some time to wrestle with the flying and flogging canvas to get it all under control in the pitch black night, good I remembered to put my miners lamp on so I could see but I thought afterwards that I should have had my lifejacket on too.