Relentless Westerlies

The Gulf of Corinth lies east-west and we have had fresh westerlies whistling into our faces, between the snowy tops of Mounts Parnassus and Olympia. A slow slog against short little seas. But at least with blue skies. We stopped at Itea for a grand consolation prize – the Navel of the World. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say – see the Delphi post for first known images of this extraordinary site. Well worth all the effort of getting to Itea. I had forgotten about beating to windward – how easily a boat becomes something in which you just hang on, with life reduced to the barest essentials.

Finally, at Trizonia Island, we gave up and hung securely at anchor for two days as rain squalls roared overhead and the wind whistled through the rigging. A perfect opportunity for boys to do boat things. Pasha helped me remove Mr Aries from the stern for much needed repairs, something I had not been looking forward to. I had only just rebuilt the dear old thing in Scotland, so the tight lower shaft bearing had come as a surprise and a disappointment. We reamed and polished it to perfection and now it should be ready for another 25 years of service. If only I were.

Finally, in comfortable 20 knot winds and sparkling skies we worked our way west out of the gulf. Others motored, but we did well with a one reef and our lovely yankee. In much more gentlemanly breezes, once again Tatiana was again able to do her wonders in the galley. I very much enjoy her cooking except for those Russian breakfasts, which seem to comprise hot peppers, capers, salami and olives, together with a milky fish and sour cream mash. Perhaps with vodka it would be good, but for me, 3 strong coffees is better.

Apart from her endless reading and sitting serenely, Tatiana’s other great skill is what we call her route canal work. She safely took us through Corinth Canal, bleak little Levkos Channel and the dredged entrance into Igoumenitsa. Pasha does all the blokey stuff – pulling on ropes, manhandling sails and being generally enthusiastic. My specialty is power naps.

Now, tucked up at Gouvia Marina on Corfu, we can consider our stupidity (well, mine) filling the outboard and the Honda generator with diesel instead of petrol. How I detest these relentless reminders of my approaching senescence.

Here in Corfu there are a great many Eurovision Song Contest boats. How I long to see another cruising yacht, with a wind vane and diesel drums along the side deck.

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