Last Post

…well, for this year, at least.

IMG_4418Tainui and I are still reeling from the shock of Yat Marina Marmaris. This winter 1,000 yachts will sit in silence on the hard here, with another 700 in the water. It is a truly astonishing place. I suppose marinas like this are everywhere, but for me it is new and unsettling.

photo (24)

On the plus side, there is everything a temperate weather cruising sailor could wish for. Superb chandlery, fine restaurant, bottle shop, showers, laundry, medical centre and every imaginable marine service facility. All you have to do is pay. There are just so many boats that you feel like a small cog in a huge, smoothly run machine. You just nod, open your wallet and let it all happen. Isn’t money amazing! My folding bike is out and serving me well (sore bum aside) – the facility is so large that everyone here uses bicycles to travel the kilometre of hard from boat to restuarant and shower.

What a metaphor

What a metaphor

For all its size though, this marina has surprisingly few cruising yachts as I have always known them. I mean the ones with an Aries vane on the stern, a row of extra fuel canisters on deck, big fat anchors, heavy running rigging and all those battle scars. Maybe they’re a dying breed. Many of the yachts are shiny Bavarias and Jeanneaus with stainless steel anchor chain, scrubbed teak boarding gangways and even air conditioning. Then there are the huge, vulgar gin palaces with all their bling, spit and polish – hundreds and hundreds of them, not saying fuck me but fuck you. I don’t envy any of these people their boats. Tainui sits proudly, if more than a tad grubby at the moment, and how I love her.

Pasha and Tatiana left yesterday, with a genuine reluctance which I found gratifying. How pleasing it is to know that your crew have enjoyed themselves. They have been fine cruising companions but as usual I find much pleasure in being able to spread out, make my own special kind of mess and do what I want , when I want and without interruption. Suddenly I am in a much larger boat. It is quiet though, and already I am beginning to talk to myself. I would make a truly hopeless hermit.

It is certainly easier to leave the boat in a temperate climate. Sub-zero winters mean a huge amount of extra preparation. Last winter in Tromso, for example, I had to prepare Tainui for 2 metres of snow on deck. Here it is only rain and occasional storm to consider. No worry about the fresh water plumbing, antifreezing residual water in the tanks, or heating and dehumidifying the interior.

Preparing the boat for winter is always like this. I usually allow a week for the process and I tinker away at my own, increasingly sedate pace. There is no longer the need for juggling crew changes, route planning, provisioning, maintaining supplies of fuel, water, gas, engine coolant (especially that!) and choosing the next night’s anchorage and emergency backup stop – not that I am renowned for my longer term foresight – just ask Maxine!

During this trip maintenace has been a continuous and fairly easy process. With so much flat water and endless calm anchorages there has been time. With crew like Pasha, Dima, Maxine and Rosie in particular, it has been reasonably straightforward. So here in Marmaris, it has just been a matter of changing the engine salt water seacock, greasing the Maxprop, attaching new anodes, cleaning out the fridge, stowing sails, doing the huge pile of laundry and negotiating with Ercan the winter’s hull paint job and a bit of sail repair.

This afternoon I will fold up my Brompton bicycle, close the main hatch for the last time and trundle my bags to the taxi.

I have no idea what next year holds. Perhaps a season in the northern Aegean, perhaps (heaven forbid!) the Red Sea/Indian Ocean voyage, or perhaps an exploration of Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and other southern Mediterranean places. If we return to Australia via South Africa that will mean a long trip across the Atlantic to Brazil, then down via the Falklands and South Georgia to Cape Town. I wonder whether I am too old for that. We’ll see.

One thing is certain though – I have the finest imaginable vessel, whatever we do. And what a rich collection of companions she can call upon for her next adventure.

22 thoughts on “Last Post

  1. July 11, 2014 at 12:51

    excellent points altogether, you simply received a new reader.
    What might you suggest in regards to your publish that you just made some
    days ago? Any positive?

    1. July 11, 2014 at 22:11

      Positives but nothing final. We’re looking at Germany but first there’s some major rewriting to be done. We’re such amateurs at this

  2. David Sterrett
    January 25, 2014 at 13:33

    Hi John, I was in Hobart last week and met an Australian guy (David Pryce) who used to run a tourist yacht ‘Blizzard’ into Antarctica from Ushuaia. We were sharing yachting stories and I wondered how he knew so much about our F46’s, then he told me he had met you in Ushuaia. Small world! Enjoying your tales! kind regards David P.O. of Nanga Mai #828 F46.

    1. January 26, 2014 at 16:57

      G’day David

      Yes, I remember Blizzard. Good folk. Seems a long time ago though, and I am turning my thoughts to Patagonia once again. It is a most seductive part of the world and I am wondering about Falklands, Patagonia, Sth Georgia, Cape Town, en route Kerguelen to Fremantle. I’m not sure I’ve got it in me, but it’s top of the list of routes home at the moment.

      Heat are your plans?


  3. GrantMcDonald
    November 20, 2013 at 16:03

    G”day john,just found your web-site while browsing the Peterson”ve had some amazing adventures!! I own one of the first three formosa46″s built in 1976 named Obsession,Aus registered as Obsession2.last year we did the sail-indonesia rally from where we continued on to Thailand where she is on the hard at Krabi marina.she is a brilliant cruising yacht and as you know,no slouch either.will be following your blog with great interest.
    Regards Grant.

    1. December 2, 2013 at 11:24

      Hello Grant. I know Obsession. When I last saw her about 14 years ago she was tired, with rot in the after deck and an extremely tired Ford Lehman. I assume much work has been done since then. Yes, Obsession was the second of the F46’s to be built, after Vela (now Tainui). Aren’t they splendid vessels! Hope we can meet up further down the track.

      1. GRANT
        June 14, 2014 at 12:35

        Hello John just got onto your site see what your up to.i see your into warmer weather than Norways.i have just returned after four months in se. asia going back to work for a while and will finally get an engine rebuild in December at has a serious oil leak at the rear seal on the sump.still goes well nine months on the hard started first go.looking at replacing it one day with a 90hp beta one day they are $5000 cheaper in duty free Langkawi than Aust.any way safe sailing will catch up sometime Grant

        1. June 23, 2014 at 01:20

          Grant, aren’t those rear seals a pain! Mine is OK, thank heavens – to replace it I would have to cut out the cockpit floor to lift the engine for access. One of the engine failures I dread. But replacing the seal would still be cheaper than replacing the engine, if it is still purring along

  4. Nick Ryan
    November 12, 2013 at 16:45

    JV – Oh dear – wish I had pushed Bart for more details of your Russian odyssey (which I thought was going to be 2-part, with a winter in-between) – we were in Istanbul late Sept, doing a few days up (just) into the Bl Sea and back down the Bosphorus with Tas friends whose boat now rests ashore for the winter.. Same time you were coming down to Istanbul..

    1. November 16, 2013 at 21:26

      Nick, what a shame. I hope to get down to Hobart while I’m in Oz and we must catch up then

  5. Maxim
    November 7, 2013 at 17:53

    привет Джон ! привет Максин! привет вам из Волгограда рад что вы закончили летнее путешествие. прочитал журнал о ваших приключений надеюсь у вас остались самые лутшие воспоминания о России. не забывайте пишите!

    1. November 7, 2013 at 22:40

      Hello Maxim. How could we forget Volgograd?? It is good to hear from you and I hope we can meet up in Volzshkiy in February. I want to try ice sailing before I die. My Russian is terrible as you know, so I will ask Maxine to write some Cyrillic to you on the website.
      Best wishes from Tainui

      1. Maxim
        November 8, 2013 at 00:55

        ок! приезжайте будем ждать тока обязательно сообщите когда приедете.

  6. Gerda
    November 4, 2013 at 03:26

    Some tears of happiness and two wide smiles from me and Dima. Lets give Tainui some time to rest and dream) We’re already waiting for new adventures and unforgettable nights under the deepness sky with a glass of special juice from our Capitan) I’m sure that You and Tainui will have many more exiting and wonderful weeks together in hundreds amazing places! Missing You, Maxine and Tainui.

    1. November 4, 2013 at 09:47

      Gerda, we now just have to get you and Dima down from Nizhniy Novgorod to the Aegean Sea next summer. We will succeed, have no fear. The water is clear and warm, the little fishing harbours welcoming. You will love it.

      1. Gerda
        November 5, 2013 at 05:37

        Wow! It’s so kind from Your side (as usually) to invite us))
        Then I have to end swimming and sailors classes before) By the way, Dima has begun to study english) I will hurry up him with it)

  7. Lieve Moscow
    October 19, 2013 at 01:41

    So long, John ! Looking forward to seeing you in Moscow sometime this winter to fine-tune a paper version of Tainui’s epic “Sailing in Cyrillic” journey. It was a unique experience for me, albeit a short one and I am truly grateful to have been a small part of it.
    All the best,

    1. October 19, 2013 at 11:46

      Looks like it’ll be February, Lieve. Until then take care on those slippery pavements, and keep that wine chilled!

  8. Dean
    October 17, 2013 at 06:07

    I so enjoy your posts John. What will I look forward to now? Let’s hope the southern summer whizzes by and you get back on board sooner rather than later. Best wishes for an enjoyable work experience (is that an oxymoron?) and I hope that Tainui doesn’t miss you too much.

    1. October 19, 2013 at 11:42

      Not entirely oxymoronic Dean. The desert in Central Australia is another kind of ocean and it provides moments of extraordinary peace and beauty. And of course the mob are the loveliest people you could ever meet. If only the medicine were a little less demanding. What are your plans for the summer?

      1. October 22, 2013 at 06:07

        No summer plans! We are in a holding pattern at present, our son has 2 more years at school so we are doing the typical suburban drudge for a while yet. Hopefully I will get a bit of time spent on the boat outside my window. I was talking to a mate on Saturday (as we watched the All Blacks dismember the Wallabies) and he told me of cheap marina berths for sale where he lives. If that pans out we might just start planning for a staging position on the boat in a marina for a while, so I will follow up on that.

        I have very fond memories of time spent as a young man, in Greece and Turkey. Of course there weren’t the volumes of boats in places like Marmaris, especially the Eurovision Song Contest types (a perfect description). Floods/herds of Italians in August. On our bucket list would be to cruise the areas in Greece where I worked and know well, but I can’t help feeling that it may be better to leave those areas as fond memories rather than imposing today’s “progress”. Knowing I would not be able to stop analysing the differences and being depressed by the inevitable losses. On the attractive side the beer would be just as cold and the toilets better.

        1. October 28, 2013 at 21:32

          Dean, we are hell bent on finding out-of-the-way anchorages next summer. I’m not sure yet where. People recommend norther Greece, up around Thessalonika, and I am wondering about Lebanon and the southern shores of the Med. But first I need to allow the rich adventures of last summer to gain perspective.

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