Preveza boatyard, day 3.
Tim scaled the mast yesterday, like a monkey after a coconut. It’s much easier on our yacht, as we have mast steps, so you can climb up and down easily, although I’ve never had the urge to do it, I prefer to buy my coconuts from a shop. He had a safety line and he wasn’t afraid of heights. Otherwise, you literally have to be winched up by the person on deck, inch by inch, while being attached to a rope. The tricolour light at the very top of the mainmast wasn’t working, and he couldn’t fix it, so that’s another thing on the to-do list.
This morning we have been playing with the three huge sails. They are very thick and heavy and difficult to handle, it’s bad enough just getting them up on deck from the forecabin below deck, and out of their sailbags. They all have to go back on, with ropes and sheets and reefing lines attached. As ours is an old fashioned 43 year old boat, we don’t have in-mast furling, which makes it so much harder when you want to put the huge mainsail up, or put it away. It takes every inch of Tim’s superhuman strength to pull up the sail, even by using the winch on the mast.
As well as a mainsail and the foresail/ jib, our boat is a ketch which means it has two masts, and therefore an extra sail called the mizzen. When you drop the sails, it is like someone has dropped a huge marquee from above, which lands on top of you and all over the deck, which all has to be gathered up by hand and stowed by tying it to the boom, and then putting on the sail covers. It’s very hard work, especially if it is a tiny bit windy. If you are out sailing, every time you come into a marina, harbour, or anchorage, all the sails have to come down and be stowed first.
The other excitement of the day was that I got to visit an emporium of delights, also known as the chandlery – a shop selling all things nautical, from an actual full sized boat engine, to a tiny washer. Everything you could possibly need is here – fan belts, light bulbs, flags, paint, tools, engine parts, deck hardware, electrical components, fenders, brushes, dinghies and paddles……I’m afraid I don’t find these places all that fascinating, as I’m never allowed to choose what to buy. Tim always takes a sharp breath when he has to enter a chandlery, and continually mutters about the price of everything.
He was after some new rope for a topping lift, as the old one was chafed – this is the rope that is joined to the very top of the mast, then attaches to the end of the boom, to hold it up at the right angle. The chandlery guy told us that the rope is sold by weight, which flummoxed Tim as he did not know how much it would cost before he had it measured, thus making it impossible to reject it, if it proved too expensive. But all was well. He had to hand over €11.60 for thirty metres, which apparently would have cost €30 in the chandlery next door.
We are still moored right next to the dock where the big hoist lowers the yachts into the water. It is very noisy when the hoist approaches and stops right by us. About half a dozen yachts a day are currently being lifted in. Most of them leave immediately after launching, but several, like us, hang around for as long as possible on the yard pontoon before being turfed out, as it is free to stay here while you are doing boat work.
We are gradually getting straight down below, things are being stowed away in the depths of lockers, never to be seen for months until the boat once again has to be lifted out some time in the future. It’s still not possible to sit comfortably in the cockpit, due to a plethora of tools, ropes, buckets, and assorted paraphanalia.
So there’s not a lot for me to actually do at the moment, besides pass the correct spanners, look interested, and make cups of coffee. I really want to get moving and start our sailing voyage, but it doesn’t look like it will be for several days yet.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the Greek taverna!