After getting in the water a day late it was full steam ahead to get under-way. After a brief engine trial around the harbour to confirm the accuracy of the new propeller pitch setting (to match the new engine installed last year) and to warm up the oil for the first oil change since installation, it was a stern-board on the end of the Balsamo jetty to do the oil change and attend to the final details like putting on sails (No 1 genoa and main) and storing ship.
All this completed, Derek Lambert embarked (he is the owner of Tranquillo, see first entry this year) and we set off the next morning at 1000 in a brisk NE wind to beam reach down to Otranto. Derek, having decided to leave his boat ashore this year, was keen to do a bit of sailing in the interim. Otranto was reached in good time; seven hours to do 45 miles, not bad for a first sail of the season. Keen to be away early the next day and without a great deal of choice, we picked up one of the large mooring buoys in the middle of the harbour and settled down to prepare a chicken supper and get a good night sleep.
0800 next morning found us under-way, on another good reach but this time in somewhat less wind and what there was was failing. By 1400 we were doing less than 3kts in a flat sea and decided to motor for a while, suffice to say other than a few brief periods we motored until our arrival in Errikoussa at 1915 (Greek time, 1815 Italian). This was followed by the first swim of the season (warmer than Brighton on the Royal Wedding weekend but not much!) and a smoked salmon pasta supper.
Saturday dawned bright, sunny and with a gentle breeze. Under-way at 1030 we set off for the Corfu channel and Gouvia marina arriving at 1600. the early sailing breeze did not last long but we had a spectacular sail through the Corfu channel, 8kts, goose-winged, and enjoying the first views of the Corfu coastline. On arrival we met up with Yacht Camilla, David Ashby and his crew, plus two other members of the RNSA, and enjoyed a few beers to celebrate our arrival. The plan is that David and I will cruise in company for part of this season, as we did for part of last year.
The two days in Gouvia have passed quickly, spent sorting out minor items and doing a bit of tourism, aided by the next crew member to join, Stephanos (Steve), who lives here in Corfu. Last night he took Derek and I for supper in the oldest village in Corfu, Old Perithia, up in the mountainous north; sadly the whole village was closed on out of season Mondays but we still managed to find a good local taverna to eat in.
This morning (Tuesday) Derek made a slightly earlier than planned departure having discovered that his flight from Corfu to UK on Wednesday had been cancelled due to an air traffic controllers strike. He was fortunate to get to know about it before his actual departure and even more fortunate to get a flight on the day before! Tomorrow Stephanos joins and we set off down to the southern tip of Corfu and then on to Paxos and Levkas.
More from there …...................