Sailing in the Sun, once more, August - September 2018.
One can perhaps get addicted to some things, if you keep trying them - this was our fifth holiday sailing one of Phil's Luggers 'in the sun'. Though our first Greek sailing experience goes back some few years to Lemnos when we had the shock to capsize a Laser on the first outing - the shock being the warmth of the water; we do hail from Scotland! Beware that there is a sensory impact of departing London and within little more than three hours be embraced by a duvet of warmth and the stunning blue sky reflecting in the sea - islands, mountains and water; there's a beguiling combination.
This year we were heading off to start on Ithika, after an all too brief catch-up with Phil as he transported us from the airport to Nidri for the ferry to Frikes. There were still time for some beers by the waters of Vlicho Bay, however adding those and the convivial company to the scenic combination and ... well we had to take a later ferry
Peter, of the Frikes Bay apartments, was to be found running his popular Ice Cream parlour and soon saw us settled in for our first week there. For our second week we sailed Lugger Heulwen back up to Vlicho and the Geni Gardens to enjoy the hospitality of Franz and Poldi, along with their daughter, Sandra and provisioned with bread and other daily necessities supplied by son-in-law Hari. Both weeks provided great opportunities to revisit some familiar bays and harbours as well as discovering some new ones. In effect we sailed every day; a nice routine of collecting together the necessities for picnic lunch, sail till we got somewhere then swim, snorkel, wander ashore, picnic, enjoy a cold Mythos from the chill bag and perhaps another swim to give an excuse for a chittering bite - Scottish term for a bit of bread eaten after swimming, to prevent shivering or the chattering of their teeth; we weren't shivering and the 'bread' might just have be a Greek pastry!
In all I see we sailed 216 km with some sailing days as short as 7 km and other longer trips of over 30 km. This year Phil had another innovation: Heulwen was fitted with a new set of sails and a chance to try the innovative Batten Roached Main. Isn't every sailing day a school day anyway? Phil offered some helpful tips and input from Dick at R&J Sails, the maker, namely more downhaul tension; keep the luff parrel beads and lacing slack; avoid having the gaff too tight to the mast, slacken the halyard slightly; and finally if you want to 'brail-up' the topsail, you have to release the downhaul - it has an extra bit of rope, the brailing line; we like extra bits to play with!
Our impressions included: the Lugger did make better progress notably for us in the lighter winds going to windward, when one might 'entertain' the crew with the game: 'What's our speed?' adjudicated by the Garmin GPS. In those light winds I also thought the Lugger would go about more reliably rather than falling back - though in past times there may have been a helmsman skill deficit here! It is a larger sail - but has two rows of reefing lines. We did put in both once but that was overdoing it that time; one reef proved a delight on a day tacking north out of Nidri, though I still like having the 'Jib and Mizzen' option especially when reaching in gusty conditions - simple and keeps the crew from mutinying! Drawbacks of this sail, 'wrangling' it is different, admittedly of course it was a new sail so the material will acquire more flex in time, however it needs a bit of discipline and there was no tidy 'roll it up' from the clew. We thought it best to routinely lower the gaff and bungee the whole thing up - especially the topsail section; the brailing line helps in that process. Part of the Drascombe's effect is adding to the delight of others and augment the scenery; with its topsail section it does add a distinct element of traditional style! Now you might see the risk of getting addicted to this Lugger sailing in the sun!