The first ASA Skippers license course is now complete, it was an early start to the school sailing season, partly because Easter was early this year. Our students came from the US Embassy here in Athens. They had under gone 10 evenings of tuition during the winter, enabling them to pass ASA 101 and 103 before setting foot on our teaching yacht for a weeks concentrated sailing and training.
The course started from Athens, and sailed out to the Island of Poros. The first days sail was 30 miles and was completed under over cast skies with a healthy North wind blowing. It was very cool on the water but still better than sailing in North Climes…England was enjoying snow!
After arriving in Poros we Moored along side the North Pier and set up our base. The following morning the crew set off to get our smaller teaching yacht that was going to be used to drill sailing techniques and teach our students how to operate a vessel under power as well as under sail. The small yacht is a Jeanneau 30 and we use her for 3 days of intense sail drills in Poros bay. The first day we started the students had heavy winds with wind speeds in the upper 20’s gusting into the 30’s.. a good time to practice reefing and heavy air steering skills. Everyone enjoyed the tough sailing conditions in the bay. So when the wind dropped the next day it all seemed so easy and laid back as the wind was a calm and easy breeze.
The crew quickly got the hang of gybing, tacking and using the sails to control the yacht. MOB’s and other techniques like coming up to a mooring buoy and sailing along side a dock took a little longer to master, but where soon just another ‘cool’ way to sail the yacht. Next day came the motoring section of the course… how to back up to a dock, set up for med mooring and prepare for coming alongside.
Lots and lots of practice makes you a competent driver just like in a car, so that’s what they did… all day… and the reward a dinner on board cooked by the captain, fresh tuna caught that day by a friendly fisherman, who later asked the crew to help him bring in his nets… more about that later for now.
I think that the crew really enjoyed the evening and lots of food and wine make for a happy ship… Next day was the final day in Poros we had to return the little yacht back to its dock and set up K3 for offshore sailing, meantime the crew had been invited to go fishing with the one of the local fisherman. Dimitri is along time friend of the school, he often helps with dinners and helps us by maintaining our moorings in the bay. He also owns a 12 meter fishing boat that works with drift nets and long lines. This morning he had to go out and pick up his nets from the previous days set… 0600 wake up and meet him at the end of the dock for a trip out to his boat… all the students went along and had a first hand experience of fishing Greek style… Over heard … “this is hard work!!”… judge for your self from the pictures taken….
The crew returned excited and refreshed after a good mornings work, they where all ready now for the open waters and the sail to Erimoni.
We cleared Poros channel and hoisted the mainsail, a short Motor and we found the wind, blowing out of the SSE down the Hydra Channel. A 15 mile down wind Gybing exercise on a 57ft ketch, kept the crew busy as thegame was not to let the yachts boat speed fall below 7 knots, tight Gybing angles kept the speed up as well as gusts making the helm work for his dinner.
The yacht pulled into Erimoni old Harbour early evening and tied stern to the quay. The village was still in winter mode, so while the crew had hot showers, the cook went about getting some dinner ready…. home made Pasta with a rich sausage sauce and Galakaborico for desert…
Studying was also an evening past time with all the practical sailing going on it is still necessary to hit the books in the evening… at the end of the week there was going to be an exam the ASA 104 Bare-boat skippers license test.
The following day was going to a long haul 38 miles to the village of Epidavros, the site of the ancient theater cut high up in the mountains…
The sail started with a lot of tacking as we sailing slowly up the Hydra channel, at about half way up the channel the wind died and we where forced to resort to engine power. Not to worry time for lunch and the cook dived below to surface a hour later with a fresh made sausage stew, and vegetables… a great meal to add warmth to your body.. by early evening we had found the wind again and sailed to wards the village as the sun slow started to sink below the mountains in the back ground.
Epidavros is a delightful village with an excellent sheltered harbour. The ancient theater in the hills is a nice distraction however in the village other ancient artifacts exist, including the practice theater used by the Thespians who would later perform in the big theater.
That evening there was a crew meal at the ‘Posiden” taverna hosted by the captains first cousin Pavlov, the crew where treated to octopus, fresh squid, Garlic Egg Plant, fine cheese dips and many other special Greek delicacies…
Last day was spent with the crew swatting up on last minute revision before taking the ASA 104 exam…
After exams what do you do, relax and watch the day go by, contemplate life and the journey that you have just completed, and dread about returning back to the reality of job and city life… Oh well until the next adventure.