With our time on Hindsight in the Ionian nearly over, Monday the 24th of June saw us departing Cleopatra marina in Preveza at 7:45am. Motoring out, we hoisted the main and 110% jib and set sail. However, forty minutes later the early morning breeze died away so it was a case of hoist the black triangle and motor sail North. As so often happens in this part of Greece, it's either zero or too much wind. Five hours later we had the latter, 24 knots of breeze and of course it was on the nose! Our destination that night was Platarias, both locations incidentally mainland Greece. At this time of year, almost high season in the Ionian, space in anchorages and harbours does become limited. Often if you are not in your chosen location before lunch time you have to make do with second best. Well when we 'rolled up' ten hours later, weather beaten, very hot, tired and thirsty and still with that 24 knot breeze, the two options were either to anchor in the bay outside the harbour, which was very lumpy, or to enter and moor stern on and of course all the best and easier places were already taken!
Hindsight, of course, does not have the luxury of a bow thruster which would make it a little bit easier as the breeze was blowing parallel to the quay. The need for speed of course overrules the very thought of fitting one to make our 'parking' easier! On entering the harbour and slowly motoring around then deciding on our eventual location, checking of course first that you're not going to drop your hook over another anchor and chain (all the skippers stand at the bow of their craft and watch for any misdemeanours ie crossed anchors by the late arrival to the party) It's then a case of hook down, get it to bite whilst going astern and aim for your chosen spot. The trick is to try and hold the bows in position whilst paying out the chain. If it's breezy, which it was, pay out too much rode and the bow falls off, not enough and one rapidly looses steerage. Well we managed easily (only took us five attempts) albeit with a little help from the reception party who were by now waiting to take our lines on the quay. The 'leader' of the group who helped us park was a charming and knowledgeable guy in a small inflatable that methinks had seen better days!
If your inflatable has started to lose pressure and the porosity of the fabric is questionable, perhaps expanding foam can be used as a last resort. However, before you do the drastic and go down that route it's worth trying some Sealflex sealant for Inflatables. For repairs, ie applying a patch or re gluing say a seam that has started to part company, first you have to ascertain what fabric the boat was manufactured from. The common materials used in their construction being Hypalon or PVC. Most inflatable dinghies these days are manufactured from the latter, cost being the reason. However, if in the market for an inflatable and you are intending to take it to a sunny climate a dinghy manufactured from Hypalon such as the Seago will last a lot longer than one manufactured from PVC. If applying a fabric patch, the adhesives for both materials are available in either premixed (single tube/tub) or as a liquid to which you add a catalyst. It is generally recognised that the two part route provides a stronger repair especially if, say, the tube is parting company from the transom!
Patch material for both Hypalon or PVC is available in a range of colours but for instant patch repairs Tear Aid, available only as a translucent film, is a brilliant addition to your yacht or powerboat’s 'first aid' kit. With this self adhesive tape virtually no preparation is required and almost max adhesion is obtained within five minutes. If, however, you are only in the mood to remove years of ingrained muck from your tender or RIB, Polymarine’s Inflatable Boat Cleaner works wonders and if you follow it up with an application of their Boat Finish it will help seal the surface from absorbing future surface contamination.
As I mentioned earlier, skippers do stand on their bows when space is tight and show their displeasure if they think there is going to be a crossed anchor, the headline image was taken the morning after when two other yachts that had moored the night before after us decided to hell with crossed anchors lets just get our stern in to the quay and sort it out next day! Only took them an hour to lift and separate, bet they were glad there was no breeze blowing.
Please note that the below image was not captured at Platarias but on Kalamos, but it illustrates what great spectator sport that a crossed anchor can be next morning!