As you may have read in an earlier blog, we had to abandon our second 'sailing in the sun' holiday. The good news is that Jenny's chest pain, the doctors have discovered, is the result of her throwing the ball every day for Millie our dog using what we Storrar's call the 'twanger'. For the uninitiated it's a length of plastic, handle one end and a cup to hold a ball see image above. Once loaded and 'fired' it will (in the right hands) propel a tennis ball a fair old distance! Her UK doctors have now diagnosed a muscular issue/repetitive strain causing the problem as against something a lot more serious. Having said that we cannot fault the staff at the Corfu hospital for the care that Jenny received the other week during her hospitalisation.
So here I am again out in the Corfu boatyard awaiting an early Monday launch. The Newcastle to Corfu flight departed at six am Sunday morning, the first part of the bad news was a stupid o'clock taxi collection 3:30 in the morning to meet up with friends who were flying out to their yacht. Mind you, whilst cursing the early start that they had requested, I was glad of the extra time 'twiddling my thumbs' as my carry on cabin bag was rejected by security. Twas bad news again, because a pair of elastic shock cord pliers in my carry on bag were apparently a dangerous weapon. They didn't seem bothered about the Ewincheror the MOB1 I also had in my hand luggage. Seven pounds sterling was what it cost to get my carry on sent out as hold luggage. Incidentally I have borrowed these same pliers from the sail loft on three other occasions and never had an issue, must have been the early start security crowd not yet bored sitting behind the X-Ray machine! So today, this Monday morning, the bad news continued as I watched the boat yard guys move our yacht to the slipway cradle I get a text from Jenny still in the UK. "Thomas Cook are in liquidation, I'm trying to find another carrier, watch this space". Another text follows, "I'm back on schedule, same airline that you flew out on, same ungodly hour but now four times the price that you paid some two weeks ago!"
The good news out in the Ionian is that you can almost guarantee sunshine but the bad news is that the sun and UV exposure certainly play havoc with items made from PVC, nylon etc in double quick time and even though we strip the boat down of all 'perishables', when not on Hindsight it is surprising just how quickly they can degrade. Our horseshoe life buoy three and a half years old which has only been exposed to daylight for 13 months has already turned sticky (depending on the make you can often purchase replacement outers at a sensible price) and the Rescue Throw Bag outer cover has already perished through exposure to the Sun's rays.
To prolong the life of all the soft items on the deck I always say, 'not using it? Store it away' and that not only applies to boats in hot countries but also the UK! Yes it's easy to remove a horse shoe buoy etc but if your not using the boat from say December till March get the spray hood, canopies and sails off (the exception to the rule, if the canopy or hood is protecting varnish work or a vulnerable hatch) and by reducing windage you are also taking the strain and chafe out of mooring lines, fenders etc.