Alone on the boat in a storm.

Mutiny we love you, we adore you.
You protect us from all evil and gave us a home.
You grant us our freedom as we grant you yours.
You gave us a place to call home.
A home, that provides us, escapists, with limitless travel.
Let’s sail the seven seas together, to places none of us have ever been.
Let’s say goodbye to the land world and live afloat.

It all comes down to trusting Mutiny. She is strong, build to last, and the perfect bad weather boat.
I guess this refers to her sailing capabilities and not being tied up on a dock, quay, floating dock, for anchor, or on a bouy. In these conditions, we also need to trust the lines she is attached to. They definitely need to be solid. If one snaps Mutiny may transform in a drunken ballerina on ice damaging everything that comes on her path.

“I think I’ll be fine in this storm”

I hope she holds today. It’s terrifying alone on the boat in a storm. Our batteries are so knackered that I might not be able to start the engine in case all goes South… Well, I would have to disconnect the fridge or laptop depends on what device I am using at that time. It’s one or the other. Subsequently, I have to wait until our solars and/or Wendy (our wind generator) charge the batteries sufficiently. This will all be solved when we buy new batteries. We will get the Varta ones because they are the best for our needs.

Being in a storm on an ocean is utterly dangerous people say but at least, in that case, you are free of lines that put tremendous amounts of strain on the cleats. I have read comments of many other sailors that said; “When there is a storm at sea, I just go down below, watch a few films and come back up when it’s over.” This of course is only possible with proper bluewater boats like Mutiny. So I think I will be fine in this storm.

Mutiny’s huge cleats. If you have 45 knots of winds (85km/hour on land), you can imagine the strain on the cleats and lines.

At the moment of writing this blog, Ramon is doing a delivery. He is transporting a production boat. Which are mass-produced, there is no love in them, Ramon calls them toy boats. You can feel every movement, unlike our marvelous Mutiny. Think about cars, in a small car you have the idea you go faster.  Especially, the little Toyota jeeps, which you can push over. Big cars are much more trustworthy and don’t tip over in light winds.

All sorts of things about what could happen go through my head. My neighbors lost their dinghy. The woman was braving the waves to get the dinghy back to her boat. She had to hoist herself in it form the water level. She did it so graciously, it was there and then that I noticed she wasn’t wearing any knickers. Once she made it into the dinghy, I was watching over her, and together with her praying the outboard would fire up. When it purred at once we both cheered and she realized she was still half-naked. “Oh! Don’t look at me, please I am not wearing any clothes.” She laughed. “Well, I don’t really mind and besides I’m a woman too don’t worry about it!” I replied. You just got to love sailor girls, women, they are the best! At that moment it dawned upon me I wasn’t that scared anymore, thanks to that lovely half-naked gypsy mermaid that made me forget about it. I didn’t catch your name but thanks, I needed that. You can’t make these things up, can you? Soon after that incident the storm subsided.

The biggest storm we had was a few weeks ago while we were still in COVID 19 lockdown. It was gusting up to 55 knots -102kph-. The wind came from the East and that always means havoc in this village. The wind builds up to outrageous proportions while tumbeling down the Acarnanian mountain. The first touching point of the accelerated wind is the harbor. Where we were tied up upon. Bows to – the nose of the boat towards the dock – we always go bows to because we have a full keel and that is bloody hard to control, simply said they are not made to reverse. (In the Mediterranean, the preferred way of docking is stern-to) Mutiny’s bum caught all the wind and this is one of the biggest surfaces of the boat.

View on the Acarnanian mountain from rio de Palairos. https://www.facebook.com/RioDePaleiro/

I can assure you we didn’t sleep much that night. Luckily Ramon and I sleep in shifts. We always do, naturally, when he awakes I sleep and the other way around. His sleeping pattern is very different than most human beings. But this is perfect for night sailing on big passages.

The only disadvantage is that you are exhausted, do stupid things as a result, and may lose your moral high ground. Suddenly, you aren’t tired anymore and are running up and down the deck, climbing the mast of an unsteady sailboat. You fix the problem and are not scared anymore. You feel indestructible, high as a kite as if you transcend your physical body and are in a state where you can manipulate your reality completely to your own hand. The same way you can alter your dreams. Wow, this is addictive what is this? Adrenaline! When your body and mind are empty shells, the adrenaline covers you in a warm Gibson – guitar sound – blanket filled up with pure joy, without realizing it you are a superhero. Beware though the toll on your body is considerate.

Here we were just literally: “Riders on the storm.”
For the full episode:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-knpvVjDR

In the picture above we had both some adrenaline running through our veins. We left Palairos before the storm hit. There wasn’t a lot of wind at the start of that day but the clouds embodied a fast approaching cold front. This would entail heavy wind. We took our time to go to Nydri. when we saw the black huge anvil-shaped clouds nearing, we immediately lowered the sails as quickly as we could and fired up the engine in order to stay in front of the storm and hopefully it wouldn’t catch up on us before we made it into the harbor.

The waves hit Mutiny from the stern and we were surfing, for the first time! We both absolutely loved it.

Recently, a competent skipper told Ramon that you have to reef as soon as you can. Even in 15 knots of wind, reefing, reefing, and more reefing. When Ramon told him he didn’t even reef in 35 knots and even had the main completely out, he almost choked on the mezze he was eating. “That is just downright treacherous! Why didn’t you reef?” he was still able to utter. “Well, we didn’t know…”. He brought it to our attention that we should always reef, if you think about it you are already too late. We shared our story underway to Kalamos. You have to get in between two mountain ranges to enter the harbor. The wind is called a dropping wind. The same principle as explained before in Palairos. The air falls down the range and comes straight at the boat. We heeled 50 degrees, without our sails. Thank Buddha we just managed to stow them in time. I don’t know how much we would have heeled if we still had the main sail out. Curious? Check it out here:

If we would have done that with a production boat, it would have fallen to pieces. I love that it always comes down to how strong our marvelous lady is. We are extremely thrilled that we bought her. She is the best thing that ever happened to us.

My first day alone on the boat.

You might wonder how that is? First of all, I am not really alone, Styx is here and the Palairos (the little village where I find myself in) ex-pats. Concerning living on the boat alone as a human is brilliant, awesome, beautiful to name a few. Not that I don’t miss the hubby, he left on a two to three-week delivery -he is transporting a boat from France to Greece at the moment of writing-. It’s just magical. I am even writing this first draft of my blog on a block note with a too short pencil beneath the bloody red light* of the navigation station.

*It’s red because that doesn’t kill your night vision while night sailing. This in case you need to check the old fashioned paper charts. Why don’t we do that anymore?

Studying for the ICC

I just came back to the boat. It’s my first entire day single on our lovely, sturdy, marvelous mum. – Ramon and I call her mum instead of “our baby” as many others do – Just before I was in a restaurant/taverna – as you call them in Greece – with the pirate family (who we spend last summer and winter with) and two newcomers. New to living on a boat that means. They are three weeks old and learning everything about their sailing vessel, a Jeanneau 37, if I am not mistaken.

The super, relaxed eager to unravel the mechanical and electrical system of the boat female half of the couple, was firing up a piston that almost fully rotated the crankshaft once* with her enthusiasm. You definitely do recognize a true-hearted sailor when you cross one.

 “Is it because they’re my generation or have we been living too long in between the elder?”

*A year ago when I started studying engines a whole new world opened up for me. So many actions happen simultaneously and result in one holistic outcome. Unbelievable, it’s a shame you can’t see the crankshaft and the pistons of the engine. And the assuming and presuming of possible issues, it’s almost a philosophy. Maybe material for another blog?

via GIPHY

Back to the couple, they are too modest to display their insecurities. Instead; undergo all ideas is what they breathe. They are here now; in their boat, while I’m writing this draft on paper. – I’m still able to write but it isn’t as fast as typing. I think it might be better because you have more time to think before you scribble. – They have been my neighbors for the last three? Four? days. We hadn’t talked much before tonight. Only basic stuff, as the 10 min talk you do with land neighbors. After tonight I have really spoken to them. Pretty cool peeps! Is it because they’re my generation or have we been living too long in between the elder?

“The Mayday message from the crew in the life-threatening situation, Ramon and I heard, stopped replying at the rescue authorities. Pretty morbid…

There was a connection, in the bubble mind you! Palairos, is a bubble… A place that is very hard to leave, because of the laid back atmosphere, the beautiful combination of all its lovely inhabitants, who are all a bit crazy in their own peculiar way and unexpected things happen. A different vibration in the outgoing frequency. Hopefully, it isn’t a Mayday… The sailor girl and I even talked about that tonight. The more newbie couple than us – funny how fast you learn – also heard a Mayday on the radio during one of their first trips. A boat caught fire and was sinking. Oddly enough, Ramon and I, heard one of these before as well. In their case, the persons were assisted out. The Mayday message from the crew in the life-threatening situation, Ramon and I heard, stopped replying to the rescue authorities. Pretty morbid… Bizarre to talk about it, We haven’t talked about it with battered sailors. They just don’t talk about fears or did they grow used to them?

Mutiny is my girlfriend! Completely chilled out when she is happy in still waters. Ramon, Styx, and I recently got to know her better in rolling conditions. She would roll from port to starboard side or is it the other way around? Ferociously, violently, 50 degrees to port, 50 degrees to starboard. Vomit inducing one might say…

Honestly, I trust her, she is my religion. I fall asleep knowing she will protect me, grant me my freedom, demands me to stay fit by circumnavigating her, and doesn’t tolerate stupidity. The latter she does by accidentally letting me bump into things. Literally you have to watch your step and she’ll keep your intelligence challenged by creating issues we have to research for days in order to fix them.

On our way to catch the bridge in Lefkas. Look at that gorgeous beamy Mutiny beauty…

If we would have standard funds like 90 percent of the normal Westerners – but our standard is to live up to our freedom&happiness ratio and to practice what we preach instead –  we would just call an engineer or electrician to fix our problem and afterward complain about the money we had to spend for that. But seriously? Where is the love in that?

To get to know her, every little sigh; the stretching of the shrouds when she wakes up in the morning, the water sloshing against her outlines, the swaying lullaby that echoes from her submerged heart is the unique transcending joy us non-gods and non-goddesses can master.

When we newbies, meet sun kissed, windswept, and passionate sailors, we melt. Our “I’m tough too” concept vanishes when they share their horrifying, demonizing tales accompanied by delirium engaging, cheap local house wine.

This isn’t it, this will never be when you have a boat. The ten Commandments of sailing;

  1. You’ll encounter the seven seas; 
  2. You’ll consume too much alcohol;
  3. You’ll be an ignorant slave of your boat;
  4. You’ll research, learn and create;
  5. You’ll lose your balance on land;
  6. You’ll love eating from cans;
  7. You’ll never take a cold beer for granted; 
  8. You’ll glorify long showers;
  9. You’ll stay fit;
  10. You’ll interpret sleep as a utopia;