Wind is medium strong in the morning, from the north with a little east. The forecast is for light winds from the east and we still think that’s a possibility.
We decide to head for the harbor on the northeast side of Kea, which positions us well for getting to Athens Friday night. We turn around the southeast side of Sifnos, motoring into the wind, heading north. When we get to the NE corner of the island, we raise the sails, double reefed main. It’s gusting to around 28 knots.
I really like the Raymarine Chartplotter on this boat. It’s got a big, bright screen. It also has oblique aerial photos for most of the anchorages and marinas. That way, you can have an idea of what a place looks like before you head in. In the photo above, it’s in the split screen mode with a map on the left and a bunch of navigational info on the right (SOG means Speed Over Ground).
We make really good progress west and a little north, around the south end of Kithnos. It starts getting quite gusty – above 30 kts. Wind is almost straight from the north, which is exactly where we want to go. We need to tack upwind along the west side of Kithnos and we realize that for almost 2 weeks of sailing we’ve never tacked upwind. I’m looking forward to seeing how well the boat points upwind and how much progress we make.
We do a few tacks, tweaking the sail and heading as high as we can into the wind. It seems the sweet spot is around 45-50 degrees off the wind. Definitely not as good as a monohull, which is no surprise. We did about 6 tacks over the course of 1.8 hours, covering 3.6 nautical miles to the north. That’s 2 nm/hr net velocity going north. Not very good, and we won’t make it to the harbor in Kea before dark.
You can see our tacking on the map below.
We scope out harbors on Kithnos’ west side and it looks like there is a good spot on the west side, toward the north. It’s gusting quite enthusiastically and the waves are throwing us around. I decide we should drop the sails and motor to the harbor so we can relax and enjoy our last day on the islands. We can motor in less than an hour, but if we sailed it would probably take 4-5 hours. I feel a little guilty and The Sheven enforces that by questioning if I’m really a sailor. We drop the sails and motor anyway.
We arrive in the beautiful harbor with The Sheven at the helm. Only one monohull is Med Mooring along the quay, all hands on deck, and we execute a perfect Med Mooring. This is in stark contrast to our performance at the beginning of the trip on the east side of this same island when the Germans were yelling at us. Our crew is organized and nimble and we’ve learned a lot.
We moor at the far end, next to the ferry dock, closest to the ferry dock so that no boats will be alongside us and we can fire the sewage canon on the starboard hull at will.
We met this very cool cat who was looking for handouts. I wanted to take him home – he had quite the personality.
Soon, we have lots of company. There is a regatta of 34 Russian sloops sailing in the area and some of them start arriving. It gets quite busy with the Russians, then some Italians, a French boat, and several other nationalities that I couldn’t identify arrive. It was funny watching them yell instructions at each other in English (which seems to be the universal mooring language) even though it was obvious that most of them didn’t really speak English. There was a lot of confusion and yelling, but everyone got tied up okay and in the end, seemed to be having a good time.
We are moored with about 15 gorgeous monohulls that are about 50-55 FT long and rigged for serious sailing. Although I’ve really come to like our cat, and I think, cats in general, they (my opinion) just aren’t as pretty as nice monohulls.
Michele and June hike around the island and see about 17 other boats anchored in a cove north of our location.
A friendly harbormaster dude comes by and warns everyone that two ferries will be arriving after 5pm and to expect strong ferry wash. Soon the first comes, it’s quite large and ominous, and we are next to its dock area. I start the engines in case we need to power up to hold ourselves away from the wall and/or in case the anchor slips at all. Everyone else along the wall seems to be doing the same thing. The ferry goes stern-to and keeps its engines roaring as it’s tied up to keep itself off the wall, and the wash spreads to us, while people and vehicles pour on and off the ferry. It powers up and turns as it leaves, blasting us some more.
The second ferry is about the same size but quite a bit smoother and less dramatic. We wonder if it’s a difference in the ferry design that makes such an obvious difference in the amount of wash or if it’s a difference in the captain’s styles.
Things quite down, and we go on our normal shore eating excursion then pass out.