Thursday, 17 December 2009

High wind (again)

Last night there was another time very high wind and high waves. It wasn't a tornado like the time my Mirror was wrecked, but did more damage to boats in the club than before.

This was the sight that met our eyes as we, that is Tim and I, when we arrived at the club this morning. That's Tim's trimaran on it's side there.

Here's what it looked like from the other side. The catamaran in the foreground normally lives with its mast up in the far right corner of the photograph, about 20 metres away.

Tim came down late last night so had seen the wreck. At that time the waves were piling up into the club itself, coming right through the wire fencing. It's probably the waves that  pushed his boat backwards as it floats in almost no water.

Then when the wind took the catamaran in the far corner off its trolley and blew it half way across the club, where it likely as not knocked Tim's on its side and demasted Blue and Baby Blue.

Here you can see the boats back in their correct places, with Blue and Baby Blue looking sad with their broken masts.

Some of the boats were stacked up on top of each other - like this 470.

A number of club members were there to help move them around. From Tim's description I expected worse than the actual sight I saw.

Here's what happened to Galini. She was knocked sideways - maybe the wind. I am not sure.

When we moved her everyone thought she must be full of water as she is so heavy, but I suspect it was her weight that protected her.

By the time we had moved everything round and put the boats upright again, Galini looked fine. Even the genoa looked undamaged.

I will need to bring the keys and take off the cover and see what is inside.

The club was looking more like a club again... for the two boats looking sad and longing for some TLC.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

LL13171 (or how to register a small sailing dinghy in Cyprus)

Yes, I finally have a registered boat!

After the capsize in the summer I was strictly informed by the Department of Merchant Shipping that my Wayfarer Galini must be registered. It has taken from then till now to do so.

Now here is what I understand of the law from going through this process. All small boats over 2.5 metres in lenght that sail on the territorial waters of Cyprus must be registered. The Department of Merchant Shipping [we'll call them the DMS from now on] have an extensive website and a page dedicated to the registration of small vessels. Here's what they say by way of introduction:
All recreational craft should be registered either in the Register of Cyprus Ships (these vessels are permitted to sail in national and international waters) or in the Register of Small Vessels (these vessels are permitted to sail only in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus).

Recreational craft are registered in the Register of Cyprus Ships, in accordance with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships, Sales and Mortgages) Law 45/63, as amended or the Register of Small Vessels, in accordance with the Emergency Powers (Control of Small Vessels) Regulations of 1955.

Ships that are not registered in Registry of Cyprus Ships are:

(α) ships having an overall length less than thirteen (13) metres, employed solely in navigation on the coast of the Republic or of the Sovereign Base Areas;

(b) ships not having a whole or fixed deck and employed solely in fishing, lightering or trading coastwise on the shore of the Republic or of the Sovereign Base Areas or within such a radius therefrom as may be prescribed.

Under regulation 13 of the Emergency Powers (Control of Small Vessels) Regulations of 1955, failure to register a vessel by its owners constitutes a criminal offence.

The define a recreational craft the following way:
any boat of any type intended for sports and leisure purposes of hull length from 2,5 m to 24 m, measured according to the harmonized standard, regardless of the means of propulsion;
So basically if you have a boat over 2.5 metres, sailing, rowing or power you must register if you are to use it on the sea. If you only want to sail within 12 miles of land you must register in the Register of Small Vessels and if you want to sail further than 12 miles from land you must register in the Register of Cyprus Ships.

So Galini registers in the Small Vessels and King Malu in the Cyprus Ships. If you have vessel capable of doing more than 15 knots under power then you will need extra forms completing and some tests of competency and health. The page on the DMS website describes all this, but it is somewhat complicated to wade through.

The forms needed can be download from the website, but they are not linked to from the description page, but another page under downloads called Small Vessels. I expected links from the description page to the forms so spent ages looking on the site not expecting it to be rather obviously under 'downloads'.

Now Galini is a small sailing vessel so I will describe what I needed to do. I should have used a special Bill of Sale for a Small Vessel when I purchased the boat. I didn't and more of that later. I also need an Application for Registration/Transfer of Ownernship/Deletion/Change of name of a Small Vessel form. Because I have a marine band hand held radio [this is very wise to have if you cruise with a small boat] then I also needed a Declaration for License to install and operate radio equipment on small vessels.

The cost of registration is €34.17 and the cost of license for the radio is also €34.17. Both can be paid by cheque made out to the Director of the Department of Merchant Shipping.

So I downloaded the forms, wrote the cheques and sent them off by Akis Express to the DMS. Then started a long dialogue with a very helpful girl in the DMS by the name of Elena who walked me through the process. First thing she needed was two photos of Galini, which I took and then emailed to her.

Then there was the problem of the lack of bill of sale. Now here was two problems. Firstly I didn't have one, it was a gentleman's agreement witnessed by two other members of the sailing club and secondly the previous owner hadn't registered the boat as he should, so he might get into trouble. However, I had totally forgotten and lost the contact details for the previous owner so he was not going to get into trouble, but that meant I had a boat but no bill of sale.

So I had to write an Affadavit and get it signed and stamped by the Larnaka Court. The wording of this was important to identify the boat clearly and to swear on oath that I had purchased it, that she had not been registered and that she had been kept at my home or the sailing club. I got the text approved and went down to the court house and then sent the duly stamped Affadavit down to the DMS.

The Affadavit had to have so much detail because Galini doesn't have a hull identification number, it is unknown who the builder was and unknown year of build. From the sail number and Wayfarer version I could approximate the year and be pretty sure it was a UK builder, but all this had to be specified in the Affadavit.

Now I have a 2.5 HP Yamaha outboard that belongs to Tim and is on loan to me. That complicated things and eventually sorted it so that it is registered on my boat.

The process proceeded and a final complication arose. Was Galini in Cyprus before Cyprus accession to the EU? I was pretty sure she was as everyone I had spoken to had seen her at the club for years before I bought her. This was all relating to tax and VAT. So I then had to get letter from the chairman of the sailing club to the DMS confirming that the boat had been on club premises prior to Cyprus accession into the EU.

Then the DMS could proceed and eventually I got my registration. I am still waiting for the radio license... What I would love to know is how many of the small sailing boats around Cyprus are registered. I have met none other than Galini myself yet...

Friday, 23 October 2009

Amazing boat...

OK, this is amazing day! I am now part owner of 39 ft Nicholson... donated to me and I am thrilled.

This post has now been moved to

Saturday, 17 October 2009

King Malu

Approx 10 nautical miles
Tim and I had arranged to see another ketch at 10am. We expected to spend about an hour or two looking at her and then off for a sail. But... 5+ hours...

The ketch is a Nicholson 39, which is a kind of classy yacht. This one is the third one off the production line and there were only 60 ever made. The Nicholsons are classy all over - Prince Philip owned and sailed a Nicholson. But we're not in that league. This is a old boat, but very well cared for - sailed round the world - the current owner reckons he did more than 55,000 miles in her.

She hasn't been sailed for a few years [5-8] and so is in desparate need of TLC. But in all honesty she is the most beautiful boat I have ever seen. Of course I couldn't rave too much in front of the owner or he would put the price up! The layout of the boat is amazing. She has two cabins, each with en-suite [though the second one needs converting back to working] and a centre cockpit, which means the deck seems to be very much bigger than a rear cockpit sloop.

So, I think we saw every cm of the boat, checked everything out. Stephan, the current owner, told story after story about the boat and we then went for a beer with him and he told more stories about his adventures.

So then Tim and I went out to the club and got my boat into the water... oh yipes, one of the tyres was flat and I only pumped it up yesterday, maybe I over pressurized the tyre... anyway we went out a sail and 'chewed the cud' over the Nicholson. The Morgan we had seen the previous weekend, Sue had wisely reminded me of how much work I had said needed doing to get her in the water... whereas the Nicholson could be in the water a few days after taking her over -- a couple of sea-cocks to fix and anti-foul the hull and she's ready for the water. And with reasonable amount of hard work she would be sail-able next season.

Hmmmm... have to sleep on it. Of course, what I don't have is money to pay for her.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Birthday sail

Approx 8 nautical miles
SMS Text:
Club competition in Limassol on Saturday. We are thinking of sail at 3pm today. Are you interested?
Well... today being my birthday, of course I am interested. So went down to the club and Neil and Paula and I took out Galini for a sail around the bay. We actually sailed over towards the marina and took a brief look at the ketch that Tim and I had looked at earlier in the week.

Great sail. But saw that the tyres were almost flat so pumped them up.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

New jib for Tim's boat

Approx 10 nautical miles
Tim, Mark and I went down to the club this morning and fitted a new jib. Tim had brought the jib back from the USA when he visited. The old one was sun damaged. The new one had a UV protection sleeve which could be hoisted on a halyard around it. So... we removed the forestay and returned it to a combined jib/forestay.

Tim also bought a Hawk apparent wind direction indicator, which we mounted at the top of the mast. Because the mast is aerofoil and rotating, it turns into the wind. This means that although the indicator correctly points to apparent wind, the reference arms are never showing you something useful! However, it's still useful indicator and while I was sailing his boat today found it useful for downwind runs...

OK, so we then had to sea trial the new jib. We went out, with Tim helming and tacked off towards the port. A very large roll-on roll-off ferry was coming out, with a pilot cutter in attendance. We stayed to the north side of the starboard harbour entrance buoy to stay clear.

In the other harbour a number of yachts and motor vessels are moored and we sailed around them and then into the outer visitors area of the marina... taking a look again at one of the yachts we looked at yesterday and then on to the castle.

Hmmm... yes, the Morgan is a beautiful yacht. Too far away for a photo.

We passed a dive vessel coming into the marina. Tim thought it was more like a dive barge and didn't deserve the name boat!

They dive down to the Zenobia, which is a sunken ship out in Larnaca bay. It's claimed to be one of the best 10 shipwreck dives in the world. The Zenobia was a roll-on roll-off ferry that capsized in Larnaca Bay possibly due to a computer fault making the ballasting system go wrong.

Diving is something that I will never do. I prefer to stay on top of the water... I'm not that keen on being in the water to be honest!

We turned back and Tim let me and then Mark helm Saga. I found it quite difficult helming on a boat where you control the rudder with your feet. A new skill to learn. I was sitting there thinking 'Now what do I do with my hands?'

Anyway, she tacked and gybed quite easily and was a gentle boat to sail. The winds were light [Bft 2 rising to Bft 3 while we were sailing] and the sail a nice gentle trip around the bay.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Beirut sail

130 nautical miles
I get one of those phone calls... one that you wish happens everyday... 'Richard, how would you like to sail to Beirut with us?' Does Tim need to ask? I leap at the opportunity. Tim's boss and sailing friend Marwan has brought his new Jeanneau to Larnaca and they have one space available for the sail back to Beirut.

I join them at 08:45 on Saturday morning. We cleared customs and immigration at Larnaca and then sailed off towards Nissi Beach at Agia Napa.

Tim and Marwan set the asymetric spinnaker with me controlling lines in the cockpit. Marwan's spinnaker is bright red. 'They will certainly see us coming!' The wind is light and the spinnaker flies... but only just.

When we arrive we anchor just outside the buoys that mark the reserved swimming zone. Tim and I row in to the beach in the tender and the other three swim to the shore.

When I say Tim and I row in, I should clarify that Tim rows and I am passenger. I am thankful as my shoulder is still painful and on the yacht I am very wary moving around as sharp movements to grab something creates excruciating pain.

From the beach SAGA 3 lies at anchor creating an idyllic image of Cyprus life: Sun, sea and beautiful people. We sit and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice and a halloumi sandwich. Dance music punches through the air, demonstrating the vitality of this tourist haven. There's movement on the beach... always in time with the rhythm of the drum beat.

It's time to set sail. Tim rows out to the yacht with me and Ziad and then Ziad rows back to pick up Marwan and Jamil.

It's quite a long row with the wind blowing the light tender around.

While they are coming Tim and I stow the spinnaker as we will not use it overnight to save going onto the foredeck in the dark.

Watching the sun set and the moon rise while at sea is one of those glorious times when you marvel at the splendour of God's creation. At the same time thankful to Marwan for giving me the opportunity to be there miles from land and enjoy this sight.

Tim cooks enough spaghetti to feed a crew of eight... and there are only five of us. But with the sea breeze and his spaghetti sauce we sit and do justice to the meal.

Marwan, Jamil and I take the first watch and Tim and Ziad take the second watch. Marwan and Tim had agreed to two long watches rather than the more normal shorter ones. It meant we stayed up till 03:30 and Tim took over then. Actually this works better for people that are naturally late or naturally early people. Each watch is optimized for the body clock of the people concerned.

Marwan has a very nice Raymarine E series plotter and integrated radar system that allows you to set warning zones and track radar targets. So through the night we monitor approaching vessels leaving the autopilot to actually steer the boat. He had the system mounted at the back of the deck table. Initially when I looked at it and I thought it was strange place, but Marwan chose well and it is a great location for pleasure sailing in good weather in the eastern Mediterranean. You can sit on the stern seat comfortably between the two wheels monitoring radar or plotting waypoints.

After a few hours sleep I get up to find the rest of the crew on deck as we sail into the rising sun. The sea is smooth and we are motoring along gently. Tim has communicated with the UN warship patrolling off the Lebanese coast and with 'Oscar Charlie', the central Lebanese shipping control.

As we arrive at Beirut, the sun is glistening over the water and the city is draped in mist, at peace with itself and the world. Long may it stay that way. We motor into Beirut marina to pick up fuel, and finally motor round to the Movenpick marina for a champagne breakfast. The prefect end to a delightful voyage.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Sailing back at last!

17 nautical miles
Yesterday, back home in Cyprus, today, out sailing again! (BTW the title should have been 'Back sailing at last!')

I took Jacob and Marie out today for a sail. We did about 16 nautical miles and had a great time. Of particular note we sailed without a rudder for a while... well... we lashed the rudder amidships and then by Jacob moving from port to starboard or vice versa we steered the boat. Then we tried tacking. That was more difficult. First attempt failed. Second attempt worked: I pumped the main when it looked like we were going to get stuck in irons.

Made a short video...

Oh... and Jacob wanted you to know that he was the cameraman (in some of the shots that he is not in and one of them that he is in!)

And while we're on the subject of videos... for those people who have not seen the Marine Band radio conversation between the USS Montana and a lighthouse in the Irish Sea... here goes.

It is of course fictitious!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

5 September 2009 - Last sail before UK trip

14 nautical miles (AM - yellow, PM - cyan)
This was my last sail before 3 weeks in the UK, and I am not expecting a sail there sadly. Tim is away in the UK/USA so could not make it a long sail which would have been great, but delivered on my promise to Lukas to take him out... so... the morning (yellow track) was Lukas, Katie and their mum Shiela.

Lukas is keen to sail, but is about the same age as the 'boy Roger' in Swallows and Amazons and Sheila is reading it to him. Katie is younger, but obviously picking up the jargon as sha asked 'Is the genoa OK?' when we were sailing even before we had mentioned it. Sheila is still feeding their youngest Helen so a one hour sail was about the longest we could manage... but next year I think she would like to learn to sail in earnest.

We sailed out to wards SEAGAS - one of the LPG gas carrier ships and then I handed the helm over to Sheila to let her sail for a bit. Lukas and Katie kept thinking that SEAGAS was turning round - rather than realised we were sailing around her!

In the past Lukas has got restless, and Katie managed about 10 minutes... both did extremely well this time, I don't think Lukas got bored at all and Katie managed about 45 minutes before saying she wanted to go back to the shore. Obviously Swallows and Amazons is working!

I took back over the helm for the downwind run back to the club, brought Galini round, tacked and took her in on a broad reach, which is safer than running straight in to the beach.

Then a break for lunch and Neil and I went out in Galini (cyan track) for a fun sail. I was helming all the time and was really enjoyable. First tack out from the club I had pulled in the main sheet as much as possible to bring us close to the wind and then had considerable weather helm, which is why the track is wobbly. Neil noticed this and when I slackened off the main sheet she sailed much better and the weather helm disappeared... but didn't get very much further off the wind than we had been. Tim always says to me when sailing 'when in doubt, let it out' [as far as the sheets are concerned] and I was pinching again and sailing slower.

On the downwind run we couldn't get her to plane all the time (Neil's boat Blue, being a Laser 16 probably planes much more easily than my Wayfarer) but she surfed the waves beautifully.

I have Holt swivel leads and cleats for the genoa sheets but the fairleads on the cleats bring the angle of the cleat up slightly. That 'slightly' is enough to make the release of the genoa sheet somewhat tricky... not for slow cruising like in the morning, but when Neil and I were pushing her a little more then releasing the sheet was difficult.

So I think I will try removing the fairlead and just have the rotating lead on the swivel as a first step and then put on an over fairlead if that works. Having the swivel cleats without tracks certainly makes the boat better for cruising as there is more deck space to sit. Neil and I talked about moving the cleats to the seats - which is where many racing Wayfarers have them - but the seats a great for non-sailors when I take them out so I think I prefer to keep the cleats on the decks.

All in all a very enjoyable days sailing.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

29 August 2009 - Finikoudes and back

10 nautical miles

This was going to be the longer sail we were preparing for a couple of days ago, but then Beth felt slightly sea sick and Miriam decided to come instead and then there would be four adults in the boat which was too many and so would make two short trips and then... Chris went with Neil and Paula so could be longer trip... but Chris and Judith and Miriam didn't have packed lunch so couldn't make it longer trip...

Eventually we headed out and as soon as possible I handed over the helm to Judith so she could have a chance sailing. We tacked back and forth a little and then met up with Blue and decided to sail to Finikoudes and back.

Judith was doing very well, in fact so well Paula, who was helming Blue, thought that I was helming expected me to sail round her on approach to Larnaka port, but we were on starboard tack and leeward boat, so we were stand-on and got close and then both of us tacked off...

I took the helm past the port and marina and then Miriam took the helm for a bit as we sailed in towards the old fort.

I took over just before we turned into a downwind run back towards the club. We managed to get the whisker pole out and were running well, but the waves were increasing so we were rolling slightly and Miriam began to find the motion upsetting, so we changed to broad-reaching back and met up with Blue on the final reach back to the club.

An enjoyable morning sail.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

12 nautical miles
Today was a sort of afternoon training sail for Saturday. I took out Chris and Judith first and then Beth and Bob. Chris was my best friend at school and Beth his daughter... the rest of the names just complicate it. Oh well...

The track is just from the second time out with Bob and Beth... or should it be Beth and Bob? Slowing getting everything back to normal on the boat [like the GPS].

Then photos of Judith are not flattering, so you'll have to make do with the youngsters! Judith sailed Galini. She had sailed a Norfolk Broads yacht some years ago - but the broads are flat and the boats slow and not so lively as a Wayfarer.

Anyhow, I took Chris and Judith out first and then came back and took out Bob and Beth. The wind was light [Bft 3 dropping to Bft 2] so I let Beth try sailing Galini. She has coxed a rowing boat at Oxford University, so the left right reverse steering of a rudder is not toally new to her.

Then... the clip on the rear buoyancy holding the main sheet to the hull broke. It had broken when we went over, and obviously the repair wasn't as good as I hoped. So I took over the helm, put is hove to and sorted it out.

Then it was Bob's turn. Bob had never sailed before or coxed a rowing boat so he was at a disadvantage, but did really well.

They were both doing so well we goose-wing ran downwind [with me helming now] and gybed her round, tacked back and brought her out of the water. A great afternoon sail.

And I was trying out the new camera that Chris and Judith brought out after the other one was lost after the capsize. Here is some of the video recorded this afternoon.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Teaching sailing in Galini

Through the summer I have been teaching four kids to sail. I've written a little about it... and will write some more when I can get the booklet I wrote for them uploaded for others to use... but anyway Tuesdays and Thursdays I have had two kids in two Optimists. This week, however, the two older ones were away on a camp leaving the younger ones. But... Jacob fell out of bed 4 days ago and cut his face really badly needing steristrips to hold the cut together.

So I decided for two reasons it would be better for them both to come out with me in my boat. One of the reasons [maybe obviously, but maybe not after the capsize] is that my boat is dryer and safer and less likely for Jacob to get the wound wet or reopen it up.

The other reason is that Nicole is having problems sensing where the wind is. For the last week or so whenever anyone is about we say to her 'Nicole, where's the wind coming from?' She then points and indicates where she can sail and where she cannot.

What we could do on my boat was discuss wind direction while we were sailing. I also discovered a new exercise that worked extremely well... getting them to sail with their eyes closed, just feeling the wind. Nicole was great at that and sailed better with eyes closed than open. Of course, not something to do sailing alone!

Nicole admitted she prefers sailing in a bigger boat - being a social person like me she prefers the group interaction. You can see it on her face!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Finally back on the water

Approx 5 nautical miles
I went down to the club in the morning and Tim joined me to try and fix the last few things on the boat. Last Sunday Tim [my son, not the Tim I sail with] brought out a some things I needed for the boat to repair it - a couple of cleats with fairleads and a bow plate were the main things. The bow plate got damaged in towing I would guess since it doesn't have the strength to be towed by...

During the week I had been down [with Tim] a few times doing repairs. In the process I had removed the floor boards and found the cleat that had come off the track, but having ordered new one I didn't replace it. The holes from the old track needed filling. I did it initially with gelcoat filler, but that didn't go off properly [too old] and so used some of the glue Tim's daughter brought back from South Africa. That worked very well, and in fact when it came to bolting in the new cleats I found I couldn't get the nuts on the end, so glued the bolts into the hull itself.

The amazing glue was also used to repair the tiller. But when we came on Saturday to refix the uphaul for the rudder, the rope wouldn't go through. Tim and I must have spent an hour or more trying to feed it through till we realised that the centre plate of the rudder had moved and the rope would never thread through... some gentle persuasion and the plate moved [and was then screwed in place] and the rope went through easily!

Tim decided that my 'There's only one more thing to do...' was nearly as bad as my 'I won't be long...' cry to my wife. There were many 'only one more things' to do. It took us all morning to get the boat back into a sailable state.

Then we were too dehyraded to sail so went off the club for a drink. Cool refreshing water melon also helped and we went out for a short trip round the bay. We tested everything and checked the boat at all points of sailing from close hauled to goose wing running... and even checked out the motor. Hmmm... motor... now that was expensive to get repaired... very expensive.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Post mortem

Chatted with the skipper of the Dhekelia rescue boat that came out to right my boat and found that with a fresh crew they attempted and failed three times to right the boat and eventually towed it to the shore capsized, so it would have been highly unlikely that we could have righted the boat in that sea state. He therefore felt I had made the right call.

Sadly the camera has been lost, as has been my hand bearing compass. One of the cleats for the genoa is also lost [that is strange, they are almost impossible to move] and the bow plate broken so the standing rigging is no longer secured.

Other than that the boat is in pretty good shape.

Saturday 8 August 2009 -- Mayday!

22 nautical miles
Not my favourite experience to recall, but I must say the emergency services were excellent. I wish it had been an exercise rather than 'for real'. Here's the report to the Marine Accident Investigation Division of the Department of Merchant Shipping:
Incident relating to open boat Galini: a 16 ft Wayfarer. Saturday 8 August 2009.

Skipper: Richard - 4 years sailing experience, approx 1100 sea miles mostly in open boats in Cyprus waters. In 2009 studied for and passed RYA Day Skipper theory and practical.
Crew: Skipper, crew A and crew B all adults and crew C 11 year old son of crew A, who I have been teaching to sail during the summer of 2009. Crew A has diabetes and knowing him well understood this to be under control. Crew B was a friend of crew A and this was a day sail as a gift for crew B. All the crew were wearing 50N buoyancy aids appropriate for open boat sailing in inshore waters. I was also carrying a serrated safety knife on a lanyard attached to my buoyancy aid.

We left Larnaca Nautical Club at approx 10:00, two open boats Galini and Saga sailing to Cape Pyla and back. Both boats had marine band handheld radios and we were using channel 11 for inter-boat communication. Conditions were moderate and crew C helmed for most of the first 1.5 hour towards Capy Pyla. During this time I noticed a sluggishness in crew A that concerned me and I asked if he was OK. He tested his blood sugar which was very low and he then ate some fruit which he said would replenish his blood sugar.

I took over the helm as we approached Cape Pyla and in communication with Saga we decided to turn back and find somewhere to beach the boats and have lunch. We turned just after the Pyla 1, 2, 3 buoy line. There was further deterioration in the condition of crew A and so I placed him in the bottom of the boat where if he did pass out he would be safe. I looked at Romanzos as a safe haven but decided that getting in there with the sea state as it was would be unwise and then proceeded to Dhekelia Sailing Club, where I also knew there would be medical back up if needed. Crew A started to vomit, which I assumed just to be sea sickness, but later discovered was related to his diabetic condition and not sea sickness.

I tried to make contact with our partner boat, but was unable to. I later discovered they had a battery problem with their marine band handheld radio. We tacked back a couple of times and then ran into the Dhekelia Sailing Club bay, gybed and came round and picked up the tripping line. I got the crew on shore and crew ate lunch and in particular crew A recovered, he re-tested his blood sugar, which I was told was then OK.

The wind rose from Bft 4 to Bft 5 over lunch and I watched the wind gauge at the club, and also watched carefully a smaller Laser dinghy from Dhekelia Sailing Club go out. The conditions appeared to be very similar to those I have sailed in before, in particular the conditions of the previous Saturday. I therefore decided it was OK to sail back to Larnaca. Crew C and I reefed and prepared the boat for the sail back. As is my normal practice when the wind is more than Bft 3 I attached my marine band handheld to my body, so that if we get into difficulties the radio would be with me and not the boat.

The wind had moved to South-South-West, so we would have to sail close hauled into the wind the whole way. As we tacked back I had problems with crew B. Firstly wanting to relieve himself and then having problems understanding the basic instructions to change sides of the boat when we tacked. Repeatedly I was getting 'Where am I supposed to go?'

At approx 16:00 we were at our final or near final tack to get back to the Larnaca Sailing Club and as we tacked we caught a wave and went over, within a few seconds the boat went 180 degrees. In previous sailing experiences in Bft 5 with experienced or inexperienced crew even if we have taken water on board we have not capsized. Generally the Wayfarer has proved itself a very seaworthy boat.

I later heard from crew A that on this particular tack crew B had remained in his seat on the wrong side of the boat and had not changed sides at all. When we started to capsize because of the wave his extra weight on the wrong side of the boat and even then not moving his body exacerbated the problem and took us over to 180 degrees. Crew A grabbed crew B who was in danger of being trapped under the boat and dragged him free.

I have a 'masthead buoyancy' system as recommended by the RYA for open sea sailing and this should prevent or reduce the possibility of going 180 degrees. Because it appeared to have failed and bringing a boat back from 180 degrees can be difficult I tried to get assistance by first calling Larnaca Nautical Club on channel 16 and Dhekelia Sailing Club on channel 8. Neither responded. After a few minutes the masthead buoyancy did work bringing the boat to 90 degrees. I therefore tried to right the boat by climbing onto the hull/centreboat, but slipped and went under.

I realised that having been sailing for over 5 hours the entire crew were weary and that being in the water everyone was using up energy. Because of my concerns for crew A, and being unable to make contact with my partner boat or either sailing club I decided to make it a Mayday call: I was worried that if crew A did use up too much energy his blood sugar would drop and he would become unconscious, where a buoyancy aid would not help him. I therefore called Mayday on channel 16 and RCC answered almost immediately. The marine police arrived within approx 15 minutes and they rescued crew C [child], crew A [diabetic], crew B and finally me. They were very professional and very good.

Dhekelia Sailing Club then sent out their rescue boat and tried to right Galini, but in the conditions found they could not so towed her and beached her north of the Lordos Beach Hotel, where we later recovered her with the Larnaca Nautical Club rescue boat.

Things learnt from this event:
1) Inexperienced crew (crew B) who fail to follow simple instructions can become a significant liability in sea states that might otherwise be sail-able.
2) Masthead buoyancy did eventually bring the boat back to 90 degrees, but took a few minutes to do so. Had the crew been less weary then we might have been able to self-rescue.
3) The bright orange 40 litre balloon of the masthead buoyancy assisted the emergency services in locating the boat.
4) Having the marine band handheld radio attached to my body made it easy to call for assistance.
This is the Secumar Masthead Buoyancy unit inflated with a 30cm ruler alongside to show size.

It took a few minutes [difficult to estimate but probably between 3 and 5 minutes] to bring the boat to 90 degrees, which would have been too long had a crew member been entrapped below the boat inverted. However, the Wayfarer does have a significant air pocket when inverted.

This photo shows the masthead buoyancy unit deflated, also with a 30cm ruler, which shows it has little impact on the sailing ability of the boat.

There was very little water entered into the rear buoyancy tank of the Wayfarer - maybe half a litre - which showed the seal on the tank still to be good. I don't have test gear for this seal, so it was kind of a baptism by fire, but the Wayfarer did stay buoyant throughout.

The wind was Bft 5 for the afternoon and gusting, but pretty similar to normal wind conditions for Cyprus in August and very similar to the week before. I would have had to wait till approx 19:00 for the wind to drop below Bft 5 and I didn't have the masthead lighting with me.

Other non-safety related things we found out were: The 'dry box' was not as water tight as anticipated. Possibly the lid had not been screwed tight, but there was significant water ingest into the box [maybe half a litre again, but significant in a dry box!] which damaged and possibly destroyed my mobile phone. Strangely the matches also in the dry box were still dry! Probably the mobile phone should be in an AquaPac as well as in the dry box, which is what Tim does.

Because of untying the bucket to let crew B relieve himself [we went 'hove to' and he used the bucket as the sea conditions were not possible to go over the side], some items had not been re-secured to the bucket, eg camera in waterproof case, hand-bearing compass etc. These were all placed on the shelf under the foredeck, but I haven't found if they floated off or not.

We will have to get the outboard motor serviced/cleaned out as soon as possible as it was under water for quite a length of time.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

1 August 2009 - Afternoon and night sailing

16 nautical miles
The intention had been for an afternoon sail leading into a night sail, since the wind looked good for that. In preparation for the night sail I had put in a few more waypoints on the GPS - about 7 cables off shore for the club, Cape Pila and Potamas. You don't really want shore based waypoints for night sailing! [A 'cable', by the way, is 1/10 nautical mile or 185 metres. Just as a piece of useless trivia, it is the length of a anchor cable on a British man-of-war... back in the days of sail.]

We [Tim, Mark, John and me] got down to the club at about 3pm since the wind should be picking up around then. John and I rigged my boat and Tim and Mark rigged Tim's. Tim wanted to modify the furling system for his genoa, which worked very well, and I wanted to check out my new night sailing navigation light.

There had been a long discussion on WIT [Wayfarer Institute of Technology] about what navigation lights were appropriate for sailing by night. The common understanding was that the ColRegs for sailing boats under 7 metres required very little - a torch to shine at the sail or passing ship or a lantern to be hoisted into the rigging.

Well... I had found this led 'anchor light' which had a visibility range of 2 nautical miles and was designed to be hoisted on a 6mm halyard. So I built a small cradle for it which allowed it to be hoisted above the main sail on the main halyard and would give all round visibility from above the top of the mast. It worked very well... much better than a lantern hung from a halyard would.

Anyhow... we started out... and just as we were starting out James, Neil and Paula arrived... I think to wave us off into the sunset, but they didn't get their boat out [we had invited them to join us].

Few cables distance and the first problem became obvious... the furling line was too taught and the genoa would not fully unfurl leaving it luffing most of the time and somewhat difficult to sail.

Then sudden graunching noise... 'What was that?' Neither John nor I could see what had happened... few cables further I realised that the boom clip for the kicking strap had slid along the boom and the main sail is now bloated and very over powered... at this point the wind is bft 5+ and gusting and sailing getting very difficult... though John liked the ducking and diving through waves.

The predicted wind had been Bft 3 dropping to Bft 2 at sunset, so you can see from the chart we got a lot more that that. With the main sail bloated and the genoa not fully extended we did end up with the gunwale under water at one point. But Galini always comes up laughing and enjoying the ride.

As we near the harbour a cruise liner leaves the port. Apparently the port will eventually be converted into a cruise terminal, so this is to be expected more and more I guess.

Eventually Tim calls me up on the radio. One of their pontoons is filling with water and not wanting to pitch pole the boat they head for the club. We follow suite. Channel 16 is full of a prolonged discussion between the Israeli navy and a ship about telexes that have or have not been sent by their ships agent. Why they have to carry this on over channel 16 beats me... just clutters up airspace for possibly emergency communication. They must be pumping out a lot of power to be coming in on our hand-held radios over the horizon. Sorry... that's my pet peeve... abusing channel 16 for unnecessary communications.

Back at the club we discuss reefing. Both Tim and I had considered it, but I was not sure about the nav light if I had reefed. Hmmm... that's a disadvantage to the system, reefed we would not have for'ard facing nav light.

We then pack the boats and wash the sails and Tim and Mark leave and John and I wait for the sails to dry. While they are drying we notice the wind has dropped now to about Bft 4. Whereas night sailing with an inexperienced crew in Bft 5 didn't appeal Bft 4 is much more manageable so we re-rig the boat and go out again.

In between I had also re-tensioned the standing rigging and Galini is sailing very much better. This is great fun sailing. We beat out towards the harbour/marina as there is a simply huge masted sailing yacht there we would quite like to see... well I would and I was helming! The wind direction had shifted somewhat and I was saling conservatively since the light was dropping.

Ooops... graunching noise again... hove too and sort it out. This time I really hope it's tight enough!

Watching the sun set over Larnaca from the water was simply beautiful. Hove to again and we turn on the new masthead light. Yes, bright light all round but not down on us to ruin our night vision. The moon is about 1/2 full and gives plenty of light to sail by and looks gorgeous reflecting off the water across the bay.

We tack up towards the marina, but the wind picks up as we clear the harbour wall and I turn and broad reach back towards the club. Also there was a very big ship arriving at the harbour and I didn't want to argue with that on my first night sail in Galini!

The wind is dropping a little more so I gybe and do an eastward broad reach out towards Cape Pila. There are no lights to steer by so I am using the compass. The compass has a light stick which goes in the front of it to illuminate it. Well... just about illuminate it, it was pretty difficult steering by this very dimly lit compass. Really using a hand bearing compass with chemical light stick is not adequate as a steering compass.

I turn back towards the club and a couple of tacks later and the wind has almost dropped to nothing, but we arrive back at the club.

Nickos is there with some guests so we find out how the Lasers have done at the competition in Limassol today. One of the young people came 6th out of 17, which is pretty respectable. With Nickos being about we can use the winch to pull Galini out of the water, which is much easier than using my 4x4 to do it.

What I need to find is a better way of securing the battery pack. I have two gel batteries in a waterproof box with terminals for the nav light. The problem is that it slips and slides all over the place under the foredeck. I thought about putting it just for'ard of the centreboard case. That would put the weight lower which would be better but it would get much wetter in that position. But maybe since the case is waterproof that doesn't matter.

Well... that's over and a very enjoyable sail. Will have to do this night sailing more often.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

25 July 2009 - Run down to Meneou and back

16 nautical miles
The forecast was interesting. One forecast said winds from north/northwest in the morning dying off at mid-day to nothing in the afternoon and the other said at mid-day the winds would turn and be southerly. As it happened the second forecast was correct. This made for a very interesting sail. We had downwind runs and broad reaches down to Meneou and a broad reach and downwind run back to the club.

I was taking out friends of mine, Brian and Ruth with their son Oliver. John, a colleague, went with Tim in his trimaran. I had an extra 5 litres of fuel for the outboard so that had the former forecast been correct we could have motored back, towing Tim.

We all started out quite well, enjoying the sail, but the winds were low and because we were mostly running it was a bit difficult for new sailors to helm. Mind you I accidentally gybed a couple of times myself on runs. Tim had suggested a route closer to the shore to pick up the shore winds. It helped a little but meant we were gybing from broad reach to broad reach all the time. Not a bad exercise I guess, since its not something we do very often.

The motion of the boat was strange on these runs, rolling quite a bit in the very gentle swell, which is not the best for people liable to seasickness and sadly Ruth succumbed, and when we got to Meneou Brian and Ruth jumped ship and took a car back to Larnaca!

We sat down in Meneou and I had a frappe and Tim and John had english breakfast. The first english breakfast John had in his life and he was staggered at the sausage, bacon, two eggs, fried bread, toast and beans... he claims he will not need to eat for the rest of the day!

Then the wind turned. As we sat watching the flags dropped to no wind and then picked up 180 degrees from the original direction. A quick race out to Galini to move her buoy since she had swung round onto the beach. Good job Andreas was not watching, he would have been appalled since anchoring in the Day Skipper course is supposed to teach you not to get into that difficulty!

Finally its time to sail back. Oh no... now there are swimmers in the way, and a powerboat dropping people off... which means I do a somewhat inelegant take off from the beach and tear my swimming trunks in the process.

Oli and I sail back. It gets hotter and hotter. As we sail we eat all the lunches... I had brought lunch for John and we no longer had Brian and Ruth with us. Amazing what a 13 year old boy can eat. Well... actually we didn't quite manage to eat 5 lunches, but we had a pretty good try!

It gets hotter and hotter still, by now I am helming as we are on a downwind run. The suntan lotion I had put on my forehead [I had burnt it on Friday morning so was being extra careful] managed to melt and drip into my eyes. We have no towel on board. Boy, does suntan lotion in the eyes sting!

Goose-wing running most of the way back was a bit of a roll, roll, roll, ride, so it was a good thing Ruth did jump ship as she would not have enjoyed the sail back.

Tim calls up on the radio reckoning we should have a fast run back, but the GPS reckons about 2 hours. The GPS is correct!

I have bought Admiralty charts for the area now and so were following our route on the chart. Interesting to see how it correlates to being out there. There seem to be quite a lot of discrepancies with the charts for our area, I think I will have to log the changes. Anyhow... so can you work out how I put the GPS plot onto the chart? No, I didn't do it by hand.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

19 July 09 - Off round the bay

22 nautical miles
The plan had been to take Henri and possibly his kids out for a sail around the bay. Today there were Optimist races taking place and so were rescue boats and Optimists everywhere. So we arrived at the club early (9:30) but found people already there... and Nikkos saying 'Tomorrow I switch off my mobile and sleep all day!'

We were getting ready to get out on the water and away from the madding crowds when Christos came over and asked if he could come too and the club were not allowing any club lasers out today. Yes, of course he was welcome.

We motored out, set the sails and headed off towards Dhekelia. None of the Dhekelia dinghies were out so sailed on towards Romanzos. Kiriakos suggested we should go there next weekend and have lunch there. Sounds like a good idea.

Just passing Romanzos a power boat comes out and asks us to help look for someone who has fallen in the water. We join the search. Apparently they are wearing a life-jacket. There are about a dozen boats out looking and eventually they do find the person alive. It appears to us that probably the person was being towed on an inflatable behind a power boat and that the power boat had only the driver on board. So when the person fell off they didn't notice and had no idea where they were! Not a great safety idea at all. We saw he power boats heading for the shore so presumed they had found the person... then one of them came back out to tell us that yes they had found the person alive.

We sailed on towards Cape Pila for a while then hove to and had lunch. We sailed back towards the eastern shore of the bay and the wind begins to pick up. Yes, that's spray over the camera lens!

Eventually I take the helm and we sail back towards the harbour. I plan to pass the club and then do a downwind run in to the club. See if we can get Galini surfing.

I expected to find all the optimists in by now as the waves are quite high, some out where we were about a metre high. But as we get to the club we see a whole regatta of optimists. I later find that closer inshore the conditions are easier... anyway we turn earlier and downwind goose-wing run towards the coast... up to about 8.6 knots surfing some waves.

Finally back in to the club, but find the furling line for the genoa has trapped and we cannot free it on the water. Great day sailing - enjoyable with both Henri and Christos.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

14 July 09 - 3rd Lesson

Today I had Jacob starting as well as Josh and Marie. The club was using lots of the Optimists for training so used only two and kept swapping people. In some ways they liked the breaks, but meant they didn't keep at it.

So... for first lesson: tacking back and forth on beam reach. Second lesson: tacking back and forth on beam reach, close reach and close hauled. Third lesson: beam reach, tack close hauled, turn into run, tack back to beam reach [a triangle]. Fourth lesson (next week) add gybe and complete basic racing course.

Friday, 10 July 2009

10 July 09 - Second lesson

Second sailing lesson went much better. I now had idea what I was trying to do and simple started them off on the two original buoys and then got them tacking back and forth to three buoys: one 90 degrees to wind, one 60 degrees to wind and one 45 degrees to wind, so they would do beam reach, close reach and close hauled and feel the different angles to the wind for each tack.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

7 July 09 - First sailing lesson

First sailing lesson for Marie and Josh in Optimists. James is also coming to help rig and advise.

Interesting experience.

I put my boat in the water with outboard rigged as saftey boat [I am not licensed to drive the club safety boat] and use it almost immediately when Josh capsizes!

I had set them off tacking back and forth between two buoys, quite a distance apart at 90 degrees to the wind. My mistake...

The buoys I had chosen were too far apart and they kept drifting too far into the swimming area. Then when they had problems I had to go sort them out in the swimming area.

Not a good idea.

Nikkos then suggests two much closer buoys, and although not as exciting is much easier for first lesson.

Closer in you can shout advice more easily and keep them learning better technique.

Standing in the water there is salt water all over the lens of the camera, which I try [unsuccessfully] to remove. Still, you get the general idea of Marie and Josh tacking back and forth.

They pick up technique and Nikkos suggests coming back tomorrow...

but I'm off to on a short trip tomorrow so will have to be Friday.

Nikkos is out by the safety boat doing leg exercises - he had an accident playing football and they operated a few weeks ago.

What I learnt was that teaching sailing you don't need voice exercises - you get enough of that anyway!