Gale Sailing

Written by Pieter Jan on Sep 24, 2019 — 2 min read

From: Vlychada bay, Peloponnesos, Greece
To: Monemvasia, Peloponnesos, Greece

We left Vlychada bay around 10 in the morning. The wind was a nice 10 knots, and for a while, we were cruising with the wind on our beam, full sails out. Splendid!

After an hour or so, the wind died completely. Literally 0 knots of wind. We drifted around for half an hour before I turned on an engine. I considered motoring to Ieraki lagoon, but the weather was looking worse than when we were leaving. Barbara preferred to go straight to Monemvasia, a very good call as it turned out.

Just before we rounded Cape Yerakas, we encoutered a sailboat going the opposite direction, with a reefed, very foreshadowing foresail. I naively thought, “Well, maybe his foresail was flapping all the time and he didn’t want it against the mast.”

We rounded Cape Yerakas, and BAM, 20 knots on the nose. “Nice,” I thought, “let’s roll out the sails again!”. I rolled out full sails, but had to reef soon afterwards as the wind increased in less than 10 minutes to 30 knots. This is typical Mediterranean sailing. One moment you’re motoring in a dead calm, the next moment you don’t know which sail to reef first.

Vite & Rêves was, as usual, behaving very reliably, and started flying at 8 to 9 knots close hauled. We tacked 2 times and could take down our sails in the wind shadow of Monemvasias rock. It rises up from the sea like a little Gibraltar, looking like something out of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

Monastery on top of the rock. Monks always had the best view.
Monastery on top of the rock. Monks always had the best view.
It's like a little Gibraltar
It's like a little Gibraltar
Looks like a scene from Lord Of The Rings or Game of Thrones
Looks like a scene from Lord Of The Rings or Game of Thrones

Not even 5 minutes after we were safely moored in the small harbor, a thunderstorm broke loose, lightning flashing every minute all around us. Let me tell you, being in a thunderstorm on a boat is a lot less enjoyable than watching one from a house on land.

Mercifully, the gale passed quickly and the sun came out again. I took the opportunity to scrub the deck a bit. Friendly Swedes on the next boat lent us their hose so we could connect ours to the tap, which was about a thousand meters from our boat. Life-giving water! Nectar from the Gods! Oh, how we showered!