Red Skies at Night

Friday, March 23, 2018

Yesterday’s wind was a real learning experience. Not only did it end up damaging the fibreglass on the starboard side, I have learned that red skies at night isn’t always a sailor’s delight.

I am sure that red rain was mentioned early on in a post from Corfu, where we got a dusting of red sand in the rain, but here in Crete, well it is fair to say it was bordering on a sand storm. The featured image was taken around 6 pm as I was returning from the grocery store. I thought the light was very interesting, and while the winds had been blowing all day, they were still quite brisk. Note the flag to the left of the photo and the whitecaps in the harbour.

In any case, the wind continued to intensify and around 9 pm the boat was thumping against the pier in a way that was unusual. I went to look and sure enough my fenders had been pushed up by the water slamming between the hull and the cement pier. I tried in vain for a moment to reinsert a fender in the critical spot, but imagine Home Free weighs 80,000 pounds and the bulk of the structure is about 12′ above the water. Then imagine 30 knot winds pushing on her from the port aft quarter. Put simply I wasn’t moving her.

Now the marina here has excellent security and the attendant is sitting in a booth just in front of my bow, so I quickly ran over and knocked on his window. I was lucky to get three guys pop out quickly to assist me. Now, when things go against plan, it isn’t unusual to forego logic and react. My attempt to move the boat off the pier alone shows as an irrational delusion when you now hear that four of us couldn’t move the boat out either.

Moments after this realization, I slipped quickly into the pilot house, started the engine and the thrusters and tried with the thrusters. Even with thrusters, there was not enough power to pull away from the pier. But that was just a minor physics problem as the mooring lines were taught due to the winds pushing Home Free from the aft, so I put her in reverse, used the thrusters to push away from the dock and we succeeded. Home Free was again bouncing off of fenders. I am very grateful to the guys who popped out to help in this situation.

After about 30 minutes of moving (and adding) fenders I was comfortable with the protection, and continued to check the boat for the next couple of hours while the wind howled. The fenders required a few minor adjustments, but ultimately they did their job. By midnight the storm was over and a good sleep ensued.

This morning I woke up early, intending to fill the water tanks and slip off the dock, heading to Sitia. This is what I saw when I exited the boat . . .

I spent the next three hours cleaning the boat from top to bottom, and got most of the red dust off. I have chosen however to stay another night. There is no rush for me to move on.

The wind also played havoc with my riding plans. I had intended to do a very long ride on Thursday, and chose to abandon that objective as the winds howled into the port starting very early in the morning, and continued virtually all day (but the red cloud only appeared around early evening, curiously). At the same time my back has been worked very hard with all the climbing and is now ‘out’ and requires either a chiropractor and a masseuse, or time to relax, along with some serious stretching. I chose to not ride and instead, babysit the boat (great choice in hindsight).

Today I put in about 40km with 900m of climbing and tried to loosen up my back. I am not sure it worked, but boy did I enjoy the scenery once again. It was a route I have already ridden, but it was a great reminder of how beautiful this landscape is … and to keep my mouth closed while descending, lest the bees make a home within!

Megan has been interviewing for summer jobs recently and, having provided all the professional and parental advice possible (without her sending a hitman for me to shut me up), she discovered today that it is possible to feel terrible about interviews and still be offered a position. She has been lucky enough to be offered two summer jobs, and will be making her decision early next week.

That’s it for tonight, I am enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant, (it’s really good), but as most of you know I am a food idiot so don’t even know what I’m eating. The owner has offered up three of his favourites, and I am enjoying them so no more typing.

Next up Sitia

6 thoughts on “Red Skies at Night

  1. Hi Don, We have enjoyed all your blogs and snaps very much. Looking forward to meet up with you both sometime in May / June when we are all back . We are still south and will be back by the end of April. Our boat will be back at MCC late May or early June.
    Nick & Karen

  2. You mentioned damage to the fiberglass? Repairs?

    1. Hi Dad, I will be getting a professional to do that. While it is a bit unsightly and may pose problems when I arrive in Santorini (or anywhere for that matter), I may have to sacrifice that metal strip to the elements. But I will get it fixed ASAP to avoid further damage. I have reached out to a yard in Santorini, very close to where I will be staying next weekend and hopefully they can do it relatively cheaply and timely.

      I see the whole thing like a bumper on a car, a sacrificial component. Expensive, but cheaper than more significant damage to the hull!

      I hope you are well. I will be back in Canada late April and may come to visit if I get my schedule arranged.

  3. Richard Wah Kan March 24, 2018 — 10:57 pm

    Hi Don. Following your blog. Be well. Back in Toronto. Cheers. Richard Wah Kan

    1. Hi Richard, I hope you enjoyed your time out West. I may pop into the club for launch to see my old boat go in the water, and make sure that crane signalling continues to be effective without my help. See you then perhaps.

      1. Yes, please see the old boat 😉

        Hope the new one is ok and not too expensive to fix.


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