February 13, 2019
One of the things you read about when cruising is to avoid making plans, or at least any schedule should be taken with a grain of salt. Now, just a few days into the planned journey and we are way, way off course.
During the run our first night from the Corinth canal to Kefalonia, the autopilot failed. Now this is one of my biggest fears because hand steering a boat is not a fun thing. It isn’t fun on a sailboat and it is way, way less fun on a motor yacht weighing 85,000 lbs.
With a broken autopilot compass, the weather window to cross the Ionian Sea closed and so I found a new compass in Corfu. (Two actually, one in Lefkas and one in Corfu). With the heavy winds battering the Ionian Sea for four days, it made sense to head North for the replacement compasses and also revert to my original plan to get fuel in Albania.
So we are now sitting in Corfu, the autopilot works great again, but the winds and waves will continue to be a detriment to moving on until at least tomorrow evening. So tomorrow at 11am, I will pick up 4,000L of diesel in Albania, then wait for a few hours while the wind dies down. I expect to start crossing before dark (there are some big rocks just off shore from Saranda) and run through the night. By Friday midday the wind and waves should dissipate, but I am expecting a rough night on Thursday.
Passing across to the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ and then South to Sicily will consume about 50 hours at Sea, and I don’t intend to stop in Sicily if I can avoid it at all. After wending our way through Calabria, I hope that we will be able to keep going to at least Sardinia. The weather looks really tough for the first 24 hours in the Ionian, and then it will smooth out and hopefully offer 3-5 days of relatively flat water. The boat will travel at about 6.4 knots at 1500rpm in flat water.
This afternoon, I also signed the boat and the people out of Greece (I have 24 hours to leave now), and so I don’t intend to come back for a long, long time.
That’s the update for those who are checking in. The good news is that I got one last bike ride in around Corfu, and a chance to say thank you to Thanasis for once again sourcing important bits for Home Free. Thanasis has been taking care of Home Free (when she was Minky), for about 10 years and you couldn’t ask for a better boat manager.
Sometime on Friday, Home Free will be in new territory and the world awaits. All is well, and we await Mother Nature’s permission to move on.