09/17/2010, Lefkada, Greece
So, with my heart in my mouth, I watched as a gigantic crane lifted our boat - our HOME! - into the water. A quick check below the bilges to check she's not leaking and Kevan, our surveyor has kindly agreed to 'supervise' Mark on his maiden voyage, from dry dock to berth. As Kevan is a yachtsmaster examiner, he sensibly takes Mark for a few practice parking attempts, and if I say so myself, Mark did exceptionally well, only hitting the boat 6 times - kidding! We moored up with no hitches (unlike the charter boats we see every Friday, coming home!) I am so proud of Mark - apparently, it's just like driving a tank, which, incidently, Mark hasn't done before so I am still mightily impressed!!
We still don't have our official papers saying we own the boat yet, so can't really take her out properly, so we've been cracking on with putting the radar up. Mark says it's because of his weight, but I know it's more because he doesn't like heights, I am delegated to go up the mast and use the drill and rivet gun on the mast, for the first time ever. Then the nest day, having drilled 12 holes in perfect position, have to go up the mast a second time to mount the radar. The scariest thing is trying not to drop a nut or bolt or washer (or rivet gun) below. Anyway, job's a goodun. Well, we have to wire/fire it up and then we'll know if it's a goodun, but the equipment is in place! Mia, Lochy and I scrubbed the hull and removed the old name and we are in the process of getting some artwork for our hull (thanks Debbie!)
Still getting used to remembering that the shops close at 1.30pm until 5pm, as normally, we only get our act together at lunchtime, but the kids are slowly getting into the hang of their school work - we're finding that the more relaxed approach is working better.....
Better go and clear up the tools, love to all, Catherine xxx
09/12/2010, Lefkada, Greece
Sitting in the shade, overlooking the marina, enjoying being the proud owner (or part owner!) of a Nautitech 395 catamaran - soon to be renamed "Pegasus of Jersey." Mark and the kids have arrived and the kids' first reaction on seeing the boat was fantastic - they really loved it, and took no time choosing their respective bedrooms! This week has been taken up with Mark doing all the jobs that need to be done out of the water. Our crates have arrived from Jersey, with the exception of the SSB radio ariel which has gone missing en route - it's really big and I'm not sure how it went missing, however, we are trying to track it down, so if you see a 7 foot long cardboard box....
Kids are happy that their bikes have arrived and love cycling off to the park or to the toilets by themselves with their little walkie talkies which allow us to keep an ear on them. We are all living on the boat whilst it is out of the water which is fine, as long as you don't use the toilets and you check that there is no-one below before you pull out the plug after doing the washing up! Mark has got a nice little workshop going on between the two hulls which keeps him shaded.
The boat is in really good condition so it is only adding stuff like SSB radio, navtex, radar etc that it needs. Oh yeh, and the antifouling which we will be doing tomorrow. Now that reminds me - I've got to go off to the chandlers to buy some anti-foul.
More soon, we don't have internet connection on the boat yet, so it's not so easy to regularly update - and I have been quite busy!
Love to all, Catherine xx
Well, I thought I'd be able to report that we are now the proud owners of a catamaran, but if I am honest, it didn't surprise me that it didn't happen first attempt. It should have been fine - the money is transferred, the owner arrived from Athens, we had lunch, the broker was 2 hours late in arriving and then assured us it would be a smooth transaction. The problem came when the registrar said he didn't believe that the owner wouldn't have to pay tax as he was selling it within the EU. Despite the fact that the owner's lawyers and accountants had reassured him this would not be the case becasue Jersey is not in the EU, he (understandably) didn't want to go ahead until it was DEFINITELY definite that he wouldn't have to pay tax. It could have been worse, the broker's previous client had sat in a 4 hour deadlock with the owner refusing to sign the bill of sale until he had the money in his account and the broker refusing to give him the money until he had signed!
However, I think it's all for the best because now Mark and I can both sign and own the boat and, also the owner has given me the keys to the boat and I am now sitting on her, pretending she's mine. I have even had a shower and cooked myself dinner. Mark and the kids arrive tomorrow - I just hope the rain has cleared up by then - don't want them getting cabin fever on the first day!!
So, as I was saying, after much research (admittedly a little bit late in the game) I find that the only place I can get a ship's radio licence in the UK - or for that matter in Southern Europe - is Southampton, UK. That's South. Having abused Ruby the car enough by driving her up to Glasgow from Jersey, I wasn't sure I could rely on her to do a return trip. What's more my AA membership had run out. 6 changes on the overnight coach didn't appeal so I find myself flying down for £240. Yes, you heard right. With the course costing £350, the exam £95, I was lucky that I had family there with whom I could stay - thanks Anna and Richard! Put on top of that the cost of the modem, radio itself, grounding plate and accessories, membership with sailmail, and this free email malarky is sounding anything but. However, what price can you put on letting your loved ones know you are safe??!!! Aahh. Seriously, though, last time I went across the Atlantic 10 years ago I had no way of letting people know we were OK even though we were taking 10 days longer than anticipated, so it is peace of mind for all, and hopefully brownie points for me.
And I passed the exam which means I have infinitely more wisdom regarding radio communication than I did a month ago. I have also been promoted from scrubber to communications officer. No change in conditions or pay unfortunately. I'm now in Greece, but the blog's getting a bit long and Mr Shah warned me to keep them short, so more about the boat in the next entry!
So, we arrived in the UK, and have had a wonderful couple of weeks meeting up with as many UK friends as possible before heading off to Greece [for those who didn't know, boat unavailable until end of this month, so our trip starts in Greece, rather than Mark sailing it back to Jersey and starting there]
Overnight ferry was great as we had a good night's sleep before breakfast with the Haywards and lunch with the Denyers. Camping and custard fights the order of the week before heading off to Atlantic College for my [whisper] 20 year reunion. I didn't even swim in the Bristol Channel when I was a student so I don't know what I was trying to prove this time round. Whilst I was in Wales, Mark and the kids hit legoland, before heading down to Haywards Heath to see colleagues, and to meet baby Alexander. Then we went to Ledbury for the Big Chill music festival with Jess and the boys and onwards and upwards to Glasgow. Ruby (our car) was so heavily laden that it was touch and go as to whether we would make it up the hill to Scotland but she did us proud and we are now celebrating Lochy's 6th birthday, before I fly back down to Southampton (bad planning on my part) for my SSB radio course.
08/03/2010, England, UK
It's taken me over a week to update since arriving in the UK - it feels like our feet haven't touched the ground! Leaving Jersey can be summed up as emotional and manic, not necessarily in that order! The kids had all their leaving assemblies, sports days etc and then the day after they broke up we left on the ferry. The state of the house mid-week could probably be judged by the estate agent's comment "and you have [pause to distainfully scan the lounge floor] 2 days before you leave??" my response "well, three, if you count the fact that we are leaving on the 9pm ferry!" But it was touch and go! Even the new owners admitted that they didn't think we would have done it, having visited us 2 days before the off! I'm not sure we could have done it without mum (thank you, Mum!) who took the directions of "charity OR dump OR your attic OR greece OR car" with every thing she waved in front of our noses for the last week magnanimously. It was mid morning when Mark broke it to me that we would probably need two pallets to ship to Greece, rather than the one we were planning. When the cargo man arrived, we were still chucking things on the pallets and wrapping them all up in cling film, including kids' bikes and toys - very precious cargo indeed! When we eventually drove off to the ferry, new owners were waving us off with a smile, despite Mark leaving an electric moped in their garage and asking if they didn't mind dumping it for him! Lochy, having not expressed much emotion either way for the last month, said "I feel a bit sad" which promptly made me cry.....again.
Just want to say to all our Jersey friends and family, thanks for all your support and best wishes and don't forget, there's space on the boat for visitors, so looking forward to hearing from you, love Catherine xxx