Cruising in Greece

Sailing TB from the Villaine River in 2009 and now cruising Greece in 2011.

Vessel Name: Tobin Bronze
Vessel Make/Model: 35ft cold moulded plywood sloop
Hailing Port: Bristol
Crew: Peter and Judy Ward
Launched in 1985. After one year sailing in the Bristol Channel, TB has been sailed for 17,700 plus miles by Peter, Judy, Charlotte, Ben and Sofie - firstly based in Dartmouth and then in South Brittany. [...]
03 July 2016 | Agmar Marine Boatyard. Partheni, Island of Leros
30 October 2015
01 October 2014 | Kilada to Orei
25 November 2013
19 July 2013
26 June 2013 | Koilada
01 December 2012
01 November 2012 | Koilada
29 September 2011
10 September 2011
15 June 2011 | British Columbia, Canada
20 August 2010 | Ria de Vigo
28 October 2009 | Cangas
17 September 2009
Recent Blog Posts
21 June 2017

Dodecanese Islands - Spring 2017

Judy and I arrived back at Leros airport at 08:15hrs on Wed 10 May 2017. We had a three and a half hour wait at Athens for the small commuter plane to Leros. A long wait but we enjoyed the views of various islands on the one hour flight to Leros. The boatyard had arranged for a hire car to be waiting [...]

03 July 2016 | Agmar Marine Boatyard. Partheni, Island of Leros

Orei to Leros, Summer 2016

Judy and I returned to Greece on 17 April 2016. Sofie and one year old Edith met up with us at Heathrow and we flew off together. We picked up a hire car at Athens airport and drove to Orei on Evia Island, crossing on the Arkitsas to Edipsos ferry.

01 October 2014 | Kilada to Orei

Summer 2014

19 July 2013

An Island Too Far.

For the first trip of the summer, I planned a nice little cruise down the west side of the Argolic Gulf, past Cape Maleas to north west Crete and along the coast to Iraklion. We were to meet up with Kevin and Lesley there and then continue the loop back to Koilada via Thira (Santorini) and Milos in the [...]

Palermo, Sicily to Messolonghi, Greece.

25 October 2011
After a crew change in Palermo a few days later with Chris heading back home and Roger E. comimg onboard, we cruised down along the north coast of Sicily and then headed north east to the Aeolian Islands. We first went to the island, Filicudi, where the anchorage was too exposed to anchor. The next island was Isle Salina where we tied up alonside the town quay at Rinella at 18:45hrs Thursday 29 Sept. To say it was pretty quiet is an understatement. The two restaurants were closed, the bar was closed and the Tabac closed at 20:30hrs. Definitely peaceful.

Rinella, Isle Salina
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Aeolian Islands'.

The next morning we motored around to Santa Maria Salina in hot still conditions. The marina was pretty empty but when we were charged 80 Euros for one night you can understand why. It was the same in Mahon - greatly overpriced; so very few boats actually go there. Similar story at the port on the island of Lipari. Lots of empty pontoons and no boats. We did not even bother stopping to check the price as it has a reputation for being expensive.

We continued on to the wonderful free anchorage at Porto Di Ponenta on the west side of the island of Vulcano. After a swim in beautiful clear water we lazed in the cockpit watching the steam rising from the dormant volcano crater on the top of the mountain. The next afternoon, Roger and I walked up the volcano and around the lip of the crater. A great walk with stunning views but hard work in the loose ash.

Porto di Ponenta.
Anchorage at Porto Di Ponenta, Vulcano.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Aeolian Islands'.

On the rim at Volcano.
Through the smoke and fumes on the crater rim.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Aeolian Islands'.

On the following day, Monday 03 October, we motored across to the island of Stromboli and picked up a mooring off the town. We had gone up the west coast observing the volcano erupting every 10 to 15 minutes. After dark for several hours from the boat, we watched groups of walkers carrying flashlights coming down the track from the volcano summit. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time or proper hiking gear for us to stay another day and go up ourselves.

At 05:00hrs before sunrise the next day, we motored around to the west side to see the volcano in the dark. What an incredible sight! Great emissions of moltern rock shooting in the air and then the glowing rocks rolling 926 metres down the ash slope into the sea. It was really an amazing spectacle and definitely the highlight of the trip so far.

Follow this link ti find out more about the volcano.

The following week was pretty much of a slog as we mainly motored in hot windless conditions through the Strait of Messina and around the southern end of mainland Italy. We stopped overnight at Reggio Calabria and Rocella Ionica. They both can be best described as stops of convenience.

The crossing across from Rocella Ionica to Zakinthos was 205nM. There was a thundery front stretching from Corfu in the north to Libya in the south; so we kept a good look out as great black clouds tracked all around us. We had good sailing most of the time after departing at 15:00hrs on Thursday. Around lunch time on Friday we caught one short squall of 30 knots which had us rolling in the genoa in a hurry but half an hour later we were back under full sail. The crossing took us 36 hours.

Storm clouds.
One of many dirty black clouds tracking around us.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Arrival in Greece.'.

We anchored at Ay Nikolas at 02:45hrs on Saturday 08 October. The place was deserted and I am sure that no-one was awake to see us arrive. The weather had a definite autumn feel by now. Cooler at night, more unsettled, the majority of the tourists gone and the summer tourist boats being pulled out of the water.

Ay Nikolas.
The quay at Ay Nikolas.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Arrival in Greece.'.

Later on that morning I discovered that a bolt had sheared in the valve rocker gear on the engine. This totally disabled the engine. It was a week before we were able to get it fixed but during that time we had a couple of close shaves as strong onshore winds turned the bay into a dangerous lee shore. Dimitri whose family run tourist day tripper boats to the nearby Blue Caves twice came to our rescue in the early hours of the morning to tow use out of a potentially disastrous situation.

The weather had well and truely broken by now with thunderstorms and strong winds becoming more frequent.

Roger departed as planned on Tuesday 11 October leaving Woody and me to get the boat to Porto Heli.

By Saturday, the engine still had not been repaired and the forecast was for strong winds up to gale force from the NE which would make Ay Nikolas a bit of a death trap - especially for a boat with no engine. We could not afford to wait any longer for the mechanic so Woody and I sailed TB off the mooring and sailed in winds of 20 to 25 knots down along the coast to the Port at Zakinthos town. It was very rough and very wet. We sailed into the port in a blinding rain squall and anchored just off the quay. We rowed a long warp ashore and pulled TB stern to the quay. And breathed a big sigh of relief!

Inside Zakinthos Harbour.
Click here for link to larger image in PhotoAlbum 'Arrival in Greece.'.

We contacted the mechanic who came along in the late afternoon with the repaired cylinder head and new head gasket and he re-assembled the engine. A few hours later, the wind picked up to 25 knots blowing straight onto the quay. So we had to run the engine in gear to lessen the strain on the anchoe and hold us off the quay.

Just before midnight the wind dropped and within 30 minutes started blowing from the complete opposite direction at 25 to 30 knots. This was no problem as it was now blowing off the quay. The wind continued to blow for the next two days.

Because of the delays with the engine and the bad weather, we did not have enough time to go the last 125 miles to Porto Heli. In a change of plan, the marina at Messolonghi which was only 20 miles away in the Gulf of Patras agreed to store TB for the winter.

We sailed from Zakimthos harbour on Tuesday 18 October in perfect visibility, practically no wind and a calm sea heading towards Messologhi. The autopilot did the steering and we sat in the sunshine taking it easy. After the experiences of the previous week, it was very relaxing. We moored stern-to in the new marina at Messolonghi by 16:00hrs. The trip covered 1424 nautical miles from Cartagena and a total of 1941nM from Faro.

A couple of days later Tobin Bronze was lifted out of the water, laid up with covers on and secured for the winter. After a three and a hour hour bus ride to Athens, I flew back to London while Woody headed off to Singapore and then to Auckland.
Tobin Bronze's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 3 of 3
Tobin Bronze going out in the 1967 Melbourne Cup.
Sept 2017. Dodecanese Islands
17 Photos
Created 20 October 2017
Dodecanese Islands
23 Photos
Created 24 June 2017
Cruising from Orei. Evia to Leros in the Dodcanese in May, June
18 Photos
Created 30 October 2016
Launch from Orei, sail north to Thessaloniki, around the Khalkidhiki paninsula and Mt Athos to Nea Peramos.
17 Photos
Created 14 December 2015
22 Photos
Created 15 October 2014
Re-launch in Kilada to Orei, Evia in early July
16 Photos
Created 22 July 2014
13 Photos
Created 18 May 2014
A late summer cruise to the northern Cyclades
18 Photos
Created 20 January 2014
Cruise to Crete
11 Photos
Created 19 July 2013
Visits to Koilada May & june 2013
11 Photos
Created 9 June 2013
From Kalamata to the Argolic Gulf in July 2012
57 Photos
Created 12 January 2013
From Messolonghi to Kalamata May 2012
45 Photos
Created 10 January 2013
Italy to Zakinthos and Messolonghi
15 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Lipari, Vulcano and Stromboli - three of the Aeolian Islands
30 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sardinia and Sicily Sept 2011
19 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing from Cartagena to Sardinia
24 Photos
Created 24 November 2011
Sailing TB from Faro to Cartagena in June and July 2011
64 Photos
Created 9 August 2011
Sailing on John's boat 'Derby Lass'
20 Photos
Created 6 August 2011
Delivery trip with Woody from Vigo to Lisbon when John Q. met us. Then to Ohao where Judy replaced John for a trip up the Guardina River.
41 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
June - July in the Rias Baixas, Galicia
26 Photos
Created 8 August 2010
Six days on the "Dunmow Flitch" between Braunston and Market Harborough in April 2010.
26 Photos
Created 1 June 2010
Lay up for winter in Cangas
17 Photos
Created 27 October 2009
Newport R.I.,Cuttyhunk Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
48 Photos
Created 17 September 2009
Highlights of the trip from Viveiro to Ria de Vigo.
34 Photos
Created 2 August 2009
Hugh pod of dolphins encountered 10:30hrs 04 June at approx 44º24'N; 006º32'W
18 Photos
Created 23 June 2009
Between 02 June and 04 June 2009 from La Roche Bernard to Ribadeo in Galicia, Spain
11 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 18 June 2009
Port de Foleux is about 15 miles up the Villaine River, 6 miles upstream from La Roche Bernard
4 Photos
Created 18 June 2009