We left the little bay in Lavrion just before 13h00 having researched the locations in the area to work out where we could hide out from the meltemi on it’s way in. Where we were was too open and rolly – and although the weather today looks dodgy if we don’t move then we’ll be stuck here for days. It was raining this morning so we held off for a bit waiting to see what happened – then decided to go at lunchtime.
We were heading north of course …. into the wind. The plan was to clear the small island of Makronisos then take a straight line course to the bay of Karystos, on the southern tip of Evvoia – we expected this to be reasonably protected from the NE and NW winds which would be blowing over the next few days.
We set of under engine – and were battling nose into the wind for the first few hours and with heavy seas. We were travelling alongside a very annoying racing yacht who was of course under sail but was having to tack tack tack across the bay – sailors will understand this, but for non-sailers this means zig-zagging backwards and forwards as it’s the only way you can sail into the wind. He was extreme – his rudder was out of the water, and he was almost on broach point on numerous occasions into the 14-15 knot winds – I wouldn’t like to think what his heel angle was but he really didn’t seem in control at all. Having to give way to him several times (as we were on engine and he was sailing, so he had right of way …. grrrrr), he finally took off on a long tack towards the mainland and that was the last we saw of him.
We finally changed course at the top of Makronisos and were able to take a slightly better angle on the wind and the waves – we hoisted the genoa on the 2nd reef for stability but kept the engine running, motorsailing close hauled for several hours. It was tipping down with rain – and the sea was kicking up with spray into the cockpit – a very unpleasant journey. It was raining all the way on and off with horrendous waves of 2.5m-3m but hardly any wind – very odd …. ! All we could imagine was this sea state was coming from further up in the Aegean where the meltemi had already set in – we had seen this enough times last year.
We were both freezing and wet – our sailing jackets went on, with even thick jumpers underneath and I put socks and shoes on to save my feet freezing in the water that was swilling around the cockpit. Is this what Med sailing is about? I didn’t think so!
Around 17h00, the waves luckily started to decrease and the wind was almost flat – the rain was down to a drizzle here and there. We both got changed and tried to dry out as we approached Karystos. We dropped the anchor at around 18h30 outside the harbour in the bay – Karystos is a pretty good place for sheltering from the meltemi – although it’s a big bay so a reasonable amount of water in front of you to get kicked up. At the entrance to the bay, there is an official ships anchorage so there were a few large boats there. We didn’t venture into the town itself or into the harbour – there is a town quay there where several yachts were headed but we decided as usual to just lay at anchor away from everyone else. Karystos has a cool live-cam on it’s website in English where you can see yourself at anchor as long as you’re not too far out – of course it also gives all the information about what is happening in town.
We’ll be sitting the meltemi out here and catching up on work for a couple of days!