Day five of seven: Sailing out from Athens with The Moorings on a Leopard 3900 Catamaran
Wednesday Poros to Russian Bay to Epidavros
When motoring out of Poros you can’t emotionally go faster than 2 knots because the view of the town is so fantastic, especially the iconic clock tower.
Here are some more sights around Poros. Click the arrows to run through the slide show.
We motored over to Russian Bay – named because it was the headquarters of the Russian Navy when they help Greece fight and gain their independence from the Ottoman empire in the Greek War of Independence from 1821 to 1832. The decisive battle was near Hydra where the allied force of Russia, Britian, and France defeated the Ottomans.
After an ice cold 11am brewski and a quick history lesson from the local kebarb stand lady on shore at Russian Bay we had a quick dip in the water to liven up the skin follicles.
We set sail for Epidavros out through a cut. This was the absolute best sail of the week. The wind cranked up to 18 knots out of the east and we did a beam reach around the peninsula of Khersonisos Methanon then down to series of deep broad reaches into Epidavros Habor.
This was about a 5 hour sail. We hesitated a little at today’s destination because the harbor is open to the east. So I checked one of my favorite wind Apps, PocketGRiB which indicated that the wind was veering southerly – ok, this means the harbor would be sheltered at night – safe.
On the deep broad reaches the crew were asking why can’t we just head dead downwind to the port. It was a great opportunity to explain the difference between VMG and VMC. Crew member Dave is an ex Air Force Navigator so the initial difficulty is trying to understand that an airplane can just point to where it wants to go with the same airspeed what ever direction. Since a boat uses the wind to propel itself it must point in the most efficient direction. In an airplane VMG is velocity made good. It is the speed that you are approaching your destination taking into account your slippage off course due to wind. Sailboat also have VMG which is the slippage off course due to current – same thing. VMC however, is Velocity Made good on Course. Here is how that works: Your boat goes fast with apparent wind over the sails. When you head dead down wind your apparent wind is the true wind speed minus your boat speed. This is the speed of the wind propelling your boat. As you turn up to a deep broad reach you start to pick up apparent wind and so your boat goes faster. But you are off your desired angle. So you are balancing being off angle with faster boat speed against heading towards your target with lower boat speed. At some point the optimum is reached which is usually around 150 degrees off the wind. Oh well – it made for a great discussion to pass the time.
In the harbor, the wind and thus waves we still easterly and so our Med mooring was to be backing almost dead down wind with slight cross wind about 15 degrees on the starboard. Easy peasy now with my expertly trained crew.
We prepared a starboard midships spring line and two stern lines all coiled ready to throw. Then we simply set the anchor about 5 boat lengths out then backed up into the slip. At about 1 boat length out I set the throttles in idle reverse and handed boat control to the anchorman. He allowed the boat to ease back on the anchor letting out 1 meter at a time. We set the midships windward spring first to hold us then the aft dock lines. Once the aft dock lines were set with a 1 meter gap from the stern to the quay, we tightened up on the anchor. Done! Next door the boat full of Russians visiting Greece for sailing training were quite impressed.
The key to any operation on a boat is preparation, crew briefing and understanding the potential negative variables. In addition when things start to go haywire like a line getting tangled, as the skipper you can not start yelling. The most you can do is to say “if you could do that a bit quicker, that’d be great”. Do that and you’ve increased your success ten fold.
We all went for a walking tour of the town except Sam On-The-Rocks who, while sitting on the back of the boat was given a small sword fish by our local fisherman neighbors. Wow – amazing. He tried to offer money but they refused. As soon as we found this out we went to the grocery to pick up some garlic. Swordfish is particularly amazing when it is flash pan fried with butter and garlic. If you think the fish is still too raw and needs more cooking, that’s the time to get it out of the pan. Raw on the inside and slightly cooked on the outside. On man yum.