Travels with S/Y Thetis

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S/Y Faneromeni

The S/Y Faneromeni (Φανερωμένη) is a 15 meter traditional wooden Greek caïque of the style known as Perama (Πέραμα). Perama caïques (Περάματα Peramata) were sailing vessels used for transporting cargo between the Greek islands and/or the mainland.

Photograph of Faneromeni

Faneromeni was built in the island of Skiathos in 1945 where she started her life under sails with a small auxiliary engine and a crew of six transporting potatoes and other vegetables between the city of Volos and Skiathos. In her long life she changed many hands and was based in several islands until in the late 1980’s when she was used as a tourist boat rated for 60 passengers in the island of Poros. By that time she had been completely altered: she had lost her masts, had acquired a tall pilot house superstructure and was propelled by a large 120 hp 6 cylinder Kelvin Diesel engine.

My brother Nikos bought her in 1987 and started the painful and time consuming process of restoring her to her original form. He spent over 3 years doing so. He started by old photographs and drawings and by consulting naval architects, museums, and old shipwrights. He found traditional craftsmen, mostly old and retired who had worked in Greek shipyards, most of them before World War II. He stripped the hull and repaired all the woodwork which was in a surprisingly good condition. He outfitted her, as she originally was, a two mast schooner reproducing exactly her original rigging. The masts were made of cypress trees harvested by one of the last marine woodcutters in the island of Lesvos. Following the traditional methods, the trees were cut down on the proper time of the year and then their trunks was kept submerged in the sea for 3 months. It took over a year to build the masts and spars. Nikos wanted to use traditional canvas for the sails, however, that material was not available anymore in Greece. He had to special order the canvas from Francis Webster Spinners-and-Weavers, Scotland. The sails were then made by one of the last surviving traditional sail makers in the Piraeus, while the rigging was worked on by the last surviving rigger of the Greek Navy, who was located in the island of Salamis, well into his 80s. The non traditional pilot house was replaced by three low lying superstructures following the original design. Faneromeni has been declared a national monument, by the Greek ministry of Culture and she is the flagship of the precious few restored traditional caïques in Greece.

While the exterior of Faneromeni is strictly traditional, the interior is modern and very comfortable. She has three compartments. The forecastle is used as a storage room and also houses, in a special compartment, her two chains (over 150 m) for the heavy anchors which are raised by a very substantial electric windlass. The center compartment is used as a living area with two double cabins, each with it own bathroom (sink, head, and shower), a saloon, and a small galley. The aft compartment houses the main engine and a 7.5 kW Diesel ONAN genset. Over the engine there is a small sitting area which is used as a pilot room and houses the navigation instruments: windmeter, depth sounder, knotmeter, GPS/Chart plotter, radar, Navtex, VHF radio, autopilot control, etc. She is also outfitted by large capacity tanks: 1600 L for water, and 1800 L of fuel.

For more details see her dedicated website.