Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2020: Leros to Samos

This web page contains the logs of a 5 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed from Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was launched, to Samos Marina via Archangelos near Leros, Papandria in Lipsi, Marathi, and Mycale in Samos.

The logs include either some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited or links to these descriptions. Also included are links to other related web sites.

Route to Samos from Leros

Wednesday July 22, 2020, Day 1

Today was the day that Thetis was scheduled to be launched. In preparation I secured the 2 Diesel jerry cans on deck. I also put out the fenders and docking lines and was ready for the travel-lift.

In the mean time, after I had call them, they came to pickup the rented car. The charge was 25 €/day.

Thetis on Travel Lift
Thetis to be launched on the Travel Lift

When the travel-lift came I disconnected the AC and returned the extension and key to the office. They raised Thetis and re-painted the places where she was supported. Then they moved her slowly to the launching “pool”. She was launched at 1145. Nicolas brought the dinghy and launched her behind Thetis.

Like all the other years I asked the travel lift operators, Dimitris and his assistant Nicolas, to help me install the large headsail. This task needs at least 2 people. It was very windy, 15 - 25 knots from the N and as the sail was raised, the boat facing downwind, it was flapping wildly. When the sail was up we started unwinding the roller reefing dram to wind the sail. Unfortunately another line, that we had forgotten, was caught in the sail as it was being wound. We had to unwind the sail and lower it to free this line. We raised it again and once more started rolling it in by unwinding the roller reefing dram but when the sail was wound ¾ of the way the reefing line got stuck and we could not unwind it any further. Nicolas pulled it using the winch but the line and a pulley broke. We, once again, unrolled the sail and lashed it on the deck. We asked the yard to send somebody to help with the mess. They sent the rigger Marko who works as an outside contractor.

We decided to relocate the boat from inside the launching “pool” to its outside, this time bringing her side-to but with her mast and sail facing up wind this time. I started the motor. It started right away and plenty of cooling water was discharged from her exhaust. But there was no charging current from the alternator. The electrician was called. In the mean time, I maneuvered the boat and came side-to with her stern facing the wind. Dimitris, Nicolas and Marko helped with the line and Thetis was secured.

The electrician came and Marko left to return and deal with the roller reefing in about an hour. After a while the electrician located a loose contact near the control panel and the charging problem was fixed. I went to the chandlery and got a new replacement line for the roller reefing drum but they did not have any pulleys.

After Marko returned he managed to remove the stuck reefing line from the drum and replaced it with the new one. He and I then raised, once again, the headsail and rolled it without any trouble by unwinding the reefing line from the drum. So Thetis was finally ready to go.

Marko then helped me with the docking lines and I cast off. The time was 1640, almost 5 hours since the boat was launched. I motored slowly towing the dinghy the 1.6 M to the lovely anchorage of Archangelos [37° 11.8' N 26° 46.4' E]. The time was 1703. I anchored in 5 m depth letting out over 25 m of chain. Also, I snubbed the chain with a stretch line and reversed violently. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand.

I then tried to start the outboard. It did not even make a cough. But when I opened its valve from the small fuel tank to its carburetor plenty of fuel spilled into the sea. No mater what I did the outboard would not start.

Later I changed clothes, had a little ouzo, and got into the dinghy and started rowing upwind aiming to a small pier not too far away. It was hard going and the dinghy drifted to the E. A dinghy from another S/Y came to my rescue and after some difficulty we made it to the small pier. I tied the dinghy and walked E over the rocks the approximately 100 m to the Stigma (Το Στίγμα) taverna for dinner. Mrs. Evrope and Mr. Yiorgos greeted me warmly and were very sorry to hear about the loss of my Aliki.

Mrs. Evrope served me the most delicious stuffed with rice and spices tomatoes cooked in the oven. After this nice meal I was ready to return to Thetis. Their son, Tassos, took me to my dinghy with their motor boat and then towed me to Thetis. I was very tired. The time was past 9:30 and I fell asleep right away.

Thursday July 23, 2020, Day 2

I woke, as I did yesterday, at 3 AM unable to sleep any more. This is due to the 7 hour jet lag and I hope I will adjust soon. I read until 6 and then I made my morning large cup of Turkish coffee.

At 0716 I raised the anchor and motored, towing the dinghy, the 1.6 M back to Partheni [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E]. The wind was 10-15 NNE. I had no trouble catching one of Moor & Dock’s buoy. The time was 0740.

Once again I rowed the dinghy to the side of the “pool”. This time I was rowing with the wind pushing so I had no trouble. I walked to the yard’s gate but it was shut. Fortunately somebody had seen me and came and opened the gate. I walked to the office and told Mastro Michalis and Antonis about my outboard trouble. It turned out that the technician who had serviced it was no longer working in the yard. But before bringing the engine to Thetis no-one had tested it. I should had tested it before leaving Partheni. Michalis called another technician, Yiannis, who went to the “pool” and fetched the outboard.

Yiannis verified the problem and removed the carburetor. He then dismantled it. It was quite dirty inside. He put all of its parts in a solution in an ultra sonic cleaner and ran the cleaner for a while cleaning all the parts. He then resembled the carburetor and installed it back on the outboard. He started the engine and made some adjustments. All this took more than 2 hours.

After he took the outboard to the pool we installed it in the dinghy. I started it right away without any difficulty. Back on Thetis I raised the dinghy on its davits and secured it on its stand on Thetis’s stern.

I cast off at 1040 and motored the 6 M to Papandria [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] in the island of Lipsi. I anchored without any problem in 4.5 m depth with 28 m of chain. The time was 1148. The wind there was about 10 knots NNE and the sea was calm.

In the evening I went ashore with the dinghy and walked the 4 km and almost 40 minutes to the harbor. There I sat in my favorite blue tent Nick & Loulis taverna where I had a small bottle of ouzo with grilled grilled octopus along with several other mezedes (tasty treats). After that I walked to the bakery where I got a small loaf of fresh bread. Every one in the bakery wore a mask. Then I walked back to the dinghy.

By 10 PM I was on my berth falling asleep.

Friday July 24, 2020, Day 3

Once again I woke up early 4 AM, this time better than yesterday’s 3. I read and snoozed until 6 when I made my triple Turkish coffee and sipped it while looking up with my iPad in the internet, via Cosmote, the weather and news (UK, NY Times, and Greek Kathimerini).

I tested the genset. After a few pulls it started so that was not another problem. Then, I raised the dinghy. No problem there but it does take some time, about 20 minutes. At 0910 I raised the anchor and departed. There was one problem. I could not locate the chart plotter’s C-map cartridge for the eastern Mediterranean. As a result the plotter did not show any details. So, I hesitated to take my usual route on the E side of Lipsi because it is narrow passage near a reef. Instead I followed the paper chart and sailed along the longer western route. The wind was 20 - 25 knots from the NE.

We arrived in Marathi (Μαράθι) [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1115 and after 8.2 M. I had considerable difficulty catching what appears to be the only one of Pantelis’ moorings. It was much smaller than the moorings of past years and it had no trailing line. I had to connect a long line from the bow to the middle of Thetis and maneuver so that I could hook the small buoy and pass the line to its top. I then slowly moved it to the bow and passed another line to the thicker loop at the bottom of the buoy. At any rate, I had arrived and the boat was secured.

I lowered the dinghy and went ashore. Pantelis, Katina, and their daughter Toola already knew about the loss of Alice because I did send them an email to that effect in January. There were a lot of hugs and kisses.

Back on Thetis I had my afternoon coffee and continued reading Allison Winn Scotch's Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing. It is a story of a fairly young US senator with a teen age son who is being confronted with her past and her meteoric rise as a young congress woman to a senator who is now thinking of running for president of the US.

There were only 6 S/Ys here other than Thetis and a largish motor cruiser. The people from the cruiser were the only customers at Pantelis. After they finished eating the went back to the cruiser and departed. In the evening a smaller cruiser arrived and docked at Pantelis’ pier. The family from that cruiser went right away to Pantelis for dinner.

After a while I went for dinner also. First I had a small ouzo. Then Katina served me a salad and a sensational and largish grilled fish. A sargos (σαργός-white seabream-sargus diplus). After my delicious meal they all refused any payment. They said it was a treat in honor of Kyria Aliki (Alice).

Back aboard Thetis I went straight to my berth and fell asleep.

Saturday July 25, 2020, Day 4

First thing after my morning coffee taking advantage of the relative calm and the security of the mooring I took down the tent and installed the mainsail. This took almost 1 hour since as I was raising the sail I had to insert on the battens and rig the reefing lines. After the sail was all the way up I pulled in place the lazy jacks and started lowering the sail while folding it on top of the boom. I then covered the sail with the boom cover and I put up the tent since I doubted that I would be doing any serious sailing with the N wind.

We departed from Marathi at 0940. We first motored to the tip of Arki and then set the autopilot for the Mycale, Samos waypoint. For a while we motor-sailed by opening about 40% of the headsail. The wind was not too strong, just 7 - 15 from the N, but there was considerable swell. We were banging and there was plenty of spray. Some water leaked from the starboard side of the fixed plexiglass windows. As we neared Samos the swell subsided.

While we were underway I called with the iPhone the Samos Marina and informed Angela that Thetis will arrive tomorrow morning. She told me that tomorrow Sunday there will be no attendants. But she will call Michalis, the manager, and call me back. After a while she did so and told me to dock in the C14 berth. I also tried to call Aramis rent a car but there was no answer. So, I called Yiannis, who is the Aramis person at the airport, on his mobile phone. He told me to call him back tomorrow after our arrival and he will sent a car. All these irregularities are caused by the complete absence of tourists in Samos due to COVID-19 pandemic.

We arrived in Mycale (Μυκάλη) [37° 42.2' N 26° 58.8' E] at 1440. Distance from Marathi was 26.6 M. I anchored without any problem over sand in about 4 m depth with 25 m of scope. I then lowered the dinghy, snorkeled and checked the anchor and swam for a while.

I started reading Mary L. Trump's Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man an account of Trump’s relations with his family. It does describe that he had been a pathological lier since his boyhood.

In the evening I cooked a ragu with the chopped meat I had bought in Leros, wine, and fresh tomatoes. After it was cooked slowly and was ready I boiled some pasta, ground some Parmezan cheese and ate them with the ragu. For fruit I ate some oranges.

I called our Kalami caretaker Yiorgos and asked him to please come to the marina in the morning and help me moor the boat.

Sunday July 26, 2020, Day 5

After my coffee I raised the dinghy and covered it. I called Yiorgos and arrange to meet in the marina between 8:30 and 9:00. I prepared my luggage for moving to Kalami.

I hanged the fenders and put 2 temporary docking lines in the bow. After raising the anchor and departed Mycale at 0845 motoring the 1.5 M to the marina where we arrived at 0900.

After we entered the marina [37° 41.45' N 26° 57.49' E] I saw Yiorgos. I called him and asked him to go to berth C14 because I could not see the numbers from the water. He did so. And I brought the boat slowly bow-to the berth.

I walked to the bow and tossed the 2 temporary docking lines to Yiorgos. But there were no free mooring lines. Both S/Y left and right to Thetis were using 2 mooring lines although the marina allows the use of one. I climbed on the S/Y to our left and got one of the two stern lines and brought it to Thetis‘ stern.

I then called Aramis’ Yiannis in the airport for the car rental. I brought the small bow ladder and installed it. Then, after climbing ashore I replaced the 2 temporary docking lines with the 2 permanent lines with springs. With the help of Yiorgos I tied the 2 temporary line as spring lines to the cleats in the middle of the boat.

I started bringing my luggage to the bow and handing them to Yiorgos. Soon the Aramis car was brought by Alexis. After signing the paper work I took my purse and followed Yiorgos’ truck with the rest of my luggage all the way to our houses in Kalami.

That is the end of Thetis’ first leg this year.