‘Stern-to’ in Sami
We decided to come into the village of Sami to check it out to see if it was a good place to be for our family arriving. We arrived about 5pm on a Saturday evening. Silly mistake!
Firstly Saturday evening means loud music until all hours. (We really are becoming old Gits).
Secondly, afternoon and evening means wind and we are not yet experienced at ‘Med Mooring’.
“The catamaran was coming in on our starboard side and Paul had grabbed an extra fender to protect our boat. The wind was pushing him straight onto us. I grabbed another fender but the cat (boat not 4 legged animal) was flattening them as it came right onto us. ”
Med mooring is backing into position against the quay with your stern against the quay. You have to drop your anchor a fair distance out because that is what is going to hold you and stop you smashing into the concrete quay. Unfortunately the first time we did this our anchor didn’t hold and this is why I know so much! On that occasion we had spent the whole evening trying to keep fenders wedged between the boat and the quay.
We had also subsequently learnt that our anchor was an old design with a bad reputation of landing on its side and only digging in 2 out of 5 times. We had learnt the hard way, but on that first occasion (when our anchor hadn’t held and we were way to close to the quay), the wind had not been too bad and we didn’t have other boats very close so we were able to manage the situation.
So here we are arriving in Sami with the wind blowing us straight into the quay. We had bought a giant bumper fender to go on the aft step to protect us. I was busily fixing it into position when I heard Paul dropping the anchor.
I wasn’t prepared, I like to get all of my ropes ready to throw and after the last experience I would have liked to check the anchor was holding properly before having to throw ropes and secure the stern. But today that was not going to happen. The wind was blowing and we we moving quickly towards the quay. There was a big catamaran on our portside (left going forwards) and a little fishing boat on the starboard side( right side going forwards) …. But we had plenty of room and I ran to the starboard side to throw the rope to the Greek harbour man directing us into position.
My first throw was perfect, we still had lots of space between us and the quay. It was then I realised we still had the dinghy hanging from the davits. It was likely to get bashed against the side. I panicked and shouted to Paul. “It’s ok” he assured me, we want 7 feet between us and land. If the dinghy touches the quay we are too close!
When the starboard line was secure I rushed across to throw the port line. We soon had both secure and Paul could pull in the right amount of anchor so that we were 7 foot from land. Our paserelle is 8 foot long so 7 foot is exactly right. Our dinghy is 5 feet wide so we are perfectly safe with the boat a nice distance away from they very hard concrete quay.
Being right up alongside the town of busy taverna’s, tourists and cats was a bit of a novelty for Lilly. Being the social animal she is, she does like people, she goes nuts if she thinks there is another dog she can play with and she is just about to learn about CATS.
Most of our 6 weeks had been at anchor so we didn’t have constant people, music or other animals nearby. This was going to be a learning curve for us all.
Lilly immediately took up residence on the rear step people watching. And then she saw the cats weaving in and out of the tables. This kept her entertained for hours. The amused Taverna customers were highly entertained by this seemingly contented dog sitting on watch for hours. She became a favourite tourist attraction.
Luckily our part of town was not the party side and we weren’t disturbed by Greek dancing and plate throwing all night. We had a restful night, me dreaming about the new anchor we had ordered, and Paul planning new electronics or steering systems or whatever it is blokes dream about.
The next day was the most terrifying experience so far! It began peacefully enough, I had decided to get my paints out and paint the map of where we had been so far, Paul was fixing some mini fenders to the underside of the passerelle to protect the dinghy whilst in transit. The afternoon wind was beginning to fill. All of a sudden we heard shouting and running up and down on the quay.
Boats were racing up and down in front of us. When I say racing I mean traveling at a speed that is not sensible in a harbour full of boats. The harbour man was trying to attract their attention and guide then gently in to position …. Next to us!
“I might need you”. I hear Paul cry from the deck. “Ok, just coming” I put the paints down and went up on deck. There were multiple boats trying to come in on all sides. The wind was blowing them sideways, one was in a catamaran on his own, (I mean one person on board) the monohull on the otherside had the whole crew wandering around not knowing what to do with their boat at all.
The catamaran was coming in on our starboard side and Paul had grabbed an extra fender to protect our boat. The wind was pushing him straight onto us. I grabbed another fender but the cat (boat not 4 legged animal) was flattening them as it came right onto us. The Captain had left the helm and was trying to throw a rope to the shore. He threw it to a passerby but they didn’t know what to do with it. I jumped onto the quay to help. I needed his starboard ropes to pull his boat off ours. He tried to throw the rope but it fell short, into the water. I just lay down on the pavement and reached into the water for it. (the guys having cocktails behind me found this very amusing). I looped both ropes and threw them back onto the boat. He secured the ropes but still his boat was pushing ours. This is when I noticed another boat trying to come in the other side but had been swept sideways between us and the next boat on the port side.
I ran over to help them, the harbour man had jumped onto the boat to take control of the wheel. The crew seemed to be on the quay but unable to understand his instructions. Fender here … means move a fender and do it fast … this is an instruction I don’t need to hear twice. I undid their fenders and passed them to the helpless crew saying there … put it there….
I was most impressed by the harbour man, he had a hell of a job to get the boat out of the gap, get them to drop the anchor in the right place and get the boat positioned properly but he did it. I went back to help the catamaran and found Paul onboard our new neighbours boat helping to secure another rope from the front of the boat to try and move it back away from ours. He threw me the rope and I looped it around a cleat and threw it back. My throwing has vastly improved since living out here! Paul was able to tighten and secure the front mooring rope and eventually we had a foot between us and our new neighbours.
We sustained a bit of damage to the front of our boat but we agreed not to create a fuss in the hope that one day, if ever the same happens to us, the people will be helpful and not judgemental.
I would like to say that was it but in actual fact another boat had just arrived and was now sideways next to our neighbour on the portside …. This fiasco went on for hours! The harbour men really earns their keep!
Our previous lesson was now embedded in our memories. If you want to arrive at a town quay, arrive before the afternoon sea breeze fills. We then realised that actually we hadn’t done so bad the previous day, we certainly hadn’t disgraced ourselves. We could see that both boats that blew sideways on had anchors that hadn’t held. We knew we had to replace our anchor sooner rather than later.
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