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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here


Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook








The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.


Rosie & Brian - 17 - More Greece

We follow Rose & Brian on their live-aboard cruise.  It's now over a year since they left Anglsey, and they've been across the Med to Greece and are now returning to Tunisia....   

DelphiMethana turned out to be a favourite harbour to which we returned after our visit to Andros.  Favourite harbours have four attributes for us:  Electricity on the quay, proximity to shops and tavernas, wifi we can get on the boat, and lastly access to water.  Each of these gives us a small luxury, and all together they make life a lot easier.

Early August saw us starting off to Andros from Methana to meet my sister after seeing our Norwegian friends and having dinner with them.  We spent a few days at anchor in Ormos Anavissou while waiting for favourable weather then passed the wonderful temple on the headland at Sounio and stopped off at Olympic Marina at Lavrio to collect a package sent from the UK.  On our way past the temple a small tanker overtook us very slowly and also seemed to be sightseeing!

Greek TheatreArriving in Gavrion, Andros on the planned date, we managed to find a good spot in the small harbour to tie up alongside.  A fisherwoman attached to a boat closeby was very helpful advising in sign language that we should tie up very securely and supervised until she was happy!  My sister and husband arrived the next morning and we collected the hire car she had booked.  The car hire proprietor (who spends the winters in London, living close by my sister!) was very helpful too, and found one of the ferry dock workers who would keep an eye on our boat while we were away.  The harbour is not the most sheltered and the ferries that ply in and out, docking only yards from the boat, make quite a swell as well. Too Close!

We spent four nights on land revelling in rock solid square beds and being able to retreat from the strong meltemi winds!  Towards the end of our stay we arranged to take family and friend out for a day sail which was very pleasant.  However on our return our place had been taken by a large motor yacht and we were forced to tie up even closer to the ferries against very unforgiving tyres with metal stakes sticking up from them!  The swell here was so bad, especially when the big catamaran came in, we could not leave the boat again so stayed on board until the meltemi died down a bit before heading back to Lavrio – the town harbour this time.  Here we had an unfortunate lack of cooperation about where we could tie up as we needed to stay over the weekend which was charter boat changeover day.  In retrospect both of us agreed that we should not allow ourselves to be bullied by harbour staff!  We needed to stay there as Brian had to fly back to the UK for a few days and it was a safe and relatively (for the coast near Athens and the airport) cheap place. 

On his return we left as soon as we could, returning to our old favourite Methana, safe in the calm of the Saronic Gulf!  Plans to visit a few more islands in the Cyclades were abandoned as the Meltemi continued to howl down the east coast and islands.  Instead we took the ferry from Methana to Poros (much faster than sailing!) and hired a car for a couple of days.  We explored more of the coast and drove up through the volcanos on Methana isthmus, ventured along dirt roads with amazing views down to the sea and across the bays, loaded up with more supplies from supermarkets and so on.  On the other days we cleaned the boat, tidied up and Brian perfected the gangplank trapeze, with an idea copied from a motor yacht tied up next to us.  A quayside concert kept us amused one evening too as they were sprayed by the waves beating against the dock.

Patras Suspension BridgeTowards the end of our stay in Methana, we encountered the yachties’ nightmare – a rat on the boat!  A battle ensued in the middle of the night – especially when it decided to have a go at my breakfast treats of chocolate croissants! In the end it must have jumped ashore as the rat trap purchased the next day and baited with tasty Greek sausage failed to catch anything.  With so many lines ashore it is difficult to put preventors on everything, so we are fortunate that it has only happened the once so far. 

From Methana we sailed to Aigina where we met with Islay Mist again (last seen in La Coruna), sailed with them to Epidavros, then back to Aigina to collect our last visitor flying in to Athens.  We chose Aigina as it has frequent ferries to Piraeus, saving us the slog into and out of Zea marina to quieter cruising grounds.  Aigina was fun although very busy, with a pistachio festival at one stage.  A few more days were spent in Epidavros to visit the ancient greek theatre again, then back to Aigina and after that our lives were our own again.

Around this time as well we initially thought that some clear oily residue in the engine bilge which we keep emptying due to a drip from the seawaterTrapeze pump was just overflow from topping up the oil.  However the next week or two revealed that we have a small leak in the diesel injector pump (about 100ml an hour).  A few days of investigation and input from several other people have finally identified the source.  The pump is in a very difficult location beneath the heat exchanger so watching large men contort themselves in a small space in the aft cabin to peer at it has been amusing!  I finally managed to download a few forum discussion threads on this topic and we found the advice from Richard Idiens on putting talcum powder on the pump to identify the source.  Thanks Richard!  The leak we think is just from the nut on the bottom of the pump, but it won’t tighten up any more. One benefit of the hours spent with Brian’s head in the engine is that he discovered the exhaust manifold was a bit loose, so that has been tightened up and the engine is somewhat quieter now!

While staying in Aigina we thought we might get some spare parts, perhaps advice for the fuel leak and also replace the seawater pump as we had easy access to Athens.  However the quotation for the seawater pump from the Perkins dealer in Athens was silly money.  We are heading for Malta on our way back to Tunisia for the winter, got a quote from the dealer there and that was much more reasonable.  So we will have to cope with leaks and hope we can sail rather than motor as much as possible – even if it takes a few more hours. 

Corinth CanalSince Aegina we fought through the Corinth Canal against current and wind (very impressive) sought shelter in Kiato harbour (nicer than indicated in the Pilot book), stayed in Itea and visited Delphi, then headed under the huge suspension bridge (also very impressive) to Patras where it started getting quite cool and finally blew back with an east wind to our favourite haunt in the Ionian – Agia Effimia – where it is raining!  Having thought we might head straight for Malta the wind seems to be turning to the west, so a quick revision of the route means that we may retrace our steps of the spring, meet up with friends on Rampage who are in Corfu, then skirt around the south coast of Italy and Sicily.

Hopefully we will see our Norwegian friends on Nocturne in Malta, carry out the engine repairs and perhaps a bit of engine and bilge steam cleaning, and then continue to Monastir to get Alixora taken out of the water for some much needed antifouling, replace a couple of sea cocks and carry out a few bodywork repairs too.  So that’s our next few months taken care of I suspect!  No more lazing around in hot sunshine I fear until we get to Tunisia.


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