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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’s Big Adventure Part 19 - Winter 2012

Still Sailing!

A surprise email from Richard  - did we have any more updates for the Sailers website? We had renewed contact through the Cruising Association forum when I asked for advice on getting into Rhodes Mandraki harbour where we were to collect my sister and her husband for a 2 week cruise.  We joined the CA earlier this year after being encouraged to do so by many of our cruising friends, and I have to say it has been useful.  Not only did I get good advice for Rhodes (where we did managed to get a place) but also some of the discounts applied to a few of the marinas we have visited this year.  So long as you remember to get your CA membership card out when registering!

So what have we done since winter 2011? Having had a good time in Tunisia, ending up in Monastir for the requisite bottom cleaning and antifouling (carried out by the harbour workers) we headed back to Malta in early April.  There, during a routine check of the standing rigging in order to assure Pantaenius of its seaworthiness, a serious crack in the welding of the top plate to the mast was found. We decided to get all the rigging renewed to comply with insurance requirements as the mast had to come off anyway.  A place at the Manoel Island Yacht Yard was booked and over the next week or two all the work was completed.  We were somewhat intrigued to find that the mast was only held in place on a plastic plate by the rigging – not bolted somehow to the support that goes through the saloon!  Yes we are still amateurs at this boat stuff.  It was a good thing that we had taken off the sails for cleaning and repair in Monastir – at least we knew how to do that the second time around!

Having spent more time than we had anticipated in Malta we plotted a course directly to Greece, taking just under 3 days to get to Kephalonia.  We booked in at Sami, moving on to our favourite harbour at Agia Ephemia the next day – feeling surprisingly fit.  Our watch routine for the overnight trips has now settled down to taking 41/2 hours each – 9pm to 1.30am to 6am.  This really helps each of us get a reasonable night’s snooze.  If it is just one night I usually take the 2nd watch as I can easily drop off at 9pm!  This of course assumes warm climates – it would be harder to manage if it was cold and wet.  The daytime watches run at 3 hours each – thus we switch watches on alternate nights/days.  I have to say that on the shorter trips we are not very good at going off watch during the day!

This was to be our last overnight trip for the next year – since then we have managed to get around in one day hops.  Our target that summer was to get to northern Greece and hire a car for a few weeks during the hottest season.  This entailed heading through the Patras/Korinth bays where we bent our pulpit while manoeuvering into a tight spot in Patras harbour, hit bad weather going under the big bridge fighting 25kts on the nose (of course), getting pinned to the harbour wall in northerlies at Trizonia so we couldn’t leave, getting our anchor stuck on mooring cables or boulders in Karavon/Aliverion (twice), and losing the anchor windlass handle in Patitirion!   However we loved Orei with its stone bull in a glass case and admired the temple at Sounio yet again (while being overtaken rather closely by a small tanker which also seemed to be taking in the sights!

Finally we ended up in Sani marina – a rather souless but upmarket holiday resort close to Thessaloniki where we hired a car for our trip to the lakes near the Bulgarian border. The wildlife up there was amazing and we had a great “holiday”. Then back to Alixora and on the way picked up a new anchor windlass (the old Goiot one had reached a toothless state of old age!).  Brian spent a couple of days fitting that while I lounged by the swimming pool.  Finally we headed east yet again, having decided to try out Turkey for our winter sojourn.  On the way we met Brian’s sister and our neice in Lesvos for a week’s break, finding a “favourite” harbour there – Plomari. On our way there we had a roller coaster, helter skelter ride from Lemnos with great wind but rather bumpy!

Rounding the south coast of Lesvos we hit some very bad water which turned our dinghy over (it stays in the water behind us as there is no room for it on deck) and tore out the towing loops.  Amazingly there was a Plastimo dealer in Mitilini, who sent it off to Athens while we pottered around with Chris and Emma, and it was ready for us when we returned.

The next couple of months we toured the Greek islands to the south, finding more lovely spots (Emborio bay on Kalimnos was one) until we ended up at Tilos ready to head to Turkey and sign in at Datça.

After checking out the marinas around the south coast we thought Kaş sounded good and was recommended by a contact though the YBW forums and that was where we headed to arrive in early November.  The town is great and has a lively ex-pat community that made up for the fact that we were virtually the only liveaboards in the marina that winter (and this it seems).  A weekly market is fascinating and the town has almost everything you need, apart from a dearth of chandleries!  The marina is new so facilities are still shiny and very smart.  The groundsmen and harbour staff outnumber the residents considerably! 

We hired a car and spent a number of days visiting the many ruins around this area.  The Lycian Way runs through Kaş and we joined a group for Sunday walks which took us to places we would never have found otherwise.  In January we headed inland to visit other fascinating sites including Cappadocia – Turkey is a huge country and has so much to see.

All too soon it was March and time to lift out Alixora for cleaning and antifouling.  This was our first experience of doing it ourselves! Very messy, but certainly worthwhile to fix the faults ignored by harbour people doing it for you.  By March a few more people had returned from their winter places and we had quite a good social scene going.  Next March we will have a comparison of the performance of the various anti-foul products – we all used different ones.

In spring 2012 we ran back up the Turkish coast, then headed to Greece when our visa ran out.  A lot of angst was reduced when the government decided that they would allow yachties to use the Transit Log as proof of residence and take out a longer term temporary residents permit.  This meant that we could return to Kaş for a second winter. We will explore this process in a couple of weeks – and have even taken advantage of discounts to book next winter here too! 

The cruising this year has been much more relaxed – no overnight trips – and took us back to the Northern Sporades that we had touched on last year, then back to Samos for our annual visit from Chris.  A computer fritz there held us in place for a month – fortunately in another “favourite” harbour (Pythagorio) while equipment was sent off for repair to Athens yet again.  The casualties included the security dongle for our navigation software (SeaPro) which took a month to be returned, replaced and sent back to us!   It is fatal to be in one place with good chandlers – temptation was too much and we managed to acquire a Rocna anchor to replace the rather ineffective  and too light CQR.

Finally we collected my sister and her husband for a couple of weeks cruising the Bozburun and Gocek areas, trying to teach them a few of the basics of sailing!  Avoiding other sailors who had a tenuous grasp of the Rules of the Road in Gocek Bay was a bit hair raising!  The welcoming Turkish bay restaurants with private pontoons are an amazing idea and make cruising this area a great pleasure. We spent a couple more weeks in the Gocek bay then headed back to Kaş, with a quick detour to Kekova in the last days of cruising weather.  Our list of winter jobs is lengthening, but there is plenty of time isn’t there……?

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