We are back in Australia for 6 months to enjoy the summer down under. So where did we leave ITIKI? Well we have left our beloved in the very capable hands of the Karpathakis family at Artemis Leros Boatyard on the northern end of the island of Leros. This small island is part of the Dodecanese group in the eastern Aegean. There is no marina here so all of the boat storage is on the hardstand which is what we wanted this year. It is easier on the boat especially as we are not on board to keep an eye on mooring lines etc. We are also in need of an anti-fouling after a season of heavy growth and hard bottom scrubbing.
The boatyard is a family run business which has become very popular with Aussies and Kiwis and came highly recommended - ITIKI is one of 22 cats lined up in the yard now! Everyone here has been super helpful in organising our stay, receiving the many parcels that we have arranged and scheduling the maintenance work needed over the winter break. As you can see in the video below a great deal of preparation and care goes into ensuring everything is set just right for the lift out process, nothing is left to "luck"! A truly professional team.
Our winterising process this year was pretty similar to last year although this time we divided our list of tasks between those we would do "on the water" and those we would to "on the hard" [Here is this year's winterising checklist] . We decided to wash, dry and stow our sails (with the newly acquired pressure washer) and our desal whilst still on the water. Also did the rig check on-water as this is not permitted on the hardstand, unless you hire a cherry picker!
You are permitted to stay on the boat on the hardstand, but as you can imagine that requires a some forward planning. It was a very strange feeling being on board, walking around on a boat which up so high but also completely still. For the first 24 hrs on land my brain was still convinced we were moving! As ITIKI is up on blocks we access the boat by a step ladder at the transom. This access point needs to be made cat-proof at night, as we learned after finding some footprints of our furry friends on board one morning. Showers and toilets are available nearby as it is not feasible to use the ones on board. At night time a bucket comes in handy if you dont want to negotiate the ladder in the dark. Water and electricity is available to connect to, just as in a marina, however grey water needs to be managed as it cant just go overboard onto the ground. Hoses connected to the outlets make this easier, as you inevitably forget where you are and turn on the tap. If you are preparing food on board you can rely on the roving pack of hungry goats to come by each day to take care of your food scraps for you. There is also a communal BBQ area which is great for farewell parties!
Once we were out of the water, servicing the engines was quite a different process as you don't have access to saltwater cooling when running the engines. We left this to the professionals, as we also need a prop replacement, but the processes involves using hoses for freshwater cooling followed by a rinse in anti-freeze (for winterising) - they won't be put to use until we go back in the water. Some boats leave their anchor and chain on the ground to take the weight out of the bow. This probably makes more sense for a mono where the anchor-well area is normally supported by the water, less so on a cat. Even though the security at Artemis is top notch we decided to return our lovely, shiny Ultra to the anchor-well after washing and drying everything. As per previous year we filled our water tanks (with desal) and diesel tanks to minimise the airspace, limiting potential for bacterial growth. We emptied and cleaned the black-water tanks before lifting out, leaving them dry. We have also filled or covered every hole or gap that might look like a potential home to insects or birds, as well as removing or covering deck fittings and turning blocks to keep the dust out. Of course there was alot of cleaning. I lost track of how many times we washed the boat down, and we cleaned every little nook and cranny! We even removed the transom bumpers to clean out 12 months of accumulated, multi-national slime!
We spent our final 5 nights in a beach-front AirBnB a short drive from the boatyard, and it was good to finish up at the end of the day and walk away, not having to pack up unfinished jobs and climb over stuff to cook a meal. It also meant we had a set time to stop rather than continuing on into the night and wearing ourselves out even more. It was handy to have a rental car during this time too and we did give ourselves a break for a day to explore Leros island a little more. When we were done we could drive ourselves to the ferry port to take the overnight ferry to Piraeus (Athens). Of course we will be doing the whole process in reverse when we head back in the new year to start all over again.
Check out the video below to follow our lift out, which occurred in the middle of the last Wallabies World Cup game (probably a good thing)...
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.