Successful delivery of ‘Double Scotch’ 43 foot Beneteau
Our flight to Zagreb was delayed so we missed our connection to Split, only arriving in Split on the next available flight at around 10pm. We took a taxi from the airport to Marina Agana, arriving at the boat 10.30pm. Fortunately our third crew member, Marcus had arrived earlier in the day to collect the keys for Double Scotch before the Marina Office closed. I have no idea what we would have done otherwise!
The following day, Thursday, Marcus and Dave walked to the shop to do the victualing whilst I took a taxi to Trogir to the Harbour Master to get clearance to move the boat to Split.
There were some issues with the deflag document being in English but we resolved it and I returned to the boat to prep for delivery.
With the forecast looking very good, we departed for Split, arrived at Split 5.30pm on the customs ferry terminal quay. What ensued at the customs office was more than farcical. I was sent from the customs to the Harbour Master for reasons unknown who in turn, sent me back again to the customs office by which time a change of staff rota had happened so it was all new people who equally didn’t know what to do and so the process started again. This continued for 3 hours. The underlying issue was the debate as to whether we needed a customs declaration or not. This was resolved by my approaching the head honcho at the customs office and explaining the situation and he sent me to the Harbour Master saying we had clearance to go and if there was any more debate to call him directly. This seemed to have a lot of weight with the Harbour Master who immediately stamped us clear for departure!
Glad to leave, we made an immediate departure directly for Lefkada at 8.30pm. We put the main and genoa out and sailed the first night. There was very little traffic other than the occasional ferry.
The following evening the breeze had come onto the nose between 5 and 15kns swinging every couple of hours, so from here on it was a combination of motoring and sailing whenever we could sail; lots of genoa in and genoa out with the main up all the time.
We stayed on the eastern side of the Strait of Otranto but more than 8 miles off of the Albanian coast to avoid being boarded by Albanian officials. We left Corfu to the port side in what turned out to be a fairly rough night on the Saturday night. 20kns on the nose and choppy waters but nothing too bad. We managed to get some sailing and we had an encounter with a Greek Police Boat at 3.30am. They made straight for us at full speed and circled us at high speed with the search light on us. They made no announcements on the radio but just checked us out then went back to shore, nothing more came of this. They do often do this due to the human trafficking that occurs between Greece and Italy.
On Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm we arrived at Lefkas channel. The channel is not dredged or maintained during the winter, nor is it buoyed so we had to pick our way very slowly and carefully through with a lookout on the bow through the channel. It is extremely shallow in the winter with no margin for error. We reached the swing bridge and waited for 45minutes for it to open. (It opens on the hour every hour). From there there is a 4-5 mile channel to open water on the other side. One important point to mention about shallow water in Greece is that if you run aground and the officials find out, they are quite likely to force you to take a survey of the hull which can cost up to Euros2000 and the snag being that they choose the surveyor for you. It’s even been reported that buoys get moved in order to have boats run aground…
Nidri and Vliho are not much further on but be warned this area is not buoyed or lit, so this required a very vigilant and attentive entrance, keeping in mind that the charts on the plotter of this area are not as detailed as you would like. This is no problem in the day, but in the darkness it did require extra caution. We tied up side-on to the town quay near Vliho Yacht Club at 7.30pm.
We got up early the next morning to arrange our travel back. Preveza would be a very simple travel option but the airport is closed in the winter months making winter travel quite arduous. I arranged a lift from some friendly people there to Lefkada, he then took a bus to Athens, taxi to a hotel and taxi to the airport. Marcus was really great to have aboard, he is a fantastic cook and really pulled his weight in all respects of the delivery.
Dave and I the sprung into action, trying to do as much as we could before departing the next day. We found the people in Vilho Yacht Club extremely helpful.
On the final day, Tuesday we moved the boat to her permanent berth, end on with anchor, long bow line, midship forward leading spring, bow line to boat next door and two stern lines.