The delightful calm of Vliho Bay with cool mornings and temperatures of sustainable levels are now behind me, having taken the Igeomenitsa to Ancona ferry some 2 weeks ago for the shorter drive back to chilly Wales. With charter groups continuing through to the last week in September it was a very busy period getting the boats cleaned and prepped ready for my arrival next May. I was fortunate to have the help of a good pal who came out to help me for 2 weeks with this work.
As always June was a busy month, with at least 3 Luggers out each week. Weather wise it got better as the month progressed; there was a 3-day period when we had stormy conditions which made it uncomfortable sailing out in the channel, however Vliho Bay was still good for an exciting few hours before retiring to the Gialos for lunch.
I am sure most people will by now have read Dave Craig’s diary on their Island Hopping in July. It was my first use of Airbnb – this phenomenon has suddenly hit the Ionian Islands, making use of log cabins, spare rooms in family villas and living with Greek families in their homes. Dave and Pamela really loved the varied experience of meeting the local people in their natural environment. I am sure this type of Lugger charter will be even more popular next year, being able to be very flexible and move around to different destinations.
Another first for me was to run a full week of sail tuition in July for the Foster Family. Louise and Simon made contact with me 3 years ago when they came across one of my Luggers on Ithica. Their son Matty, aged 11 had sailed Pico’s with his school but Simon and Louise were total beginners. With half day sessions in Vliho Bay, we covered the important safety aspects and the safe use of an outboard engine, which a dinghy would not have. Their progress was impressive, and by the end of their stay they sailed on all points of sailing and were a very competent crew. Matty, on their final evening with us at the Gialos Taverna, was awarded a Dragon Drascombe T-shirt. A great family to spend one’s time with, again my thanks to them.
The temperatures in July and August this year were not excessive, peaking at about 36, which was good for Bengy. He always managed to find the shade and a breeze around our Lugger base area.
In late August good friends from north of the border visited again for the 5th consecutive time and had their first week with Peter at Frikes Bay Suite on Ithica, returning to Geni Garden for the second week. They had Heulwen with the Batten Roached Mainsail; you must read what Neil has to say about this new rig.
So with over 50 boat weeks this summer, an increase of eight, it’s satisfying to see steady progress and people returning to sample this unique experience in the Southern Ionian. For 2019 I will be looking for an enthusiastic assistant to help me with the day-to-day running and looking after charter groups, someone who is mature and has an interest in boats and is able to assist with the general maintenance etc, possibly someone who has just left University and is preparing to have a gap year. Who knows, you might know of just the person in your family or sailing club.
In line with my Dragon Drascombe plan, I have acquired another Lugger ready for refitting locally in South Wales, and work has just started. Why not follow its progress and see how a ‘sad old boat’ can be transformed into a pristine Drascombe Lugger. This one, now named Clara has a number of 937, which puts it at an early 1970 boat.
To all that have travelled and joined me this summer to ‘Lugger about in the sun’, my many thanks and so looking forward to meeting up again.