So — it took a while since first booking the Lugger Holiday to actually get to Geni Gardens (you all know why). Phil kept in touch and guided us through the re scheduling – pretty smooth really.
My brother Ed and I have – over the last 60 years sailed and owned a variety of sailing boats from Arab Dhows in Bahrain to 10 days ‘before the mast ‘ in the 150 ft Sir Winston Churchill in mid-Atlantic. However – ‘Clara’ was very different – an old (but in beautiful condition) Drascombe Lugger rebuilt by Phil – the master Lugger shipwright.
I was thinking of buying a Lugger but why not try one out first – in sunny Greece ! As my photos show Geni Gardens was the perfect base for our sailing – our host Franz and his wife Poldi were great, as was the coffee and spinach pasty each morning on the terrace. There is so much I could say – it was quite an experience to see this quiet, fairly remote area of Greece, devoted to boats and sailing.
Preveza airport is small but modern and the organised pick up was excellent even in the dark at 11pm – Phil was at Geni to welcome us with beer in the fridge and fresh bread etc. The following morning we quickly organised the coffee and pasty to have each morning on the terrace overlooking the bay and just as we were enjoying the fantastic views – over came Phil in his tender. He introduced us to Clara our Lugger for the next ten days. Phil gave us great instruction in the art of Lugger sailing – we both listened – watched and did! Ed and I both thought we could get on with this trusty little boat – but we took another day on our own in the bay to really get the feel of her – then we were off !
After visiting Meganissi and Sparti plus other bays and anchorages we really just wanted to sail and see what could be done with this iconic Lugger. Over the next few days we took our time – prepared well – organised our sailing roles – Ed has bad knees but is great on the tiller – I am very agile and can leap around tweaking and pulling anything that improves performance – we wanted to sail – not motor sailor and not just on a beam reach!
It took patience but we got as much as we felt possible from this great little sailer – a very safe boat. We studied our weather apps and planned our sailing course to suit the wind – even overtaking much larger yachts trying to follow our course.
By the end of the ten days we felt very comfortable with Clara and used her many times a day as a taxi from one side of the bay to the other visiting tavernas, shops and sightseeing trips.
It was also great to get to know Phil (Drascombe Phil as we called him) and see his boatyard with all the Luggers and the work he was doing on them. I don’t really know how he does so much – especially the drive down towing Luggers.