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Crazy, Crazy Wind. What do you do?

Current Location: Ormos Ornos, Mykonos, Greece
Current Position: 37 25.28 N 025 19.45 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 66 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Crazy, Crazy Wind. What do you do?

I  am increasingly convinced that the wind has a malevolent streak to it. Either that or it is just a prankster. Consider the evidence:

From Korkoni we motored early in the morning in a flat calm to cross the gulf in order to visit the Diros Caves.

The forecast was for the wind to pick up from the North. From the caves we motored south to the end of the second ‘finger’  of the Peloponese. The wind never showed up.

However, we had our eyes on the forecast for a crossing to Milos, the first of the islands in the Aegean Cyclades (pronounced, by the Greeks,  as Kick-LAH-dez, not sick-le-DEEZ). So we decided to keep motoring across the next gulf to the third finger.

It stayed a flat calm.

We anchored in beautiful Elfonosis bay, where there was a nice beach, blue water, but poor 3G signal.

The next morning we noticed that there was no due on the decks (a sign of impending Meltemi) and, sure enough, by lunch time the wind was a steady 20kts offshore. We were nicely sheltered in flat water. But the 3G sucked.

The forecast said this wind would continue for 4 days. So we figured we would move around the corner and upwind about 5 miles to the beach town of Neapolis, in the hope of better internet.

We set off in said 20kts of wind. 5 miles sort of upwind? How hard could that be?

20 minutes later we had 40kts gusting to 46kts, with waves crashing over us likely billy-oh. And that was with a beach just 5 miles upwind of us!

Well, we finally made is and anchored in sand for a quiet night.

The wind continued to howl – day and night – for 4 solid days. But we did have good 3G.

Finally the forecast called for the wind to drop. We should have a nice broad reach across to Milos, some 70 nautical miles away.

So, early on Saturday, we departed. In flat calm of course. Here is how it went:

6:01 departed. no wind. motoring.

07:30 As we were rounding Maleas point (notorious for vicious gusts), the wind picked up to 18kts. Engines off. Full sail up. SOG (speed over ground) 6kts, but in the wrong direction – 30 degrees below our course to Milos, as the wind was close hauled.

The wind kept heading us, so we tacked. Now heading north. Wind dropping.

10:00 wind gone. Start motors. Decide to change destination to nearby Monemvasia instead of motoring to Milos

10:30 Decide to go to Milos after all

14:40 Wind now 20-22 kts. SOG 7+ kt. Put in one reef. Still close hauled an almost on our course.

15:12 Wind dropped and headed us. Took out reef.  A 35 deg wind shift (against us, of course).

Over the next 5 hours we had 4 changes in wind – reef in when it went up to 25+kts, and reef out when it went down to 14kts. Wind shifts of at least 20 deg each time. Yet no clouds in the sky. That was 8 changes of sail. We had to keep the sails at maximum effect if we were to arrive before sunset.

21:01 Exactly 15 hours later we anchor in the South of Milos, just as the sun sets.

Then, the next day, after a pleasant visit to the cliffs and caves of Kliftiko bay we started the 7 mile beat up the side of the island.

Every 20 min the wind veered about 15  degrees. After 2 hours later we had covered just 2 miles (despite our SOG of about 6kts) and endured a total of 60deg windshift – against us – before the wind finally died  completely and we had to motor again.

From MIlos we again had to motor to Serifo and from there to Syros – despite forecasts of nice southerly 7-10kt winds that should have taken us there nicely.

This morning we had a forecast for the Northerlies to set in by lunchtime – which would make a great crossing to Mykonos. The wind is forecast to last 3 days.

So we set of in the morning with a pleasant NW  breeze.  We set off early as we had heard that when the Meltemi sets in, it gets strong. Remembering Elfonisos, we thought we would get a head start on ti.

Half an hour later, just after we put up the spinnaker, the wind disappeared.

But we were patient. We knew the wind would fill in at lunctime, so we drifted along at 1kt in vaguely the right direction.

At 16:14 the wind arrived! Woo Hoo! 20kts of wind (but from NE not NW but hey!) and we were doing 7 kts.

16:30 Wind dropped.

17:00 Wind died. Still 8 miles to go in a 25 mile trip. Drifting at 0.5 kts waiting for that forecast wind. Average speed so far?  About 2 kts.

17:25 Gave up. Motors on. Wind, such as it is (2-3 kt), now from Starboard (ie South)?

18:00 Now we have 25 kts from Port. 3 miles to go, then we have to harden up 45 deg.

18:30 Wind now 29kts, close-hauled, trying to make it to Ormos Ornos, but eventually we decide it is time to take in the sales and motor the last mile.

As you know, the Aegean is notorious for its strong Northerly Meltemi winds.  So you tell me? Prankster or just malevolent?

2 Responses to “Crazy, Crazy Wind. What do you do?”

  • Heidi and Elmer:

    Sounds horrendous. You are obviously great sailors. I can tell this was written by Noel and not Ceu. How are you coping? Seasick, cold, wet??

    • Noel:

      Nah, since we turned around the Peloponese corner, it has been lovely and warm – no more of those cold winds. Even these gales are warm.

      Sitting now in Mykonos with the wind howling again. Crazy, Crazy. People say the Med is either too little wind or two much. Until the Aegean we didn’t believe them, but maybe here that is true! But we are due to meet some friends here that we met in Dominica, so that should be fun.

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