Shakedown to Voniza and Gaios

We got Razzmatazz ready for launching from Margarona Boatyard in 10 days. Apart from anti-fouling (with a cheap local brew that worked better than anything we've had before, I had to repair scrapes on the keel where we'd hit some rocks in the Lefkas canal the previous year. Proved an easy job as the boatyard cheerfully moved the supports several times, while I sanded and applied epoxy putty. We also installed our new canopies.

While we were cycling to and from the shops during the fit out, my back wheel disintegrated. Our bikes have very unusual 18 inch wheels, so I was lucky to find a bicycle shop (Pedalo) that said it had an 18 inch rim in its Athens branch. So, we would have to hang around for a week, which of course was actually two. No problem - we were happy to have some shakedown cruiselets around the Gulf of Amvrikos and to Paxos.

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Vonitsa Castle from Cuckoo Nest Bay

In the Gulf of Amvrikos we spent a day behind Cuckoo Nest Bay (Kukunitsa, to be correct!) near Vonitsa, then moored in Vonitsa harbour. We had an excellent meal in Marina Taverna. Our neighbour kindly consented to help me winch Ann up the mast to replace the wind speed sensor.

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Gaios south sntrance Gaios north entrance and moorings

Back in Hospital Bay off Preveza, we found we still had a few days to wait. So, with southwesterlies forecast for the next few days, we headed for Gaios on Paxos. Had to motor out of the Preveza Channel, then the southwesterly gradually filled to take us to the south entrance to Gaios, with a few bursts of speed. Gaios was pretty empty, to we moored alongside on the north quay, helped by a young French couple in a tiny lift-keel yacht. Over drinks on Razzmatazz we learned they were taking a gap year with an ambitious plan that included trailing their boat from Istanbul to the Baltic and then via the North Sea back to Britanny.

We stayed the next day and walked inland on paths that were seriously overgrown, but lovely. No one asked for mooring fees - the Port Police office looked firmly shut. And the following day the southwesterly continued, but less strong, taking us gently back to Hospital Bay. The cruise showed up one potentially serious problem - the starboard sheet winch was buckling under load. It wasn't obvious whether the problem was the winch itself or its mounting. So I removed the barrel and took a rope from the shaft via a pulley by the forestay back to the port winch. It became clear that the problem was the base. I decided to mull over the problem for a day or two.