This was our second time around Cape Malea – Greece’s most notorious headland. First time, last July, it failed to live up to its reputation – we motored around in flat calm and sweltering heat. This was to be a different experience! The seas were very rough and the wind was coming pretty much from the direction we needed to sail in, so we started out sailing and using the engine to point us more in the direction we needed and to punch through the large, confused and breaking waves. Within half an hour the smoke alarm went off – no spilt oil this time, just a fug of exhaust smoke in the engine room. I couldn’t find its source, so we had to switch the engine off and sail a much longer course around Malea. It was a hard sail as close as we could get to the wind – which needless to say was much stronger than forecast. However it was mostly great fun – trying to get the boat doing its best in hard conditions. It took us about 30 miles of tacking to get the 15 miles to the cape, but once around it conditions improved and we had a good sail into the little harbour next to Monemvasia.
Less good fun was the fact that we shipped water. We had just been congratulating ourselves on getting all the major leaks fixed, when we discovered that we had forgotten to close the “bathroom window”. We were so hard heeled that it must have been under water for ages, soaking the contents of all the bathroom lockers and flooding the bilges. As we were heeled over, the bilge water then started appearing elsewhere, making a right mess. We also got a few large waves over the front of the boat and into the cockpit, uncovering (for the second time) the Najad design flaw of ventilating the main hanging clothes storage into the cockpit. We thought we’d plugged the vents, but a lot of sea water at high speed proved us wrong, so many of Lindsay’s clothes were found soaking a couple of days later.
Still, we made it with not much broken (well, a sore thumb that is still numb 2 days later, plus a bust anchor controller), and we coped with the worst that Cap Malea could throw at us. Bring it on!