Kapsali on Kythira
36:08.669N 22:59.922E Sun 3rd Sep 2017
After a windless day at Gramvousa we needed to catch a favourable wind forecast before the next blow started, so we upped anchor early on Sunday. It took a while before the winds got up to sailing strength (when are those forecasts ever right?) and we ended up in really strong head-winds and quite rough seas. In between the conditions made for a good, if busy, sail. The wind hovered around the point where we need to reduce sail to keep the boat under control, so I lost count of the number of times we put reefs in and shook them out again. But the wind angle was kind – never less than 40 degrees meaning that we made good speed but were well heeled (tipping sideways so the sides of the deck were often under water). We had the misfortune to catch up with an Austrian boat who had left the anchorage ½hr before us on an identical course. As we were trying to pass him he seemed to think we were racing and we wasted an hour keeping out of his way as he wove this way then that, apparently trying to stop us overtaking. I remembered a trick from Solent racing and “ducked” him, allowing us to quickly get ahead and out of his way.
As I said, conditions were good – until the last hour, then the wind was unkind, pushing us off course and throwing up some quite rough seas. We kept sailing until the last 2 miles by which time the sea was so rough it was hard work motoring towards the harbour even with high engine revs. On entering Kapsali harbour we were happy to find a space just the right size for us to come alongside the harbour wall, copying the 3 other boats, who were taking up much more space than they should. We docked nicely in really strong winds and were all tied up before we were informed that we couldn’t park there as a large ship was coming in later. Quite why they couldn’t have shouted over to us before we docked is a mystery. However we got off the harbour wall OK, despite really strong winds blowing us on, and went off to anchor under yet another Venetian fortress. We had done 45 miles in just under 8 hours and skipper was pretty knackered. Actually he was also in pain as he had damaged a finger getting the sails in under difficult conditions and now has a swollen and incapacitated right index finger.
The Venetian fortress lit up under glowering skies:
We spent a windy night – I think we’d parked by a funnel in the cliffs which directed the biggest gusts down onto us – but at least Doug (our wind generator) made some good power for us. The next morning we were in the middle of launching the dinghy to go over and ask the harbour-mistress about docking, when we saw one of the space-hogging boats leave. So the dinghy was quickly put back on deck and we motored over, showing how to moor Greek-style in strong-ish side winds (stern-to using your own anchor) in order to leave more space for any other yachts to come. In fact there are now only two of us left, so maybe a pointless gesture… (PS as I write this a second French boat has just come in alongside, so definitely a wasted gesture).
Our hi-tec neighbour at anchor ($15m “Adastra”, UK designed for a HK billionaire):
The fortress and anchorage by daylight:
Goldcrest moored in Kapsali Greek-style, trussed-up for strong side winds:
Kapsali is another gem of a place with a permanent population of only about 35 souls! It is busier in the summer especially as Kythira was home to many thousands of Greeks who left for Australia and now return to visit their homeland. Apparently it has been christened “Kangaroo Island” as a result. It has a great little beach only yards from our berth, a row of inviting waterfront cafes and tavernas and the pretty old Hora (village) in the hills only a short walk away. We are in no hurry to move on from here and may even hire a car to tour the island as there seems to be plenty to see.