Ron takes his first stint at the helm in 25 knots of wind. While motoring back to Gouvia from our sleepy lunch stop in Plataria bay, mill pond still conditions suddenly changed as we got 30 knots of wind off passing clouds. It turns out that the Princess loves these conditions and we lost no time in seizing this opportunity to shake out the sails (yes, all three of them) and beat to windward. Our crew were great sports and didn’t hesitate to take the helm.
Such was our impatience to get sailing, we forgot (after only 10 years of experience on Thursday Island, our old 38 foot Benetteau) to make sure that everything in the cabins below was securely stowed. Yes, even an Oyster 55 can heel and send household appliances flying to the other side of the cabin. I think it’s fair to say that we discovered how the large fan which we inherited with the boat got its attractive sellotape patches. However, sitting back on the push pit seat with my coffee and watching proceedings with both hands free, the experience of beating to windward in a Force 7 wind had never felt so comfortable!
I think it’s fair to say that the Princess likes a stiff breeze! Ron and Sabina were up for a sail and both took a good, long turn on the helm. Looking back at the photos that I took I realise that I cannot see a tense face in any of them, which is reassuring after having unintentionally terrorised a few beginner sailors on Thursday Island in much lighter winds. Ron had all sorts of practice and training of life on board over the week from learning how to tie a bowline knot to helming and basic sail trim and he cheerfully got stuck into all aspects of boating existence, including the less glamorous ones, such as painting the anchor well. We will always think of you fondly when we look into our freshly painted lockers, Ron!
Both Ron and Sabina raised the bar for us in terms of what can be achieved in our galley which I confess I had previously thought of as “fine because designed for ocean going but a bit poky” and not big enough for two people. Seeing this husband and wife team at work in the galley producing dishes worthy of a top class restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner made me look at the possibilities offered by this poky galley in a new way. We tried to persuade Sabina to join us on the Atlantic crossing but sadly she is not tempted by the prospect of three weeks on board with minimal shower possibilities! This was greedy of us to want to take both of them across the pond. It is safe to say that Ron’s baking has the potential to rival dolphins for memorable moments on the Atlantic crossing. And let’s face it, dolphins are really very cute indeed, so that’s a compliment.
All in all, our best day’s sailing in the Princess so far and awesome to finally see her flying with her own wings.