The long tack – Wednesday 23rd May 2012


Overnight the wind has changed completely. Thank goodness we anchored in this sheltered bay rather than risking it off the coast at Tsonia. We motored out of the bay and around the headland along the North shore of Lesvos.
Our destination is Molyvos (sometimes called Mythymna, which I think prettier). The boys are aware of a ticking clock, unerringly counting the time to our return home, and they are keen to sail even though the wind is against us in direction. It is strong enough but we need to sail headlong into it- not good!
We can get there under sail by tacking, massive strides across the ocean, zig zagging our way across the sea between Turkey and Greece. Each stride will take an hour but we are in no hurry, so proceed.
I have never known Captain agree to tacking. In the past, he has shown himself to be a gentleman sailor, who considers the comfort of his crew. Indeed I have know John to feel slightly frustrated by his preference for easy motoring rather than put up sails. So the boys are delighted when Captain agrees so enthusiastically to tacking. Both have enormous fun at the helm and I sense some healthy competition as to who can steer to take best advantage of the wind. Louise’s husband has been suffering from a cold, but any remaining symptoms evaporate in the exhilaration of the sail. Four tacks are completed. The wind enables us to tap on nine knots, which is a brilliant speed. There is talk of racing other boats, although I am sure there is only one other yacht,; the rest are tankers!

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By the end of the day we moor in a double harbour in Mythymna and I am instantly charmed by the town. A row of tavernas line the quay and a large castle stands proudly over the houses which clamber up the hillside. We eat a late lunch in a taverna and this feels a luxury as we usually eat lunch on board.

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Even the cats of this town are happy.
The walk up the hill is very pleasant. Rows of vine covered streets mostly offering tourist tat in pretty shops. As we get higher the streets are covered in weeds. Eventually we reach the castle which offers a wonderful panorama on every side: farm, sea, trees, village.

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We eat at the “Captain’s Table” by the quay that night. The meal is fine and the atmosphere positively buzzes, in comparison with some of the places we have eaten recently. Despite all our walking through the town we had not found a loaf of bread so ask the restaurant if they can spare any. No problem!
Except that when we come to eat it, the crust is so hard we can hardly get our teeth into it! No wonder it was free.
Still it has been a brilliant day: excellent weather, brilliant sailing and two tavernas!

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