First look at WHUATI

With the decision made to buy Whuati and the deposit paid Jay and Josh booked flights to Greece to view her for the first time. The best price flights from Ireland to Greece were out of Dublin to Milan, Bergamo airport, then a 2 hour stop over before flying on to Athens. As we flew down the east coast of Italy the Ionian Sea came into view giving us an aerial view of our new cruising grounds with Corfu island below.
​Upon our arrival in Athens we collected the hire car and started the 6 hour journey to Nidri on the island of Lefkada, 410 km with 250 km or roadworks! We arrived in Nidri at 10pm and after 14 hours traveling were glad to get to our apartment overlooking the bay. We stayed at Nidri Bay Studios where Mia made us very welcome. The evening view over the bay from the balcony was fantastic. Nidri is a town with a slow relaxed pace of life that comes alive at night. There are many restaurants and bars to relax in and take in the views and the atmosphere. We found it so easy to slip into the relaxed lifestyle and slower pace of life.

The following morning we were finally going to get to see WHUATI for the first time. We met Lorna from Ionian Boat Assistance and made our way to Vliho Boat Yard where WHUATI was is stored on the hard. When we got to the boat were also met Horatio from Horatio C Todd who had already started the boat survey. We met Lorna from Ionian Boat Assistance and made our way to Vliho Boat Yard where WHUATI is stored on the hard. When we got to the boat we were also met Horatio from Horatio C Todd who had already started the boat survey. Our first impressions of WHUATI were good, but she clearly had been out of the water for some time and the strong sunlight and dust had taken effect. It was clear that there will be plenty of work to do to get her back in the water where all boats belong. She needs a good clean and removal of the antifouling paint and new to be applied. The UV from the sunlight had also destroyed the varnish on the woodwork, all jobs that we expected would need to be done.

Horatio Todd checking every nook and cranny for survey

The more we looked over WHUATI the better things became, sure there are faults she is 26 years old, but she also had her good points, many of them. Over all she was in good condition, just needing the usual preseason work and cleaning. As we looked in cupboards and under seats we were amazed by the amount of gear we found on-board, she really has everything you need and spares, oh and more spares. It took Josh and myself five days to go through everything stored on the boat and catalog what was there and where it is stored.

Horatio did a good, thorough job of the survey, taking three days in total and including a full rigging inspection. He was happy with the results and apart from some recommendations he found no reason for us not to go ahead a purchase WHUATI. We called home to give Hannah the news and to get her to transfer the final and full payment for the boat. Then came the paperwork and legal side of registering the sale in Greece. This had to be done at the town hall in Nidri and all the documents are of cause in Greek. Lorna from Ionian Boat Assistance was great. We met at her office where she had the paperwork all ready, so we went to officially register as the new owners. This took five minutes! In the building, passport and ID check, official stamp and out. Thanks Lorna!
Josh and myself spent the rest of our time in Nidri sorting through the boat and making a list of jobs to be done before WHUATI can be put back into the water. Now the thing with a job list is the way it keeps growing! Some of the main jobs to be done are:

  1. Remove the old antifouling paint and prepare the hull for new paint
  2. Clean out the holding tank
  3. Clean and sterilize the two water tanks
  4. Upgrade the electronics, (new plotter and wind, speed and depth instruments)
  5. Fit the new head lining we found in the boat
  6. Replace a failed bearing in the roller furling for the head sail
  7. Service the engine and give it a full overhaul
  8. Re-wire some of the electronics and increase the amp hour rate of the house batteries

This list is just part of the work required! As any boat owner will tell you there is always work to be done, but I’m sure we will also find time to relax.

Laying the sails out to inspect them with Horatio

On our last day we took time out for a trip to see Nidri Waterfalls. The falls are a short 2 km drive from Nidri to a car-park with a restaurant. It is then a walk through a stunning canyon to the falls. It had been dry for a while so there was not much water flowing over the falls but the views were good and the water was refreshing to swim in.
We fell in love with Vliho Bay while we were over looking at WHUATI and have decided to hang around the area for the first season and use this location as a base while we get used to our new boat and work on all the jobs and upgrades we want to do.
I guess they don’t give it the nick name of “Velcro Bay” for nothing!

Decision to go for it

The time came where we made up our minds that we could, with some planning take up to 6 months away from work, (with some remote working) and home tutor our daughter for a couple of months either side of her summer holidays. Josh, our son, had finished his business degree and was now available to take the reigns of our business and keep things running while we are away. The timing was right and we decided to bring our retirement plans forward while we are young and fit enough to go for it! Our dream was to purchase a sailing boat large enough to live-aboard for several months at a time. The next decision is where to sail. We decided on the Mediterranean for its beauty, warm sunny weather, a welcome change from the rain in Ireland and the none tidal waters make things all the easier. The plan is to start in either Spain or Greece and with no set time limit or schedule make our way to the Ionian Sea to sail the Greek Ionian Islands. Once we have sailed the Ionian Islands, which could be months or even years, the whole point is no schedule, to sail up the east coast of Italy to Venice and eventually over to Croatia then turn south to sail through the islands off the west coast of Croatia.