A record of our adventures between Pipit and her successor...
A well reefed Pipit rounding Cape Finisterre in 2011.
Regular readers of YachtPipit.com will know that last Autumn we made the difficult decision to sell Pipit - a year or so after returning to a land-based life in the Cotswolds, UK, a new plan began to form which will involve a different kind of sailing, and a different kind of yacht, in the UK, so we came to the conclusion that the time was right to pass Pipit on to her next owners for a whole new set of adventures.
Having put Pipit on the market, we had quite a bit of interest, mainly from UK based people, who asked lots of sensible questions, which we politely answered, but when the next logical step was to actually fly to the Ionian for a viewing the communications ceased... Then one day we received an email from a Bulgarian, expressing great interest in 'The Pipit' and wanting to view her A.S.A.P. This he duly did, driving from Sofia to Meganisi in November. Shortly after that Ivo & Maria were on a plane to the UK to pay a deposit, a trip they didn't have to make but it was nice to meet them in Plymouth. We agreed to complete the sale in the spring, as that suited both parties and the weather in the Ionian should be much better, hence the following...
The week before Easter we flew to Athens and the following day drove to Meganisi - the new highway from Corinth to Patras is now almost fully completed, and having crossed the spectacular Rio-Antirrio bridge at Patras we found much more of the new A5 Ionian Highway to be open (and even more so on our return after Easter, including some very long tunnels), so the journey time from Athens to Lefkada is now nearly an hour less than when we first made that trip.
We had decided to stay in Katopodis Mansion, the villa in Vathy we lived in over winter 2013-14, as we would be gradually removing the last of our possessions from Pipit before handing her over to Ivo & Maria. Returning to Vathy is always special for us - locals, taverna owners and of course Yannis, Evi and the rest of the marina team welcome us back like long lost friends, genuinely pleased to see us returning to their beautiful island.
We spent the first week interspersing relaxing in the lovely warm spring weather, including lunchtime barbecues at the villa, with cleaning and preparing Pipit. Vernon the 'white van man' arrived on the ferry to deliver the aft cabin door & berth cushions he had previously collected from the UK, and took away our Nestaway dinghy for delivery back to the UK - this will be for sale later in the year from Nestaway Boats.
This year the dates of Greek Orthodox Easter and Christian Easter coincided, so once again we enjoyed the Saturday night procession, followed by fireworks and a party at the marina. Yannis, Evi & the rest of the marina team once again welcomed us to a fantastic Easter Day feast - we spent the day in the company of Greeks, Dutch, Danes and British, amongst others, some of them sailors, some of them local villa owners, some of them both - all in all a fitting end to our time with Pipit and typical of the Vathy bonhomie.
Easter Day breakfast prior to the all day feast - smoked salmon & scrambled eggs.
One of the lambs...
The 3 amigos returning from 'a mission'...
There may be more photos on Odyseas Marina's Facebook page in due course.
And so Tuesday the 18th of April dawned, and a General Election was called in the UK. We didn't know this until some days later but anyway of much more immediate interest to us was that this was the day Ivo & Maria were due to arrive on Meganisi and take possession of Pipit. The 1400 ferry arrived and a very smart looking Porche Cayenne rolled off, containing Ivo, Maria and their sailing friend Bobby. In short order we had dealt with the paperwork and I spent an hour or so showing Ivo where all the important bits & bobs are on Pipit. He then presented us with a hamper of Bulgarian speciality foods and wines, the latter selected by Bobby who also happens to be a professional sommelier. After a celebratory/commiseratory drink courtesy of Connie & Odyseas Marina we left the new owners of Pipit to it.
At this stage it would have been very easy for us to retreat to 'our' villa and cry into our Mythos - those readers who have ever sold a boat, particularly one that has been your home, will understand what an emotional day this was for us, as did Evi & Connie at the marina and a number of fellow boat owners in Vathy. Fortunately, as we passed Boom Boom on our way home Patricia was enjoying a glass of wine in the afternoon sunshine and after enquiring after our 'boat status' invited us to join her - just what the doctor ordered, and I ordered two large Mythos... Some time later we moved on to Petrino where we had a few more beers with friends - can you detect a theme?
Yet more time later, it was time to eat and, on arriving at one of our favourite tavernas in Vathy, Errikos, who should be in there but Ivo, Maria & Bobby - well we did recommend Errikos! They insisted we join them for dinner, and we had a lovely evening - it really would be hard to imagine an easier boat sale to nicer people, and it makes our parting with Pipit easier to bear. Thanks also must go to Simon at Liberty Yachts for his help with the sale of Pipit, and indeed for storing the aft cabin berth cushions for the last 7 years!
The next day was very windy, but Pipit was taken out for a brief sail by her new owners and, although not everything went quite to plan in 35 knots of wind, when I met them later they declared themselves to be delighted with Pipit and Bobby plied me with Bulgarian brandy... We later discovered, when having dinner at Porto Spilia, that Babis had seen Pipit at sea when he was out fishing, assuming it was us - he doesn't miss a thing!
We spent another day on Meganisi, feeling somewhat in limbo - "I'll just pop down to the boa..." - oh no, can't do that any more... So we drove round the island that we used to call home - doesn't take long, and we met some of the residents en-route:
On Friday we left the island on the 1400 ferry - whilst we were waiting we had coffee upstairs in Pistrina and whilst there, gazing out into the harbour, Pipit quietly left the marina, on her way to Ithaca, and ultimately on her way to the Peloponnese and eventually onwards to the Northern Aegean - our last sighting of Pipit, but no photos - couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Thanks to Elizabeth for comforting us in our moment of need...
We spent a couple of nights in Nidri - very quiet at this time of year, had a drink with Neil & Di at Sail Ionian (we might well be clients again!) one evening and drove around the whole of Lefkada the next day.
The following day we drove back to Athens, diverting slightly to Messolonghi for lunch, overlooking the harbour and nearby marina. After a relaxing night at the Sofitel we flew back to the UK on Tuesday.
Some kind of pony event in Vonitsa.
So bye bye Pipit, you have been a hugely significant part of our lives for the last 10 years, and especially the 5 wonderful years you were our home - we will miss you, Bon Voyage and fair winds...