And so the mainsail furling system jams and the sail rips. There are still more than 400 miles ahead of the Australians, and there is not enough diesel to motor the whole distance, Greece is taboo and to sail only with the foresail seems to be no alternative. With the expected westerly winds they have to be able to run upwind. Ergo, they have to go back to Turkey and have the sail and furling system repaired.
On the way back to Turkey Murphy strikes again. When Corrie contacts the authorities in Didim, he is told that they are not allowed to check in again without having been to another country first. The skipper tries Bodrum, but the answer is the same. Then he tries Datça, opposite the Greek island of Symi. There, he had been told, the regulations are a bit more relaxed. And indeed. The Wilson Street may enter.
Valuable time elapses
The repairs to the sail and mast take a week. The spare part for the main furling system must first be ordered. Valuable time passes. After all that, the sailmakers offer to bill in such a way that the Australians can have the VAT refunded when checking out. A well-meant tip, but it backfires. Because now the customs authorities have found out that Corrie and Jennifer were allowed to enter Turkey again, but not their boat.
For the illegal import the officials call for a fine of 8.000 euros. In negotiations lasting for hours the Australians get the fine reduced to 2.000 Lira – again 250 euro is lost. Today Corrie laughs about the anecdote. „Every time we wanted to leave Turkey, we had to pay a fine.“ At dusk, twelve hours later than planned, Wilson Street finally leaves Datça bay and heads back to Malta.
Everything from scratch
The Australians again have 650 nautical miles ahead of them and expect to sail for about a week. This time they also have enough diesel on board to be able to motor for a large part of the distance should the wind fail them once again. They feel prepared and safe. The wind forecast speaks of calm weather. There are no signs of the Medicane yet. At the height of the Peleponnes, they want to load new weather data once again, when they are close enough to the coast to have mobile phone reception. The Australians do not have a satellite phone on board, Jennifer and Corrie have planned to buy one for the Atlantic crossing. In the Mediterranean they saw no reason for the expensive phone. They could not have known that Greece would become a no-go area.
For the first few days through the Greek islands, the engine was running non-stop again. Corrie is annoyed. This is not how he imagined the trip. On the third day he sets sail. At only two knots Wilson Street is somewhat dilly dallying through the Mediterranean. The calm is balm for the soul, but again valuable hours pass by. If they hadn’t lost twelve hours in clearing out and another six hours in sailing in the doldrums, they could have easily reached Malta.
But fate had conspired against them. When they finally reach the Peleponnes, the Australian cell phone goes on strike. The roaming does not work. And so they don’t get any new weather data. Plan B also fails. If they can’t download weather data, they wanted to call a friend for a weather update. But the call fails as well. And so they continue to motor.
The wind is picking up
Only on Monday, September 14th, the wind increases. Except for the last two 20-liter canisters, Corrie has already refilled all diesel reserves. But finally he can sail. Everything seems perfect now, Murphy has gone ashore. This is exactly how he had imagined the trip. And then the fishing rod is buzzing too. Corrie pulls a handsome tuna on deck. Sailing can be so wonderful.
The aft Meltemi, blowing down the Adriatic Sea, keeps gaining speed, the Sun Odyssey surfs the wave towards Malta. At dusk, Jennifer and Corrie see lightening on the horizon. But the storm is far away. As always, Corrie takes the night shift, dozing during the day while Jennifer watches. After five days at sea, both are exhausted but happy.
On Tuesday the wind picks up more and more, the waves get higher and higher. Corrie reefs the sails. „We have always felt absolutely safe,“ says Jennifer. Even in the night to Wednesday, when clouds cloud the sky for the first time. „There wasn’t a star to be seen,“ says Corrie. „it was pitch black.“ The next morning, only two hours before Jennifer calls the sea rescue, the two enjoy their breakfast together below deck. It is less than 100 nautical miles to Malta, and they will reach their destination the following night. The anticipation grows.