September 2018 Medicane Update

As we headed north from the southern tip of the Peloponnese it became evident that the storm we had seen developing further north was more than just a storm. Medicane, a new word for me.

Definition: Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones, often referred to as medicanes but sometimes also as Mediterranean cyclones or as Mediterranean hurricanes, are meteorological phenomena observed over the Mediterranean Sea.

We decided to take shelter in Zakynthos town harbour and a stern-to berth against the back town quay. The more sheltered berths along the harbour wall were already full. Two anchors out and six stern lines. Two from the stern, two from amidships and two from the bow reaching 20 metres port and starboard. The main winds would come from the port beam. And boy did they come over the course of four days.

Big winds

During that time Lotty and the children had to be put in a hotel behind the boat because it was impossible to safely get on or off the boat. We had two boats pull up our anchors during the storm whilst they berthed, in one instance we hit the quay with the stern as they let go. I may have shouted very loud and rude abuse at the skipper of that bemused flotilla boat… Sorry.

Hiding in the hotel, 4 little monkeys

We also had a flotilla boat try to moor stern-to on our windward side, fail and get lodged on our kedge anchor cable three times before getting free and virtually ramming us amidships at full power. I stupidly tried to fend them off and got my arm caught between their push-it and our rail. Stupid schoolboy error but it and a well place fender saved Yves Christian and my arm. It was total madness…

I slept on the boat because every time I left her something awful happened. The passerelle wheels came off because even with it at a crazy angle the waves were bringing it back in contact with the quay.

1st broken wheel, but the fix is much stronger than the original rivets

I have huge thanks to give to Ding the skipper of It’s a Doddle who helped us rescue the situations we encountered with a boat tripping our anchor and the mad flotilla boat. Also thanks to Andrea, the skipper of a Sicilian yacht from our base in Marina di Ragusa who was coincidently berthed 10 metres away. He used our tender to push the yacht off our kedge anchor cable, three times… I don’t know any Italian swear words, but I got to hear a lot of bad ones that day.

The storm came around to the north of us on its way Italy and Sicily but bounced back and south of us also destroying the places we would have sailed to had we not turned north again.

Here are some examples of what happened.

Rapallo in Italy

The southern Peloponnese