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Sunday, 8th May 2016 – Just Back From Croatia.

As you will have guessed from the previous entry, we were supposed to be spending last week on Emjaytoo, having an early season cruise in Holland. Well, on the Monday of the week prior, the forecast for Holland was looking pretty uninviting – cold (10 to 12 degrees) and miserable. So Wendy made some hasty phone calls and online enquiries, with the result that instead of going to Holland, we jumped on an EasyJet flight to Split and spent the week with our old friends Activity Yachting in Croatia. We had a great, albeit challenging, week on Tic, the Elan 333 that we have chartered before. You can read all about it here.

Sunday, 15th May 2016 – Reflections On Croatia.

This weekend has been spent at home. Kim had one of his three-day weekends and very enjoyable it was. We went for a long walk to a neighbouring village pub for lunch on Friday, Saturday was a trip to the garden centre and on Sunday went up to see Kim’s daughter Maggie and the grandchildren. In amongst all that Kim got the grass cut and we enjoyed sitting in our garden (albeit still a bit chilly) and relaxing.

The point of all this? The point is that a week after getting back from Croatia, we are not chomping at the bit to get back on Emjaytoo. We have a week booked at the end of May/beginning of June and we are once again questioning the viability of maintaining our own boat in Holland. In fact that week could well be in question if Wendy gets some work.

The problem with Wendy’s work is that if she has a week off it often results in two to three weeks with no work. This time around she has not worked since the middle of the week before we went on holiday and at this point in time has no work for the coming week. To then have another week off in a fortnight’s time could result in two months with no income.

That then leaves us with a week booked in August. But that has problems for both Kim & Wendy as that is two weeks before we have a fortnight camping in Italy. Again, same problem for Wendy and with only two weeks back at work for Kim, it makes his life difficult. Especially, as the result of a resignation last week, he is short staffed at work.

Our week in Croatia gave us some amazing sailing (very stressful & very challenging, but very rewarding), great social interaction with other like minded people, all things that our Dutch sailing does not provide. Yes, sailing on the Veerse Meer and waking up on the Haringvreter is magical, but after ten years the magic is fading. The hassle of getting there and back for a weekend all got too much last year and the idea of fewer, but longer trips this year is not really working. We are seriously at risk of not getting the boat out of the marina this year!

We have spent some time this weekend looking at the sort of things we could do if we didn’t have Emjaytoo and we don’t think we would be bored! For a start, we could do a couple of weeks charter in the Med for the price of a year’s marina fees!

Thursday, 19th May 2016 – Finding Out About Selling Emjaytoo.

Today Wendy sent an e-mail to the marina brokerage to enquire about selling Emjaytoo over in Holland. It was all very encouraging – 6% brokerage fee and they will deal with the marine mortgage, so good news. The sting in the tail was the marina fees! We have just paid this year’s fees – over £2,000 and if we put Emjaytoo with the brokerage we forfeit that money. No refund and she goes into the “brokerage harbour” at no cost for the first six months, but then we would have to pay €150 a month if she hadn’t sold. That could result in us paying out that sum of money whilst still being in credit on our year’s marina fees. Or in other words paying twice!

So we are now thinking, we have paid the marina fees up till March of next year, we have just paid to have her anti-fouled, we paid out for a new UV strip on the genoa over the winter, we have just renewed the insurance for another year, we have ferry crossings already paid for at the beginning of June and in August, and so it seems a waste of money to sell her right now. The time to put her on the market is next March before we have to pay another year’s marina fees, before we have to renew the insurance and before we spend any more money on her. Oh, and each month that goes by sees the principle sum of the mortgage reduce by nearly £300!

Does it sound like we have just persuaded ourselves to hang on to her? Well yes, but what it boils down to is that she still has to go, but it has to be timed so as to be as cost beneficial as possible. So, not just yet!

Thursday, 26th May 2016 – The Inevitable Happens.

In an earlier blog entry we touched on the situation with Wendy’s work. Well needless to say, since then she has had nothing. But now we are gearing up for our week away on Saturday, the work pours in! Too much to say no to, especially after the aforementioned drought!

So our week will now commence next Tuesday. Wendy is pretty disappointed over the situation, but Kim seems remarkably philosophical about it all! Why? Hmm, well maybe he is just “Emjaytoo’d out”

Clearly this will be the last year with Emjaytoo, the question is – will we actually get to the end of the year before putting her on the market?

Tuesday, 31st May 2016 – Our Final (?) Season Starts.

Having traded in our first week on Emjaytoo for a week in Croatia, we finally got to go sailing in the Veerse Meer!

The journey was not exactly stress-free. We were booked with DFDS, Dover/Calais and initially DFDS were showing delays of 2 hours, plus they were advising to allow 90 mins for check in. We were booked on the 09:10 crossing and so left home at 07:00. We chose to drive to Dover via the Alkham Valley to avoid the A20, but we doubt there was any problem with the A20 as Dover port, and especially the ferry, were deserted! It was the most pleasant crossing ever, although it was a bit rough due to the high winds. It departed on time and arrived 5 minutes early. The drive up to Kortgene was pretty grey and miserable, but after we passed through the Westerschelde Tunnel the weather seemed to improve a bit. By the time we got to Kortgene it was positively warm, if rather humid.

As we walked towards the boat we got our first shock - the marina staff had put her back into her berth bows-to instead of stern-to.

That may not sound like such a big deal, but it is to us. Boarding over the stern is so much easier, especially with all the gubbins we always seem to carry with us. All the lines are set up to be the right length for stern-to mooring, even the anti-chafe strips are positioned to protect the lines when moored stern-to. So hats off to the plonker who managed to secure her the wrong way round! Not to mention all the fenders hanging off the stern and the mains hook up lead neatly coiled at the stern, plugged in to thin air. It's a good job we have a good battery.

The second big shock was the addition at the top of our mast of a real crow's nest, albeit fortunately without occupants.

The wind instrument was still working fine so our initial strategy will be to hope that the elements do the job and remove it for us.

It was also incredibly warm in Kortgene compared to the awful weather we have experienced at home recently and Kim especially was dripping after completing all the things which needed doing. In the end we decided to get out of the marina and head off to an island. Based on the expected wind direction, Bastiaan looked like a good bet and we slowly edged our way to moor up at the end of the Speringplaat jetty. The water here is very shallow but by nosing in slowly we were able to get onto the end of the jetty, to the shrill accompaniment of the depth alarm!

We know that in all sensible respects, Emjaytoo has got to go at the end of this season, but you cannot get away from the fact that this place is magical. When you get a whole island to yourself, apart from a few geese and ducks, there is nothing like it. It may be our last season but we intend to make the most of every last minute.

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