Finally we had arrived at Alimos Marina in Athens to complete the purchase of “Sunday”, a Lagoon 420 which we had originally found on the Internet, viewed in March, and having been impressed with her condition, paid a deposit on the purchase, pending a successful survey and sea trial
Now we were back, having made a round trip in our camper van starting in Milan, where we landed early in September after a quick visit to Australia. Since then we had driven to the UK, then the Netherlands and afterwards travelled through Germany, Switzerland and back into Italy to meet friends in Rome. From Rome we went on to Brindisi where we caught the ferry to Greece.
After almost a year and a half in the van hightailing it across Europe, we had adjusted well to life in our tiny house on wheels and now we were going to shake things up again and buy another boat.
I guess it’s only by continually making changes and taking on new challenges that we keep old age at bay?
The first challenge however, was to find someone suitable to do the survey. We were unsure whether it was going to be difficult to find someone who was as highly qualified and meticulous as we would like. Also someone who could speak English well enough for us to understand the survey report.
We need not have worried!
Advised by our yacht broker Yiannis of YD Yachts, we contacted the very un-Greek sounding William Walsh, of Walsh Marine who is a YA British Flag Commercial Yacht Inspector (MCA Code) and Tonnage Measurer and BMSE Surveyor.
Just a couple of days after our arrival in Athens William Walsh met us on Sunday with her owners, Nikos and Manos of Zouras Yachting and Yiannis the yacht broker.
William is of English descent but has lived in Greece since he was five so he has perfect Greek as well as perfect English, luckily for us.
He was extremely thorough, actually meticulous, in his examination of the yacht and we were overjoyed to hear that it was in excellent condition (especially for a ten-year-old former charter yacht) and in his opinion, a great buy.
When he was hoisted up the mast though, he did find that that the forestay had two wires broken at the top swage. Nikos and Manos immediately rang up to organise a replacement forestay at their cost.
During the survey, Yiannis and Nicos between them organised the crane to lift Sunday out of the water (there is no travel lift at Alimos Marina despite there being over a thousand yachts that need being taken in and out of the water.)
The question was was it going to be the red crane or the yellow crane? They each had a favourite but the yellow crane won when the owner agreed to match the favourable price that the red crane operator had offered.
It was quite a heart stopping moment as Sunday was lifted and then lowered onto blocks for William to undertake his forensic examination of the hull.
While he went round with his little hammer, Sayeed, who is permanently employed (and does a wonderful job) to look after the small fleet of Zouras Yachts (currently three boats) scraped the growth from the props.
By that evening William had sent us a full defects list which apart from the forestay, was very small and consisted of items such as:
“Stereo radio antenna is not connected.
– Port side cockpit stereo speaker does not work.
Not all the points were quite as insignificant but there were honestly very few issues of any concern at all, and all were easily fixable.
We decided to have a day away from the marina the following day and drove up to the Temple of Poseidon, just a little over an hour North of Alimos which we had visited at sunset previously but hadn’t actually walked through the ruins.
Unfortunately the car park was absolutely crammed and there was nowhere to park the camper van, so we left.
We followed the coast road for a while and enjoyed a stroll around the cliff tops before heading on to Lavrio, a delightful little port town with lots of yachts to admire, a great laundrette and some lovely restaurants.
We spent the night there and the following day meandered back to Alimos Marina via Vgethi, a small beachside village with lovely views out to sea and a typical domed blue and white Greek Orthodox Church perched high up on an imposing cliff, surrounded by the impossibly blue Adriatic.
Back at the marina we were anxious to get on with the next stage Of purchasing our boat – sea trials!