The first three weeks of the cruise were idyllic. I was freshly retired and the very proud owner of my first yacht, a 30-yearold Jeanneau Espace, Scube. I sailed single-handed from Levkas, through the Corinthian Canal to Lavrion. Everything was ready for the normal stern-to mooring including my windlass remote control in the cockpit.
I knew that the easiest way to judge when to drop the anchor is when you are about two boat lengths clear of the other stern-to boats. The obvious space was beside a fairly large yacht, so I estimated that one boat length enough. It was all going perfectly until Scube stopped suddenly. I was already at the end of my 50-metre anchor chain. I scampered to the bow and added 20 metres of rope to the chain. I continued astern, but Scube stopped again. By this time, the paid crew on the large yacht took pity on me and threw me a line so at least I was now secure. It gradually sank in that the boat I was alongside was significantly larger than estimated, and his ‘two boat-lengths’ were not quite the same as mine. My embarrassment was complete as I leisurely set about adding another line to my anchor warp, when a wave from a passing boat lifted the bow and tugged the line out of my hand, which promptly sank into the murky depths of the harbour. It wasn’t until the morning that I managed to recover my anchor with a grappling hook and escape the harbour.