Heather & the French Millionaire!

In prepping Vega for launching and sorting out the many pre launch items we had over looked checking that all our stop cocks (for non-boaty people, thats the valves that stop water getting in the boat) were working effectively. So on the day before our launch I was opening and closing the stop cock on the raw water inlet to the aft heads when the handle sheared off in my hand. This left the valve closed and hence no water supply to our toilet. Not good.

Given it was Sunday, nowhere was open nearby to get a replacement stop cock and that  we were launching at 8:30am on Monday it seemed that there was no time to source and install a new one prior to launch. Missing your launch time in a large boat yard like Cleopatra’s is not a great outcome as they are a bit of a machine and it can take upto a week to get a new launch date….not ideal with parents and kids arriving in 48 hours, 60nm to the north of us. As I was sitting there chastising myself for such a silly mistake, that could cause so much re organization, Heath was racing around the whole boat yard in an attempt to see if anyone had a spare ¾” stop cock we could “borrow” but they are not the sort of things people carry on board as you can’t replace them at sea, well, not easily at least. On her travels, she did find out that there was a chandlers open in Lefkas, 25 mins away by car. But, of course we had no car, just a boat with a hole in it and no stop cock.

We decided to head off and get a taxi and head to Lefkas on the off chance they had the right fitting and as I was just about to grab one, I heard Heather speaking French….I’m still not clear how, but she managed to convince the owner of a magnificent 27m super yacht to drive almost an hour out of his way to drop her in Lefkas, and then retrace his tracks back to Preveza and north.  I don’t know how she does it. But she does and it seems to work.

Heather got to the chandlers as it was closing, but it turned out the owner was a lovely Australian Greek woman who kept the chandlers open and helped her find the right bits and pieces.

The boating community is an incredible thing. I’m not sure there are many activities where you rub shoulders with French multi millionaires, who go out of their way to assist a fellow sailor source a basic bit of plumbing.

We installed the stop cock that afternoon and were able to launch without a hitch. All’s well that ends well, but lessons learnt are, check your critical systems well before launch date, and don’t launch first thing on a Monday. And if stuff does go wrong, get a sassy, resourceful woman to solve the problem.

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