Hello! My name is Georgie Moon, and I live aboard our yacht, Fandancer, with my husband Tim, and our boat cat, Artemis. Although we do occasionally return to the UK to visit friends and family, we spend most of our time sailing around the Greek islands. We don’t stay in one particular location, but go where the winds take us. So far we have visited over 40 Greek islands, from the Ionian Islands off the west coast, south to the Cyclades, and east to the Dodecanese, close to Turkey.
There are many reasons why I like Greece so much. Apart from the climate and the beautiful scenery, the local people are friendly and helpful. Many speak English, and they appreciate your attempts to speak Greek. Greece is a very laid-back country. It costs virtually nothing to be a cruiser there. There are only a few big marinas, and we always avoid these. You don’t need to book ahead to find a place in a harbor; there are no fees to pay and no paperwork, although you might pay a small amount for water. Greece relies on tourism as its main source of income, and even in the tiniest harbours you will receive the warmest welcome.
I would like to tell you a bit more about our yacht. Fandancer was built in Canada in 1973, so she is over 40 years old. She is a ketch (two masts) and she is a Northstar 40, designed by Sparkman & Stevens, so she has a good pedigree. We have only ever seen one other yacht of the same type, which was anchored close by us in a bay in Lefkas, Greece.
When we bought Fandancer in 2010 she had been abandoned in a marina for over two years, neglected by her elderly owner. She looked very scruffy and unloved, but Tim recognized her potential and we bought her. For the next 17 months, Fandancer was out of the water in a boatyard while Tim single-handedly renovated her. We had to live aboard at the same time, as we had recently gotten together and did not own our own home. It was often quite a challenge cooking our evening meal while balancing on planks when the floor had been removed! We had both taken early retirement; I was 55 and Tim was 63 when we moved aboard. Our friends and family thought we were crazy, but we were determined to prove them wrong.
Eventually, Fandancer was relaunched. Tim renewed or restored everything, and installed a new engine, water tanks, electrical system, lighting, batteries, new windlass and anchor, and new propeller. We had new rigging, new sails, new upholstery, and new showers and toilets. We added some extras that would be necessary for Mediterranean sailing, such as a new swim platform, an opening window in the transom, and solar panels, which would provide enough power to run the fridge 24/7.
Finally we left England, sailing from Portsmouth in October, 2011. We arrived in Corfu in June, 2012, via the French rivers and canals, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and the toe of Italy. We had achieved our ambition to sail to Greece and have now lived aboard Fandancer for five years. It’s not always easy, and can be very hard work at times. It took me quite a while to adjust to not having a permanent base back in the UK. However, we have had so many adventures, and visited so many beautiful places. I hope to be able to tell you about some of these in my forthcoming blogs.