Sailing Holidays - Behind the Scenes in Spring
Ever wondered what happens in the weeks before summer rolls around? We probably put our feet up and wait for May to arrive? Well... not quite! Contrary to popular belief (by us pen pushers here in the UK) there is a surprising amount of work to get done before the holiday season gets underway.
At the start of November the big jobs for our winter team in Greece really begin. In February the Skippers and Engineers arrive, followed by the Hosties in March...yes that early! They move straight on to their lead boats and are, from then on, responsible for the maintenance and 'fine-tuning' of all systems on board.
All hands on (and below) deck
Our crew prepare all their flotilla boats themselves, from start to finish. This means they know them, inside and out, better than the back of their hand by the time May rolls around. It looks like they’ve even got Barrie hands on this year with our new leather wheel covers...no rest for the wicked!
The busiest time of the year...not August!
Here is what some of our crew get up to (just to name a few of the many jobs that take place in the spring):
Engineers (Our Greece Monkeys)
The engineers are usually the first of the lead crew to arrive as the majority of the winter maintenance work involves engineering skills.
Their tasks will include but are not limited to:
•De-winterising the engines and running up before launching
•Checking engines for faults/leaks and repairing
•Replacing hoses/parts/engines if necessary
•Changing all oils and coolant
•Checking all fresh water systems and repairing
•Rewiring boat electrics
•Cleaning/painting engine bilges
•Yacht interior maintenance
•Cleaning and fitting of holding tank and related plumbing
Hosties (aka. the ones really in charge)
The Hostie Build-Up generally starts at the middle of March.
Their tasks include:
•1st Clean – a complete and thorough clean of each yacht and its inventory. This involves cleaning absolutely everything on board, lifting the floorboards and cleaning the bilges - noting down any faults – aesthetic or otherwise, to discuss and fix with the crew.
•Checking all inventory to ensure that it is up to standard and ordering any replacements that are required.
•Replacing all cushions and covers, curtains and bedding on each yacht.
•Minor repairs – reattaching hinges, screwing in mirrors etc.
•Safety equipment – checking that each yacht has the required safety equipment on board and that it is named accordingly and stowed in appropriate places.
•2nd Clean – before stowing inventory, wipe out lockers etc.
•Final clean – once all members of your crew have agreed that the boat is ready with no more work to be done, placing all linen, starter and cleaning packs on board and doing a final dust and polish through the boat.
Skipper (Sails Managers)
Skippers usually start arriving around the beginning of March and spend the first week or two doing general work before starting the build-up on their fleet of 10-12 boats.
These tasks include:
•De-fouling propellers and replacing anodes before launching
•Checking skin fittings
•Replacing running rigging
•Splicing and whipping ropes
Shore-based Crew (Landlubbers)
The shore-based staff perform a variety of roles during this period, all based around supporting the lead crews and getting the boats ready. The jobs are based on experience and skills and can range from polishing propellers to working with the boat building team.
At our comprehensive maintenance workshop there is a wood workshop, fiberglass and lamination section, metal fabrication shop and an engineering workshop. We do all repairs and maintenance in-house so there are plenty of opportunities to learn new skills.
•Assisting with engine rebuilds/fittings
•Refitting yacht interiors
•Assisting with Gelcoat repairs
•Replacing cutlass bearings
•Assisting engineers with repairs
•Cleaning and fitting of holding tanks
So...there you go!
That is what February – May consists of for our team out in Greece – to name but a few of the tasks they take on. And then of course, the season arrives, along with you sailors! If you fancy following our crews on their summer season you can follow their Facebook Pages!