After almost five weeks it was time to go to Cantiere Navale del Porto di Tropea to get the boat lifted and prepared for ten months or so on the hard. I motored for five hours through a dead calm Tyrrhenian Sea. As I approached the port, I was looking out for the many fishing boats circling the sea some five to ten nautical miles out. My Monegasque friends from the yacht Kairos that I met in Taormina had warned me about these fishermen as they apparently had decided that it was more lucrative to catch boats than fish in their nets. On arrival they had been attacked by angry fishermen saying that they had ruined their nets with their propeller. There was no sign of any nets around the propeller but the elderly couple decided to pay the fishermen anyway in order to avoid any further trouble. The younger crew on Kairos had much preferred that they had stood their ground and not paid up but decided that the second-best option would be to write an article in some of the larger yachting magazines warning fellow sailors considering a stop in Tropea. I told management at the yard in Tropea and they were clearly disturbed with what an article like that in say, Yachting World or Yachting Monthly, could do to the region’s much needed income from the yachting community.
Having stayed a night at the dock in the yard, it was time to get lifted early the next morning. This was to be a busy day. The sails were removed so that they could be sent to the sail maker for repair, all textiles were removed from the boat and stored together with the engine, spray hood and bimini top in a warehouse. I had meetings with a stainless-steel welder that was going to look at a solar panel/davits arch at the stern of Saoirse as well as an electrician to discuss an upgrade of the electrical installation. These guys were very nice and appeared to be very competent but it is a little worrying to discuss quite complicated jobs through the only one in the yard that speaks English. The lovely Rosy. She had been a great help the last time that Saoirse was on land in Tropea, back in 2015/2016. She had made sure that Saoirse could be called a home again after having been flooded with rain water from leaking roof hatches. This time she assured me that she would check in on my favorite lady every fortnight to ensure that she remained dry inside.
I left Saoirse not having fully decided how many of the jobs needed to make Saoirse a live-abord yacht that I would let the people of Tropea handle. I took a long taxi ride to the airport with an Italian woman in her mid-forties. We managed to tell each other our life stories even though she only spoke Italian and I don’t. She could not believe that I was going home to sell my house and quit my job and that the next time I am back I will permanently move aboard the boat that I just left at the yard in Tropea.