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So I did mention before I would write a bit about what happened with 2013 and the first few months of 2014.

Greek memories 2013

Greek memories 2013

Last summer season ran itself out in Greece with the boat and we sailed back to La Spezia mid October to prepare the boat for the winter in the Caribbean, but one that I was not going to be onboard for. It was breaking my heart that I was to leave, not for the want of leaving but for a change of crew. Packing up all my stuff, years and years of things onboard were to be removed, and oh boy did that take some doing as I have many galley items that I have collected along the way, cookie cutters, knife sharpeners, my knives, other kitchen utensils, plus of course the cook books and magazines that I adore and have to have with me. Oh the list runs on, but yes all of it bar some uniform was boxed up and removed. I was emotionally upset by it all and it took a while to sink in what was happening around me, but another chef arrived and I left the boat…

November days 2013

November days 2013

 

 

It did not take me long to fly back to Italy to absorb the life I adore in the Mediterranean.  The festive period came and I shot off to the USA to be with my Greek American family to celebrate a new year and shortly after that flew back to Italy before going onto Australia where I was emmersed in cooking, SUPing, walking and cleaning but only for a short while as I was called back to the boat. Inside there was a cry of joy, back to sea, back to cooking onboard, back to the life I love !

I flew back to the boat in late February and had a week to sort out what was onboard and prep up before an en slaught of 5 weeks of family, guests and race crew with 2 extra yachts to help keep stocked of food for 12 hungry guys. That period is almost now a blur, but if I go over texts I was sending friends during that time, especially another chef on another boat racing, it brings back memories of exhausting days, stress filled shopping trips ashore, organizing crew, race crew, guests, food deliveries, baking bread for 26 people a day to have sandwiches as we raced around Virgin Gorda ! But that stress, that exhaustion is what I live for, it is a drive that makes me love those periods, and yearn for more as they are all organized periods of chaos. 

We took part in three regattas which was great, but sadly had many things go wrong with the boat so that was not so much fun. The BVI regatta, sailing around Virgin Gorda was a great experience and one I hope to do again soon. After this we went down to St Barths via Anguilla and St Martin so that I could stock up for the next regatta. The guests had a relaxing day in Anguilla playing golf whilst we took some time to chill and regroup before our next regatta ! St Martin for me was one mad dash around supermarkets to stock up and be prepared to make 70 sandwiches or wraps again for the next 5 days as the day after the Bucket regatta finishes we were to race in the Pineapple Regatta, where 5 German owned yachts had their own race.

Regatta time Caribbean March 2014

Regatta time Caribbean March 2014

St Barths is one of my favourite islands and a great regatta but a hard regatta. The wind and sea can play havoc with us all as we go around the island one way and then the other depending on which course they set us. But the beat to windward is long and drains us all as we push the boat as hard as she can go. Again we had serious problems with the boat and had to retire from one race as it was too dangerous for us to go on. On the last day of the regatta we threw a drinks party onboard and had about 30 people walking through the boat with glasses of wine or beer ! We were all so tired and felt a little embarressed as we had had no time to clean up the boat after a day on the water and really two weeks of race crew walking through with salt water and sunscreen hands, but non of this seem to concern those visiting who happily drank the beer and wine and ate the snacks provided before they all went to the prize giving. We cleaned up and dashed ashore for a crew dinner, and a quick drink to see friends before reminding ourselves that we had a another days racing to do unlike 80% of the fleet …

March 2014 was a crazy month, of sleep deprivation, huge highs and massive lows, adrenaline flowing through me at such a rate I had no control… but I pumped out bread everyday, made sandwiches and wraps, cakes, cookies and had also prepped up some meals that I gave to the race crew on their catamarans that they were all living on! It was certainly a busy month and when everyone left at the beginning of April it was all a bit of a shock of silence for us all, but we needed it! I turned the galley around for a delivery, helped the delivery chef stock up and flew to Singapore for 4 days and onto remote Sumbawa in Indonesia for 2 weeks, then up to Bali for a detox and downtime for me which was excellent before 6 days in Margaret River and back to Italy before Valencia where I met up with the boat again…

Indonesia, Sumbawa and Bali combined...April 2014

Indonesia, Sumbawa and Bali combined…April 2014

The summer of 2014 began in Valencia which was fabulous… I cycled each morning up the beach before cycling to Cabanyal market to stock up for the day, a month of cycling around one of my favourite Spanish towns. It might be the most modern but it is a great town to have a bike in to explore. The markets are also fabulous with lots of local fresh produce and I have been invited out to one of the vegetable growers farm next time I am in town which I cannot wait to visit. Valencia has so much agriculture so close to it,  you only need to drive 10mins out of town and there are olive trees, vines, row and rows of lettuces, or carrots, cabbages, and then just south the rice fields for the paella rice, and of course the orange groves for miles and miles. I was able to find my elderflower trees to make copious quantities of elderflower cordial which were snapped up by plenty of those who adore the cordial, expats living in Valencia !

A few weekends away were amazing and just what I needed, before we started to set the boat back up to race in Palma in the middle of June ! Yup our first stint of this summer was a regatta which of course I cannot complain about as I thrive on them so after a month or so in Valencia we moved to Palma where we took part in the Superyacht Cup and managed to do quite well even though we had to jury rig our main sheet ! Having not been to Palma for 2 years it was good to get back and see friends, work with provisioners I had not seen in ages, go back to bakeries I like to use, or the florist, fruit and vegetable stalls at the market and of course always find new places to go to such as some great restaurants which we will be going back to at some later date…

We left Palma and sailed back to our home port well kind of home port only because we have a container there and spend winters there. Catching yellowfin tuna on our deckhands birthday was fun, and made his day especially as I think he was missing his family friends and the pub at this stage ! Well he is only 20…

Our summer then started with cruising after a few weeks fixing up the boat after the regatta, and this summers itinerary is mainly cruising in Italian waters which suits me fine… plenty of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, courgettes, aubergines, stone fruit, fish, hams, wonderful cheeses and more and now whilst we are anchored off Sardegna waiting for the owners to come back I go up to the markets again as much as I can…

Travel, cruising, cooking