A lot has happened this month. We where of the grid for a while so sorry for that.
The plan was to go to Sicily to meet some friends with my nephew Timo as a crew member. It will take about 7 days we thought.
To do this trip a lot of preparation needs to be done. I bought a big solar panel to accommodate the power consumption. I could not get such a panel in Spain, so I ordered it in Holland and bring it over as odd sized luggage to Spain. A size of 2 by 1 meter is a lot to carry in busses, train and airplane, I can tell you.
A lot of food had to be on board, so I carefully planned all kinds of meals and breakfasts. Besides a lot of water, diesel, etc.
Timo arrived Friday the 7th of July in the evening and we went right away to a quiet place for anchorage with no mosquitoes bothering us. The marina of Rapita is wonderful, but because of rice fields nearby, there are a lot of mosquitoes.
As we talked through the route and wind forecasts, I came to the conclusion it was best to take off right away. Timo agreed, although he was tired, after work and flight.
The wind was blowing from the south-east, force 5 to 6. So we could go along the Spanish coast to Ibiza. The sea was building up and Timo became seasick. He did sleep on and of for 48 hours. During the trip I discovered the wind was shifting to the east. It made it possible to skip Ibiza and we set course for Mallorca. We could arrive after 24 hours.
The forecasts gave us than the opportunity to go East. After we saw Mallorca the wind shifted to the North-East, force 4. That was beautiful. We could skip Mallorca and set course to Sardegna. All in all the trip took 5 days and very good sailing.
I love the sea. Sailing and doing the laundry, playing the piano, sleep in the shade and cooking a nice meal.
And I love these sunrises!
There was a storm coming up, so we decided to seek a bay in Sardegna and wait for the storm to pass. I discovered some small Islands in front of the coast of Sardegna and we went for them to see if we could find a save bay. It was getting dark and although my mind said do not go to the coast when it is dark, my hart said I can use some sleep. I listened to my heart. That was my first mistake. Suddenly we where trapped in some kind of fishing area. Nothing on the map off course. Big buoys with thick ropes tied together where around us. The engines stopped. So pitch dark, trapped in lines and the wind blowing in our back. Hmm. If we could manage to untie the boat, it will float further into the fishing area. We managed to pull the boat backwards by pulling a thick line I did manage to attach. That was a tiring job. When the boat was free of other lines, we finally could use the engines to help us. When the line almost disappeared I told Timo to let the line go and with two engines I could turn the boat and of we went. Away of these small Islands, back to sea. So we had to sail another night around Sardegna. In the morning we found a nice spot to anchor and we both had a long sleep.
The wind was picking up, so Timo really loved to try surfing this wind.
He prepared all the gear and surfed for hours. We just enjoyed the quietness of anchorage. The wind was building up and I decided it was better to move the boat near the hills. We also needed diesel, so I went in the dinghy with 4 empty cans to get some. There was a marina, but no diesel. Shit. When I came back I noticed the boat was drifting. Because of the hills the wind was blowing from different directions and the anchor was pulled around. When I wanted to pick a line from the boat, my outboard engine stopped and I floated vastly away from the boat. Timo could not use the surfboard to get me, so I was desperate trying to peddle. Happily a man with a dinghy came along and pulled me back to my boat. I had all kind of images passing through my mind. I saw myself floating to Tunisia.
So we moved to a more quiet spot nearby. After a couple of days the wind quiet down and we decided to go to Cagliari. A nice big city where we could definitely get diesel and food supplies. We celebrated our first big trip with a really good Italian meal.
The next day we set course to Sicily. Although we will not have a lot of wind, we decided to see and look for wind on the spot. It was a quiet trip and we managed to find some wind now and then.
Seeing Sicily was quit a victory for me. A trip of 1400 km. I have never been sailing nonstop that long. Then disaster struck. I was on watch and tacking along the coast of Sicily. Just when I set course to the coast I fell asleep and woke up to see the boat against the rocks. It was a very calm morning, so that was pure luck. Normally you will loose your boat on such an occasion. There was some damage to one bow. We could free the boat from the rocks and dropped the anchor to check.
One propeller was bent, some scratches on the hull, one rudder was bended but still functional, but one engine was leaking oil.
I felled ashamed and stupid. I had set two alarms, but I was totally gone. Never heard a thing. Just woke up 5 hours later!! I feel like such a dumm ass! Well lesson learned after the second incident. Don’t go to the coast at night. We looked for a nearby marina and went for it on one engine. I called the marina, explaining our situation and they assisted us very well. It is very hard to maneuver a catamaran with just one engine. Although on the internet the marina should have all kinds of services, this was definitely not the case. They wanted to charge us 125 euros for just one night stay. Happily we found a yard who could accommodate us right away, after I mentioned the boat was leaking in the engine room. So we left in a hurry. Well that was what we where planning to do, but one engine is not enough to get you free from the pontoon. I decided to start the other engine briefly just to get us of the pontoon and then shut it down again. That worked. We motored for an hour to the other yard and they lifted the boat right away.
Timo left to visit the friends we where supposed to meet 300 km from our location. We will stay on the yard to manage the repairs. My friends will visit me later. The yard lies near a beach and a good restaurant. So we will be fine for the next couple of weeks. And the game begins again. The yard wants to keep you as long as possible, so they can charge you and I want to leave as soon as possible.