Alghero to Malta via France and Italy 2004

On this page

A straightforward, day to day account of what we have done during the current year's cruise. What we found may help others.


Some of the places visited

Attach:2004map2.jpg Δ


Date

Log

Miles

Nights

Eur
Night

Total Eur

Port

Anchor or Buoy

April
20 - 30

Returned to Base Usai, Fertilia (about 2 M N of Alghero) for fitting out, antifouling, repairs, etc. Total cost for the 8 months ashore about € 1500 including lifts out and in.
Stayed at the Ostello della Gioventü. The former hostel is now privately run by the very friendly Margherita and has four self contained apartments. Four of us had two bedrooms/living room and a large bathroom, fridge, B and B for € 20 pp. Very good value. The new Youth Hotel is also run by Margherita and has washing machines.
Met up with Andrea Jensen (Geoff Hitchcock and Vivian Hughes) and Silurus (Alastair Ramage) both CA members, Sululu (Martin and Pam), registered in Dartmouth (our home port) but from Falmouth and Dutch yacht Bagai (Erik and Chris) at Fertilia.. Also met Roger and Judith Hornby, Eider (CA and HR42 owners) passing through. Geoff and Vivian use their splendid 80' wooden gaff rigged ketch for day trips from Alghero.
We had wondered why the yard had a very big fork lift truck as well as a small one for moving boat cradles. On launching, we soon found out. Two boats blocking our way were simply lifted complete with cradles. We were then moved in the same way to near the water so that we could be craned in. Simple, effective, well and carefully done.
While at Fertilia we visited Sassari, an interesting old town - 3/4 hour by bus for € 2 each way. A very pleasant ride. Also various visits to Alghero for some sightseeing, chandlers, hardware shops etc. The hourly bus service costs about € 0.75 each way. Both services are good value.

May 1-4

Spent another two nights at the Ostello della Gioventü before Curt (Margaret's husband) returned to the UK. Weather turned very unsettled as a Saharan low moved N toward the Baléares and then S France/Gulf of Genoa.

May 4

Back on board, still very windy - up to F8. US GRIB forecast suggests leave Friday or Saturday.

May 5

Near disaster. Spilt some water on the laptop keyboard which ceased to function completely. Drying and hoovering got partial operation. Finally went into Alghero where computer shop advised "keyboard broken". The solution was to buy an external keyboard at the great cost of €7! It is Italian with some od keys, standard QWERTY but strange locations of various symbols. Some keys have three symbols obtainable using Alt Gr.

May 6

Still very windy, and wet to start. The day improved but departure seems to be likely on Sunday. Email from friend says London is wet, cold and miserable. Vive la difference.

May 7

Wet early with thunder. A hard day sorting out a gunged up holding tank valve.

May 8

A better day. Forecasts suggest Monday may be a day to go through the Fornelli passage. Another Saharan low is on its way so the window is a narrow one.

May 9

Best day for a while although still chilly in the wind. US GRIB, DWD RTTY 5 day, DWD Internet 3 day, French CROSS and Italian NAVTEX all suggest tomorrow is OK. Such unanimity is unusual but augurs well.

May 10

To Stintino. The wind went round, as , to S and gave a very pleasant, broad reach from Capo Caccia right to the Fornelli Passage. With a force 4 we were doing a good average 5 knots. The new Autoprop is excellent under sail and power. We were able to do 6 knot under power at less revs than at 5.5 knots with the old fixed prop. A short motor from the passage to Stintino. here there are now pontoons in the outer harbour but no water or electricity. The compensating factor is no charge either.
We had a nice walk in the late afternoon sun into the town. A pretty little place with a small harbour mainly for local boats. There were many very smart lateen rigged local craft. Obviously there was rivalry in who had the smartest boat. the wild flowers were most spectacular.

36

1

0

0

May 11

To Castelsardo. Not wanting to stay at Stintino with the promise of being weather-bound the decision was Castelsardo despite the forecast of E-NE 3/4 becoming 4/5. We sailed most of the way in rather cold conditions more like Dartmouth to Salcombe than a Mediterranean passage.
the entrance to Castelsardo is well sheltered in a strong NE by the headland bearing the castle.
No problem in finding a berth as there was more of the harbour in use than in 2001. Still very cheap and welcoming.

22

3

11

33

May 12

After a dry start, cold very wet and windy as our second Saharan low in as many weeks does its business. . Shopped in the morning, several small and good shops . A delightful little town and an imposing castle.

May 13

Sunny but still cold in a W wind. On he basis of the local wind a passage to Propriano would have been possible But, forecasts from four sources all said no. Saturday looks like bring a light E.NE. Perhaps then we go.
The US GRIB forecast is showing yet another Saharan low but further west than its predecessors. This has been a most unseasonable and unwelcome start to May.

May 14

To Isola Rossa. A pleasant sunny day for a change but still rather cold, After a morning shopping, left for Isola Rossa all of 9 miles along the coast in a good broad reach. The new Autoprop certainly does wonders for speed under sail.
Isola Rossa is a growing holiday resort and the marina is just getting into its stride. Several shops including a fair sized SISA supermarket, butcher and fish shop are all within a few metres of the marina. Showers and loos were very good.

9

1

12

12

May 15

To Propriano. The promised NE did not materialize but we left more in hope than anger. Nine hours with about half the time under motor. The Autoprop is even better under power giving an extra half know with 2000 less revs. The best sailing was approaching the Colfe de Valinco - until a very heavy shower obliterated the marvellous backdrop.
The big disappointment was that the long promised Propriano marina improvements have started. All the old pontoons have disappeared and there is no sign of any new ones even though the work is supposed to be completed in the Summer of 2004. Perhaps they mean 2005. wanting shopping, we used the a berth in the avant port. No water, no electricity, no toilets open, no reply on VHF even though the office was open. Therefore - no payment.
All this was a great pity because Propriano is a delightful small town with good, convenient shops, restaurants etc.

42

1

0

0

May 16

To Ajaccio. A good sunny day - ensoleillée in Météo France speak. A nice beat down the Golfe was followed by a very fast broad reach in a F3-4. No reply to calls on VHF were explained when we arrived - Capitainerie closed at weekends hors saison. We found a berth with no problem. Although still icicles in the wind, it was gloriously sunny. A good day.

29

4

19

76

May 17 and 18

Two nice, sunny and warm days. Checked in at marina office, cleaned boat, shopped, washed, tried to get laptop fixed - failed. looks like I will have to use it with care and much patience.

May 19

Had intended to leave but realized that domestic battery volts were dangerously low. The mains battery charger had packed up. The local Accastillage Diffusion sold us a neat little Dolphin 20 amp job. he told us how to connect to our mains supply. Much fiddling work followed getting connections the right size etc. It looked OK. Switched on and promptly tripped the mains supply. The young man had got his neutral and earth mixed up. Changed them round, fitted new fuse and all is well. Except that the new charger has a rather annoying little fan. The noise, albeit slight, will disturb some people's sleep.
All in all a frustrating day.

May 20

Left Ajaccio just after 0800! Someone's alarm was wrongly set. Motored to just past les Iles Sanguinaires. Then just enough wind to give us 2 kn under spinnaker increasing slowly to 4.5 kn to Cargèse. This is a real gem of a town with a Greek history. On the sky line there are two churches, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic facing each other symbolically as the hierarchy of the two churches do today.
The town is a steep walk uphill but well worth it, especially as it is still early in the season. There were many tourists in town (it was the feast of the Assumption, a national public holiday.)
In this small port there ere two Anhingas. The other was a German boat last seen in 2001 (we think).

22

2

17

35

May 21

Stayed another day in this delightful village.

May 22

After motoring to Orchina had a near dead run right to la Revallata. Used the spinnaker until lunch when it began to be a little frisky. Dropped the kite over lunch but did not bother to re-hoist. Should have done, but a pleasant sail nonetheless.
Excitement was on arrival outside Calvi. The engine would not start – clearly fuel starvation. Could not get fuel through. Pipes seem clear, changed the primary filter but the lift pump will not pull fuel through. Also the old filter had much muck in it. The dreaded fungus?

34

1

May 23

Organized tow into the harbour, Colombo the Grockle boat company, and for an engineer (also Colombo where a young lady had English rather better than my French) to come and take a look tomorrow.

4

25

100

May 23

The Engineer duly arrived, checked he fuel lines, said they were OK. The problem (as we had guessed) was in the fuel tank itself. this had to be completely drained. Using our fuel siphon device, we were able to suck most of the dirt out of the tank helped by rinsing it out with fuel from our reserve tank. the engineer said, also, that part of the problem was that we had been sold heavier fuel than is normally used for small engined yachts.
Eventually, everything seems OK although we will have to keep an eye on the primary filter and inspect it from time to time.
The charge for the work - 9 man-hours was €333 which we thought was very fair. On this basis, we can thoroughly recommend the Colombo Line people. Info@colombo-line.com, www.colombo-line.com.

May 25

Checked the engine still ran OK with a half hour run. later looked at the primary filter/water trap which looked OK and was full of nice clean fuel. remembering the muddy liquid of yesterday, that is good news.

May 26

Tomorrow is looking a reasonable day to cross over to the mainland. Shopped, cleaned, paid the Colombo Line (they seemed in no hurry and only produced the bill today).
Shopped at Super U. After paying the bill (> e95) we were presented with a paper bag of "cadeaux" - some nice chocolate biscuits, rice, mustard with garlic and parsley, mineral water, coffee filters, a pen, a map of France showing all the Super Us, all good stuff, nothing cheap.

May 27/28

Left mid morning, little wind at first but sailed after just over an hour on the engine. Wind still very light but made around 2 - 3 knots. The wind increased just enough to have a good sail for most of the night with some engine mainly because the battery was not too happy.
Had some odd "tidal" sets. To the east when still east of Cap Corse, to the wet when within 40 miles of the French coast. Do not understand.
Mention Garavan was full - or so he said on C9 9. Got a berth on the "accrual" quay at Menton Vieux Port.

88

May 29 - 30

Stayed at Menton. Watched lateen sailed boats set out for race. Market excellent. A most elegant and delightful town.

3

12

36

May 31

A slow initially but gradually improving beat to Aregai. Somewhat remote, no easy shopping nearby. Very helpful at the marina, replied immediately on VHF - in English. Prices almost double on last year's € 17.6!

27

33

June 1

Another painfully slow sail until at about 1330 the sea breeze set in. to get us to Alassio. Few places in the marina and a tight berth to get into. A very pleasant holiday town with several fine buildings. Another price hike from € 14 last year (May 31 - perhaps the change of month partly).

19

2

24

48

June 3

Probably started too early but the wind increased to give us a pleasant sail to Loano until one of the promised thunderstorms gave us some exciting F5, rather gusty winds. Although there seemed to be plenty of spaces, the marina seemed rather coy about giving us two never mind three nights. Up € 6 on last year early June.

9

June 4

Stayed at Loano. * They give the first night free
CA boat Antigua Lady arrived, Paul and Karen Bradley, on their way to Turkey-

2

25 *

25

June 5

Had intended having another day here but were told by a rather embarrassed lady that we had to leave, a group from Genoa had a prior booking. Other visitors - French and Spanish also had to leave.
Considered anchoring off Isolotto Gallinara, outside Alassio. However, with the wind direction, all the close in anchoring slots were taken. We tried Alassio but were turned away - full.
Carry on to Imperia was plan B (or C). This was a rather pleasant beat with the wind up to a good F4. The old marina was full but we found and unoccupied slot at the end of a pontoon in the new marina area in the outer harbour. A man who we later found was from the Capitaineria gave a neutral response when we asked if there was a "posta" and then walked away. No help from motor boat owners sitting watching the fun as we approached in an increasing and quite strong side wind. It was a long way down to the pontoon and a hand would have been welcome. All very odd

30

2

18

36

June 6

Went to the Capitaineria, paid our dues. Quite helpful then. Later in the day when the swell got quite severe and after a telephone conversation with a colleague, he came and said that we could move to the old harbour. We did, but the official there said NO, go back! We duly did and were found a much quieter berth. A complete and utter mystery.
Walked into the town but thought it not nearly as pleasant as Alassio or Loano.

June 7

A motor in zero wind back to Menton intending to spend a few days here awaiting the CA Rallye d'Azur. met up with Daniel Chamy the HR distributor and owner of Chantier Navals Garavan. Ordered a new battery charger to replace the new but cheap and very noisy Dolphin 2 bought at Ajaccio. Discussed possible work on the decks (another year) and organized a rig check.
The Vieux Port is more friendly than the new port (Garavan) and cheaper. I was able to make a reservation by phone from Imperia. Very helpful.

25

5

20.5

102.5

June 8, 9, 10, 11

Mastervolt battery charger arrived and rig checked - all organized by the very efficient Daniel Chamy. Rig OK, had Lightning Master fitted. battery charger installed after usual trauma of emptying the locker and working bent double. Very quiet in operation, just a quiet whisper of the fan. the Dolphin will go home as a car battery charger. Cannot recommend for a yacht as far too noisy.
Met Mirek and Lucy Misayat in big brother - a HR 43, Kaprys, who were to join us on the CA Rallye d'Azur.
Major set back was the sudden terminal illness of my laptop. Repair would have cost more than the machine was worth

June 12

Motored to Beaulieu for the start of the rally.

10

3

25

75

June 13, 14

Weather not suitable for the planned anchorage so stayed put. Dinner at Beaulieu went well with Hawaiian dancers, until the sweet course when the heavens opened. Peggie Manton's (CA Med Section secretary) speech was washed out but she did cut a magnificent cake.

June 15

To la Napoule with not a great deal of wind. Barbecue on the beach,

20

2

27.5

55

June 16

Coach trip to small, private marina cum holiday complex at la Galère, a lovely place - rather high class. The lunch was excellent, great canapés, lobster starter, good steak, strawberry and ice cream yoghurt sweet, wine and coffee.
Had a frustrating evening finding out that it seems impossible to buy a laptop in France with a QWERTY keyboard.

June 17

Various phone calls my Mike Morris our French speaking organizer confirmed the bad news re laptops. At his suggestion I phoned a contact in the UK to try to get a new laptop sent out. Agree which over the phone. Another set back - out of stock! UK contact kindly agreed to send me his spare laptop by express delivery - except that it was a weekend approaching and despatch on the Friday could only mean delivery on Monday. Despite clearing my email in Beaulieu I shudder to think what is waiting collection.
Then a slow sail to Fréjus for a barbecue on the beach.

20

1

22

22

June 18

A good sail in winds up to F6 to Port Grimaud. Interesting, phoney but, like Port Meirion in Wales, good phoney.

12

1

31

31

June 19

A rather windy forecast coupled with the knowledge that le Lavandou intended putting the fleet on a rather exposed quay determined that the fleet as a whole stayed put. However, the midday Météo France/CROSS forecast. As our replacement laptop was being despatched to le Lavandou we decided that as the weather seemed not too bad that a departure was in order.. A good, fairly windy (just F6) sail, some motoring to arrive before dark. Mirek and Lucy had left earlier and very kindly invited us on board for very welcome G and Ts.
Growl Tiger, a Nauticat 51, another CA rally boat arrived shortly after us. The rest remained at Port Grimaud.

29

3

24

72

June 20, 21

Stayed at le Lavandou. a delightful place. great traiteur and boulangerie.
Good news was the arrival of the laptop. Am now trying to load all my software and back up files. Some problems, mostly minor.

June 22, 23, 24, 25

A very early start to get to Porquerolles where the rally is due to end. Mirek and Lucy had already arrived and treated us to their "arrivées". These are Polish vodka known as Bison - slightly greenish and VERY smooth, especially at 9 o'clock in the morning.
The rest of the fleet arrived in fits and starts. Meeting everyone again was enjoyable, if somewhat alcoholic. The dinner in the evening put a nice finishing touch to a good rally enjoyed by all - despite the unfortunate and inconsiderate weather.
* With the rally we got a very handsome discount for the first two nights.
The island is very pleasant and not (in late June) over run by grockles.

12

4

25*

68

June 26

After two very windy days, it stayed windy until about 4 am when, in obedience to Météo France's instructions it all quietened down. We had a slow sail - the wind had note heard that there was supposed to be a sea breeze. - to the Baie de Briande just before Cap Camarat.
Due to an never ending stream of power boats of all sizes going along the coast, we had a disturbed evening but a quiet night with only a little residual swell.

26

1

June 27

A gentle sea breeze gave us what should have been a pleasant spinnaker run to Sainte Maxime, In the event, the whole of the bay of St Tropez plus several other ports seemed to be giving birth to an inexhaustible supply of motor boats all vying to make the biggest bow wave and/or go the fastest. I doubt that they took pleasure in spoiling other people's enjoyment. They were just blithely unaware of what noise, rough water and misery they were creating. Pleasant it was not.
Many delightful anchorages such as Baie de Briande would have been untenable for all but large yachts and motor boats.
Getting to Ste Maxime we found the Capitainerie closed for the day from 1230! In the season! There was, however, a space right by a CA boat, Lechwe, Mary and Alex Adamson Leigh, last seen at Porquerolles.
The Capitainerie did, in fact, return briefly during the evening.

12

2

29

58

June 28

Stayed at Ste Maxime, a very pleasant town if somewhat expensive shopping.

June 29

A slow sail to the anchorage north of St Honorat. Water at last getting warm enough to swim. Avocet came in but was oblivious to our hail and call on CH 16. Sent an email to them signed Disappointed and Disillusioned, Dartmouth.

22

1

June 30

Another slow sail most of the way to Menton. Called them by mobile, good and helpful response. Put us on the Jetée Imperatrice Eugène which was nicely quiet and cool by day but somewhat disturbed at night. Youngsters kicking a football around, it went into the water and boarded us to get it. Jennifer in her nightwear frightened them off. the anglers who seemed to think that our slot was better than most. They talked, not loudly but enough to disturb us. Their hook then got caught in the next boat causing a disturbance.

27

3

20.5

61

July 1

The marina office must have heard our prayers. late afternoon a message came around asking us to kindly move to the usual visitors berths near the Capitainerie (also near the showers). Not quite as quiet and cool during the day but infinitely preferable at night.

July 2

Bad news from home, will probably have to return for an indeterminate period. Spoke to Daniel Chamy, HR agent, he can keep Anhinga either ashore or afloat. He really is very helpful.
Used the mobile and laptop to book Easyjet to Bristol on Sunday.

July 3

Moved round to Daniel Chamy's yard by Menton Garavan. Met, helped in, given keys etc. A great load off our minds

July 27

Returned to Menton. Boat fine. Daniel Chamy (CNG) clearly a very good and competent boatyard. Saw examples of re-decking in teak. We are very tempted in the next year or so to have them re-deck Anhinga.As a HR owner, Daniel gave us a good discount. Nearly 4 weeks during July would have cost €800. Even that is not exorbitant for the area.

July 29/30

Left for Macinaggio, Corsica. Wind disappointingly lighter than expected. Much motoring. Approached Cap Corse just about dawn. A fearsome headland on many occasions but like a mill pond. Anchored in Baie de Tamorone just N of Macinaggio.. A good anchorage only spoilt by a VERY noisy disco.

96

1

July 31

Motored across to the marina. Friendly and efficient. A pleasant small village with all necessary shops right by.

1

1

38

38

Aug 1

Out back to Baie de Tamorone. A delightful anchorage. About another 14 yachts shared our opinion. No disco this time.

1

1

Aug 2

Re-fuelled in the marina then a slowish sail to Isola Capraia. Had to motor round the headland and up to Porto Capraia. Anchored just off the port. The anchoring became very crowded and most skippers were good at finding a spot. When there was a possibility of coming up against another boat then they sensibly came in with fenders down.
There is always one, of course, who bucks the trend. Arriving just about sunset, he chose a spot that was virtually untenable right among already anchored yachts. After several attempts, much anchor dragging; why he did not hook ours is a mystery, he finally settled down. A calm night prevented any problems. Others had gone some distance away on the other side of the harbour.
One interest was a deeply laden cargo boat. One big wave would have swamped her. She came along side and proceeded to pump something ashore. As there were several yachts close by and one even rafted temporarily to the ship, we assume it was not a dangerous cargo. Water, probably.
Quite an impressive island when viewed from seaward. Not much to attract us ashore. Seeing the citadel more clearly on departure, perhaps we should have stayed another day.

20

1

Aug 3

Zero wind, a motor sail to Cala Cavo on the east side of Elba. We came here last year. A pleasant spot with a small holiday village and beach.

28

1

Aug 4

Motor round to Porto Azurro for provisioning. Went to the town marina thinking it would be cheaper. It probably was but at €65 we wondered what the commercial marina charged.

8

1

65

65

Aug 5

Although forecast to go NW from SE the wind stayed SE until mid afternoon. We anchored in the Porto Azzurro bay in thick mud – CQR. A thunderstorm and its gusts gave some excitement as boats tried to anchor with varying degrees of success. We always get the impression that local sailing schools teach much about mooring stern to but insufficient about how to lay an anchor out.

1

1

Aug 6

A motor then a nice spinnaker run to Isola Giglio. Very small marina. Limited anchoring near the harbour. Went into Cala Cannelle, good holding but had to get very close in for less than 10 m. The island looks nice but would want to be in the harbour to go ashore without leaving anyone on the boat. As SE winds are forecast after 8 Aug we have to leave.

33

1

Aug 7

Motored for 2 ½ then sailed 5 hours on broad spinnaker reach. No problems at Riva de Traiano. Plenty of room. Not expensive. Small mini market, good showers etc.

46

1

30

30

Aug 8

A surprisingly good sail, mainly a fine reach in a wind that got up to SSW F3-4 then just before Porto Turistico di Roma (Ostia) increased temporarily to almost a F5. Ostia large and well organised. Call on Ch 74.
* €38 a night but discount for CA

31

3

38*

103

Aug 9, 10

Stayed at Ostia. Many boutiques and a local tourist attraction – in season. Out of season it could be a little soul less but, nevertheless a good place to winter a boat especially if not living aboard. Safe in the water and out, near the airport, local shops a short bus ride away.
Visited Ostia Antica, a very good and cheap trip. € 1 each way by bus and train. The old village and the Castello are well worth seeing but the major attraction is the old Roman town. This is a large site, well signposted and with a good guide although we could only get a French version.

Aug 11

A pleasant sail with a good spinnaker reach to the anchorage off Anzio. An enormous number of fishing boats here of various sizes.

28

1

Aug 12

Another good sail after a short motoring period. Spinnakered past Circe's island and thought about Ulysses. The scenery changer here from the low lying coast near Rome to more mountainous terrain. Approaching Gaeta the wind got up to a top 4 reaching 5 so down with the kite.
We were met at Gaeta after a radio call and ushered to a berth.

56

2

51

102

Aug 13

Stayed at Gaeta which is a pleasant, non touristy town with many good small shops and a supermarket that does not vim with the shops to any great extent. For the first time for ages we could buy good fish at an affordable price from small fishmongers. A good place to stay with a boat.

Aug 14

Anchored off Gaeta.

1

Aug 15

Started with a head wind, put in one tack then the wind slowly lifted and increased enough to give a fast fine reach to a good anchorage (we hoped) under Castello d’Ischia on the east of the island. The bay was pretty full but many would go and did so. Three things spoilt the night.
First an Italian boat had a rowdy party with loud music although they did finish well before midnight. Secondly, there were some noisy but indifferent fireworks about midnight. No where as near as good as even a moderate Spanish or French display. Lastly, the Naples Bay land breeze got up, not strongly, but enough to give a rolly, pitching sleepless night.

34

1

Aug 16

Intended returning to the mainland south of the Bay of Naples. Motored waiting for the sea breeze to get up. The engine overheated so had to change the thermostat. With an hot engine on a hot day with the boat wallowing around, not a pleasant task. Diverted to Isola Capri. Asked about a berth but they were full – thankfully as we would probably have needed a second mortgage.
Anchored off the Marina Grande on rock and weed in 10 metres with many others all ignoring a large sign saying no anchoring within 300 metres of the beach. That would have put us in 40 metres depth. Spent the time watching the antics of boats anchoring and failing. One motor boat arrived with a large mass of weed already on his anchor!

12

1

Aug 17

Little wind, motored most of the way apart from about 2 hours to Acciaroli. This is a very pleasant little fishing village, not particularly touristy although there were obviously a number of holiday makers. Mooring was stern to with anchor to a quay with no facilities and no charge. Excitement was when a large ferry arrived and we were too near his berth. We moved and came back. The following morning the same ferry came, we went for water and then found a berth where we would not be disturbed again.
Food shopping was adequate to good with several good fish shops and a good butcher.

41

2

0

0

Aug 19

Part sail part motor to Maretea. There were some pontoons with tailed lines but these seemed to be fully booked. The Banchina transito was a shambles. Eventually we moored, probably illegally, by a police boat. The fuel berth was in a very confined space so that the very many boats refuelling were a constant source of interest.
Some starting problems suggested a look at the primary fuel filter for more bug problems. Also due for an oil change. Although asked to move we claimed “problema con il motore”. TRUE. The primary filter was almost blocked but there was little sign of any more growth in the tank. We must keep a closer eye on the filter. Changed the oil and the impeller – experience suggests that oil change is also impeller change time.
Shopping here was very limited but adequate. Larios gin, Schweppes Tonic, canned beer, bread milk, cheese some chilled foods, a small fruit and vegetable stall. You need not starve.

35

2

0

0

Aug 21

Although forecast to be up to F5 this did not occur until late and we had to motor all the way to Cetraro. The harbour is fine, plenty of space, quiet but the place has otherwise nothing at all to commend it. Completely charm less. It is simply a free, secure berth between Maretea and Vibo Valentia or Tropea.
Perhaps we spoke too soon. A fairly brisk NW F5-6 developed to give a very windy night in the harbour an a most unpleasant surge even though the entrance faced south. Not a good place.

31

1

0

0

Aug 22

A slow start with motoring for nearly 30 miles, then a good broad reach for the rest to Vibo Valentia. The Marina Stella del Sud answered Ch 10 in English and are very helpful. Quite a relief to have a marina with tailed lines, water and electricity on the pontoons. We have washing and some shopping to do, including engine oil, thermostat and fuel filters – but there is supposed to be a good Volvo agent here.
Vibo Valentia is a rather scruffy town with many broken pavements. Walking to the supermarkets is a little worrying until you realise that Italian drivers will not run you down in cold blood. However, it is a very friendly, helpful place with everything that you need easily accessible or available eg Camping Gaz by phone from the marina. It has a rather unexpected charm. Although it is a commercial port, you are barely aware of the cargo ships coming and going. The two marinas are far enough away from the “promenade” for it to be quiet.

50

3

30

90

Aug 25

Being curious about the nearby Tropea, a new marina, we motored along the coast, had a swim and entered the port in the late afternoon. The Porto Turistico looks fairly complete with tailed lines, water and electricity. There were plenty of spaces and it may take some time for it to take off. The surroundings are very pleasant and quiet.

12

1

31

31

Aug 26

The forecast NW did not arrive until around midday. The sail to Isola Vulcano was a motor job for nearly half the distance and a good sail the rest. We saw Stromboli in the distance smoking
The anchorage in Porto di Levante was rather crowded and difficult to find a space in shallow enough water. away. The volcano is still quietly active but the sulphur smell not too strong. We had a short spell of strong winds during the night. Some boats dragged despite the holding being good. We let another 5 metres of chain out – as much as we dared with other boats fairly near.

44

2

Aug 27

Went ashore and saw the mud bathers. Good food shopping. A rather gritty place with much volcanic dust. Had thought of going the 10 miles to Isola Salina had there been room in the marina. It would have been 10 M to wind. Decided to stay put.

Aug 28

Little wind expected for the next few days. Bit the bullet and motored to Cefalu. Basically, a fishing harbour with spaces for some yachts but with tailed lines, water and electricity.

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35

70

Aug 29

At Cefalu, our first contact with Sicily and very impressive. A very pleasant and well kept old town. Good shopping, good restaurant right by the marina.
If the rest of Sicily is as good then it will be great

Aug 30

Our berth was very much in a corner with lines of other boats and a large motor boat alongside all conspiring to put us to the test.. Exit was obviously going to be very difficult. And some! We started by handing Anhinga out but the skipper unwisely ignored some girlish squeaks and put the engine in gear. Unknown to us all, the tailed line had got itself over the dinghy painter and could not fall to the seabed. Inevitably, it got wound around the prop.
Much diving with even greater numbers of spells gasping for breath freed the very tangled line. But, still, how to get out? We handed Anhinga out of the slot as well as we could but drifted onto various lines from other boats.
At last, our pair of oversized, often roundly abused, wooden oars for the rubber flubber found a very real and welcome use. We literally paddled Anhinga out far enough to put the engine into gear and escape to the safety of open water.
Then it was a very gentle sail to San Nicola d’Arena. We had intended anchoring outside for the night. The charts said a sandy bottom. In reality it was weed and rock, so we went into the Marina Sud. Here we were greeted by several Ormeggiatori who had clearly had a long and very liquid lunch. Plenty of noise but also plenty bonhomie.

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40

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Aug 31

With no ferries coming in and out, few fishermen we had the quietest night so far on this trip. The town itself is, virtually, one street with a few shops. Provisions were just about adequate. The only raison d’etre for the place seems to be work on smallholdings,

Sep 1

We decided to bypass Palermo. Reports from CA members mentioned a very dirty harbour, rats on board, exorbitant prices, high walls giving very hot places in the marina. One yachtsman reported that he had been mugged when going to the harbourmaster’s office. He then got fined for not having his ship’s papers! I hope that someone from Palermo will read this and know why at least one yachtsman passed by.
Went on to anchor in the Baia di Mondello. A very pleasant anchorage with a nice looking town and a small harbour.
We anchored about 100 – 200 m south of the harbour. Good holding in 4 metres, sand and some weed. However, after a few hours the Guardia Costiera came out and told us that the local harbourmaster wanted us to move to deeper water – 8 metres was suggested. Again, good holding.

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1

Sep 2

A much better sail than the forecast suggested around Capo Gallo and in to San Vito lo Capo. The wind around the headlands was quite strong. At San Vito we were met by an ormeggiatoro, a rare occurrence since Riva de Traiano.
San Vito has a glorious beach in the harbour. The town has streets that are as broad as Cefalu’s are narrow.

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Sep 4

Another good downwind sail to Cala Dogana on the South of Isola Levanzo one of the Isole Egadi. The anchorage was fairly full even by 1400. Holding was good, just a nice anchorage in the prevailing northerly winds. In fact, we were in the bay immediately east of Cala Dogana. There were frequent ferry and hydrofoil vessels coming into the quay and, also, a rather noisy generator ashore.

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1

Sep 5

A short passage round to an anchorage near Punta Longa on the south of Isola Favignana. Again, not that mentioned in the Pilot, but one further west. Good holding over sand and weed.

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1

Sep 6

A good reach to Marsala. Met by Ormeggiatoro at yacht club marina. Tailed lines, water and electricity on the pontoons, showers and toilets H24 in portacabin, free, hot water, basic but clean.
Ten minute walk to shops, adequate. Good meal in hotel opposite marina gate.

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31

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Sep 8

Italian Met forecast an easterly, not the best wind to get to Sciacca from Marsala but, of course, the sea breeze effect gave us a good spinnaker reach after some motoring. Big excitement was a vicious thunderstorm. “Isolate temporale” were forecast but this one homed in right on us. We could hear the heated ions crackling and sizzling away. It was the first real test of the wire brush at the masthead – aka Lightmaster. The wind instruments gave a little blip then were OK. Before our brush fitment, the wind instruments would have been knocked out. We are convinced that it works.
The Circolo Nautico di Corallo does not charge boats in transito, probably subsidised by local business. But, like everyone else we gave the ormeggiatoro a tip.
The nearby supermarket was very good.

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Sep 9/10

Noting that the forecasts showed winds becoming SE (Sirocco) in about three days but was very indeterminate before then, decided to leave for Gozo. A pity, would have liked to see more of Sciacca. The forecast was for NE F2/3 becoming F3/4 (USA), NE F3 becoming F4 (Italy), NNE F4 locally F5 (INMARSAT-C, Greece). In fact we had a SW – W F3 which occasionally reached F4 during the afternoon. We had a great sail despite the forecasts. Perhaps the best thing that can be said is that none put us in a difficult or dangerous position.
Arrived Gozo, Mgarr in just over 24 hours.

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£M

48

Sep 13

A short sail in a light wind from Mgarr to Manoel Island Yacht Yard, Valetta. Very efficient yard on first impression.

13

Sep 13-22

The yard is very efficient insofar as doing work on the boat. Good engineers etc. What they cannot do the contact others eg sail makers.
With the boat out of the water we found a very good apartment very close to the yard – see the Petit Paradiso hotel along the road towards Sliema. The apartments are on a road just by the bridge from Manoel Island. For eating we found that the Pizza restaurant at the Waterfront hotel was very good, good value and air conditioned.
A boat trip (busman’s holiday) around the harbours was good.

here.

- and Forecasting it

NAVTEX is widely used in the Mediterranean and is very useful. Unfortunately, the Italian NAVTEX service is still very poor. Texts are over long, they contain too much irrelevant detail and are unnecessarily repetitive. They have all the appearance of being computer generated with little or no attempt at human interpretation of the output from weather prediction computer models. Similarly, for their VHF broadcasts which use the same text (precisely) as Navtex. We used the French Navtex from Toulon (W) whenever possible.

Various Internet pages could be used as back up in the case of no radio reception. When not receiving Toulon or out of their Navtex areas, I used the links at my GMDSS page to get texts of NAVTEX or INMARSAT-C broadcasts.

The DWD Radio Teleprinter broadcast was very useful. So also was the GRIB output from the US NWS. See sources of forecasts in the Western Med here.



NOTE

The above makes no attempt at being a work of literature. It is a purely factual account of what we did and some of the attractions/problems encountered. (An everyday story of sailing folk?) It may be of some interest to others wishing to sail in the area. Of course, what we like and dislike may be different from other people. Situations change and someone else may get different impressions. More detailed comments can be found in notes on ports and anchorages over the whole of the Mediterranean, submitted to the CA by members.


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