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A straightforward, day to day account of what we have done during the current year's cruise. What we found may help others.
The following 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 every day 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. These are among the benefits of membership of the Cruising Association.
April 23 to 25
Barcelona, Port Vell getting Anhinga sea worthy, replacing the engine battery etc. Excellent chandlers, sailmakers, riggers etc. Good easy shopping in nearby market. Very sunny and hot.
Gentle sail to Vilanova . Lift out at the Yacht Club Marina limited by space ashore. Adjacent Varedero de Vilanova, very helpful. Mihail Pawlovsky Glahn (speaks good English as well as French, German, Spanish, Catalan and, no doubt, Russian. Fax + 34 93 81 56 535) runs 100 tonne hoist with over 3 metres depth. Lifted us out and in with the minimum of haste and the maximum of care. Next door yard specialises in wood work. There are local contractors.
Liftout delayed, hoist out of action. Came out Sunday, 28th. Hired power washer for enjoyable small boy type of experience. Weather turned cold and wet. Antifouled, did some other odd jobs installed new aerials for NAVTEX and SSB receiver. Cost of lifts, hire of power wash, plus 4 nights ashore - about £300.
Main drawback lack of comprehensive chandlers. Lived on board although toilet facilities rather basic. Shops and restaurants close. Good value menu del dias at the Yacht Club.
Met Henk on classic yawl Sky also hauled out prior to going to Cannes for the Film Festival. Went aboard, another world.
Back in water, weather still poor.
(23 M) Marina £14 per night.
Friday, 4 May
In zero wind but the usual sea breeze got up just short of Barcelona. Made Mataró after a gentle 3 hour spinnaker run.
On a cloudy day with some rain, Mataró seemed as dreary as the Pilot suggests. Perhaps personal taste but, apart from the buildings just behind the marina, not particularly dreary nor dirty (as others had reported). Working town, not holiday resort. Short walk from the marina soon into area of old style building in reasonable, sometimes very good condition. Covered market, reasonably close, seriously good, fish stalls exceptionally so Saturday street market gives additional, varied and excellent choice of vegetables. Near marina are supermarket, post office, alimentation, bread shops.
Marina has Volvo agent, small, quite comprehensive chandlers and sail repairers, restaurants from fast food to serious eating, several cash points, very good washing machine and dryer. Toilets good, conveniently placed. Longish walk to capitania. Security key card type. Were told of good shipwright facilities.
(34 M) Marina £14 per night - 2500 ptas at all times for 10.3 m.
111May 7 Mainly motoring to Palamós. Offenbach RTT forecasts suggest tomorrow good day to leave for Bandol.
(37 M) Marina £18 per night - expensive, quiet (out of season at least).
Left Palamós in zero wind. Motored 3 hours then dead run, spinnaker by day, poled out Genoa at night, wind WSW. Next morning wind died, then came back from the ESE, increasing to 4/5. Decided on Sanary sur Mer. Arrived about 1500. May 9. Delightful place but not really geared up for visitors in the marina. Culture shock after Spain. Toilet and shower facilities woefully inadequate, especially as crews requested not to pump heads in the marina. Holding tank a must.
Excellent daily market, chandlers etc. Also seriously good shopping for the ladies.
(150 M). Marina £11 per night.
Good Valencia almost to Sanary. In Sanary no Toulon nor Valencia. Neighbouring yacht got Toulon. In St Tropez programmed all stations, received Niton, Amsterdam, Split etc etc. Set OK. Then began to get Toulon again. Broken at first, then better. Reason?? Was he slightly off tune and NASA set would not cope? Could French Navy transmissions be part of the problem?
Rounding Cap Sicie, intrigued by long, two storey building just above sea level, no obvious access from land or sea. Too low to be a Coastguard or military building, unlikely to be any form of marine research centre. Remained mystery until return - sewage treatment plant for Toulon. Presumably both dirty water and staff gain access through substantial headland.
Porquerolles, Plage d'Argent - very pleasant anchorage.
Went ashore to St Tropez. Light wind initially, Cavalaire becoming alternate. Spinnaker up, wind increased to give 7+ knots. Got to Baie de Canoubiers just outside St Tropez. Another good anchorage. France good after all.
Entered St Tropez. Cost very reasonable - stayed two nights. Delightful town, quaint but not twee. Very good produce market (Tuesdays and Saturdays). Small but good fish market daily. Several very large yachts and motor vessels in le vieux port. Red ensigns, some defaced with Cayman Islands motif, much in evidence. In le nouveau port much more moderate sized vessels, more motor than sail.
(0.7 M) Marina £15 per night..
Now getting Toulon, Valencia and some Rome. A bit variable in quality of reception.
To Cannes, Marina full - film festival - bur Cannes II, otherwise Pierre-Canto has space. Very helpful, quiet marina. Most rare for France - showers both good and free! Walked into Cannes the following morning. Saw Sky but no sign of Henk. Cannes a mixture of oldish classic hotels and new Noga Hilton types. Too many people, even without the festival.
(39 M) Marina £11 per night..
Intended to anchor off St Jean Cap-Ferrat. Motored most of the way but anchorage untenable due to swell. Tried Beaulieu - full. St Jean Cap-Ferrat found a place in the old harbour - at a discount, £10 a night. Actual price was £14, which we later paid.
Forecast for next few days looking poor - strong east winds. Stayed at St Jean Cap-Ferrat. Adequate shopping, many restaurants, excellent shelter in the marina. Plenty of walks and good bus service (hourly) into Nice and (every 10 - 20 minutes) from Pont St Jean to Monaco and Menton. Taking (one) leaf out of Somerset Maugham's book - good place to vegetate. Very laid back, almost horizontal. Irish waiter at le Skipper said, "St Jean is rather special".
Went into Nice. Delightful old quarter with excellent market. Also Monaco, but it rained. Monaco Ville quaint and fairly small. Very touristy. The main part of the Principality is just large skyscraper type buildings.
Slow sail to San Remo, motor first then spinnaker. Wind increased on approach. Radioed ahead, glad we did as later heard French boat being turned away. San Remo not up to much. Rather run down. No inducement to stay, especially as Offenbach are forecasting westerly winds, albeit light.
(21 M) Marina £15 per night..
Slow motoring start to Viareggio but wind picked up, spinnakered through the night. Large slow moving cruise ship idling the night at sea, caused dropping of kite. Highlight was a swallow, in late afternoon, obviously lost. Tried Aerogen, spreaders, main sail, finally settled for the whome. Stayed on the arrow then on the fixed arms only moving when handing spinnaker. Even then he returned to roost until he moved again on to the fixed parts below the arrow. Wind dropped. The swinging arrow kept hitting him on the head, causing much angry ruffling of feathers. However, sun was up, could smell the pine forest behind Viareggio. He got a sun sight and was off, probably to beat us to dry land.
After Spain (and France) Viareggio a culture shock. Food shops not easy to find, took ages to find a bread shop or a butchers. Perhaps antennae not working. Subsequently found good small covered market and all other food shops. At marina, only two showers and toilets (often one locked). However, cheap.
(108 M) Marina £11 per night..
Plus points - incredible number of chandler type shops serving the massive boat building business. Major luxury boat building businesses. Every requirement, but might have to buy in bulk. Also, bus services to Pisa and Lucca with an express service to Florence. All visited.
At Pisa, the tower still leans. Florence, clearly a must for architecture, Michelangeloes and ambience. Pisa and Florence spoilt by crowds, incredible number of street stalls selling tourist trash and men from the African continent selling watches. So many stalls in some parts of Florence, photography impossible. By contrast, Lucca a gem, old enclosed town, ramparts 12 metres high and 30 m wide. Not too many people; street stalls had kept to small areas. Puccini was born here.
On bus to Pisa several very black young ladies left individually along a wooded road out in the country. Not country loving types. Reason obvious on the return - Italian equivalent of a red light district. Several of the ladies seen obviously waiting for business.
Good Toulon, generally. Occasionally good Valencia. Plenty of Rome and Cagliari - without weather.
More motor than sail to Livorno, industrial port, many ferries, cruise ships and cargo vessels, some in same basin as marina. Noisy, uncomfortable. Showers were good and free. The electricity supply boxes well below HSE standard..
(19 M) Marina £17 per night..
Slow start until the sea breeze kicked in, then good, shy spinnaker reach to Porto Azzurro, Elba. Very quiet, good anchorage in the deep bay outside the harbour. OK until Easterlies set in when it can get uncomfortable rather than untenable. Porto Azzurro pleasant small town, not over touristy.
Spoke too soon. Went for a walk on the Sunday afternoon. The wind got up from the west, down the bay, very gusty. Returned to the dinghy to see Anhinga drifting rapidly down the harbour Managed to explain to the ormeggiatoro what had happened. He sped us out only to be beaten by an alert fisherman. Result - 1.5 M lira (about £500) in salvage. Our pride took a hard knock
Had been in 4.5 metres, 20 metres chain, CQR, in mud, anchorage described as well sheltered! What different should we have done. In hindsight, put out more chain, I suppose. Had someone tinkered with the anchor buoy?
Finished up in harbour. Small, well run marina. Cheap, but had to pay 2000 lira to use nearby loos. Lady saw our surprise and offered discount for quantity - 5000 lira for all three!
Marina £9 per night..
NAVTEX and Weather Forecasts
NAVTEX of great interest. Rome and Cagliari producing long messages. In Cala Corsara on Isola Spargi an unexploded WWII bomb had been found. Suspended under water to be towed out and detonated. No swimming within 4000 metres. Any vessel impeding progress to be arrested!
Massive messages concerning military exercises off the SW of Sardinia effectively blocking passage around the coast for over two weeks. Vessels going aground, more tunny nets covering large areas of sea. Never a dull moment. Suspect that Italian Coastguard trialling NAVTEX hope to secure Government funding to continue. They have to justify the service.
Continuous weather forecasts on VHF Ch 68. In Italian and English. Sounds great. Computer generated voice, most odd in Italian and even more so in English. Punctuation right out of the window. Cover Italian waters for the next 24-30 hours or so, then the same for the rest of the Med, then Italian waters two day outlook in 12 hour bites. Whole, in two languages about 20 minutes. Long breaks - non disponibile, being updated (four times daily). Fascinatingly awful to listen to and a salutary lesson to those who want continuous weather on UK VHF!
Scheduled forecasts from Genoa, Rome, Cagliari, Messina relayed by local VHF stations are excerpts of the Ch 68 product but no outlook. Nav warnings are also computer voice generated and equally as tedious to try to use. Better to use NAVTEX.
On both services several occasions when parts or even whole forecast omitted. Just heard introduction and end. Software clearly not fully tested.
Short sail around the coast of Elba to Porto Ferraio. Bay very well sheltered but anchored taking great care, despite the assurances about good holding in mud. 25 metres chain in just over 4 metres, a good long pull in reverse. The following day was windy, stayed on board watching as one boat, one person aboard, dragged its anchor Dinghy not inflated, about to swim over to help when another boat crew returned, Called them to ask them to help.
The wind dropped, not best pleased when a 42 foot Amel dropped its hook unnecessarily close and promptly went ashore. Luckily the forecast NW 4 overnight did not materialise.
Following day into the old harbour of Porto Ferraio, much easier than the Pilot suggested. Lines tailed to all the berths around the old harbour, water and electricity. Showers and loos are nearby.
(0.5 M) Marina £12 per night..
Porto Ferraio delightful and, just now, fairly quiet. Must be very different in July and August. Napoleon's house is a must. He clearly lived well here while plotting his next campaign against the British.
Before leaving Elba, another night,at anchor in Golfo della Biodola, near Marciana.
Bad news, forecast for the following day, deteriorated to force 7 from the south or SE with the subsequent days being NW. Not good news. Choices - go (with subsequent talk of gale 8) or stay on Elba for indefinite period. Council of war decision to rig the storm jib and double reef the main. Did most of the crossing to Port Toga (near Bastia) on a half rolled Genoa and storm jib. In retrospect, might have handled better with the three reefs in the main. Sea and swell combination was awkward
Port Toga odd, very quiet and a little neglected but told that Corsican separatists had bombed it a few years ago. Just recovering. Excellent hyper market by the marina, laverie automatique very close, also other small shops plus near to the main town. Preferable, to le vieux port - a bit smelly and noisy.
Took train across to Ajaccio and back, to see the interior of Corsica. On the return a French lady described it as "sauvage". Unclear whether she meant the country or the people. Did not dare ask.
Met Ross and Wei Wei, on a Robert Perry 49, Gemini, taking their time going round the world. Had several chats, drinks and meals with them over the next few days.
(38 M) Marina £17 per night..
Washed, cleaned, provisioned, left for Port Taverna - again, odd. Rough planking on the pontoons some rather dodgy, mooring chains past their sell by date, very sticky black mud. Entrance gets blocked with masses of decaying seaweed, needs regular dredging. High spot - local restaurant (the Cinderella) with excellent 4 course meal at 100 FF including wine. Owner drove us back to the marina (he had already taken Ross to find a cash point machine).
(22 M) Marina £8 per night..
DWD 5 day forecasts indicated very strong Mistral. Where to go? Friends had wintered at Solenzara. A good bet. Alternative, Porto Vecchio looked good in the pilot but, possibly, over crowded. Solenzara OK, stayed. DWD correct, Météo-France short period forecasts from CROSS soon agreed. On Sunday there were coup de vent warnings for the Bonifacio Strait. First intimate meeting with a mistral certainly interesting. The wind was very warm and dry having come over the Corsican massif. Some very lovely wave clouds sitting virtually over the marina. Why no photos?
Met French Maid, CA member Bryan Scott. Also, Italian family, with two delightful small boys, on Itaca built in cold moulded ply. Looked beautiful.
(31 M) Marina £15 per night..
Wind eased greatly, said good bye to Ross and Wei Wei and down to anchor in baie de Stagnolu deep in the bay of Porto Vecchio. Very quiet, once the sailing school had packed up for the night, the only sounds were the birds.
Météo-France on strike - yet again. The Italian Channel 68 said N 5 becoming NW 4. Sounded ideal for a passage round through the Bonifacio Strait. In fact the wind was due south initially going to SW or WSW in the Strait, just enough to show how evil the Strait can be.
Entrance to Bonifacio as spectacular as the books and photographs all say. Inside, remarkably quiet - weatherwise - it did fill up late afternoon. After the mistral many boats on the move again. Many left Bonifacio, many arrived. Pilote Cotière counsels an early arrival in July and August.
Apart from the setting, the great interest turned out to be the convolutions performed by yachts intent on mooring stern first with limited space between pontoons.. Taught this manoeuvre at sailing school, many think that it is obligatory - even when a bows first would be more seamanlike. Becomes worrying when the boat hooks appear (usually from motor boats). To some, getting out bows first was also a traumatic exercise. The idea of using a warp seems not to have been on the syllabus and is therefore ultra vires.
(28 M) Marina £15 per night..
Departure Bonifacio delayed by exiting yacht getting tailed line around prop. Forecasts for the Bonifacio Strait varied from force 2-3, (Italian) to force 7 (Météo-Consult and Météorem) - Météo-France was not heard. Still on strike? Decided to cross to Porto Liscia, a well sheltered bay on Sardinia, just west of Maddelena. Half way, heard CROSS BMS of force 7 in the strait. Within 10 minutes the pleasant force 5 was up to top 6 bottom 7. Porto Liscia very protected and the anchor held well. A windy but secure night.
Into Gavetta, la Maddelena. Met Itaca again.
(6 M) Marina £12 per night..
Two nights anchored off the islands of the archipelago. Almost like the Caribbean. Back to Gavetta for two nights to get inverter repaired, do shopping and have a very good pizza ashore. Another night at anchor (Cala Spalmatore on la Maddelena).
To Cannigione, rather up market small holiday town. Marina rather costly - too near the Costa Esmerelda of Aga Khan fame..
(14 M) Marina £23 per night..
Margaret had been suffering from a health problem, decided a retreat to the UK was necessary. At Cannigione booked a flight from Olbia to coincide with husband Curt's return from the US - Saturday July 7.
Left Cannigione for Porto Palma, lovely bay on I Cabrera.
To Porto Cervo an artificial town and marina complex very much for the beautiful people, such as Mick Jagger. An upmarket Port Meirion. Anchoring difficult, marina exorbitantly expensive. Returned to a quiet anchorage near Cannigione - Cala Mucchio Bianchi. All very well until the next day.
A beat most of way to Olbia, wind slowly increasing to a top F5. Intended anchoring outside Olbia but the wind, probably mainly local effects, increased to a F6/7, went into the harbour - roaring up the 3 mile fairway with no main, half rolled Genoa and doing 5+ knots. Next day, after a quiet start, again blew a bomb. Glad to be secure in port.
Olbia YC has moved premises and created a moderate sized marina just NW of I Mezzo. Not much space for visitors. Good small club house, helpful ormeggiatori, supermarket nearby, restaurants etc.
The large supermarket did not sell potatoes. At the moderate sized chandlers ticket system in operation as at deli counters in Sainsburys. Two firsts!
(37 M) Marina £17 per night..
Margaret returned to UK.
Departed Olbia intending to get to La Caletta. However, the anchorage just north of Capo Coda Cavallo looked very inviting.
Followed in by a very large motor yacht (Senses) accompanied by superb racing yacht, 4 spreader mast - about 50+ ft. The motor yacht had two INMARSAT-B type domes bristled with other aerials. Did not recognise the national flag, no doubt, some tax haven. The racing yacht wore a red ensign.
Mother ship had motor cruiser, about 30 ft on the aft starboard deck, long keeled, classic looking day boat also about 30 ft on the port deck, heli-pad right aft, small twin engined sea plane on the upper deck, one large RIB and several small ones. Crane launched, unbelievably, a pedalo, used by some passengers for a while. Then a jet ski was craned off. With three up, just like any plebs intent on disturbing the peace.. A dozen or so then got into the big RIB for another burn up. Sea plane was launched. About ten to a dozen passengers were taken for a half hour in the racing machine. Lastly, sea plane took off for a 20 minute flight.. Amazing! The only possible toy that we did not see was the helicopter. Nor the day boat or motor cruiser in action. But, they were only there for half a day.
They left, all toys safely on board except for the racing yacht which was towed astern. Very windy from the south with thundery showers. Stayed put.
Slow sail to la Caletta. The sea breeze got up from the south on arrival. Early evening it died away, replaced by a strong westerly wind. Toulon NAVTEX for Maddelena - variable 1-3 becoming W to NW 5-6. Sounds hopeful for the 40 miles to Santa Maria Navaresse.
(15 M) Marina £20 per night..
Exciting day. Wind started as forecast, died away at first headland, came back from the SE, died again, came from the W up to F7. Tried the third reef for first time in anger. Med sailing not for the faint hearted. Wind died, came in from the S let us sail a little then died. Santa Maria Navaresse very pleasant, trying to please (and succeeding). New and not used much by yachts on passage. Pity, it is good, a very useful port between la Caletta and Porto Corallo. Good shopping, quiet in the port, pleasant on site bar cum restaurant, open air but well shaded...
(43 M) Marina £18 per night..
Took tourist boat trip along the coast to the Grotta Bue Marino. Excellent value, about £20 for boat, conducted visit to the Grotta and lunch. Visited places not accessible without extensive local knowledge and a suitable boat. Nine hours in all, excellent.
An early start to Porto Corallo, hope to arrive before the Scirocco sets in. Did not quite make it. Approaching port, wind increased rapidly to a top F6. Another newish harbour still not used to anywhere near capacity. Not as good as Santa Maria Navaresse eg shopping and other facilities. As a passage port, per se, useful.
(43 M) Marina £10 per night..
To Villasimius after a lunch and swim in the Baia Carbonara. Little wind except when taking inner passage around Capo Carbonara. Anchorage was a little rolly so we went into the marina. In retrospect, should have moved to anchor in the shelter of the marina. Relatively expensive, with little to offer. However, ormeggiatori very helpful to boats coming in or leaving. Next day the wind increased, our tailed mooring seemed to be dragging a little. ormeggiatoro suggested we move round to the other side of the pontoon and was very helpful in the move.
(28 M) Marina £20 per night..
Left Villasimius early and motored most of the way to Cagliari. Yacht Club pontoons now marked members only. Went on private pontoon just beyond the YC, first stage of the putative Marina di Sant' Elmo.. Lay alongside, water but no electricity. Next day on strength of forecast moved round to other side of pontoon Initial doubts as the sea breeze blew us on. Late afternoon, the wind started to veer and by evening were being blown strongly off as the wind went to west and up to F7 (Mistral).
Spent much nugatory time time to find bits for wheel pilot. Autohelm agent could obtain, but costly and uncertain delivery time. Did not really see town. market good, bu a long walk uphill. Good enough shops nearer but, still, not convenient. heard poor reports about old harbour - rats and burglars, but it is more conveniently placed.
(22 M) Marina £16 per night..
Italian Met saying Gale 8. Monaco Radio (Météo-France) saying much less. Left with NW F4/5 up the stern. Wind dropped, motored for a while. Came back from the E fairly light. Dropped again, then came back in from the W F5/6+ virtually on the nose. Motored hard for shelter of Capo Malfatano. Excellent anchorage, quiet night.
Early start, very light winds. Motor around Capo Teulada. Kept outside military area. Locals did not. Picked up light W along W side of Isola di Sant' Antioco. No sign of Tunny nets and prohibited area widely advertised on NAVTEX. We kept just off. Locals ignored NAVTEX completely. Begin to think that no one else bothers with NAVTEX or broadcast Nav warnings.
Arrived Carloforte, met by rubber boat racing out. Reminiscent of Caribbean, there are two competing marinas. Carloforte is well kept with quiet, tree-lined boulevard along front. Gently coloured buildings all in good repair. Much work in progress in harbour. "Our" marina is to be expanded greatly. Hope they succeed.
(37 M) Marina £16 per night..
Picked restaurant at random, got talking to German/Austrian couple at next table only to find we knew each other in the 9 to 5 days of suits and ties. Only when we realised that we both knew the Director of German Met Service, DWD, did it dawn..
Left Carloforte intending to go to Buggerru. Mixed signals in Pilot and CA members' notes. Entrance not well marked, no sign of masts in the harbour, surrounded by many camper vans. Rather than spend time exploring, decided to go on to anchorage in Golfe di Oristano, by ruins of Roman city, Tharros. So pleasant, stayed two night doing very little. Tower San Giovanni di Sinis illuminated at night. Magical. Only problem was noise from disco - over 3 miles away!
In anchoring mode, spent night of in Cala Saline, just S of Capo Mannu. Several pop concerts/discos during evening. One, live, went on through much of the night.
On to Bosa. Harbour part of holiday resort, a little run down but relatively quiet and very laid back. Until disco and pop concert time. Went on to early hours. Percussionist living dangerously.
Went with Paolo and Alba, owners of Italian HR 38, to quiet bathing area away from the :beach.
The ormeggiatoro obtained fuel for us as the fuel pump up the river is only for commercial vessels.
(18 M) Marina £16 per night..
Frustrating with wind continuously seeming to head, varying greatly in strength. Sailed all bar about 15 minutes of 32 miles to cover 17 as crow flies. Clearly Anhingas do not fly in straight lines. Alghero, the most attractive of towns so far visited in Italy/Sardinia. Although many tourists, not a pushy town. Town Quay berths good. Ormeggiatori meet visiting boats at harbour mouth. Well organised.
Two chandlers could not help with parts for the autopilot. We could have bought a new pump for the loo - at a highly inflated price. My repaired one will have to last a while longer. Found shop near Town Quay selling gas.
(33 M) Marina £16 per night..
Short sail to another great anchorage, Porto Conte, a large bay with many places to anchor. Chose one remote from any other boat.
Wanting to be in safe haven before the next Mistral, motored to and through the Fornelli passage to Cala Yuca anchorage. Some of the clearest water imaginable and the warmest, 28ºC.
Tried Stintino but marina staff very unhelpful, even declined to say where to go for water. On to Castelsardo, got the last place.. Saw HR 42 ketch, friends of friends - but not on board. Every evening (of four) the mains voltage increased to well over 240 V, causing our RCD to trip. Castelsardo good, easy shopping (take dinghy across the marina), friendly staff and helpful. Also very cheap.
Annecy of Tamar, Westerly Fulmar, Chris and Edna, long stayers, said extremely good for wintering in water. Good Liftout etc.
(25 M) Marina £8 per night..
Fast crossing to Corsica. Anse de Figari full so went to Anse de Capinero - much better, far more room.
To Campo Moro, lovely anchorage except for over 100 other boats.
Mistral expected (again), Propriano the obvious place. Thanks to Offenbach were ahead of the field and got a tailed mooring alongside very helpful French HR 352 (what a fine club). Late arrivals made do with anchoring and taking stern lines with typical French verve to rocks in the harbour wall.
(5 M) Marina £9 per night..
No power but did have water - until a yacht anchoring stern to the quay broke the pipe (simply laid in the sea bed). Met a large French yacht with an assorted menage of teachers and a motorboat skipper who said we could use his berth in Ajaccio (likely to be full at this time of year).
Funny here was looked like large scale Îles Flottantes. Fl W (4s) on top. Picture was the give away - a large rubbish bin. It took two men about half an hour to empty Îles Poubelles, possibly?
Margaret is due to return, hopefully restored, on August 15, so decided to leave Propriano on August 12_ for couple of nights in anchorages. Plage de Taravu, only 4 miles from Propriano delightful.
Near Pte de la Castagna, about 5 miles south of Ajaccio full of moorings. Decided to take a free mooring hoping owner did not return.
A short motor to Ajaccio and our French friend's berth. Finger pontoons, electricity and water. After the limitations of Propriano, quite luxurious.
(8 M) Marina £20 per night.
Left Ajaccio after changing impeller, to anchor off Cap Parata, near the Iles Sanguinaires.
Then another anchorage, Anse de Chiuni, bay was full of Club Med activity. Very rolly, moved to a little bay along the Anse with dozen or so others.
A quiet anchorage, Golfe du Galeria.
Last anchorage in Corsica, Golfe de Revellata - off the Plage d'Alga. Saw our second floating Poubelle.
Then round to Calvi for shopping, washing and to await a window for the crossing back to France.
(2.5 M) Marina £20 per night..
Aug 20 Calvi most disorganised of all ports that we have visited. Breezed in and got a slot. Many tried and failed. A late arriving Italian skipper said that he only got a berth by coming in waving a 200 FF note! Minor collisions caused by boats catching on mooring lines a regular occurrence. Fuel berth also chaotic. We, and others nearby toted jerry cans.
When we arrived there was a tall masted HR 352. Within 24 hours another arrived, bringing the count up to the regulation three. Calvi very much a tourist town but pleasant enough for all that..
To St Raphaël, winds varying from NE 4 giving us 6+ kn to light variable to W 2-3. At St Raphaël met friends not seen for 30+ years. Stayed two nights in their villa and visited Haut Provence towns, Fayence, Tourrettes sur Loup and Vence.
St Raphaël - St Lucia - large modern marina, well organised, very good Spar supermarket selling good fruit and veg, good deli counter etc. Also patisserie, boulangerie and very comprehensive chandlers. Stayed 5 nights in total.
(104 M) Marina £16 per night..
Aug 29 to Bormes-les-Mimosas, wanted to anchor off but the forecast was another Mistral. Bormes is the cleanest French marina so far. Excellent loos, free showers open H24. Limited provisions available but adequate shops in nearby la Favière. Not cheap but the winds held up for days.
Marina went dead over the weekend - end of season. Main restaurant closed "pour l'hiver".
(31 M) Marina £25 per night in August and £16 for Sep 1st..
Left for an anchorage off I Porquerolles. Water temp 19 deg C !! Swimming unlikely.
Forecasts of the Mistral returning determined to Bandol. Pleasant enough and cheap, good food shopping, very good Tuesday market. Dubious or distant loos the only problem. No HRs until departing when a HR 36 arrived.
(22 M) Marina £9 per night.
A slight lull let us get round to Cassis, Double Bandol price and the Mistral seemed to have got a second or third lease of life. Lovely little town albeit very touristy. Internet point in the laverie automatique. On the small pontoon brought the HR count up to three - next door but one to another HR 34.
(15 M) Marina £18 per night..
.Mistral bound became Grockles and took tripper boat to see the Calanques. Very impressive, small versions of Bonufacio.
Left Cassis with two very different forecasts. Météorem and Météo-France. The first giving light winds today and in the outlook (total 5 days), the latter much stronger. Météo-France were right. A F5/6 increased near Sausset-les-Pins to F7.
(32 M) Marina £14 per night..
The following day Météo-France were saying F5/6. It was and a little more across the Rhone Delta but quickly decreased. Three reefs came out in quick succession approaching the touristy but pleasant town of Saintes-Maries de la Mer (Port Gandian).
(35 M) Marina £14 per night..
Unluckily, just missed a bull fight (Camargue style with the animals not killed). Saw a little of the famous Camargue but, as usual, not nearly enough. A fascinating place, pity the strong winds did not persist for another day or two.
A sort of window to get to Cap d'Agde. Began well. Wind headed and died, tacked then motored. Very large but well spread out marina cum holiday town (even city) complex complete with naturist area. Perhaps should have stayed and explored more, probably was quite pleasant.
(54 M) Marina £14 per night.
A marginal weather forecast, but left on a wing and a prayer. Turned out to be at the top end of the predictions plus a little. F 4/5 increasing 5/6 and perhaps a little F7 became mainly F6/7 with some brief F8. Third reef really earned its keep. Managed 41 miles to Canet-en-Roussillon. Not over impressed, perhaps should have stayed at Cap d'Agde but time is ebbing away. Place dead as mid September really is hors saison. However, marina staff very helpful after calling them a mile away. Dory came to the avant port and ushered Anhinga into a finger pontoon berth. Shopping in town was moderate..
(41 M) Marina £15 per night..
Left Canet-en-Roussillon for Banyuls-sur-Mer, a "proper" town rather than a collection of concrete monstrosities. Rather laid back, good aquarium but no other great attraction. Would be nice to stay for a while to see what else was on offer but time presses on and marina is expensive.
(15 M) Marina £18 per night..
To Llança which was a real gem. Rather upper class tourist/holiday home type place. Very good marina cum yacht club. The weather slot for rounding the formidable Cabo Creus did not seem too large so we could not stay. Great pity.
(14 M) Marina £8 per night..
Took impressive inshore passage between island and Cabo Creus. Shortly after raised HROA/CA member Patriarch Blue on VHF. L'Estartit, was a disappointment. It seems to be a place that attracts and panders to the package holiday trade. Not our idea.
(26 M) Marina £15 per night.
By contrast, Blanes was another rather up market town. Touristy, but quietly so with a good botanical gardens. Rather pricey but good - did not mind an enforced stop with another windy day.. Met Chantilly Lace, a motor boat with Ian and Jackie. Ian skippers a supply boat to North Sea rigs so is on a sort of busman's holiday. Very interesting to talk to a "real" seaman.
(37 M) Marina £17 per night..
To El Masnou - not very interesting but we did not explore.
(28 M) Marina £16 per night.
Back to Barcelona
Summary - Barcelona back to Barcelona
Total mileage 1931 Total time (days) 152 Total hours motoring 177 Number of ports 44 Number of nights in port 118 (includes dry berth for anti fouling) Number of overnight anchorages 25 F Number of nights at anchor 31 Number of nights on passage 3
Mooring fees were a little under £1740 (about £15 a night on average).. The cost of 6 months at Barcelona is about £905.
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.