Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lucky crossings Cannes - Corsica - Sardinia - Sicily

All along this cruise we had good sailing conditions and could avoid bad weather thanks to good timing and planning. I am very thankful to Meteo France and their accurate weather forcasts and the practical Android App Marine Weather from Meteo Consult Marine. So on September 21st after bunkering exquisite provisions from Marche Forville we left Cannes just in time to use a powerful breeze for the next 20 hours crossing to the northwest of Corsica. Next morning the wind grew stronger as expected and we finally moored safely between two buoys at Port Girolata at noon.

Next day with a forecast of 6 bft westerly breeze we had to fight for 3 hours tacking with 2nd reef out of Golfe de Girolata to round Capu Rossu in heavy seas. The rest was fun sailing high speed to Ajaccio, where we moored for two days in Port Tino Rossi and enjoyed the sights of this memorable city and a wonderful dinner at Da Mama. September 25th we sailed with favourable northwesterly winds south passing Campo Moro, Pointe Sentosa, Les Moines and finally anchored on sand for a quiet night in Anse de Chevanu. Next day in the morning we had a slight collision with an erratic motoring catamaran. Except a twisted anchor aluminium built Sea of Joy had no damage, but I never thought it could be so difficult giving way to another boat, when it is not holding course and steers in erratic directions. After exchanging insurance papers in Figari we crossed the Strait of Bonifacio tacking against easterly 5 bft winds, sailed through the Maddalena Archipelago and finally anchored in sand in Porto Palma, where we savoured Gerhard's famous potato goulash.

On September 27th with northeasterly winds we sailed south along Costa Smeralda, passed Capo Figari and then Isola Tavolara after noon. In the evening we moored alongside in La Caletta and had a nice dinner at Giovanna Canu.
Next day we continued with 5-6 bft winds south along Capo Comino and Capo di Monte Santu and spent the night in Marina Baunei, where we had dinner at Ristorante Lungonare Navarra.

In the morning of September 29th we accurately studied different weather forecasts. Heavy force 8 winds were announced in two days time. So instead of going further south to Villasimius we decided to change course and start our crossing to Sicily at once.

First under sail, motoring through the night, then sailing again in a strong breeze the last 40 miles to Trapani we enjoyed a nice crossing and a rather calm sea for 31 hours. Under gusty southerly winds we moored in Trapani at Marina Vento di Maestrale, clamped our boat securely, and enjoyed our pancakes with thunderstorms. We spent 3 leisurely 3 days in Trapani visiting the city, medieval Erice, and enjoyed good food in Caupona Taverna di Sicilia and Antichi Sapori Ristorante.

On October 3rd with brilliant weather we sailed west, rounded Isola Levanzo, took a nice swim in Cala Fredda and then moored in the port of Favignana, where we visited the city and had a luxury dinner at Sotto Sale. Next day with no sun but nice southeasterly winds we tacked the whole day down to Mazara del Vallo, where we moored at Molo di Adina and had a marvelous dinner at Donna Franca. The wind turned next day and we sailed downwind to Sciacca, where we moored at Molo di Lega Navale, climbed many stairs into the center of this beautiful city and had a good family dinner at Osteria Il Grappolo.

Tuesday, October 6th we motored with no wind east to San Leone, where we got a mooring place at Mediterraneo Yachting Club and enjoyed an exquisite fish dinner at Trattoria Il Pescatore. Next day we finished our journey with the last leg enjoying strong 6 bft winds downwind and rushed with more than 8 knots only with our genua in 1st reef to our final port Licata, where we were welcomed by our old friends from Marina Cala del Sole. The next two days we did some maintenance work, cleaned up,  and made Sea of Joy ready for the winter. In the evenings we had pizza at Solito Posto and a creative fish dinner at L'Oste E Il Sacrestano. When we left at last on Saturday 10th in the morning for Vienna, the capricious weather disbanded us with a short but heavy 10bft thunderstorm, which unroofed some buildings in the marina and in the city. We were happy to end this demanding season safely and thankful for our sturdy boat and good luck.

Around Easter next year Sea of Joy will get sandblasted and a new antifouling paint at Cantiere Oceania in Licata. In spring we will sail 770sm east into the Adriatic Sea to Croatia for some recreative sailing adventures with family and friends in 2016.

We sailed 127h and logged 651sm in 17 days.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Nizza - Marseille - Cannes in unsettled weather

My next crew Robert, his son Konsti, Richard and Gusti arrived in Nice and we set sail southwest for Iles Lerins with a forecast of a westerly 5 bft on September 5th.  For the first 4 hours it was nice sailing with lot of tacking, but near Cap Antibes the wind got stronger and very gusty up to 35 knots and unexpected high waves. For my new crew it was a rather tough test on their first sailing day, which they mastered professionally. A bit tired we anchored northeast of Ile Maguerite and then moved into the canal between Iles Lerins in the evening.

Next day we sailed further southwest to Saint Tropez with slight easterly winds and finally anchored in Anse des Canebiers, where Robert and Konsti prepared an exquisite Cote du Boef and made the whole crew very happy.

September 7th we motored west and took a nice swim at beautiful Baie Briande. In the afternoon we sailed to Bourmes Les Mimosas where we moored in the nice marina. The weather forecast for the next days was rather grim, so we decided to stop for 2 nights and visit the picturesque village of Bourmes up in the mountains and had a nice dinner in the marina at La Brasserie du Port.
With strong easterly winds we sailed next day at good speed around Ile de Port-Cros, through Seche de Ribaud, passed Cap Sicie, navigated through the shallow Passage du Embiez and finally anchored on sand northeast of Ile Embiez in Pointe du Canuvie.

In the morning of September 10th we motored further west and passed the beautiful calanques, through Plateau des Chevres and then north into the Bay of Marseille, where we finally moored in the port of Iles du Frioul. Next day we motored into Marseille Vieux Port, which was completely full for a planned regatta and then sailed back east to Cassis, where we had a extraordinary dinner at the small restaurant La Defonce. Next day Robert and Konsti had to leave for their flight back to Vienna. Gusti, Richard and I stayed in port for two more nights because of very bad weather. So we visited La Ciotat and Marseille by train.

In the night to September 14th we had a very strong thunderstorm and the steering console AP20 for my Simrad autopilot died after 12 years of good service. After some fiddling with electronic circuits I was happy to replace it with a hand held remote device AP21. The streets in Cassis were a mess of mud and debris. Water in the port was of bright yellow color. So we left Cassis, motored into Calanques d'En Vau, Port Pin and Port Miou, and sailed back east with strong westerly winds and finally moored in Vieille Darse  in Toulon, where in the evening we had to look for two hours for an open restaurant in this dead looking city and finally found Le Bistrot de l'Opera  for a well-aged cote de boeuf.

September 15th we sailed further east with nice southwesterly winds and passed Caps Meridonal, Benat, Ladier, and Cap Camarat and anchored again in save Baie des Canubiers east of Saint Tropez. After a quiet night we continued east tacking in rather strong northeasterly winds in 2nd reef and spent the night at anchor south of Ile Maguerite. Next day we rounded Île Saint-Honorat and moored safely in the old port of Cannes and had a luxury dinner at restaurant Mantel. After a day of sightseeing Gusti and Richard left for Vienna and I waited for my last crew to arrive for our final cruise to Licata.

We sailed 70h and logged 320sm in 13 days.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Sailing Cote d'Azur with my 2 year old grandson

On August 23rd my grandson Jonas arrived in Port Golfe Juan on board with his parents Isabella and Matthias. After provisioning we motored next day into the Bay of Cannes, where we observed great fireworks at night. Next day we anchored south of Ile Maguerite for two days of swimming, which Jonas enjoyed very much.

August 27th we moored in the Port of Cannes and had a nice dinner at Au Martin Pecheur. Next morning we bunkered some food at the beautiful Marche Forville and then anchored in the bay of Thoule sur mer, where Jonas and his parents enjoyed the beautiful sand beaches for two more days.

On Sunday, August 30th we rounded Cap Antibes and anchored in Anse Garoupe, where Jonas played at the sandy beach. Next day afternoon we continued to Port Vauban, where we had to wait for two hours until the portmaster was able to show us our mooring place which we reserved 2 days ahead. In the evening we took a long stroll in the beautiful city of Antibes.

Next morning we sailed with a nice southwestery breeze along Nice airport and city. After a heavy shower we dropped anchor in the bay of Villefrance. September 2nd we moored in Nice in Port Lympia, enjoyed the city and had a wonderful dinner at Le passe-plat near the port.

Next day we bought some delicacies at Nice market and then Jonas, Isabella and Matthias left for Vienna and I waited for the next crew to arrive.

We sailed 19h and logged 49sm in 10 days.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cruising the Ligurian coast

Having seen the Ligurian coast by car last year, my wife and I decided to cruise along this coast, which has not many secure bays to anchor but has many scenic sights.

So July 7th we boarded Sea of Joy in Imperia and had an exceptional dinner at Agrodolce. In the meantime Rossana Zaoli had brought our new mainsail, which we tested sailing to Loano next day. It is a full-batten main with three reefs and we are very happy with it. In Loano we moored in the marina and ate large platters of smoked fish and local hamin a small street in the old city at Portichetto restaurant. Next day we sailed further east to Arenzano, moored alongside in the small harbor and savoured a tasty fish menu at Ochin de Mar.

On July 10th we sailed into Porto Antico in Genua passing the rusty wreck of Costa Concordia and moored there for two days visiting the precious churches, markets, aquarium and marine museum, art museums, and at Palazzo Ducale-Appartamento del Doge a very rare exhibition of expressionist paintings from Kirchner to Nolde. We had fish dinner at Soho and tasted local cuisine at Vegia Zena.

After our visit to Genua we motored along the picturesque coast passing San Fruttuoso into Portofino and anchored underneath Abbazia della Cervara and cooked pasta al tonno. Next day we continued to Sestri Levante, where we anchored between beach and harbor, visited the nice city and castle, replenished our provisions, and had nice fish dinner at the traditional San Marco restaurant.

July 14th we entered the coast of Cinque Terre and moored at a bouy in front of Vernazza. By dinghi we entered the small harbor, visited the castle and had dinner at Vulnetia.

Next day we continued east along Cinque Terre and finally anchored near the harbor of Porto Venere. After a long walk and a visit to the wonderful church of St. Pietro we had a very special dinner at Portiveni. Sitting at a very small table in a very narrow street we had fantastic mussels with parmiggiano, salads, and a great glassy filet of San Pietro.

At 3am on July 16th we started our way back west across the Ligurian sea and reached Santo Stefano al Mare, where we moored for two days in Marina degli Aregai, having the zip of our lazybag repaired by Zaoli Sails, strolling and swimming at sandy beaches and having nice dinners at Il Sandolino and La Cucina. We continued west to the nice bay of Ospedaletti, where we anchored for two days and then sailed west to Monaco,

In Monaco we moored at Port Fontvielle. We visited the Botanic Garden, the famous Aquarium, the Castle, and the old city, where we had a remarkable dinner at the famous Mongolfiere restaurant. Next day we bunkered diesel at Cap d' Ail and anchored for the night in Baia St. Laurent.

July 22th we motored west along Beaulieu and anchored in Anse Scarletta, visited St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat with the dinghi and had dinner with a remarkable entrecote at Le Pirate. Next morning we took a walk around Cap Ferrat, sailed around the bay of Villefranche and further southwest around Cap d' Antibes into the canal between Iles de Lerins, where we anchored for two recreative days. As strong winds where expected, we sailed then into the old Port de Golfe Juan, where we stayed for 3 more days and visited by train Nice and Antibes, where we had a exceptional menu at Le Vauban. In Golfe Juan we had a genuine Bouillabaisse at Le Bistrot du Port and a nice Vietnamese dinner at Mai Linh.

With less, but enough wind we sailed southwest to Rade d' Agay, where we spent the night at a bouy rather bumpy by swell. Next day we moored at Port Frejus, visited the city with cathedral and cloister and had a nice menu at L'Amandier restaurant. After bunkering some provisions  with strong northerly winds we sailed into Golfe de Saint-Tropez, when suddenly the genua came down with a loud bang. We provisorily lashed the sail and moored at the legendary port of Saint Tropez. When the wind got weaker, we were able to dismount the genua and found, that the metal shackle at the head of the sail was broken, the sail was intact. We strolled around Saint Tropez, visited the Castle and had a good barbecue dinner at La Ramade. After visiting le musée de l’Annonciade with beautiful impressionist paintings we motored back northeast and finally anchored again between Iles Lerins for two more nights and walked around St. Maguerite and rounded St. Honorat with our dinghy.

For an other good swim we sailed to Theoule-sur-mer on August 3rd and anchored south of Pte Aguille, enjoyed the sandy beach and had dinner at L'Aguille. Next day we carefully sailed around shallow Golfe Juan and finally moored again at Port Golfe Juan, where we had a Lebanese dinner  at La Cigale du Golfe and left our boat for three weeks.

We sailed 82h and logged 362sm in 20 days.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

From Bastia via Cap Corse and Nice to Liguria

My new crew arrived June 6th in Bastia by ferry from Nice: Steffi, Vicky, David and and my son Matthias. After a good menu at Table du marche next day we bunkered some food and drinks and sailed north to Tamarone bay to refresh and enjoy the beach.

Late afternoon of June 8th we rounded Cap Corse and set course to Nice
in favourable southwesterly winds. During the night the wind decreased and after a small thunderstorm finally turned to a strong northeasterly breeze. With nice speed up to 8.5 knots we sailed into the bay of Villefrance, where we anchored near Espalmador.

Next morning we sailed into Nice Port Lympia, where we got a mooring place from the nice harbor office. We explored the city and had dinner at Le Romarin and an extraordinary gelato at Fenocchio.

June 11th we tacked along Monaco to SanRemo in nice winds. Next day we had to negotiate some thunderstorms and a very strong northeasterly wind with very high seas but finally reached our final destination: Porto Maurizio in the remarkable town of Imperia. We celebrated our cruise with a 5 course dinner at Olio Grosso and went home via Nice.  Sea of Joy will stay in Porto Maurizio until July 7th.

We sailed 35h and logged 180sm in 6 days.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

From Alghero along the westcoast of Corsica to Cap Corse

This blog starts the series of 2015 cruises

In April Sea of Joy got a new Maxprop propeller and new antifouling paint at Nautica Pinna in Bosa, which we can absolutely recommend.

24th of May I left Alghero with my sailing companion Kurt northwards, passing Capo Caccia, Capo Argentiera with high seas and finally through the famous Fornelli passage, where we anchored in cristal clear turquoise waters.

After a good swim we continued north along Bonifacio strait and anchored south of the Aragonese tower in Figari bay southwest of Corsica. Next morning strong southwesterly winds and high waves forced us to raise anchor and continue north with reefed sails to Propriano, where we had dinner in a rather odd senile restaurant named Le Cabanon.

On May 27th we continued north with less wind to Ajaccio, where we moored for to nights in Charles Ornano Marina. We had an excellent dinner at Da Mama and discovered the sights of Ajaccio.

Two days later we anchored in Gradele bay vis a vis the rocks of Calanques de Piana. May 30th we took a mooring bouy in beautiful Girolata bay and had a good fish dinner at Le Bon Espoir.

Next day we sailed with favourable strong southerly winds into Calvi harbor and had a delicious dinner at Aux Bons Amis. With less wind we motored to Saint Florent, refuelled our diesel tanks, and went south of the fort to the terrace of La Marinuccia celebrating the sunset with an exquisite dinner.

June, 2nd we continued farther north alongside Canari to a beautiful anchor place outside the fishing harbor of Centuri where we of course had a splendid fish menu at Le Vieux Moulin. Next day we rounded Cap Corse in benign seas and set anchor in beautiful Tamarone bay, where we enjoyed the turquoise waters and sandy beach for two more days.

On June, 5th we were happy to get a mooring place in Bastia Vieux Port for the next crew change and enjoyed a nice Vietnamese dinner at Le Saigon. Kurt left next day via Calvi to Vienna and my next crew arrived.

We logged 316sm and sailed 62h in 12 days

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