VII - Moving East, Sardinia.
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
VI - Moving East, The Balearics, Ibiza, Formentera & Mallorca.
Log Entry Sunday 30th October - Live music in town.
Log Entry Friday 28th October - We re-pot "Plant."
Log Entry Sunday 19th October - A morning at the market.
Log Entry Sunday 16th October - The work continues, the last tank inspected and refurbished.
Log Entry Tuesday 4th October - The coastline to the north.
Log Entry Wednesday 21st September - Carloforte, a walk around the town.
Carloforte has changed little over the years, we were last here in 2008, seems not to have changed t all! Conversations with the locals on that topic is very interesting, they see the rest of the world changing around them, good and bad discussed, but the point is, they do not want their town to change and will try their best to prevent it? I must confess it is calming to see vehicles, cars and scooters parked up with the keys in the ignition! To watch the local police officers joking with the drivers as they direct the traffic on/off the ferries onto the main street?
It still has the remains of the traditional industries, salt reclamation from the sea, a large abandoned tuna processing plant etc.
Once in the town, there is no doubt that it is Italian, architecture, cafes, squares. They is a distinct lack of certain aspects, for example there are three hardware stores in this town, none comprehensive but between all three you could find a solution? Any work required on Sailaway over the winter, will have to be planned around that fact, worst case, a trip to the mainland!
The central square, called "Piazza Repubblica", of coarse, is typical, still we have seen the same many times in Greece, the Italians have left their influence throughout history.
The ferry port is amazing, the ferries run from two ports on the mainland, now in the winter period the service is reduced to a mere 15 ferries per day?
It brought the issues of island life home home to us today, sitting on the roadside drinking coffee we heard a siren approaching. A small happening in normal life, but our first heard here, it was an ambulance. The ambulance turned onto the ferry quay and straight onto a ferry, there was no other vehicles or passengers on that ferry, one crew member could be seen lifting the drive on gate. The ferry by this time was already moving away from the quay, this clearly the only way, other than helicopter, to get the needy to the hospital on the mainland?
Log Entry Tuesday 20th September - Sailaway, sea worthy again!
It is over to the yard to have the forestay mounting strengthen and repaired, we were called over about 1600 hours. We were introduced to Carlo, the engineer from the yard. We had discovered minor corrosion around one of our dorant vents, so we had them plate that up too! The forestay bracket was increased in plate thickness and the bottle screw mounting hole moved in away from the brackets edge, increasing strength in two planes. Carlo worked until dust, then returned in the morning to finish off - Ann and her paint brush next!
Sailaway is as good as new now, but we have decided to call it a day for the year for a number of reasons and settle down in Carloforte for the winter. We will lift out again in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily in the early spring to follow up on the great job those guys did on our hull!
Log Entry Friday 16th September - 0400 Hours we leave for Sardinia, 3 days off!
We have a forecast giving us 4 days of good westerly, south westerly winds at around 10 - 15 knots, perfect. Come Saturday evening, much stronger winds are forecast so it is either leave today or be stuck for another week - today it must be! The route, speed etc, to ensure we arrive before the strong winds set in on Saturday. The winds were due to swing in our favour in the early hours of the this morning, that is exactly what happened, the build up to about 15 knots woke us around 0300 hours, we were ready to go so we decided to leave "asap" and utilise the winds, up we get and off we go!
Not much going on at that time of the morning, there was only three of us in the anchorage, we made our way due south between the islands and turned west. Our canvas went up immediately, the engine we kept on, ticking over to charge our batteries fully after the usual over night drain.
We were making good speed, the local forecast indicated a cloudy few days but at least no rain. As day break came on us, cloudy it definitely was, we were so pleased to be on our way. It was about 0800 hours when we had reached the point at which we had turned back on 6th September, that was not happening this time, everything was in our favour. If this wind help for the few days as forecast it was going to be a fast trip!
We had a number of sighting of curious items in the water, we came across about six of them in total, each one a bound bundle of different items/materials that clearly floated, each one included a small bush or series of palm leaves - in currant climates your mind works overtime? Were these in fact rafts, the bushes used for shelter, used by desperate people seeking a new life - the mind boggles? We kept a close watch, one or two were about 6 square meters, sizable chunks of material to hit at 6/7 knots?
We were constantly bombarded with heavy showers, as the sun began to set we had this amazing rainbow over head, colours in the cloud with the sunset were amazing, we were put into darkness once again. We sailed into Thursday night, our speed not falling hardly at all, great stuff!
As midnight came and passed, we were into the early hours of Friday morning, thunder and lightening began to develop all around us, at first in the distance but they began to track closer and closer and, the wind began to fall. Obviously, our speed began to fall too, so in time, on went our engine and we began to motor sail, our target was to get to Sardinia before darkness on Friday. Our concern was that none of these thunderstorms had been forecast two days ago and we knew strong winds and bad weather was on it's way, something had clearly changed? Watching the paths of the storms we noticed a large storm approaching from behind us, this one was very different and could be seen to be stretching for miles either side of us, its coarse was east the same as us? The lightening bolts were different too, not grounding as we had seen previously, but dancing around the skies, staying high in the clouds, never grounding? It was now catching us quickly, I had been watching a commercial vessel coming towards us, due to pass us about a mile off. He was heading into the storm, and I noticed that according to the AIS system he came to a halt? The storm was almost upon us around 0400 hours, we rolled up our headsail and purely motored, then we too stopped, and the storm came overhead. The wind went through 180 degrees and held steady about 40 knots and we were drenched in a downpour of dense rain. The rain was so dense there was no sea to accompany the wind, at that strength, the wind would normally have created very large sea, the rain was clearly keeping the water flat - I think? It was amazing to look up, covering your eyes with your hand to cover from the rain, watching the lightening dancing above our heads. The wind subsided to 25/30 knots in time, another strange fact was that there was so much noise from the rain, there appeared no noise from the wind? The storm took about 10 minutes to pass over, we tried to put some sense to what we had experienced but that was difficult, our plan now was to sit tight, have a coffee and let the storm get ahead of us. I turned off our engine and we gave it about an hour before we began our journey following the storm, it eventually disappeared into the darkness? There was now practically no wind, back to motor sailing, with only a little assistance from the wind.
As dawn broke the sky was completed clouded over not a hint of sunshine, we were still motor sailing with the genoa partially out catching the 4/6 knots of wind occasionally on our stern, it slightly adding to our speed? As I drank yet another coffee, something caught my attention, I saw the genoa lift about one meter from our deck, floating free in the air? I called Ann and we both went forward, sure enough it was free, it's base had torn from it's mounting on the deck! At our speed and with the wind it was now floating free about head height - what to do?
We were lucky in the way that only about half the genoa was rolled out, it needed to come in, be rolled back up. Ann went back to the cockpit, I stayed forward, we increased the boat speed beyond "normal" engine revolutions. This brought the base of the sail closer to deck height, I took hold of the assembly and with the stability gained from holding the inner stay I called instructions to Ann and we slowly rolled up the sail. We reduced the engine speed to normal revolutions, we now had to some how secure the "free end" to the deck. With out the sail rolled up the motion of Sailaway was more erratic, causing the forestay to wave back and forth! As Ann gathered me ropes I tried to secure the free end, that was difficult, we eased the task by stopping our speed through the water, putting our engine to neutral.
We were then able to get a number of ropes on, securing the forestay best we could. The forestay won the battle over all giving me two bruised, badly swollen fingers as they were repetitively caught between the swinging forestay and the inner stay, my left should also badly bruised and swollen - the joys of sailing.
I returned to the cockpit, I must publically praise Ann, she did a fantastic job!
The motion of the forestay was a concern, it was "bouncing" back and forth with the motion of the sea as we could not apply enough tension to it to keep it stable. We even tried the anchor windless to apply more tension but that failed, the clutch slipping? "Sod our luck!" as they say, the wind returned at about 10 - 15 knots, unfortunately even the slight swell it created increased the motion of the forestay! We were now motoring on, our original target destination had been Porto Telduda, on the south coast, reviewing our position we turned for Carloforte, on the Isola di San Pietro, we knew Carloforte from 2008, and it was almost 25 miles closer, we altered course.
I periodically went forward to check the ropes, on one trip I found a stowaway on our deck!
With all that was going on, we had forgotten to change our courtesy flag from Spanish to Italian, a ceremony Ann always loves to record. It's confirmation that you have arrived in another country!
We motored into the channel between Isola di San Pietro from the south, the Sardinia mainland only a couple of kilometres off. We negotiated the ferries, two arriving as we did at the harbour entrance. We were greeted by a marinaro from one of the marinas, we followed him to a berth in Marinatour Marina.
We tied up and a second marinaro approached Sailaway and began to inspect our damage, Ann said to me "Do you recognise this man?" It was "Andrea" a guy we had met in another marina here back in the winter of 2008! He did not recognise us at first but the next day he approached us with our email address we had shared back then - now he remembered who we were, he declared.
The trip, 260 miles had taken us 58 hours in total, we had sailed none stop for the first 36 hours, then very little after that! The data I collect each trip told us that during that time our maximum speed had been 8.6 knots - imagine if our forestay had broken at that speed, frightening?
The trip, I would have normally said, was an interesting one, now reflecting on it, with what little superstition I possess, you have to wonder if there is a message in the happenings of the trip? It was only 10 days ago we were in large seas and steady 25 knots of wind? If the forestay had broken then it would have been a totally different situation, and possible outcome?