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Category: Sailing

Passage to Mallorca

Passage to Mallorca

After sitting out heavy weather in La Maddalena for a few days, we decided to take the plunge (so to speak) and strike out for Mallorca, Spain. The north coast of Sardinia gets a lot of wind in the winter, and its direction is generally not conducive to heading south-west in a sailboat. If we were to stay in Maddalena waiting for ideal conditions we may still be there when the next pandemic emerges from China. So after much consideration,…

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Storm Front

Storm Front

Travelling by sail is not for the impatient. Compared to other forms of transport, it’s slow going. For many sailboats, averaging seven knots (13km/h) during a day out on the water is pretty good pace. As you are using nature to power your vessel, your energy source is in a constant state of flux. You might start the day ripping along with full sails and spray flying, and shortly after you’re lolling in the swell, canvas slack and boom swaying….

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Haul Out

Haul Out

The Skipper had noticed some irregularities in the saildrive (the engine’s transmission and propulsion system) oil and decided to have the boat hauled out and inspected at Arbatax, Sardinia. Now although a 46 foot boat that weighs over 10 tonnes isn’t the biggest ship in the harbour, it ain’t your Sunday arvo tinny either, and it takes some big gear to get it out of the water. They had the facilities at Arbatax to do the job, and we squeezed…

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Sardinian heavy weather

Sardinian heavy weather

Mountains, Wind and Waves After an 18 hour sail from Tunisia we arrived in Sardinia, Italy, and anchored off Cagliari breakwater in the early morning light. The Guardia Di Finanza didn’t turn up til the next day, and we appreciated the chance to have a breather. The Guardia are responsible for fighting financial crime and smuggling, and in our experience are the first officials to show up when you arrive in Italian waters. We were unsure as to the reception…

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Arriving in Bizerte

Arriving in Bizerte

It had been a bit of a stressful night. As we neared the north African coast the amount of heavy shipping increased, and frequent wind changes meant ongoing sail and course adjustments. It was with relief that I watched the sun rise, and terror an hour later when I glanced up to see a long line of floats across our path. I switched off the auto pilot and wrenched on the helm, dragging the boat to port and bringing us…

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Stromboli and Etna

Stromboli and Etna

Volcanoes of Italy After seven months in New Zealand I’d seen a few volcanoes. Truth is, Aotearoa is pretty much a whole bunch of volcanoes linked together by other volcanoes. Most Aussies are aware of just how volcanic New Zealand is, however I didn’t realise that Italy has some rippers of its own. Ok well maybe that’s common knowledge but I didn’t bloody know alright? Geez. Ignorant though I was, I would soon find out more about a couple of…

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Night Demons

Night Demons

When the weather is fine, there are some great aspects of night sailing. A sky full of stars, the gentle motion of the boat, and if you’re lucky, bioluminescence forming tiny galaxies of light in the wash of the wake. Peaceful solitude whilst nature powers your journey. However, even on these nights, I often receive unwanted visitors. When I’m sitting in the dark, alone at the helm, they come when I’m at my weakest. When I’m tired and cold and…

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Passage to Malta

Passage to Malta

Leaving our last Greek Island anchorage, we had ahead of us a 400 nautical mile (740km) passage to Malta. The Skipper figured it would take about three days. Before leaving we worked out a schedule of shifts to cover the helm so we could sail non-stop: eight hours on, four hours off, eight hours on, six hours off. At least two crew would be on deck at all times. Being the earliest riser I chose the 0600 to 1400 and…

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Arriving in Greece

Arriving in Greece

None of us knew what to expect as we left Turkish waters. Would the Greek coastguard be on us as soon as we entered their territory? The Turkish Coasties definitely had been when we were on their turf, and we suspected their Greek counterparts would be similarly conscientious. The Greek government had banned private sailing vessels arriving from Turkey due to Covid-19, so we knew we risked being turned away, detained, fined, or a combination of the three. We were…

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From a flag to a rag to a flag to a…

From a flag to a rag to a flag to a…

When you sail, maritime law states that you must fly the flag of your port of registration. It’s also protocol to raise the flag of the country in whose waters you travel. The Skipper asked me to grab the Greek flag from out of the pile, and when I pulled it out it looked like it had been run over by a slasher. Not wishing to insult the Greeks with a tattered flag, repairs were required. When I was a…

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