Adventures of Berkeley East

01 June 2017 | Italy
26 May 2017 | Parma, Italy
25 May 2017 | Motor Valley, Emilia Romagna, Italy
24 May 2017 | Fano, Italy
15 October 2016 | Fano, Italy
28 September 2016 | Revenna, Italy
21 September 2016 | Venice, Italy
18 September 2016 | Zadar to Rovinj, Croatia & Venice
03 September 2016
29 August 2016 | Opatija, Croatia
25 August 2016 | Biograd, Croatia
19 August 2016 | Dalmatia, Croatia
04 August 2016 | Dugi Otak, Croatia
29 July 2016 | Dalmatia, Croatia
22 July 2016 | Gargano Peninsula, Italy
21 July 2016 | Puglia, Italy
06 July 2016 | Brindisi, Italy
05 July 2016 | Othoni, Greece
31 May 2016 | Gulfs of Corinth and Patras, Greece
29 May 2016 | Pireaus, Greece

Domani, domani

01 June 2017 | Italy
While at home this past winter, we decided to keep the boat projects to a minimum. We had done most everything on the "To Do" list during the last three winters in Turkey, plus Berkeley East was in a boat yard where little English was spoken so communicating BE's needs was challenging. Before leaving Italy last fall (with the help of Google Translate) we arranged a couple of preventative maintenance projects, including the servicing of the motor and gearbox that furls Berkeley East's mainsail inside the mast. This is supposed to be done every five years, but ours continued to work perfectly year after year, so why fix something that isn't broken? This is a philosophy that we live by in most every aspect of our lives, but with cruising, you really don't want things to break while in a remote location, so after 10 years, we finally acquiesced and sent a perfectly good piece of equipment in for "preventative maintenance."

The company that makes the motor is in Sweden, but it is actually manufactured in Slovenia, a small country just across from Fano, Italy where Berkeley East was wintering. So one might think the motor would just go to Slovenia for maintenance. But instead it was shipped to Sweden then (apparently due to its age), the motor was sent to the UK, where they proceeded to break it. We're pretty sure the technician tested our 12-volt motor on a 24-volt system. After days with riggers and electricians working onboard Berkeley East, testing and rewiring, it was concluded that the motor was dead. Ultimately, the manufacturer agreed to send a replacement. But first they had to find one, make some modifications, and then ship, all starting domaini (tomorrow).

It sounded simple, domani (tomorrow), then domani. Now the question was what to do while waiting? Boat work? Or travel? We decided to do a little of both in Umbria.

You may wonder what kind of boat work we would do in Umbria, a landlocked region known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy, and wine. Wine is the operative word here, as BE's wine bilge was nearly empty, so wine provisioning was an essential boat chore.

We had been to Umbria five years before and loved the countryside and hill towns. On that trip, we did a lot of wine tasting, but this visit, we were on a mission and there was no time to dawdle. We stopped at a few of our favorite wineries and acquired their best varietals until our little Volkswagon rental car was struggling to get up the hills. We stayed in Spello, a small town that we fell in love with one evening five years ago, where we met some Californians at a cute enoteca who rented an apartment and spent half their year there. That evening we began making a plan that some day, when we are done cruising, we will do the same; stay in favorite towns and cities around the world for months, rather than days, at a time.

We found the same restaurant and spent another wonderful evening conversing with the owner (through Italian interpreters) and met another American family that had bought a place in Spello and split their time between Miami and Italy. We wondered if we should stay another day and look at real estate. But our motor was coming domaini (tomorrow), so it was back to Berkeley East with our ship's stores (wine).

Holiday? What holiday? It turned out that Monday was a holiday in the UK, and domaini (tomorrow) was no longer possible. Now it was Martedi (Tuesday). We stowed our wine purchases in BE's bilge, and thought about what to do over the weekend. We could replace toilet hose, or go to Venice. It was a very tough choice.

This was our fourth visit to Venice. We love the beautiful canaled city and were happy to spend more time there. But it wasn't all pleasure. Like Umbria, we had a goal: finding the perfect piece of Murano glass. One would think this would be a simple, pleasant task, but neither of us are good shoppers. We had shopped for Murano glass before and could never bring ourselves to spend the money. Then, last year, we inherited a beautiful piece of Murano glass, the Ivins Family vase, which had a wonderful story about its purchase.

So we decided that if these very frugal people could part with the dollars for a memory, we could too, and we decided to find the perfect companion piece. After two days of wandering through Murano and Venice galleries, finding many lovely pieces of art that met our requirements, we decided to let the family vase stand on its own (guess we are even more frugal than the previous generation). We gave up on shopping and flew the drone, before heading back to Berkeley East for our Martedi (Tuesday) delivery.


No holidays, no excuses, also no guarantees. Now it was Mercoledì (Wednesday) definitely Mercoledì (Wednesday), which to us, also meant domani (tomorrow). Ha! Mercoledi la prossima settimana (Wednesday, next week). We drowned our sorrows in Italian food, and made a plan to work on Berkeley East for the week, as there are always many boat projects to do. Then, one of us said, "Milano is just a train ride away!"

We had never been to Milan before, so there were no goals to meet, no missions to accomplish. This was simply a trip to soak up the atmosphere, and explore the sights. Milan is the second richest city in the European Union, after Paris. The city is a major world fashion and design capital, so most people go there to shop. Luckily for us bad shoppers, there is much more to do in Milan than try on clothes. We spent four days exploring, and even did a little window shopping.

The 100th running of the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) finished right next to our hotel while we were in Milan. The event had 161 riders cycling over 3,600 kilometers, and in the end, the top three finishers were just 40 seconds apart. Thousands of spectators lined the streets to cheer on the riders as they screamed through Milan into the Piazza where even more people waited to see them cross the finish line. We were fortunate to be in town, and find excellent seats to watch the riders.

Duomo di Milano, the gothic cathedral, took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy, and the fifth largest in the world. Its archetecture includes more statues than any other building in the world. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures. Cannels were built specifically to bring the marble and stone to the building site. Some are still in existence in southern Milano. From the rooftop you can fully appreciate the architecture, and the complexity of this cathedral.

Milan is recognized internationally as one of the world's most important fashion capitals, with most of the major Italian fashion houses and labels based there incuding Armani, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Trussardi, Valentino, Versace and Ermenegildo Zegna, to name a few. Mary admired a Dolce & Gabbana fish dress, but decided, given the 5,000€ price tag, she'd rather buy some shoes.

We couldn't leave Milan without seeing L'Ultima Cena, The Last Supper. The mural covering an entire wall was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century. The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. Leonardo depicted the consternation that occurred among the disciples when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him. It was truly beautiful.

Upon returning to the marina from Milan, the motor was not there yet but it would be there domaini (tomorrow). And finally, domani did happen. Once installed, we held our breath as we pressed the button and the sail glided out of the mast, and back in again. After 38 days and many wonderful experiences, Berkeley East, and crew, were finally ready to leave Italy, domani.

Who cut the cheese?

26 May 2017 | Parma, Italy

Part of selecting Fano, Italy as the winter marina for Berkeley East was so we could travel in the nearby region of Emilia-Romagna, famous for its cheese, ham and balsamic vinegar. We love cheese! And we love ham, so we toured the area surrounding the cities of Modena and Parma where Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, and Aceto Balsamico are made.

Our Italian guide, Antonio, told us that this combination of foods is actually a healthy diet, as Parmigiano-Reggiano is good for the digestion, Aceto Balsamico is historically used to cure ailments, and Parma ham is, well, just plain tasty.

First stop was a small, family-owned cheese factory that has been making Parmigiano-Reggiano for generations. This unique cheese, produced exclusively in this area, is subject to strict controls to ensure high quality and the presence of special characteristics found only in Parmigiano-Reggiano. Every day, including Christmas and New Years, the process begins to create the huge wheels of cheese that must aged for a minimum of 12 months. It was very interesting to watch, they even cut the cheese. But tasting the cheese at different ages was definitely the highlight of the tour.

Next was a visit to learn about the making of Parma Ham (Prosciutto di Parma). The history and region of Parma Ham production are what set it apart from other prosciuttos in the world. Since Roman times, this geographically protected food became world renowned for its delicate and sweet flavor. Prosciutto di Parma can only be produced in the countryside surrounding the city of Parma, from the hind legs of specially selected heritage breed pigs raised in 11 regions of Italy. It is a long and painstaking process; by law Parma Ham must be cured for at least one year and some are aged for as much as three years. Again, the tasting was excellent.

Our final stop on our food tour was to taste Aceto Balsamico. Made in hamlets around the historic town of Modena, its origin dates back to the 17° century, and is nothing like the balsamic vinegars we have tasted before. Traditional Balsamic of Modena ages for decades (a minimum of 12 years) in a series of barrels which get smaller and smaller in size. The final product is a rich, velvety elixir that can enhance everything from cheese to ice cream. It is very special taste with a special price tag to match.

Modena is an ancient city in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna Region, now a Unesco World Heritage site, and birthplace of the operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti and founder of Ferrari motor, Enzo Ferrari.

The town of Parma is much more than its famous delicacies of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, this riverside city has a wealth of ornate churches, monasteries, and museums.

Another delicacy from the region on our food tour - horse tartare.

Modena is home to the second best restaurant in the world, with a three-month waitlist, so we went to its excellent little cousin (run by the same renown chef) where they served us gourmet hamburgers in a box!

Italian Car shopping

25 May 2017 | Motor Valley, Emilia Romagna, Italy
We have always had a love for Italian design, especially when it comes to cars. Our 1992 Cadillac Allante, that we still own, is as close as we have come to owning one. The body and interior were designed and built in Italy by Pininfarina, then shipped on a 747 to Detroit to be mated with a Cadillac drive train. So while she may not speak Italian, she looks the part.

With Berkeley East so close to Italy's Motor Valley, and time to kill waiting for sails, we decided to take a few days and go car shopping in Italy. First stop was Pagani, a Italian manufacturer of carbon fiber super cars. The company was founded in 1992 by the Argentinian Horacio Pagani, and currently makes just 50 cars made per year. With very few being exported to the USA, these works of art are hard to come by. But that didn't stop us from looking. We spent the morning checking out the first Pagani model - Zonda

We also got to tour the factory where they are building the new Huayra, a sub 3,000 lb carbon-titanium fiber car with over 750 HP. This was more of a race car than a daily driver for Cornelius, NC. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the factory.

The two-year wait was longer than we wanted, and there was also that 2.3 million dollar price tag. So it was off to Lamborghini.

Having driven a Lamborghini before (when he was 16!), Larry has a special affinity for these cars. And there, in the museum, was the Miura from his youth.

While the current V12-powered Aventador and the V10-powered Huracán are beautiful cars, they don't have the smooth curves of the Miura.

But maybe the new SUV would be a good replacement for our aging Hummer. We will have to wait until 2018 when it is released.

Our car shopping trip really began with the idea of finding, and driving, the perfect Ferrari. The museum in Maranello is amazing. It brought us back to 2011 when we watched the Monaco Grand Prix surrounded by Italian Ferrari fans who had to stand up every time a Ferrari came by.

So which one would it be? The California was nice, but who wants a Ferrari with a back seat? The yellow and blue cars were stunning, but we believe a Ferrari must be red. And a hybrid Ferrari just isn't right. Besides, we already have a hybrid boat.

So it was a new 488 Spider - twin turbo V-8 with 660 HP and a dual-clutch 7-speed F1 gearbox. In bright, shiny red of course. While we never got a chance to get her up to the top speed of 200+ mph, we did prove that she will do 0 - 60 in under three seconds, and saw over 100 mph very quickly. Nothing sounds as good as a Ferrari screaming down the back roads of Italy.

Ok, so we didn't really buy one, just took her for a spin. And Larry got a shirt. :)
Vessel Name: Berkeley East
Vessel Make/Model: Hylas 54
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Larry & Mary Ivins
About: We quit our jobs in July of 2007 and began our adventure, sailing the US east coast in the summers and then spending our winters in the Caribbean. In 2010 we sailed across the Atlantic and will be cruising the Med for the next few years.
FAQ Q: Did you go to UC Berkeley?

A: No. The name Berkeley East came from a ferry boat, "the Berkeley", that we met on over 30 years ago in San Diego. The East came as a result of seeing the boat being built in Taiwan. There was 30-foot Chinese symbol on the wall behind her during [...]
Berkeley East's Photos - Caribbean 1500 2008 (Main)
Photos for blog post
15 Photos
Created 2 August 2016
18 Photos
Created 17 May 2013
Extra pictures for Croatia
12 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
Venice June 2012
20 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
Tuscany trip summer 2011
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Pictures from June 2011 - The Ligurian Coast of Italy
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Created 29 June 2011
Wardrick Wells - Exuma Land and Sea Park May 2009
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6 Photos
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Pictures from our trip to Los Testigos, Venezuela - March 2009
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Pics form the 2008 Caribbean 1500
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Octopuses Garden Highborne, Exuma Cay, Bahamas
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Created 28 January 2008
Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
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Created 23 December 2007
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Created 21 November 2007
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Created 5 September 2007
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In early July 2006 we made a quick from Sydney, Australia to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to check on the construction of our Hylas 54. She was a little behind schedule, but the build quality was excellent.
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
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Created 17 July 2007
After 28 days aboard Sigrun Bolten from Taiwan, Berkeley East arrived in Port Everglades Florida. Mary and I helped unload her and motored up the river to be hauled and rigged. We where joined by our friends and next door neighbors (from CA), who were in Florida cruising from California to the Caribbean.
5 Photos
Created 17 July 2007

Profile & FAQs

Who: Larry & Mary Ivins
Port: San Diego, CA

Our travels


April 2017- Return to Fano, Italy

May 2017 - Touring Italy and waiting for boat parts

June 2017 - Croatia and Montenegro

July - September 2016 - Tyrehenian Sea, Sicily & Sardinia

October 2017 - Somewhere in Italy then fly home to Charlotte

Vbr/> Berkeley East's Winter port 2016/2017 - Unknown