After a night at anchor we headed gradually south - some excellent sailing but lots of beating to windward - more effort but good for us!! Only one dolphin came to visit us. At Sciacca we met up with Muskrat last seen in Sardinia two month ago and enjoyed their hospitality for the evening.
Tuesday was to be our last sailing day. We set off after the other two crews also going to Licata. Once out of the harbour we realised that it would be a brisk and breezy sail with a swell as well. We motored straight out for a while so that hopefully when we hoisted our spinnaker the wind would not be dead on the stern. Quickly the spinnaker went up and we were off - doing 6 kn. Throughout the day the wind gradually increased and after about 40 miles the auto helm was struggling as the waves kept knocking us off course. Bob then took over the steering but eventually the wind speed was up to 23 knots so the spinnaker had to come down! After an hour with just the genoa we sailed into an extremely windy Licata harbour. Our friends from Sciacca were there on the pontoon to help us moor and we were able to return their hospitality!
At Licata there was an eclectic mix of boats - yachts in transit and live-a-boards -lots of different nationalities - mostly very friendly and keen to chat.
Wednesday was the usual blue sky and HOT. We did yet more jobs on the boat and Isabel had her final Mediterranean swim. Back on the pontoon Martha from New Zealand had decided that there should be a "dock party". So after 6.30 pm various crews arrived with bottles and glasses and the fun began. There were about 30 people from USA, Austria, France, NZ, Canada, and Belgium - to name a few! Tall stories, tales of Atlantic crossings, cheapest ever marina and future plans were all discussed as the sun gradually set. Even yachts that just arrived joined in the fun! Third party night in a row!
On Thursday morning Giuseppe arrived on time and we motored over to the shipyard that was to be Capella's home for the next 7 or so months. He explained that next year he was going to get a travel lift. (For the non-sailors - a very user friendly crane than takes boats out of the water and moves them around the boatyard. How we wished he had one this year! We drove not to the part of the boatyard that Bob had seen but next door. Capella was gently backed up to the shore by a combination of ropes and rowing boats and we started to put the slings for the crane underneath the boat. Then the cranes started to move - it was all very slow and painful and when the lifting frame started to touch the shrouds we were a little concerned. Eventually all was well and Capella was chocked up on the land ready to be hauled on some railway type rails on Monday.
We had permission to spend the night onboard so we set about our jobs - sanding the propeller, antifouling the bow thrusters and so on. Although we worked very hard - there is still plenty to be done before launch next year.
It is very strange being onboard a yacht whilst it is on land especially when it isn't level - there are new noises and vibrations and of course the disposal of water (and other liquids!) is a problem. After a lovely last night meal and a walk through the narrow streets and past the feral dogs we headed back for our final night this year. So the blog is now finished! We hope you have enjoyed it and if you now have the "sailing blog bug" follow our friends Iain and Fiona as they make their way across the Atlantic! http://www.sailblogs.com/member/s34ruffian
We have not made any plans for next year yet - we will get work and start saving up again! It's been a lot of fun - five different countries and cultures - good company especially our visitors. Our only regret was that we never managed to catch a tuna - but we can keep trying....