We're not doing so well this year!
By this time last year we'd sailed from Almerimar to the Arctic Circle and back to Scotland for Fiona's wedding. This year, we've done about 10% of that! holing up in various fleshpots in the sun just too lazy to get going. (That and I'm working most mornings).
We had a good sail over from Valencia then a week or so in Santa Ponca at the bottom of Island where we finally bit the bullet and bought a new outboard. Just as well as we are now anchored just over the horizon in the huge Port de Pollenca bay.
My brother Eric joined us for a few days and stayed for three weeks. He thinks we should call the boat a Limpet 45 as we seem stuck here. (The watertight excuse is we are waiting for our new mainsail to be stitched together and delivered).
Part of our reluctance to make (other than work - did I mention that?) is that it's getting pretty busy here now with Majorca's 700 charter boats filling up many of the anchorages.
Quite how France produces so many world class sailors when their cruising compatriots crash around like beginners in pedalo's is beyond me. The preferred anchoring technique is to enter the bay, find a small space between two yachts, drop the anchor, put out fenders all round the boat then abandon ship and head to the pub.
So, basically, as per Limpet 45 we're just chillin', seeing the island, bit of diving, maybe hire a Hobie or the rather lovely Suzuki 650 up the road waiting until we head for the ARC.
So, hee haw of interest to report. When there is, I'll be back!
Here we are, back in the Western Hemisphere, in the marina just before the bridge on the Valencia Formula 1 track.
We've cycled it a few times now but not setting any records!
Portinatx had its day and so, with a favourable forecast at 4pm we struck out for our first overnight sail since last year to Valencia. Two hours motoring before the wind filled in and gave us another scorching 7-8 knots reach across the channel. This lasted half the night before it died to nothing for an hour. It then filled in 180 degrees from where it had been and off we went again, screaming off into the dark heading for the loom of Valencia.
Our passage plan was set for 6 knots to get us in at 08:00. However, as we'd been going so quick (relative to plan) we arrived just before dawn. A cold grey dawn finally working our where the new marina was and tying up just after 7.
The marina was built to host the 33rd Americas Cup. It seems like the AyuntMiento flattened the old docks, built facilities and docks for the boats and an accompanying race track.
The only downside is that it is miles from town. We hired bikes and have spent the last few days peddling around getting fit and tanned.
Back in Santa Ponca waiting on Yamaha engineers and an appointment with our sailmaker.
A week ago our main ripped finally giving notice of its intention to retire. We had hoped it would get us across the Pond once more where in Florida there is a brand new, unused one waiting on a best offer.
Faced with possibility of the thing disintegrating we've ordered a new one from OneSails.
Anyway, Santa Ponca turned out to be as rolly as Soller. This time, we had the space to put out a stern anchor and so, a bit optimistically we dropped our tiny 2.2lb (that's 2.2lbs; a couple of bags of sugar) dinghy anchor with 5 metres of chain on the end of my old stretchy climbing rope.
Just after we bought Time Bandit I read an Anchor Test in Yachting Monthly. They tested 12 anchors. New generation to old favourites. We had the "old favourites"; a Bruce and a CQR. They came bottom of the table. 11th and 12th respectively!
We therefore changed, buying the two at the top, a Spade and a Fortress. When I ordered the Spade I went up a size. However, they didn't have one in stock so I just took the next one up. Consequently, we have this very powerful anchor which, after a few days in Soller in a decent blow had dug itself so deep only the trip line allowed us to get it out.
Back to the tiny dinghy anchor.
To our amazement not only did this hold 13 tonnes of boat but, come the morning, lifting it was an effort.
Lifting also happened in the dark at 03:00 as we couldn't take the rolling any longer. So, there I am, rowing around in the dark try to lever this daft wee anchor off the bottom. Amazing holding for such a small anchor.
So, by 04:00 we were off, heading for Ibiza on a broad reach in 15+ knots. We averaged over 7 knots the whole way; 43 miles to Portinatx at the north end of the island.
Portinatx is a reasonably pretty little cala / tourist resort. A few apartment blocks off the beach with the usual bars and restaurants milking the sunburnt tourists.
Since we got here however the wind has been on the nose for our penultimate leg to Denia or even an overnighter direct to Valencia. So, once again we are sat at anchor, (in the pub actually) bobbing up and down which is 100 times better than rolling. Shame we're 20 metres from the rocks but we have faith in the Spade.
As I've done for the last three days I got up early this morning to varnish. It was going to be the last coat and I was so looking forward to completing the job and having a nice shiny, varnished "eyebrow" highlighting the sleek racing lines of our beige battleship.
No sooner had I got it on than I noticed that unlike every other morning for the last month there was no big shiny orb in the sky.
Shortly thereafter the rain started. Outrageous. In Majorca. At the start of tourist season and it's tipping down.....on my new varnish. Life can be so stressful you know!
So, have abandoned chores for the day and having an Americana in the cafe at the head of the beach in Santa Ponca while the rain comes off and on much to the glee of the cafe owners who are welcoming the hordes in off the beaches.
As planned, we made for Soller where, instead of a restful few days or even weeks as planned we rocked and rolled every night in one of most uncomfortable anchorages since we left Almerimar. Last time we were here it was a mill pond. This time around, a big swell from the north came into and bounced around the harbour from all directions. Even the boats that paid the €60 for a gut in the marina were jumping about, jerking at their warps.
Anyway, we timed our visit to coincide with the annual re-enactment of the 1561 attempted invasion of Majorca by the Moors. Thousands of folk and a cast of hundreds fired off rockets, bangers and shotguns into the early hours. All while consuming vast quantities of booze. By 10 pm the streets were littered with empty beer cans and sangria bottles. By 8am next day, it was all gone. Good work by the cleansing department!
So, after the highlights of Soller and driven by the lack of sleep we headed back to Santa Ponca, where tomorrow, we get measured up for a new mainsail. Once done and once we get our outboard or it's replacement back from the dealers we will mosey slowly back to Ibiza, maybe Formentera and then Valencia.
Still seems strange typing "Majorca" as location. In my previous life wild horses wouldn't have got me here.
Still feel a bit out of place as I don't have tattoos the length and breadth of my body. But not to worry, there's plenty parlours awaiting my custom.
Having spent the last few hours with my head in the engine compartment I felt I deserved a break. Specifically, a litre of sangria in the Sherezade bar on the beach at Santa Ponca, Majorca.
Pat and Huw have gone to Palma for a day of culture. Two weeks with me has probably got to them and they need a fix.
The real reason they left was because after our rough ride over from Ibiza a 2 foot tear appeared in the mainsail. We've therefore had the sailmaker onboard today looking at a fix and maybe a new sail.
At the same time, our crummy from day one Yamaha outboard refuses to run so, just before I chuck it over the side, an engineer here is giving it one last look.
Work. Work, work!
Anyway, sail makers and engineers permitting we will head oop north for Soller where we will base for a week or two while we get things sorted out and see the island. This as opposed to our usual "must press on" mentality.
See how long we last!
Where's The Foam?
Made it to Ibiza, via Cartagena and Altea and now at anchor in San Vincente on the north end of the island.
The passage over was a decent sail. Six to seven knots in the sunshine. What's not to like!
There's a F8 forecast for tonight so we are tucked into a small bay with miles of chain out along with our 25lb "angel".
If it blows through by early morning we will make a run for Majorca. If not, we will sit in the sun here and go on Saturday when the forecast is a bit better.
Yesterday in San Antonio, foam party capital of the Balearics we found it pleasantly quiet. The Rough Guide refers to the place as Hooliganista or such like. However, it seems like the yobs and hooligans have yet to book their summer holidays as we found it quite quiet. No doubt in a few weeks they'll be queuing at Luton eager to get to "St Ant", the pole dancing clubs, bars and tattoo parlours.
Not many locals left. I think they moved in land years ago. Or maybe Luton?
Where we are is a bit more sophisticated. Mostly German tourists enjoying the sun and sangria. Most burnt to a crisp! There just a few hotels on the beach, a small prom and that's it. What you do on day two is beyond me.
So, off to the Palma boat show as soon as the winds clear. Huw is going to buy a new hat. Hopefully so will. Pat.
Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The boidies is.
From a limerick my old dad used to recite. Anyway, I think spring actually sprung here in Almerimar back in January although it's been slow to transition to summer.
Maria, the cruisers best friend here in Almerimar says that Spain is a cold country with a hot sun. Walking around or sitting in the cafes that's very clear. In the sun it's hot but as soon as you step into the shade or the breeze picks up a T shirt is not quite enough.
But not bad for April.
Anyway, after 6 months tied up in sunny Almerimar enjoying the social life, we said our goodbyes, untied and headed out to see what this years cruising will bring.
The plan is to head up to the Balearics, perhaps on the Corsica and Sardinia before heading out the Med, via Morocco, Madeira and the Canaries before joining the ARC in November for the Caribbean.
Three days into it we've anchored off the point of Cano de Gata; the point where Southern Spain turns north, marina'd in Garrucha and have now got as far as the cafes in Cartagena. All of is in clear blue skies and mostly 10-20 knots from astern.
If we can keep up the pace, we might make Soller in Majorca in time for the boat show. Just an idea. One so I can pursue my crazy thoughts of catamarans.
Flash fried tuna just hit the table so off for dinner. More in a few days.
Stuart & Anne
(With Pat and Huw)
Well, there goes another year!
Whoosh. Seems like blink and you miss it.
Quite appropriately, in keeping with the "cruising life", we rounded off 2013 by meeting up today with Mary and Henk, a Dutch couple we met while transitting the Caledonian Canal in July. Mary and Henk have travelled from Holland for many years to bring in New Year 2 miles from where we live.
It's a small world.... and we will bash on again in the New Year to see how fast we can get around it; or at least the western Med (Majorca, Menorca, Corsica, Sardinia and Morocco) followed by the ARC to the Caribbean in November.
To all our readers, ashore and afloat, have a great New Year.
Stuart & Anne
p.s. I was browsing for a photo to attach to this message and Runrig is playing "Beautiful Sky" so hopefully this pic from the Arctic Circle this July fits.