05/07/2012, Sanremo Italy
It's been hard to get to this blog - too many things to see and do, it seems. We enjoyed a sail with Larry and Maureen Burt on board from Imperia to Sanremo Italy last Thursday, screaming in to port at about 3.5 kts. (!) but loved the chance to just do things in slow motion for a day. Since we were still without luck on getting a confirmed reservation at Antibes (Port Vaubaun) we decided to move to Sanremo, just a bit beyond the French boarder, with greater access to a more established port and easier walking distance to the town and all amenities.
On Friday we took a train to Monaco/Monte Carlo to experience the flavor of that special, 1-mile square country, and the legacy of Princess Grace (especially for those of us from the Philadelphia area). Monte Carlo is truely unique - like a formal fairly land, meticulously clean, beautiful and even a little Disney-like in the pristine appearance of the historic and palace area at the top of the hills.
Saturday we drove Larry and Maureen to Antibes so they could spend one day in France and be there for their Sunday flight from Nice. We also contacted the Meloy's who had just arrived and discussed plans for their arrival on our boat - and where.
So, what's happening with the French Riviera ports? Italy has been a cinch, and Marco knows folks everywhere which has helped. However, a few current events seem to be working against us - a new Italian tax for Italian owned yachts started May 1, the French elections (concluded yesterday), and a few seasonal events like a Cannes festival, Monte Carlo's Grand Prix, are all crowding the nearby French Riviera ports. We continue to try for Antibes, and think it might be easier when we arrive there tomorrow in person. If not, we pick up the Meloys at the transient dock, anchor in a nearby area, and return to get Duncan on Thursday. We plan to head to one more French port area to dock or anchor after Duncan joins us, then prepare for the 24 transit to the Baleric Islands, Minorca then Mallorca.
While we are frustrated with the delay in getting a port in France, we have truely y enjoyed Sanremo. It complies with descriptions I read, that it is no longer the lush, high profile resort of its earlier days, but for that reason, we like it all the more. It is a casino resort town of older grandeur, graceful and quieter than other resorts down the Riviera coast. We could spend longer here... maybe we'll revisit someday!
Off email for a few days in France perhaps.... but will send an update on our where abouts soon as possible.
05/03/2012, Imperia Italy
We arrived in Imperia Italy, from Genoa, on Tuesday after a slow day motoring in the rain. However, we needed to begin working our way west to France. Imperia is a lovely town, with a new and very large port where we docked for 3 nights. The town rises against a hillside with stately looking homes surrounded by palm, olive and other beautiful trees. We had intended to leave earlier for France, but unfortunately discovered that all of the French, ports adequate for our boat, at the beginning of the French Riviera are full - no room at the inn. The combination of the Grand Prix race in nearby Monaco, and the May 1 start of a new, severe tax on Italian yachts, has filled many of the ports within sight of Italy. So we decided to move a little bit to San Remo, Italy, which puts us a short car or train ride to Nice, where current guests the Burts depart and next guests and our son arrive. Contacts at French ports advised calling back to see when they'll have space, so there's hope!
We are also taking advantage of the very short transit to play around a bit, sailing in light winds, testing our sails, etc. at a more relaxed pace - very relaxed at 1 - 2 knots, a little like the Chesapeake Bay!
More photos later today, Imperia and beyond!
Gail Farr has brought it to my attention that I have no photos of our boat - at least not full photos! Shame on me. So there's a new photo album.... with some good shots of the boat on our first visit to Portoferraio on Elba Island. More are somewhere... maybe in my phone. More to come. Thanks, Gail!
04/27/2012, Genoa, Italy
This is not a photo of Genoa - it's Portofino.... See below -
We arrived in Genoa on Monday afternoon, after one of our best sails so far. Winds were in the 30's when we left Portovenere Monday morning, dropping a bit to the 20's as we moved up the Ligurian coast. We were eager to get all the way to Genoa, as the weather looked suspicious the next two days, and Bill and Anne needed to fly out from Genoa on Thursday. All worked perfectly - a good sail with a single reefed main and our standard 100% headsail the whole way. Pulling into the massive, busy port area of Genoa for the second time almost felt like home. I'm getting a little attached to the town.
Having a few extra days here was a blessing in many respects. We rented a car and had 2 days to show Anne and Bill some of the best features of this region - the Cinque Terre area, and the lovely towns of Camogli, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, and Rapallo - where this venture all began with our putting pen to the agreement papers for our boat at the Rapallo Yacht Club last October. We also had a wonderful day in Portovenere, so that we could view where we had just sailed, but from a land view.
Genoa time also allowed us to dig into a few maintenance projects on the boat, with the help again of Glen Edwards and others from Pegaso and elsewhere. All systems are a go now, the Richardson's are safely home, and cabins are cleaned and ready to host our next guests, Maureen and Larry Burt arriving on Saturday. Plans are to spend Sunday in Genoa or maybe a short coastal tour, then set sail to head west for the rest of the Italian Riviera, stopping at Verazze, Imperia, and then Antibes, our first stop in France. We will be so sad to leave Italy! But many treasured memories will go with us.
Ciao for now.
04/22/2012, Portovenere, Italy
Pictures might convey today best - see the set with the title of this blog. After delaying our morning start to wait out a bit of weather that showed on 2 different forecasts as dissapating around noon, we left Capraia bound for Portovenere, near Spezia. In less than 30 mimutes we found that there was more action left in the sea from that system than expected. So, we spent a clear, brilliant, sunny afternoon riding waves of 4 to 5 meters and winds up to 45 kts. Marco, Bill and Phil performed perfectly at the helm trading places, while Anne and Gaile finally succumbed to conditions topside (after getting soaked) and retreated to safer quarters below. See the few photos of Gaile and Anne at the campionway - Two Girls Behind a Washboard.
So, a rough ride but a safe arrival after all with quiet anchorage at Porovenere. And, a delicious pasta dish of asparagus, ham and cream created by Marco, again. Tomorrow, we try for Santa Margarita Ligure.
04/21/2012, Elba to Capraia
This morning we said goodbye to Porto Azzuro, to make our way to Capraia, at the end of the Tuscan Archipelago. Although the wind is light, this is a gorgeous and clear day - we're enjoying a warmer, sunnier passage doing about 6 kts with light SE winds about 13 kts.
We all agreed - we love Elba. It's a lovely island of extensive natural beauty and interesting history, with plenty of easily accessible areas for walking, hiking over majestic views without being too far from beautiful small towns and marinas. Phil and I were happy to be able to visit it again so soon, and share more of it with friends this time.
Marco continues to be a great partner both on deck, and in the galley. We appreciate so much his quick handling on deck, constant care of the boat, and eagerness to learn all the boat's finer details that are new to us all. I have to add that, although I continue to prepare some meals, I am getting a little spoiled with his wonderful pasta dishes and other creations for our dinners! However, I need to continue to work at training him to eat more vegetables. :)
Other things to learn - taking care of our boat's interior and systems feels a little like being at home, only in a more condensed way. And the dust seems to accumulate even more. But little by little, the daily and weekly maintenance, all those checks in the engine room and elsewhere, are becoming part of a routine. Maybe we are getting situated, finally....!
Ciao for now.