Tri cruising

Mediterranean and now Atlantic wandering in a Kelsall trimaran

Vessel Name: Aqua Blue
Vessel Make/Model: Kelsall 39 tri
Hailing Port: Originally Brighton UK
Crew: David Bains retired dental surgeon.
About: Family and a few friends.
Extra: Aqua Blue is currently moored at El Rompido SW Spain.
18 November 2017 | Portugal
04 September 2014 | SW Atlantic Spain
25 August 2012 | Ionian Marine, Aktio, Preveza, Greece
28 June 2011 | Nautec, Monfalcone, Italy
23 November 2010 | Adriatic
20 September 2009
30 March 2009 | Adriatic
29 March 2009 | Adriatic
28 March 2009 | Adriatic
27 March 2009 | Ionian/Adriatic
26 March 2009 | Ionian/Aegean
25 March 2009 | Ionian/Adriatic
24 March 2009 | Ionian/Aegean
23 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian/Ionian
22 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian
21 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian/Ionian
18 March 2009
16 March 2009
Recent Blog Posts
18 November 2017 | Portugal

Wild West Coast

I returned to Aqua Blue, wintering again in El Rompido, SW Spain, by late May 2017.

04 September 2014 | SW Atlantic Spain

Pushing through the Pillars.

Aqua Blue has escaped the Med after 25yrs!! Rather delayed this year, I returned to Cartagena on 1st July and worked on Aqua Blue in this attractive city for two weeks until my wife Stella joined me. The morning of the 15th brought a fresh northeasterly, nearly trapping AB in her winter berth, the fouled [...]

24 August 2013

Preveza Greece to Cartagena Spain

This June/July, Aqua Blue left Levkas Greece and crossed to Syracuse Sicily via Crotone. After an OCC meeting in this delightful anchorage and ancient city we rounded Sicily clockwise to Trapani. Then crossed to Cagliari Sardinia for a week.

Corfu Express 93

21 March 2009 | Tyrrhenian/Ionian
David
CORFU EXPRESS 93

July/August 93.

Aqua Blue, my Kelsall 39 tri was based at Campoloro on the
East coast of Corsica, a quiet spot recommended by Mike
Butterfield which I found an ideal base for the central Med.
Unfortunately that year my hire car was stolen within 24hrs.
However a mostaffable German yachtsman with transport whose boat was lifted out
at Campoloro kindly ferried me around for a few hours, whilst I
dealt with the inevitable paperwork. After a cool beer calmed my
mood I settled into a week's fitting out. The installation of a
Profurl roller with it's new Crusader genoa was completed,
together with an Isotherm fridge mounted in the cockpit. Both these
projectshad been long in the planning and in fact had been commenced when
I had driven out at Easter.

Eddie my crew for the outward trip arrived and I used the
second hire car to meet him from the airport and to provision the
boat. That night someone drove into the back of the parked car!
We extricated Aqua Blue from her winter berth in the morning and
the centreboard ploughed a furrow through the mud of the
recently dredged but still very shallow harbour until we reached
the cleaner water outside, where Eddie cleaned the hull wearing a
snorkel and using a scraper,whilst I attacked the ball of coral
surrounding the prop. The tri is just too wide to fit in the 7
metre travelhoist, and was lifted only one year in three at that
time.

On monday 19 July after last minute phone calls to our respective
partners we commenced motoring south. Passing Alistro lighthouse
I was picking up Hamburg via the newly insulated backstay and
soon produced a legible weatherfax,warning of icebergs off
Newfoundland! A sea breeze carried us from Aleria to Solenzara
but we sailed past the harbour and carried on to anchor in Baie
de Favone just as the sun reached the mountain tops.

Motoring away in the clear calm morning frontal cloud appeared
over the island. The French VHF had been promising strong winds
but I was tempted by the moderate Italian forecast to cross the
Bonifacio straits before they arrived. However as we came up to
Porto Vecchio I could see white water ahead and very soon we were
beating south in up to 30kts. The sea built quite quickly
although we were only a few miles offshore. The new roller
reefing worked well and I was considering pressing on to
Sardinia. However we suddenly realised that the engine battery
appeared to be off for no obvious reason, so I disconnected the
now dead hand of the Autohelm and we reached back to Porto
Vecchio, and short tacked into the Golfe, to anchor in Marine
d'Arghi with me rapidly winding up the roller as Eddie layed a
good scope of cable. I hadn't expected cool calming beers to be
required again so soon! Replacing the battery switch brought the
engine back to life and we moved to the more sheltered Baie de
Stagnolo to sit out the still increasing Mistral. Cigar shaped
clouds kept us in harbour all next day. We amused ourselves
trying to resuscitate the Seagull to no avail; but there was a
restaurant on the beach from where we could watch Aqua Blue swing
slowly to two anchors. Corsica can be a windy place to get away
from.

The cold front went through in the night and we had to motor
away in the morning, finding a fresh westerly offshore. During
the afternoon and evening the wind gradually veered to NW and
even increased for a while. We started to run wing and wing, not
my favourite configuration, and eventually we were occasionally
surfing at up to 12kts with a reef in the main. At this speed the
helm becomes quite heavy and although we were enjoying steering I
dropped the main, so we could reconnect the Autohelm and have a
more relaxed meal, the first of many Eddie was to make. We still
managed 100mls in the first 16hrs though. In the early hours
there was an incredibly bright disc of the milky way and I was
trying to remember how many times Stephen Hawking (the author of
"A Brief History of Time") says we've been round it! CH27 from
Civita Vecchia was promising the conditions would soon improve
and after a fairly bumpy night with the occasional crest toppling
behind the cockpit the blue gray dawn heralded the return of
relatively higher pressure, although the barometer's oscillations
are quite modest in the Med of course.

By midday we were motoring over a flat blue sea in very light
following winds and I was questioning my decision to head
straight for the Aeolian Islands when the going was good, since
we were now slap bang in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea out of
VHF forecast range and not too high on fuel either. Eddie thought
the fridge had raised fuel consumption! Fortunately the evening
brought a light breeze and we hoisted the spinny as we crossed
the fortieth parallel. Eddie amazed me by producing cold Bloody
Marys and a couscous dinner, to be washed down with Corsican
white at the cockpit table, as we watched the sliver of moon
follow the copper red sun into the sea.

A t midnight I was watching a trail of phosphorescence stream
slowly off the rudder when the spinny draped itself over the
bows, so the engine came on again and we droned on south. It was
still on when two passing Italian trawlers disturbed our
afternoon siesta under the now rigged sun awning. A small school
of dolphins played alongside for a while, and not long after we
reset the spinny in the early evening breeze, just as the Lipari
Islands appeared ahead in the distant haze. We had just
identified the most westerly islands and sat down to eat when a
heart stopping bang told me the centerboard had folded up as we
hurdled a "tunny" net! These very long nets are set off the
Italian coast in the summer to catch Tuna I believe. Fortunately,
since we were doing nearly six knots, the downthrust imparted by
the board made the heavy rope clear the prop and rudder. The
first part of the night was rather tiring as we strained our eyes
to identify the faintly lit buoys on many more nets, until at
2.00am I stopped and drifted with the nets so we could sleep. At
dawn Stromboli was visible on the red horizon and as the boats
hauled their nets we got under way towards Vulcano's smoking
crater, near our destination of Lipari which we
entered at noon, to spend some time finding a shallow enough
place to anchor off the town beach, not far from the very rusty
fuel pier. I rowed ashore and paid a huge sum for five gallons of
diesel, and we explored the pleasant town finding a few supplies
although it was Sunday.

Leaving the large bay in the morning, which seems to offer
more shelter than first appears, we wished we'd had time to
anchor off Vulcano to bathe in the hot radioactive mud. According
to Rod Heikell the fumes will tarnish your metalwork. Eddie was
hanging over the side collecting floating pumice stones which
seem to rain down frequently, just as described in the Odyssey. I
recommend "Ulysses Found" by Ernle Bradford to anyone sailing
these waters. Whilst experimenting with setting the old no 1 genoa
flying I had to choose between catching my sunglasses or a
shackle pin! We crawled up to the northern entrance of the
Straits of Messina by early evening and turned south to pass over
dreaded Charybdis whose tidal chop was covered by small local
open boats, all actively fishing. The invention of the diesel
engine gave us a distinct advantage over the ancients, but we
still had to dodge the constant stream of ferries and identify
the entrance to Reggio Calabria where we later tied up in the
commercial harbour, the small yacht basin being too crowded for a
trimaran. The hydrofoils cause a tremendous wash, just like at
Cowes!

An English couple appeared on the wall above us, who had lived
on a 24ft boat for five years, and told us that the Italian fuel
tanker drivers were on strike! Sure enough the nearby petrol
stations were all closed and I began to doubt our ability to
reach Greece in time for the next crew change. In the morning
whilst I was obtaining Aqua Blue's "constituto" (a transit log
issued by the Italians), Eddie somehow managed to obtain the
last 20litres of diesel in the harbour, from a sympathetic pump
attendant who was turning away taxis!

A fresh northerly had picked up, so we immediately left and
ran down to Capo del Armi at good speed under headsail alone. As
we turned east the wind dropped from 20kts to 2kts in about five
hundred yards! We could still see the white water behind us, yet
had to start the engine and proceed at moderate revs to conserve
fuel. Not far past the empty industrial harbour of Saline Joniche
(which now has a small marina) we saw a well wrapped large
polythene parcel, tethered to the bottom. Although we could only
speculate as to it's contents, it did demonstrate a west going
current as we pushed into the Ionian sea.

In the evening Eddie spotted a garage on the coast road so we
anchored and rowed ashore with several fuel containers. An
Italian lawyer on the beach kindly drove me to another garage but
they were both closed. We did have a pleasant drink in an
adjacent bar though where he told me "we are not Italian here, we
are Greek from Magna Graecia". We pottered on to Capo Spartivento
where we were slowly overtaken in the dark by a large Italian
yacht, one of the few we were to encounter while passage making.
During the early hours and again in the morning we experienced
the fresh offshore winds the Golfo de Squillace is named after.
The crew of a British freighter waved enthusiastically as we beat
past them, alerted by the red duster streaming from the flying
port float. Although it was baking hot under a very fierce sun as
we crawled through the afternoon, we managed to raise the spinny
later and ran up to Crotone, which we found very quiet; with only
a few yachts but good facilities if you don't mind walking.

The fuel strike was over so thankfully we filled up and stored
a further 50litres in the port float despite the weight. There
seems to be a large permanent market which we made good use of.
After a good fresh cockpit lunch, I started some maintenance and
promptly managed to shatter the ignition switch (by dropping a hatch on it!).
Eddie likes a challenge and spent some time reassembling it with epoxy filler.
Amazingly the key still turned after it had quickly set in the
94F afternoon heat. The Italians make very good inflatables and I
much admired one in the small chandlery, only the deterrent price
of 3 million lire kept the plastic in my wallet. We found the
restaurant Casa di Rosa recommended by Rod Heikell and the crew
treated the skipper to a good fish meal. A very stylish
"passeggiata" by the smartly dressed local was in full swing on
the front as we emerged. It makes you realise how far sartorial
standards slip on a boat!

After a quick morning trip ashore for fresh bread and several large
cold bottles of Italian beer we headed out past the gas platforms
and resumed our easterly trek. There was not a breath of wind and
the Yanmar guided by the Autohelm pushed us across our blue
hemisphere and on into the night. The Loran had not been working
since just after we had passed the master station at Sellia
Marina, so I interrogated it and came to the conclusion that the
Turkish station was switched off. We later found out this was
correct, and indeed the system has been off for the last few
years in the Med and is unlikely to restart.

In the early hours I could just see Maria de St.Leuca light at
the very limit of it's range. We were still motoring in the pink
metallic dawn with a few dolphins jumping astern, and as we
crossed the shipping lane into the Adriatic I picked up Kerkira
radio beacon loud and clear. By mid morning we could see the
first Greek island of Fano ahead in the haze and crawled past it
at our economical but tedious motoring speed of 4kts. Just south
of Othoni I spotted a large c30ft whale some distance off the
port bow on a reciprocal course. Although their numbers are
supposed to be recovering, this was only the third large whale I
have spotted in more than two decades sailing. The first two
being sperm whales in Biscay. The Crotone VHF forecast at 15.50
came through at the impressive range of 114mls! I believe this
unusual propagation is referred to as "Sporadic E" and occurs in
high pressure especially over the sea. The light was fading fast
as we approached the Corfu Channel, so I diverted towards the
lights of Kassiopi, where we dropped the hook in the centre of
the small harbour in time for dinner ashore after 35hrs motoring!


We were chased out of harbour at 10.00am by the daytripper
boats whose exit we were blocking! Drifting down the Corfu
Channel we sampled a few bays for swimming and lunch before
entering Corfu town harbour. We were repulsed at both attempts to
tie up to the customs quay by wildly gesticulating characters of
dubious authority, who even threatened us with the port police
whom we wished to report to! Eventually discretion overcame
valour and I motored round the headland to anchor under the
Venetian fort off the Corfu Yacht Club. This is a pleasant quiet
spot very convenient for the town's sights although a good walk
in the heat for provisions. Good drinking water is available by
the dinghy slip if you ask the club official to turn on the tap,
which is more than can be said for Gouvia where most yachts head
for. In the morning we walked round to customs and of course they
refused to issue a transit log because we were not moored at the
customs quay! I kept my cool and eventually after much
procrastination the required paperwork was completed. To be fair
to the Greeks, they suffer an invasion in July and August and are
understaffed at these times. In the evening we ate late at the
excellent yacht club restaurant and headed for the airport. The
flights were delayed till 4.00am and it wasn't till 6.00am that I
arrived back at Aqua Blue with Stella and Louise our two year old
daughter. We tried to catch up on sleep in the heat and later
took Louise to the small beach under the yacht club which is in
shade from mid afternoon. In the evening we again ate on the club
verandah and Louise was fascinated by the small fluttering bats
that live in the fortifications.

On our return from the market with full haversack and bags, we
found anchored nearby a huge modern French cutter "Capo di Fora"
and also a large Hilliard. Leaving Ormos Garitsas we motored
under awning and windscoop with Louise asleep in the cockpit past
Benitsa and on to anchor off charming Petriti beach alongside a
deserted Austrian Wharram cat. Later clearing Ak Asprokavos, the
southerly tip of Corfu, the supposedly prevailing NW wind
reappeared and we reached over to Paxos to anchor in beautiful
Lakka. This sheltered spot was ideal for family relaxation and we
stayed an extra day before visiting the impressive caves on the
west coast. Here we met the Wood's cat Lanktababa with Jim and
Daphne Nicholls on board who had come down from Ancona. Later we
motored round to anchor outside the south entrance to Gaios whose
fjiord like harbour, although too crowded for a multihull in
season, is still worth a visit.

Two days later we were backin Gouvia, having passed a French
frigate and an US aircraft carrier anchored off Corfu town. I
dozed too long after dinner and missed Humphrey and his daughter
Ashlee at the airport at 2.00am, finding them on board on my
return by kamikaze taxi. After waiting in vain for the fuel lorry
Humphrey and I took Louise's buggy to a local garage and carried
back several jerrycans of the essential diesel. To my surprise we
were then virtually pinned to the quay by a force six northerly
all afternoon, so we retired to the pool of a local bar where
Louise exhausted herself with non stop running and swimming, even
trying to climb into the deep end on her own! Young children
really do need constant supervision near water. In the evening we
were able to slacken the bar taut anchor line and enjoy a good
cheap meal ashore in Flags Restaurant whose English owner
informed us about the slow progress of the very bare concrete
marina. The shallow anchorage at the north end of the bay was
ideal for multis once you had stocked up, but now I'm told yachts
are moved on from here.

There seems to be little wind between Corfu and the mainland,
but as we cleared the southern tip of the island we were
immediately assailed by a 20kts northwesterly and creamed down to
the far end of Paxos to get the hook down through the weed in
Mongonisi at the third attempt. I had an altercation with a
German charterer who persisted in trying to set a second anchor
across our main cable. The wind dropped later in the evening as
it usually does and we could forget about dragging and enjoy
another cockpit dinner. The Perseids failed to put in an
appearance again! I no longer stay up for them. We set off early
in the morning since I was nervous about running down to the
Levkas Canal entrance in strong winds, but we motored all the
way. The bridge operator swung wide open for us thankfully, since
the smaller lifting span is barely 29ft wide. We continued past
Levkas town and motorsailed through the canal reaching Nidri in
time for dinner on the quayside. It had been ten years since my
last visit and there has been a lot of development ashore. It's
still a good base for the Inland sea though.
Shopping ashore in the morning I found Levkas Ouzo
£2/litre.Like Retsina it's an aquired taste. We motored around
the Onassis island and over to Meganisi to anchor in Abelike Bay,
where we lazed away the rest of the day despite the arrival of a
small flotilla. A primitive taverna on the beach was doing good
trade but we ate on board enjoying the warm tranquillity of the
place. Touring adjacent Port Atheni we found "Capo di Fora" again
and continued on to Port Leone where Louise and I kept anchor
watch whilst the others explored the deserted village. Later more
motoring brought us to One House Bay on Atokos where we spent a
rather rolly night in the katabatic wind off the mainland.
Strangely, two well dressed women were sleeping on the beach.
Across to Ithaca in the morning we entered Frikes and lay
alongside the empty harbour wall at lunchtime, after which we
quickly explored the tiny village, just as the earliest arrivals
of a flotilla started to worry about how much space we were
occupying. The wind returned in the afternoon and we sailed
across the top of the island to Cephalonia and entered Fiskardho.
We anchored seemingly in the entrance and warped the stern to a
tree, yet an hour later there were twenty yachts outside us.
Despite the crush we had a good meal ashore in restaurant Faros.
A tiny Wharram "Tiger" and a Prout" Mifleur" were tied to the
wall. I fell asleep in the cockpit yet again.

The following afternoon we entered Sivota which was barely
recognisable from ten years before. It's now a well developed
charter base and the Sunsail staff were servicing 120 yachts. We
easily watered and restocked Aqua Blue, although the temp. hit
96F and eventually we spent the night in Nikiana. Up at 7.30am
we motored through the Levkas Canal and exited into the open sea
along with many other yachts all heading north. The sea breeze
eventually became a good F5 NW and we bore away slightly to reach
Parga on the mainland coast by early evening. After anchoring and
warping the stern in to a beach breakwater we still had time to
spend an hour on the beach with Louise, before finding a pleasant
restaurant in the trees. A water taxi service operates from the
yacht harbour to the town, where in fact a few yachts can squeeze
in.

During our leisurely exit in the morning I admired the large
Austrian cat "Flormell" and we motored up to Mourtos, passing the
charming anchorages inside the Sivota Islands. It was 90F again
as we motorsailed back to the anchorage off the Corfu Yacht Club
below the town. After a morning ashore we made our way up to Ay
Stephanos to meet Peter and Carolyn who had taken a villa above
the sheltered bay. A day beside their pool was most welcome even
though I couldn't quite see Aqua Blue from the balcony! Albania
was clearly visible though. Gallini's restaurant on the beach
gave us water and Peter drove us to the nearest garage for
diesel. Three days passed easily here in good company.

On leaving Stephanos a new battery I had fitted only two days
earlier would not start the engine. And neither Humphrey nor
myself could hand start the Yanmar. We swapped the engine and
instrument batteries which are identical for just this purpose,
and motored down to Koulouros Bay for lunch and swimming, whilst
Stella packed and Louise slept under the invaluable cockpit
awning. Despite it being only the 23rd August there were no other
yachts in this beautiful spot. We motorsailed back to the town
yacht club in time for half an hour on the beach (in shade by
late afternoon), and collected another 50 litres of their good
drinking water. There are also quite cold but very refreshing
showers on this beach. A small entry charge is made by the club
for pedestrian arrivals. A German alloy cat with twin outboards
came into the anchorage. After another good meal on the club
balcony we taxied to the airport and saw Stella, Louise and
Ashlee into the departure lounge at 01.45, their plane being on
time thank God. Visits to Corfu airport should be kept to a
minimum! Customs amazed me by accepting the transit log at
02.30am.even though we arrived by taxi. I found it hard to
believe that every yacht and powerboat visiting Corfu actually
visited the town harbour to collect a transit log, especially
when most of them go straight to Gouvia Marina where customs then
did not maintain an office even in the busy summer months. The
only advantage seemed to be the ability to purchase duty free
fuel which we did not do, and I'm sure these documents are no
longer needed by EC boats. The boat seemed very quiet in the
morning with just Humphrey and myself on board!

By midday we were motoring past Serpa Reef and turning west in
the company of several Italian yachts. The light wind died as we
passed south of Fano Island and we put more diesel in the tank
before continuing over an absolutely flat calm. We really didn't
find much wind in the Ionian Islands that year. Later I was
trying to photograph a golden sunset over a liquid metal sea, the
prints never do justice to the real thing. At least the motoring
was producing plenty of cold drinks to wash down the Greek
sausages with lots of garlic. Humphrey noticed that the
halfmoon's reflection in the slight ripple produced a flashing
effect like a lighthouse or distant Lampera. The satnav then went
off which meant the new battery would not even run the
instruments. This is the second time I have found a new battery
to be a dud. At 01.00am the wind returned from the south and the
engine was at last silenced. I could see distant Maria de St.
Leuca again just before dawn, and by breakfast we were tramping
along with the sheets slightly eased in 15kts of wind. After a
good day's run we entered Crotone in the dark and moored
alongside the empty wall with the help of an inflatable driven by
a trimaran builder! 20kts was blowing straight into the harbour
to complicate our manoeuvres. It stopped as soon as we hit the
sack of course.

Ashore in the morning for a few provisions, not least some
more large cold beers for the fridge, we met a French yachtsman
who was enquiring about the missing Loran. We still left the
harbour in good time and motored down to Cape Colonne with it's
solitary column, all that's left of ancient Krotone. It was
overcast and very warm, 90F by the time we rolled out the genoa
in a southerly breeze at noon. The sun never managed to burn
through the cloud during the humid day, but strangely it was
followed by a warm dry night. And after we passed the master
station at Sellia Marina the Loran immediately came on again.
Saline Joniche was abeam at breakfast and the tide began to draw
us towards the Straits of Messina where we had to start tacking
against a fresh northerly, right over to the Sicilian coast and
back to Reggio Calabria, where the wind dropped again and we
motored in to take on fuel and water.

After barely an hour ashore we left the very hot harbour again
and motored up the straits. There were two swordfishing boats
accompanying us with their distinctive tall masts and even longer
bowsprits, which seem to be telescopic! As we crossed the
swirling waters of Charybdis again red cloud or smoke darkened
the sky rather ominously. We thought it was forest fires in
Sicily or Mt Etna, but it may be Saharan sand that sciroccos
contain, the "red rain". We ran north all night into the
Tyrrhenian Sea as the wind gradually freshened and veered, just
as the generally good Italian VHF had forecast. By the morning we
were tramping along on a port reach, with some swell building.
Gradually we were headed and came up to Camerota in a 20kt
northwesterly, where rather than tack out again we entered for
some R&R. A welcoming English couple on "Mary Kate of Arun" held
our bows to the town quay whilst Humphrey rowed out a stern
anchor. We both then crashed out for a couple of hours in the
late afternoon. I had just returned with some pizzas when the
large trawler whose berth we were occupying came in and we had to
move and reanchor. The cold pizzas then went into the frying pan
and were converted into very tasty fried bread! I rowed ashore to
ring Stella from a hotel in the pleasant town rising above the
port, outside of which is a good beach making it popular with
Italian holidaymakers.

We awoke to rain and motorsailed north under grey cloud most
of the day until we arrived at the rough Licosa Banks, where the
northwesterly started building and veering. By 10pm we tacked
offshore about 11mls south of Salerno and a good tramontana
started to blow. We gradually reefed down and spent over three
hours tacking up to the large industrial harbour with the wind
gusting to 33kts, the leeway at this windspeed being huge. A puff
of smoke from a shorted bank of wet switches added to the
excitement! We were thrashing over the black sea as Humphrey
sniffed out the cause of the lost nav lights amongst the wiring
below. After touring the harbour in the buffeting wind we finally
tied to a wall at 2.45am.in front of one of the largest yachts I
have ever seen, the at least 100ft ketch "Morga" . A fitful night
followed, with the wind howling through the harbour covering the
boat with filthy gritty dirt from the quay which was stacked with
blocks of marble. However the pressure rose substantially as the
trough passed through into the Adriatic and the wind was NE by
morning although still initially strong. Morga was resplendent
close by with every sail a powered roller and a double decker
wheelhouse. In front was an old but beautifully maintained three
masted schooner "Creole". After breakfast I spent some time
sweeping up the dry deck and cockpit and even inside, and
gradually became aware the wind was dropping. By 10.30 we had
topped up the diesel tank and left.

Outside we found we were broad reaching in light winds past
Capo d'Orso to enjoy the seaward views of Amalfi and Positano.
After passing the Galli Islands (no sign of the sirens!) we
entered the Capri Channel. A seaplane was picking up water for
firefighting on Capri, which we had no time to visit as we turned
northwest again to cross the Bay of Naples with Vesuvius on our
right and Ischia and Procida ahead. By early evening the wind was
increasing from ahead and I reefed the main before we tacked
through the Canale d'Ischia as it was getting dark, with me
making mental plans to return to these beautiful islands next
year. It was surprisingly rough on the north side and we took a
crest over the bows with some water finding it's way through an
only lightly secured hatch onto the chart table. In the early
hours Gaeta was abeam and later still a light land breeze carried
us to Monte Circeo. I was sorry again that we had no time to
spend a day (let alone a year),enjoying the "attraction of Circe
and her handmaidens". As we passed the Cape the northwesterly
returned and freshened to require reefing and we tacked up the
coast always seeking a lift along the beach although it was
rougher inshore. Interestingly two Italian monohulls left Circeo
as we passed and promptly started motoring as the wind got up. We
constantly tacked across their bows at up to 9kts until the wind
reached 26kts when we were glad to enter Nettuno with them just
south of Anzio. I knew the marina was crowded with Roman
yachts, and used the VHF to warn the Capitano of our 8mtr beam.
Two staff in a rubber boat met us and pushed us sideways against
the wind onto a cleared 'T' pontoon. I was moderately impressed.
Mind you, it cost 52000lire for the night, although I now realise
this is not expensive for Italy! The showers were badly needed
though and "free". The walled town nearby is worth a visit and we
ate well in the small town square, there was even live music!

In the morning we bought fresh provisions and hosed the salt
off the boat. One does appreciate fresh tapwater after a few days
at sea. We left Nettuno and motored around Anzio harbour which
really has no room for yachts but is interesting to see. In
settled weather a yacht can anchor off the town beach. Our return
trip was becoming a tour of the Allied wartime landings with our
stops at Salerno and Anzio. In addition Nero's port of Antium is
just underwater to the west of the harbour, in fact you have to
give it a wide berth if there is any sea running. We continued
motoring northwest along the coast enjoying fresh Italian ham and
rolls for lunch. I'm not so impressed with Italian beer though.
Broadcast reception was improving and in addition to really clear
weather fax from Hamburg we were listening to Radio Riviera in
English on medium wave, although I could never find it again. The
sea breeze returned and we overtook a Fountaine Pajot cat of
approximately our size. Either they are heavy or fractional rigs
are no good in light headwinds. At tea time we passed the disused
lighthouse at the entrance of the Fiumare Grande. Several yachts
sailed over the shallows and into the entrance as we watched the
fishermen tending the suspended nets from their stilted huts. Off
Fiumcino we surprised an anchored fisherman tending his lines as
the port float flew past his stationary transom , whilst I waved
nonchalantly from the bow! There was a continuous stream of jets
taking off from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport. In the late
evening the forecast northeasterly came in with a bang and we
were soon starboard reaching up the coast towards Capo Linaro
where I had been thinking of spending the night. However this was
too good to miss and we turned west towards Corsica. We made good
speed overnight, literally surfing past Giannutri and Giglio
covering 20mls in two hours at one point. The wind continued to
veer until by early morning we were trying to fly the spinny, off
the south point of Montecristo. It was soon hanging in the water
though and came down before we motored past the Scoglio Africa
reef, with the decks too hot to walk on once again although it
was now the 2nd Sept. As we tried to make out the Corsican coast
against the setting sun an offshore breeze allowed us to motor
sail right up to Campoloro entrance at good speed and we entered
in time for dinner ashore courtesy of Humphrey.
Comments
Aqua Blue's Photos - Main
Alvor to Setubal.
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Created 19 November 2017
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Adriatic cruising
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