Adventures of Berkeley East

17 August 2019 | Charlotte, NC and Gaeta, Italy
12 July 2019
12 September 2018 | Cala del Core Ponza, Italy
22 August 2018 | North East Sardinia
13 August 2018 | Northern Sardinia, Italy
10 August 2018 | La Maddalenas, Sardinia Italy
30 July 2018 | South West Corsica, France
19 July 2018 | North West Corsica, France
12 July 2018 | Saint-Tropez, France
07 July 2018 | The French Riviera
25 June 2018 | Nice, France
22 June 2018 | Cap Ferrat, France
15 June 2018 | Lake Como, Italy
10 June 2018 | Bolgheri and Piedmonte, Italy
08 June 2018
04 June 2018 | Cinque Terre, Italy
27 May 2018 | Florence, Italy
23 May 2018 | Italy
17 May 2018 | Roma, Italy

The need for speed

22 August 2018 | North East Sardinia
It is a well-known fact that the Italians love fast cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, peddle to the metal, 0 to 60 in three seconds. That fierce passion transfers to boats as well. Italian-made yachts like Azimut and Pershing can reach speeds over 25 knots, which doesn't sound very thrilling but on a boat it is flying.





The La Maddalena Archipelago and Sardinia are just a few miles apart; it doesn't take long to travel from one to the other. A boat like Berkeley East can sail from the islands to mainland Sardinia in about an hour, and we typically transit at seven knots. So one would expect the area to be a tranquil space, with vessels gliding about at a leisurely pace. We came to call it the Tyrrhenian Sea Speedway.





We learned very quickly that when moving, even a short distance, we needed to button BE up tight, hatches and portholes closed, everything below deck stowed. The Italian power boaters (actually French and Brits as well) know one speed and that is lightening. Boats would converge on Berkeley East full throttle, their wakes rolling BE side-to-side, throwing huge waves over her bow. All hands needed to be available; all we could do was hang on for the ride.





We hadn't planned to be in Sardinia in August. We know from experience that the month is high season in every way, high traffic, high cost, and high temperatures. Our intent was to visit the island in early July, before the major onslaught of Europeans on holiday. But family business required that we stay close to big cities for services not found elsewhere, so we once again found ourselves in the thick of the insanity.





We decided to embrace the chaos and continued traveling south to explore more of the main island of Sardinia. Having reconciled ourselves with the obscene August rates (we can't take it with us), we hoped to find a protected marina for Berkeley East so we could take a road trip in the south. We also thought that perhaps we would discover a less crowded, more peaceful atmosphere.

But dodging speedboats quickly turned into weaving through parking lots of superyachts, hundreds of them, their tenders zipping through the anchorages. The luxurious vessels were amazing; the atmosphere was unruly.





Considered the capital of Sardinia's Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo is a town with just a few hundred year-round residents. In the summer, it transforms into a playground for the ultra rich, purpose built for international elite tourism and the luxury yachting set.





Around the corner, Cala di Volpe houses one of the world's most exclusive, and most expensive hotels, the bay filled with moorings for grandiose watercraft.








There were fewer mega yachts further south, but the anchorages were still treated as aquatic raceways. We came to keep one hand anchored to the boat at all times. Adding to the turmoil was very unsettled weather, thunderstorms with 50-knot winds and four-foot waves. We put our harnesses and tethers on for the first time this season, at anchor.





Fortunately, in between the weather and the boat traffic, we found some bright, peaceful moments, the island of Tavorlara providing a beautiful backdrop to several of them.





The island is actually more of a rock, a limestone massif three miles long and 0.6 miles wide, with steep cliffs plummeting into the water. Its highest point, Monte Cannone, is 1,854 feet above sea level.





In the 19th and 20th centuries, a tiny kingdom was set up on the island of Tavorlara. Today, a NATO base occupies one-half of the island, a few houses and a restaurant sit on the other side. The restaurant owner still maintains that the island is the kingdom of his family, although the Italian authorities disagree with that claim.








After waiting several days for good weather in the south, we saw a Mistral in the forecast and came to the conclusion that staying in Sardinia was not meant to be; exploring the south part of the island would have to wait until next spring during a less congested, less costly, perhaps a more weather-friendly time. We quickly charted a course for Ponza.



Comments
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.
Extra:
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 [...]
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Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
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Created 22 July 2007
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.
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4 Photos
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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.
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Profile & FAQs

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

Our travels

Itinerary:

July 2019- Return to Gaeta, Italy

August 2019 - Gaeta to Sicily, Tunisia and Sardinia

September 2019 - The Spanish Balearic Islands

October 2019 -Barcelona Spain

November 2019 - Charlotte, NC