Hurray, we've arrived in Sardinia having sailed 175 miles of a 200 mile crossing!
We departed Fornells at first light, 6.15am together with 'Beeke' who were heading in the same direction. With F3-5 winds predicted for the next 72 hours coming from the NW and a swell height of less than 1m we couldn't have wished for a better forecast so it wasn't long before the sails were out and we were sailing along nicely.
With an estimated 36-48 hours until our landfall we kept ourselves busy. Some of the time was taken fine tuning the sails. Like the 'hokey cokey' song, sails were out, then polled out, back in, back out but thankfully not too shaken about. Unfortunately the swell wasn't the forecasted 1m but instead closer to 3-4m, complete with white crests! We didn't fully understand where the swell was coming from having previously looked at the forecast for the surrounding sea areas but can only assume that it was left over from a local storm somewhere else. It was certainly a new experience listening to the occasional 'roaring' wave as it passed us by. Flirtie took it all in her stride riding each one coming from her port stern quarter, lifting us up and over. One 'growler' (as Bruce puts it) managed to time itself beautifully just as Flirtie's hull rolled to port it actually broke into the aft cockpit! Surprisingly, it wasn't worrying but actually fascinating to watch with the occasional 'biggie' threatening to break into the aft cockpit!
We tried to learn a few words from our Italian phrase book but in these conditions it was impossible without feeling seasick so all we could do was watch the horizon keeping a lookout for dolphins or whales. Parts of the med are surprisingly deep. We had over 2500m below us for much of the trip aptly named 'abyssal plain'.
Regrettably we didn't sight any dolphins or whales but we did manage to scoop a squid aboard at some point in the journey. 'Squiddy' was probably having a great time riding the waves before his/her untimely death.
a pink squid
The hardest part of the trip was trying to cook with the motion of the boat. With a sprawled leg here, am arm there I eventually cooked up an Italian dish, Spaghetti Bolognaise - as coincidence would have it. Sleeping however was impossible as it was pretty uncomfortable so we mainly cat-napped on our 3 hour watch system.
the obligatory sunset photo!
The night was fantastic, with no light pollution we had a deep black sky peppered with brilliant stars and you could see the Milky Way really clearly until the moon appeared over the horizon like a bright torch showing us the way to Sardinia.
The following day dawned and we made good progress until roughly mid afternoon when we sighted Sardinia. Not long after that the wind started to drop and with it our speed. Rather than spend another night at sea we decided to motor the remaining 25 miles or so such that we arrived an hour or so before dark.
the island of Sardinia
Our landfall was the harbour of Porto Conte, just a few km from Alghero. Porto Conte is a wide bay with several anchorages offering good shelter from various wind directions. We chose a small anchorage just off Cala Tramariglio where there were also a couple of mooring buoys (owned by AMP) available but given the settled conditions we chose to anchor in 7m on sand and weed along with the four other yachts already at anchor - it's amazingly quiet by comparison to the Balearics.
Arriving in a new country meant one thing - replace the rather faded Spanish courtesy flag with a bright, shiny, new Italian one together with the 'flag of the four Moors', the official flag of Sardinia. We should have done this on entering Italian waters but decided against it because off the swell so replaced them in the calm of the anchorage - it's a good job none of the authorities were around to complain like they did upon our arrival in Rota, Spain!
Total distance this season: 1071.35 miles