The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

"Hi, we are sailing yacht Flirtie's crew, Bruce and Caroline. Welcome to our blog.

Sicily, Boat Service Trapani to Marina di Ragusa

Having checked out the yard and spoken to the manager our lift was scheduled for two days time, a Tuesday as Monday is a bank holiday.

We were told we could occupy an overnight berth adjacent to the travel lift which allowed us to prepare Flirtie for her lift and offload our bikes easily before we rummaged in the paint locker for all the maintenance paraphernalia necessary for us to start work as soon as the yard had power washed the hull, moved Flirtie to her designated position and chocked her up.

Flirtie was last lifted May 2019 in Manoel Island, Malta.
We are most definitely down to the primer coat!

As a 'treat' to ourselves we commissioned the yard to prepare the hull for the antifoul paint. We've said it before, it's a filthy job wet sanding the hull in order to key the surface just enough to accept fresh antifoul. At the time this was the only job that we had commissioned the yard to do but after a unexpected call from my sister we needed to return to the UK fairly rapidly. Unfortunately Dad had fallen (only minor) but in the process he had hit his head and was now in hospital being monitored and assessed. It sounded serious. My sister provided us with frequent updates and everything was a bit of a blur but after due consideration we came up with a plan.

We had a few options open to us but what felt right after hearing from the medical staff was that we needed to return to the UK and be prepared to stay there for an extended period rather than just a couple of weeks. With that in mind it made sense for us to hightail it back to Marina di Ragusa where we'd already reserved and paid the deposit for our winter berth and catch one of the first available flights back to the UK. To speed up the maintenance we asked the yard to undertake the job of antifouling Flirtie while we focused on the less time consuming jobs of cleaning the propellers, replacing the anodes as well as planning our return trip to Marina di Ragusa and looking at the various flight, taxi and car rental options.

Normally sorting out flights wouldn't have been a problem but with all the covid restrictions in the UK and in Italy it was proving challenging. One of the key issues was actually committing to a flight that we prayed would run to schedule. The reason we say this is that at the time, flights to and from the UK were being cancelled left, right and centre at very short notice. In the end we chose not to take the first available flight but instead took one that was two days later that flew to a major UK airport. This also gave us time to organize our pre-departure covid tests in Sicily and book our day 2 UK tests. Additionally we had to nominate an address where we could quarantine until we received our day 2 test results. Typically we would have stayed with family but the last thing we wanted to do was infect our loved ones especially since we would be travelling through two major airports and a three hour flight with 300+ other passengers in close proximity to each other. Fortunately my sister and partner came to the rescue and kindly offered us the use of their motor home sat on their drive for as long as we needed it which really helped a great deal.

It has to be said that this was the fastest lift and relaunch that we've ever done and one that we wouldn't wish to repeat. Flirtie was relaunched within four days. Once we'd done the usual seacock checks and burped the volvo seals we departed Trapani that same afternoon for what became a delivery trip back to Marina di Ragusa. We were really fortunate with the weather and we motored 137.4 nautical miles through calm seas with a beautiful full moon overnight. Bruce was lucky on his watch to see and apparently talk to a pod of dolphins?!, I didn't see anything apart from observing a beautiful moon and night's sky. We really couldn't have asked for better a journey!

Flirtie freshly antifouled with Micron 99, a multi-season premium self polishing antifoul that is compatible with our existing Micron 350. Three coats were required in order to yield two season's protection so it actually worked out cheaper to buy a 20 litre drum given the additional coat now required.

We can highly recommend Boat Service Trapani which is located at the very east of the harbour. It's not just a boatyard as there are 50-60 berths at the quay or on the pontoon all in 3-5 meters. Water and electricity are at the berths and there's a fuel pump at the quay. The boatyard itself was clean and tidy and the staff took great care when lifting and chocking up Flirtie. From a safety point of view we were provided with a ladder with rail and gradient steps which made getting on and off Flirtie surprisingly easy. Toilet/shower facilities were always clean with piping hot water and security wasn't an issue with a guard who walked around the premises and never seemed to have enough change to buy a coffee! Lol.

Total distance this season: 599.86 nautical miles